Wednesday, August 14, 2013

2013 USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals Race Report

Olympic Distance racing or Age Group Nationals was never something on my radar.  I have always enjoyed (and done well at) long course racing and therefore I have never focused on short events.  But when I found out AG Nationals were going to be in Milwaukee I figured I should take advantage of it being close by.

Thanks to Theresa and Abigail for joining me for another race-cation, I have plenty of pictures and can pretty much tell my race report by pictures.

 I was unusually relaxed before the race, maybe too relaxed.

Swim - 24:30 -  I probably could have swam just as fast if I just floated on my back behind the 76 people in my wave that finished before me.

Bike - 57:53 - Ok but not great bike.  Power numbers were low, but not horrible and I managed to stay very aero and get the most out of the power I did have.

Feeling great

and then not so great

Run - 36:43 - First 5 miles felt awesome.  Then reality set in and the last mile was a rough one but I managed to hold it together.

Overall - 2:02:12 - I managed to work my way up from 76th to 12th AG and qualified for Team USA for 2014 ITU Worlds.  More importantly I didn't try to force anything on the swim/run and was able to finish with a solid run.

Now on to the long part:

Lessons Learned

  • Gadgets during racing.  It was pretty easy for me to learn to use my power/pace targets to hold me back early on in races.  What I didn't learn until last year (and am still working on) is that I can't expect to go to every race and just sit at my target power/pace all day long.  In the past I've forced myself to hold a target number even when my body wasn't into it and those races never ended well.  Sometimes I have to just ignore the target and just go with what my body has that day and see what happens.
  • Most of the time I blame bike pacing or nutrition when I have a bad run but I am starting to think the swim has more effect on my race than I thought.  I'm noticing that when I swim really hard and have a great swim split I tend to be flat on the run and have a subpar run split.  Time for a little more trial and error to figure out where the sweat spot is with how much I should push on the swim.
  • Short course racing allows me to race more often.  Not only is is fun to race more often it provides a great way test things out in actual race situation.  Plus it takes a little pressure off as an entire years training is not focused on one race.

On a side note, my triathlon "career" has more or else revolved around WTC Ironman and 70.3 races.  It was really great to see that USAT did an outstanding job running this race and had a competitive field show up.  A few things that I really liked (and wish WTC would do):

  • Our entire M30-34 AG started together in one wave, with a 10 minute break before and after us.  This is SO much better than WTC spiting the AG into 2 or 3 at 70.3 worlds and keeping the waves about 5 minutes apart.  At a national or world championship, most of the people are there to race and we race better when we are racing head to head and not guessing what wave someone started in.
  • It was a fair race from what I could tell.  I was really worried about the amount of drafting on a pretty flat race like this but because of the big gaps between waves and tons of draft marshals on course, I saw almost no drafting at all.
  • Packet Pickup took literally 1 minute.  One person checked my ID, USAT card, gave me my entire packet and then another person got my chip.  Done.  Unlike the 5+ step process and multiple lines at WTC events.

As usual, I owe a few thank yous:

  • Theresa and Abigail for supporting this crazy hobby year round and for coming to this race.
  • Zoot for great products and listening to my feedback.  The Kiawe 2 were awesome once again.
  • Ceepo for the awesome Katana and continued support.

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