Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Lake Marion Triathlon Recap

Lake Marion Triathlon
Antlers Park, Lakeville MN
Sunday, August 16, 2015
1.5k/ 40k (+1 mile)/ 10k

Well, ffffff.......

I took a lot of negative energy into this weekend. I don't know how much it hurt my race, but packing up the night before the race has never been so little fun.  From Saturday to Tuesday of race week, the family and I were at a family reunion of sorts.  It came packaged with beer, late nights, bad food, drama and hard feelings (on my side at least).  Up through packing up on Saturday night, I still was contemplating skipping this race. If I could have got a refund, I would have passed.  What a bummer, I could not have felt more ready for the race than I did the Friday nine days before.  On that Friday, I did an 18/6 brick and felt great.  It all went downhill from there.  It's a shame; I had been looking forward to this for months. It was my longest race of the year. 

Anyhoo, on race week I only made time for one short workout in each event. In total, I only got in about two hours of work.  It was the least amount of work I had put in since I broke my foot.  The week before race-week, I had gotten in just about six hours training.  I had been trying to get in some longer workouts, but with the boys it was hard to get away for two hours or more.  Maybe my workout schedule also hurt me on race day, who knows.

My goal for this race was to break three hours.  I had hoped for less, but heading into race day, I felt that the predicted wind was going to hold me back a bit.  Also, due to construction, the bike course added a mile and now included a 40 meter dismount and run over gravel.  If I broke three hours, I would sign up for the 2016 HITS Waconia 70.3 race.  The sale price was $100 for Sunday only.

Swim (1.5K)
Goal:     Under 30 minutes, hopefully around 1:40/100 yards
Actual:  Got it half right.
The race site (Antlers Park) is only about 20 minutes from my house.  So, I got to sleep a little later than some other race day,s and I made it to transition by about 6:30.  The water temp was pretty nice, mid to high seventies.  It was nice enough to drop the wetsuit, but I kept mine on in hopes of swimming a little faster.  The lake had some patches of weeds, but it wasn't too bad.  After the disgusting lake with green water at our family reunion, I was just happy to be in a lake that didn't look diseased.  The swim is a triangle, the first and last legs were a cross wind and the middle leg seemed to be square into a little chop.

At the go, I really didn't want to be there.  It took me about five strokes to resign myself to an over three hour total and an over 35 minute swim.  It was just a bad mental day for a race.  At the first turn buoy, I peeked behind me and saw nearly no splashing.  I figured I was near last place for my wave (elites and all males). 

However, as I neared the second buoy (swimming into the chop), I realized that I must not be doing that bad. I had set my watch for a notification at 20 minutes, and I was hoping to make it around the second turn before that time.  I have no perception of time in the water. Without my watch alarm, those first two legs could have taken an hour for all I knew.  But, as I approaching the second turn, I still hadn't felt my watch buzz.  Either I had lost my watch (which Mopey McSourpuss contemplated for a while), or I wasn't doing that bad.  I received the 20 minute buzz shortly after the second turn.  I figured I still had a shot so I tried to punch it, but I did not have another gear in the water that day.  A few strokes later I had convinced myself that the last leg was going to take me 20 more minutes.  My internal voice was a real bitch this day.  Finally I reached the shore and could check how I was doing. At the transition mat, I didn't see the exact split, but I did see it started with a two.  I had broke a half hour; hopefully that would shut-up that asshole talking in my head. 
Swim Time:     29:43 with a 1:49/100 yards pace
Swim Ranks:   18th out of 60 overall,
                          16th out of 47 males,
                          3rd out of 5 age groupers

Tall guy in back

Goal:      Under 3:00
Actual:   Nope.
It's a longish run up to the bikes after crossing the T1 mat at this race.  I ran on the grass most of the way and then walked at the paved parking lot.  My new 910xt Garmin came with the triathlon quick change watchband and bike mount. I had put a sign in my bike helmet to remind me to switch my watch over to the bike mount. Without the sign, I definitely would have forgotten to make the switch. A handy trick to remember next time.  Anyhoo, I got out of there as fast as I could, an took off on the bike leg.  As it happens, my T1 time was exactly the same as the Lake Marion race last year.
T1 Time:  3:35
Position:  18th out of the water,
                 19th out of T1 (out of 60 finishers)

Bike (40K +1 mile = 25.8 miles)
Goal:  18mph average or better
Actual:  Never got close
Now I was having fun!  Now I wanted to race; now I wanted to have a great bike. I thought my watch said it took about 32:30 to get out of the water and out of T1.  That was right around my goal ( My reading was off by about a minute).  I needed an 18mph bike and a reasonable run and I was off to a 70.3 (in 2016). 

The first three miles were easy going.  I passed some sprinters and tried to tick it up before the head wind.  The turn to go south put us mostly against the wind for the next seven miles.  There was another right turn after that, and that felt like it put us into the teeth of the wind for another four miles.  At the halfway point my average was 16.5 mph.  The course is mostly flat for about the first seven miles, then you hit some rollers until the ten mile turn, and after the ten mile turn you have a few more hills with a couple substantial climbs. 

When I finally turned out of the headwind (around a 10mph wind give or take), I tried to kick it up and catch some time.  It was fast and fun with a couple rain drops.  The average mph ticked up, but then I hit the gravel corner.  You had to dismount and walk/run the gravel, and then it was back into the wind for a mile.  After that we were with the wind to the end with a couple rollers.  I couldn't make up the time though.  I did 16.5 mph on the first 13 miles and 18.6 mph on the last 12.8 miles.  Fun note, the race listed the bike at 25.8 miles which is the exact distance I hit on my watch.  However, the printed race stats had the race at 24.8 miles (40K), so all their speeds are off.
Bike Time:    1:28:43 with a 17.5 mph average
Bike Ranks:  31st out of 60 overall,
                       27th out of 47 males
                       4th out of 5 age groupers

The Bike starts off riding through downtown Lakeville.
Goal:     About 45 seconds
Actual:  Almost exactly
I almost forgot my watch on my bike in T2, and I started to run away after racking my bike.  Again, I was lucky that I had put a sign in my run hat to remind me to put my watch back onto my wrist band.
T2 Time: 46 seconds 
Position:  31st off the bike,
                 26th out of T2 (out of 60 finishers)

Run (10K)
Goal:     Under 10:00 pace, Hopefully under 9:45
Actual:  Nope, not even close.
My wife, boys, mother-in-law and her sister were just outside of the transition area.  They saw me come in from the bike and start out on the run.  It was a nice pick-me-up to see'em out there and get a little bit of cheer to take on my way.  My watch said I had been on the course for about 2:02 and change.  Some quick estimating told me that I needed under a 9:30 min/mile average to break three hours.  I thought it unlikely, but I was going to give it a shot. 

The 10K course is two loops of the 5K course.  I ran the sprint last year, so I knew the course.  I figured 9:30 pace was possible with 9:00 on the first flat mile, 10:00 on the second mile with most of the uphill and 9:30 on the third mile (repeat for miles 4, 5 and 6).  And, that is almost what I did for the first 5K.  I ran 9:07, 9:53 and 9:41.  There is water on the turn around at about 1.5 miles. I tried to drink some water, but the magic of cup drinking while running still eludes me.  I ended up splashing most of it on my face and chest, which wasn't that bad a result. 

I saw the guy who writes the NowIAmDoingSomething blog coming up the hill on his second lap as I descended on my first.  I thought about saying something to him, but figured he didn't need the distraction.  He finished about a half hour ahead of me, 14th place, pretty cool. 
At about the 3 mile mark, there was some more water and what I presume was HEED.  I got the HEED (by mistake), and wore it all over me (sticky) the rest of the race, sigh... 

There was also a kid with a hose and spray gun nozzle standing there.  As I neared, his mom asked who he was spraying.  He said, "Whoever wants me to spray'em."  That sounded like a good idea, so I told him to give me a shot to the head.  It felt quite nice.

I'm told that my wife was at the half way point cheering me on again, but I did not notice her.  I was fading fast.  I had tried to keep up the pace for the first 5K, and my efforts had the wall coming on fast.  With a 9:30+ pace for the first three miles I knew breaking three hours was out the window.  I looked at my watch as I approached 3.5 miles and it said my pace was around 11:30 min/mile. Thinking back now, that probably was a mistake by my watch. The pace on the Garmin 910xt jumps around and gives erratic readings sometimes.  Anyhoo, the readings had me thinking that I was actually that slow, it made me mopey, and I used it as an easy out to start run/walking.  My run went to hell from there.  My last three miles clocked in at 11:51, 11:58 and 11:29.

It would have been nice to cut about two minutes of each of those miles, but my legs just wouldn't fire up again after I gave them a break.  On the last bit of a mile to finish line, I came in at a 9:39 pace.  I like to pretend that there wasn't any give-up in those slow run/walk miles, but that's probably not totally true.  At the end of the race, it really didn't feel like I had anything left in the tank; maybe I'm too hard on myself. I guess I'm proud of the race as a first full Olympic effort, but the last few miles were a downer. 
Run Time:    1:06:11 with a 10:41 min/mile average
Run Ranks:  48th out of 60 overall,
                       40th out of 47 males,
                       4th out of 5 age groupers

Someone get me a beer!

Total Time:  3:08:55
Position:       36th out of 60 finishers
                      32nd out of 47 males
                      4th out of 5 age groupers

Time Comparison
Below is an accumulated time comparison graph.  Similar to Bemidji, my faster swim just about balanced out with my slower bike to make my time about average at the start of the run.  Coming out of  T2, I was 1:30 ahead of the field average and 58 seconds behind the male average.  The run blew up my time.  Also of note, it appears that my T1 time is usually slow and my T2 time is usually fast when compared to the average. Transition results in this race are similar to previous races.  Overall, my total transition time looks to be a bit faster than the average.  

Post-Race and Up Next
I have to stop hoping for a nice spread at the end of races.  Those few races that have had more than bananas and cookies (i.e. sandwiches, pizza, protein drink, etc.) are the exception and not the norm.  The funny thing at the end of this race was the finisher's medals.  After last year's race, the director emailed out that the price was going up a bit this year (only $5) to improve swag, finisher medals and give-aways.  I didn't stay for the give-aways (hungry and tired), but the finisher medals were exactly the same as last year.  Not a big deal, I don't care about the medals, but it's kinda funny. 

Up next is the Hopkins Royal Sprint Triathlon on September 5.  My wife is also doing the super sprint; hopefully she has a good time (maybe this leads to other races).  That will be the last triathlon of the season, and then it's probably just running and some sporadic cross training.  I signed up for the Surf the Murph race again this year (85$, Saturday, October 24).  I signed up for the 50 mile (idiot), but we'll see how things go.  I'll have to pack on some miles in the next couple months, but I'm certainly due.  I want to kick up my run training for next year (Lake Wobegon Marathon is only 38 weeks away).  I just didn't have it for the Bemidji and Marion runs.  If I can make it to, and through winter without injuries maybe I can get back to being a runner (at least as much as I was last fall).  Last year my knee cost me seven weeks over winter and then my broken foot cost me another 6 weeks in the spring.  Without an improvement in running, I'll probably put off the jump to a 70.3 until 2017.