Monday, June 24, 2013

2013 Pleasant Prairie Triathlon

I've heard nothing but great things about Pleasant Prairie so I figured I would give it a try.  The race lived up to everything I heard about.  I'll definitely be back.  It was just as well run as any of the big (i.e. over priced) events but for half as much.  Plus it was a USAT race, with at least one official on the bike course and an elite wave

The swim was probably the worst part of the race for me which is ironic as my swim the previous weekend at Lake in the Hills felt great and was one of my best ever.  I just felt like I was fighting the water the entire time and I kept drifting off the buoy line even though I was sighting more than normal.  I felt slightly better on Sunday night when my garmin showed 1.09 miles for the course (should have been 0.93) and that most others had slow swims as well.  Either way, my swim still needs more work as I was about 2-3 minutes slower than I need to be.

I think I was about 11th or 12th coming out of the water and felt great for the first 30 minutes of the bike.  I was careful not to overdo it and just sat at my target watts.  I passed maybe 4 or 5 people and then Giuliano passed me.  The second half of the bike sucked.  I stayed really close to my target watts but I was working a lot harder to hold the power and slowly watched Giuliano get about about 20-30 seconds up the road by T2.  My bike time was solid though with a 57:59.

Coming out of T2 I could see Verzbicas and Giuliano up the road but I was pretty sure that if I attempted to catch them I would blow myself up.  So I just ran my race.  Mile 1 was by far my slowest and I felt better and better as each mile went on.  I passed a a few more people and never got passed on the run.  I finally felt like I was starting to run well right around mile 5 and then the race was over.  I ended up running about a minute slower than I usually do for a 10k.

Overall, the race went well and I ended up with a 2:03:47 and 5th overall.  A couple of studs showed up (Eicher, Verzbicas, Giuliano), so I was never really in the race up front but instead I was watching from a few minutes behind.  I really want to beat my 2:00:01 Olympic distance PR and thought this might have been the course but with my crap swim and slightly slow run it just wasn't the day for it.  I'll keep trying though.

I'm really enjoying doing more of short course racing and racing more often so I have a few more local races on the calendar before I start to train for Kona.

Sorry no pictures as my wife and daughter decided not to get up at 3:30 AM after just doing that last week.  I have to admit I was a bit jealous when they were sound asleep and I was driving to the race.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

2013 Lake in the Hills Triathlon

This was the start of my 8th year as a triathlete and the first race of the year still makes me a bit nervous.  LITH is a fun local race that I did in 2010 and really enjoyed so I figured why not go again to work the bugs out and kick of my season.  The only issue was I’ve been having some trouble with my right calf and it has interrupted my run training.  So the plan for this race was to just to go through the motions and get the first race of the season out of the way.  Depending on how my leg felt on the run I would jog/walk/drop out if needed.

Swim ½ mile in 9:51
I had probably the best swim of my life (and the course was probably a bit short as well).  Started right up front, just swam on my own and ignored everyone else.  At the first turn buoy I looked up and saw only a few people in front of me so I swam a little harder and tried to close the gap but never quite caught up.  I ended up coming out of the water 3rd and could actually see everyone in front of me, which is a first.

T1 0:51
I was a little rusty.  I have never been fast at getting a wetsuit off and really need to work on that.  My bike mount was less than graceful, but it worked.  Too bad I used too long of rubber bands to hold my shoes up and one didn't break for the first mile (see picture below).

Bike 15.5 miles 36:44
There was a hill right out of transition and I passed the eventual female overall winner on the way up the hill.  Once I made it over the hill I could see first place and the police escort a little up the road.  I probably should have stayed at my target watts and slowly caught up, but it was more fun to go hard and for a few minutes.  After I took the lead I just settled in at my target watts and followed the motorcycle. 

T2 0:32
I had some trouble getting my bike racked because the rack was pretty low but otherwise this was uneventful.  The Zoot Ultra Speed 3 slipped on easy and I was off and running.

Run 4 miles in 24:24
All I could think about was run with good form and hope my calf didn't start to act up.  The first mile felt like crap but my calf was totally fine and it was fun having the police escort so I kept plugging along.  I was sure someone would catch me but I figured I would keep going until they did and then decide if I wanted to push my leg.  Luckily, my calf didn’t act up at all and I was able to run steady without getting caught and having to push it.

Total 1:12:24 - 3 minutes faster than 2010

Overall, I’m thrilled that my leg held up fine and of course it felt great to kick off the season with a win.  As usual, thank you to my wife and daughter for all the support and getting up at 4 in the morning to come to the race.  Having my daughter at the finish line on fathers day was pretty special to me.  My Zoot gear was flawless as usual and the Ceepo Katana was almost 30 seconds faster on this course at slightly less watts then the last time I raced here.

Lessons Learned:
  • For short course I need to practice T1 more.  Specifically getting the wetsuit off and helmet on at the same time and faster
  • Use shorter rubber bands to hold my bike shoes up as the left rubber band was still there at mile 1 of the bike when my wife was taking pictures
  • If I want to keep racing short course I need to train running fast right off the bike instead of easing into like long course racing