Saturday, July 27, 2013

2013 Lake Zurich Triathlon and Racine 70.3

I'm a bit behind again so here are two race reports in one.

Lake Zurich Area Triathlon

Lake Zurich is a great local/grass roots triathlon that I really enjoyed last year.  I love that it is a very well run event with a low price.  Plus there is race morning packet pickup and I only have to get there an hour before the race.  Last year I started in the first wave and was first across the line, only to find out someone in a later wave had a faster time.  The reality is he would have still beat me if we raced head to head, but I still wish we could have been in the same wave.  I shared this feedback with the race director and he actually listened and added an elite wave this year.  I was not planning on doing the race this year, but because he listened to my feedback I signed up.

Other than the really warm water, the swim went great.  I started to the far left and just did my own thing until the first turn buoy.  Then I found some feet and stuck to them for the remaining three quarters of the swim.  Thanks to Jen Harrison leading the way I had one of my best swims yet.  The only problem was I was really warm thanks to the wetsuit legal swim and my heart rate was super high coming out of the water.

I started the bike in about 6th place and decided to let my heart rate settle before I picked up the power. My heart rate did settle but I the power never went up.  I ended up riding at lower watts than many of my half ironman races, but I was still able to catch up and come into T2 only steps behind the leader.

Thanks to the super easy to put on Zoot Kiawes 2.0s, I left T2 in first place and started to chase the motorcycle.  The only problem was my legs felt like complete crap and again I was struggling to hold half ironman paces.  I wanted to just give up but I remember how I felt after giving up in Kona three years ago so I was determined to keep going until someone caught me.  I was never able to pick the pace up, and it never got better, but I pushed through and luckily never got caught.

Of course, I was thrilled with winning the race and with having a good swim but a little bummed about my performance on the bike and run.  I'm really glad that I was able to push through and make the best out of the situation but I know I should have ridden at least a minute faster and last year I ran over 3 minutes faster at this same race.

Ironman 70.3 Racine

This was my 6th time doing this race.  It use to be just like Lake Zurich and was an inexpensive/low key race that I loved.  Now it is a huge WTC production which brings some good and bad.

Instead of starting in the first wave, I was in the 19th wave and the water was the choppiest I can remember in the 6 years I have done the race (but probably the warmest as well).  I felt fine on the swim and had no issues but my time was over 3 minutes slower than it should have been.  I'm pretty sure it was a combination of having to swim through and around tons of people and my long/slow swim stroke that is not the most effective in rough water.

Starting the bike I felt fine but my legs were flat feeling.  I ended up with the lowest average watts for any half ironman in the last 3 years, but my bike split was only about 2 minutes slower than I expected.

Coming out of T2 my legs like they usually do after a 56 mile bike ride.  Typically the first 1-2 miles are a bit of a struggle, but then I get into a groove and can run pretty well.  In this race I didn't find my stride until about mile 10, but once I did I started to feel really good.  I ended up having a really good last two miles and finishing really strong.

Overall, I performed better at Racine than Lake Zurich, but with a much more competitive field (which is a good thing) I was only 4th in my age group.  Either way, the good news is that once again I executed the best race I could that day.  I didn't make any pacing or nutrition mistakes and I didn't force anything and blow up like I used to do years ago.  I just stayed relaxed and did the best I could.

Things haven't quite started to click yet this year and my fitness isn't were I wanted it to be but I still have almost 3 months to build up until Kona.  Coming up next is USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals.

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