Sunday, September 28, 2008
When the announcer calls one minute to go, I stand there in the water staring just over the horizon,breathing, calm. Always thinking how, in just a matter of seconds, at the sound of the horn, all hell will break loose.
I got myself a bit unfocused before the start because I forgot lube for my bike and lost my swim cap on the way to the transition zone from the car. Crazy.
I wanted to push in the swim and lined up just one row back on the left, about 15ft closer than I usually do. The water was pretty choppy heading into the first buoy and about 10 yards from the turn I lost a bit of focus and drifted a bit off course by about 15-20 ft.
I swim pretty straight, I’m not faster than a lot of people, but I tend to swim straighter and in a swim that’s less energy and less time to the other side.
I felt great around the first turn and hit the half way point rolling pretty good. A nice long stroke with plenty of room to move. The last turn takes you back to shore, I let off a bit, but kept up a good pace, about 70%. At one point I was swimming shoulder to shoulder with someone thinking I couldn’t lose this guy and thinking I was moving too slow.However, about a minute of that and we caught about 5-6 people, surprisingly passing with some pretty good speed. A bit more closing speed than I thought a few times.
I had a feeling that I had a good swim time and came out of the water clean without having to run around any large groups.
Pretty smooth, all went as planned
Heading out on the bike I wanted to stay calm, but steady at about 80% effort until the 5 mile mark. The first five are hard, but if you hit the corners right with the right speed and use small burst of speed you can really go through some serious hills with very little effort.
The road was pretty littered with glass from the late and early morning rain. I seen about three flats, but even worse heard a crash behind me that I didn’t want to look back at. Most of the way it was wet and slick, but I never got caught out on a slick spot or felt like the bike was out of control at anytime.
I felt good pushing the tempo and started hunting down people once I got to the second hill, it’s a pretty intense stretch that takes you over some railroad tracks then kicks up again through some houses to get you over the freeway. I was keeping about 10-11 mph up that and breathing was calm so I just thought instead of waiting until mile 5 I’d start at four and work the hill.
Looking back even right after the race I felt I didn’t make the best decisions on the bike as far as went to make the biggest efforts or focus on certain parts of the course. On Slater road, a steep long hill that kicks at the end before flattening out, I trained to stand and attack the last 50 yards, knowing I could recover on the two minute flat spot at the top. Although, during the race I sat and just paced up steady and kind of played it safe?
Also, at about mile 9 you finish a nasty climb and hit a flat spot before a big down that rolls you up the last hill, well mostly.
I hit the flat area and started pulling a gel out and taking a drink and arranging stuff from my bike to my back pocket on my jersey. Sitting up to take in a few deep breaths.........and two guys fly by me. Not just edge by, but haul ass in full sprint mode. CRAP!!! I lost focus again on a very easy part of the course and forgot that others came to race and not just ride. I felt that instead of taking it easy on the part that I did I should of quickly refueled and then got back in a tuck position to take advantage of the flat. The two guy’s shot away from me and it took me less than a second to change gears and chase, catching one on the hill and the second on the overpass of the freeway.
Once you cross the freeway it’s all downhill to the finish. You S turn after a steep descent off the overpass into some blind turns, which you can take at speed if you know the course : ) I kept telling myself “don’t over cook the turns”. I shot out of the turns through the enter section at 39 mph and passed one more person before the next big down that sweeps you left back to the start. I felt great and as soon as I hit max speed I rested the legs and took my feet out of my shoes for the last half mile.
I put new quick release shoe strings on my running shoes the day before and forgot to loosen them back up for the race. Then I got to my station I grabbed my right shoe first and couldn’t get it to fit. Only wasted about 2 seconds.
Heading out for the run I was knew I had to keep a good pace, 7:30-7:45, if I wanted to stay in the hunt for the top 50. I saw AK and Lil’K at the start of the run, along with Penny, cheering me on. That always seems to get me out of my head and kind of remember, “ OK, we’re just out here running” The first part of the course has a hill to it that I always forget about until I’m staring up at it, but I just kept pace and spotted a few people to focus on. At the first turn I was hunting down a guy in blue, but past him there wasn’t anybody we could see. I stretch of about 150 -200 yards until the next turn.
I was telling AK that for some reason when I go to pass someone I look for the next person down the road to focus on, but if there’s not someone else I fall into a “sympathy pace”, for lack of a better name. It’s hard for me during a tri to focus on the pressure of
racing when I get stuck in “no man’s land”. Meaning there’s no one insight, you’ve either run to the front of your pack or got dropped by the pack in front of you. I went from 6:50 pace down to 7:35 in just a few moments and started running with the guy I was about to pass. Obviously, something to work on!
Once we got into the long snake like turn around I spotted enough people to start bridging the gap on and regained my pace. Heading back for the last mile I kept thinking that all the training, all the hours, all the time out on the road this season was about to finish up. I spotted a guy wearing a Live Strong bike jersey about 30 yards ahead of me and wanted to take him before the intersection that lead to the finish line. I can usually put aside pain if I know there’s reason behind it??? I guess meaning I can live with 2 minutes of extreme discomfort, knowing the finish line is around the corner.
I was talking to someone on a group run yesterday who said, “ you have to know when the pain is going to come and if your willing to deal with it. You can’t start hoping it’s not going to come, but be ready for it.”
Passing the guy and rounding the corner I let off a bit, but worked it to the finish. Always knowing how sometimes seconds can make a huge difference.
I felt great about this race, It wasn’t the bike ride that I imagined, but it all felt like a great effort.
Last years times:
98th 35 M 1:21:38 23 17:53 305 1:50 0:39:54 122 1:16 143 0:20:45 80
57th 36 M 1:17:30 5 15:14 206 1:35 0:39:26 96 1:12 76 0:20:02 71
Over two and a half minutes faster than last years swim, that alone was a great day! I was telling AK I was a little bummed at not getting sum twenty on the run and I sort of lost track of the fact that this was the fast run leg of a tri I’ve ever done.
In the end I didn’t get Top 50
However, I only missed it by 31 seconds and I could of had that in a straighter swim, slightly more focused bike, loosened shoes in T2 and by not hanging with the guy in the run, but just passing him. I’m happy with how I placed and did and of course, think I can do better next year.
Thanks to AK, Shell, TK, Lil’K and Penny of course for their support and encouragement .
Shell’s got a shell of a story to tell about the Kirkland tri, next time......