Monday, June 6, 2011

Leon’s Tri 2011

I haven't done an Olympic distance race in a few years and have wanted to, so when I heard Zoot was sponsoring Leon's Triathlon I decide to give it a shot. My last race this distance was at Chicago 3 years ago and I had a perfect race and went 2:15. I figured even with issues I could set a PR and it would be nice to see how much I improved. I was actually most "concerned" with the swim as I have put a TON of effort into improving my swim over the last two years and have made slow and steady improvements.

Swim 1.5K - 21:30
I went out hard for the first few minutes to try and hang with the fast guys and got dropped. Luckily there were enough other people around that I was never totally on my own but I also wasn't really able to get on any feet. I'm thrilled with 21:30 as my last OD race was more like a 28 minute swim. I believe I was about 15th out of water from what I could tell at the first turn around on the bike.

Bike - 1:04:39 for a 27.81 mile course
Leon's has a flat course with closed roads which is awesome, however it feels like there are a million turns and the roads are not in the best shape. I heard the course was a good bit short last year and it appears they tried to make up for it this year by adding the extra distance on. Within the first 5 miles of the ride I nailed a pothole and lost my water bottle and nutrition. At the time I was just happy I didn't crash as it was a really hard hit and only thought for a split second about stopping to get the bottles. I decided to keep going. My logic was, I have done a 1:11 sprint on zero nutrition before, the weather was good (overcast and 70s) and there would be an aid station where I could at least get something. Well, I was wrong… more on that later.

The bike went really well and I was holding the power I wanted to and steadily moving up. I was getting really tired of the constant 180 degree turns however I decided to make the best out of it and was taking splits on the leader every time I could. It was encouraging to see that I continued to close the gap every time I took a split.

I was told I was the 4th person coming into T2 but later found out number 3 skipped a loop on the course. I know all races are different but because I like having comparable data, assuming I held the same mph (25.81) for 40k it would have been a 57:46 bike.

Run 10k – 38:00
Luckily I had left one gel in my transition area so I took it during T2 and then was out on the run. I knew I was in trouble by a quarter mile in as I got some serious cramping in my side and stomach. The first aid station was at 1.5 miles and I took a glass of water and Gatorade but even with slowing down to a walk I could not really get them down as I was nauseous and just wanted to spit it back out. I did get about half of each down and about 5 minutes later the cramps started to let up and I was able to start running instead of the horrible shuffle thing I was doing. To make a long story short, just repeat that again at 3 miles and 4.5 at the other aid stations. I was able to keep moving but it was ugly.  I'm just really glad it was overcast and cloudy or I would have been in a much worse position and probably had to stop and walk it in. I ended up running slower for 6.2 miles than I did in my last 13.1 run at the end of a 70.3 race, but at least I finished running and was able to walk away safetly (after 10 minutes of sitting on the ground trying to take in whatever the awesome volunteers handed me).

Overall I finished in 2:06:30 and 6th overall.
My nutritional mishap is another good lesson learned (or reminder) and I'm glad it happened in a short local race. I was able to fake my way through a sprint on nothing last year but I couldn't pull it off for an Olympic. I already knew I couldn't do that in 70.3/IM but it reminded me of the importance of making sure I get my water/nutrition in as planned as by the time I got to water in the run it was too late and my body didn't want to take it in.  I'm also just not sure if aero bottles are worth it any more as this is the second time I've lost one during a race.  The 10 seconds it may save me probably cost me a few minutes in this race.

I'm really pleased with my improvement in the swim and my bike is coming along quite well and showing some improvement from last year as well.

As usual thank you to Theresa and Abigail for getting up early and spending their Sunday morning cheering me on. I'm so lucky to have the two best spectators in the world. Zoot not only keeps me training and racing in the best gear but also helped out and sponsored this race. Also, congrats to Rick Lapinski as he had a great race and finished with an impressive run, all while doing normal training right up to the race.  Local IM studs Adam Zucco and Scott Iott had a great showing as well.