Paradise Park, Chisago MN
Sunday, July 24
1.2 mile/ 56 mile/ 13.1 mile
Whoa baby, what a race!
Let's start from the top.
This was a Sunday race. On Wednesday I did a five mile run, and I probably would have finished up the prep work with a short trainer session on Thursday. However, things went to shit after my Wednesday run. For some reason, my chest locked up and taking deep breaths started to be impossible. By Wednesday night, it had spread to my back. The muscles in my back were knotted up worse than a monkey's fist. By Thursday morning, I thought I was out of the race, and I would have been if the race was on the day. I couldn't stop thinking of all the hours I had put in, and how I could have spent that time with my family. It felt like I had wasted my summer. I hit a maximum on the mopy scale.
I had a three and a half hour calc 3 class to teach on Thursday night, and that didn't help my body at all. On Friday and Saturday I spent time in the hot tub at the Y. My chest started to feel pretty good after a couple soaks. By Saturday night, I was feeling a little better and I was reasonably sure I could race. My back was still locked up, but my chest had loosened up. When my chest loosened up I could at least take some deep breaths again. It was a three day roller coaster of emotions, and that continued into race day.
Swim 1.2 mile
Goal: Around 37 minutes
Actual: No wetsuit = Slow
I was quite disappointed with my swim at Liberty. I was hoping to tear it up in this race for some redemption. However, when I showed up to transition on race morning the word was out that the water temp was 80°. So, it was not a wetsuit legale race. I knew I was no where near podium speed even before I was laid up for three days. I could have went off in the final wave (wave 9 or 10, I think) with my wetsuit, but I didn't want to wait around. I went off as scheduled in wave 3 without my suit.
It was a big wave. I'd guess we had about 60-70 people starting the swim together. I got trampled a bit at the start and took on a fair bit of water. I think a major difference for the wetsuit is its benefit to sighting. I kept taking gulps when I was sighting. My only guess is that the buoyancy of the wetsuit usually keeps my mouth just a bit more high and dry.
Anyhoo, by the last turn (0.9 miles) my watch timer told me I was super behind my desired pace. I plugged away on the swim-in and braced myself for the extra time I was going to have to make up on the bike and run. My swim time ended up faster than the overall average and the male average; I guess I can't be too upset.
Those who went off in the wetsuit wave (about 145 racers) were taken out of their group and gender rankings, but I went through and added their times back into the male averages. The average wetsuit swim was about thirty seconds faster than the non-wetsuit times.
Swim Time: 43:07 with a 2:03 min/100 yds pace
|My Time is noted in green.|
154 out of 309 males
17 out of 32 age groupers
Goal: On the bike by the 40 minute mark.
Actual: Never had a chance.
As I approached the swim exit, I decided I'd run through transition if I was around a 40 minute swim, and walk it off otherhows. I figured much more than 40 minutes was kinda gunna kill my time goals anyway; no need to knock myself out. As I got out of the water I saw I was already near 43 minutes. I walked into and out of transition defeated. I even hit the bathroom on the way out. I figured this was another day of just trying to finish. The positive news was that my back, chest and breathing were all top shelf. What ever was beating me down for the last three days had passed.
T1 Time: 3:44
Position: 227 out of the water
248 out of T1 (510 swim finishers)
Bike 56 Miles
Goal: Better than 17.5 mph
Actual: Nailed it.
Mounting the bike, I knew I was behind my goal times. I wanted to be on the bike by 40 minutes and then on the run by the 4 hour mark. Starting the run at 4 hours gave me a decent chance at beating my Liberty time and possibly Nic's Liberty time (6:50 and 6:45). Since I was around 7 minutes slow on my bike mount goal, my math geek brain was telling me I needed about a 17.7 mph bike to get on the run as desired. I had once done a long bike at a 17.7 mph average, but that was only 40 miles. A time I could be proud of seemed unlikely, but there wasn't too much to do about it besides getting on the bike and starting to crank.
For the bike, I brought two bottles of Infinite Go Far, a Cliff bar and three Gu packs. At the two water stops, I picked up a bottle of water and then a bottle of Gatorade. All together, I put on around 1100-1200 calories with about 150-200 carbs on the bike. I'm not a nutrition buff, so I'm not sure if those are good totals. I do know that this was a much better plan/result than Liberty.
The bike course felt pretty flat, but my watch had it at 1200 ft of elevation change. At least it was less hills than Liberty. I tried to stay in aero as much as possible; I though this would help my back pain from the last few days. It worked pretty well. My back was stiff by the end of the ride, but not beyond reason. The elevation map make it look like there is a big climb about 30 miles in, but it was a puppy. There are worse climbs on many courses. The down hill was a bit scary. I had the breaks on but still hit 30 mph. Many folks were flying down the hill and must'a been hitting 40 mph. They can have it; I'm fine riding the break and not fearing for my life.
I lost plenty of average speed on a couple climbs and when we turned back into the breeze. My watch says it was about a 10 mph breeze, but I passed a flag at about the 40 mile mark which was limp. I convinced myself that there was no wind, and I was just being a bitch on the last hour of the bike. I tried to pick it up, and I finished strong. Easily a personal best.
Bike Time: 3:07:05 with and 18 mph average
Bike Rank: 326 out of 508 bike finishers
240 out of 308 males
25 out of 32 age groupers
Goal: Around 3:30
Actual: Pretty Good
My bike time was about the same as Liberty, but the Liberty course was about 1.5 miles short. I had this course at almost exactly 56 miles.
In T2 I had half a banana, changed my shoes, sprayed on some sun screen and got on my way. There was a volunteer at the run-out yelling, "Runner, come to me! This way to the run course!" He got me up moving; the volunteers for the race were awesome. It was a very well run race. Maybe I'll be back next year. I felt good starting the run. This wasn't going to be like Liberty; I was going to run this course. My start time on the run was around three hours and fifty seven minutes.
T2 Time: 3:02
Positions: 300 off the bike
292 out of T2 (508 bike finishers)
Run 13.1 miles
Goal: Around 2:40-2:45
Actual: They should write folk songs about me!
I had some legs left for the run! I'll never be fast compared to the field, but this was a great run for me. The course is pretty flat; I had it at 495 feet of elevation change. There are some rollers, but I only remember one uphill of consequence. However, that was at about the ten mile mark, so it probably felt like more climb than it really was.
I was trying to keep my total average pace around eleven minutes per mile. After eight miles I was above that mark. I was doing some math and wondering how much I was going to fade when I realized that doing the last five miles in an hour would put me under a 2:30 run and a 6:30 race. Twelve minute miles were my new goal, and I probably eased up a little too much based on time instead of going for max effort. Anyhoo, on the finish I knew I was close to 2:30, but I also knew I wrecked 6:30. I would have juiced it if I had anything left, but the gas tank was empty. I also fought a side cramp for the last mile. It would have been nice to break 2:30, but 13 seconds can't take this feeling away from me.
Run Time: 2:30:13 with an 11:29 min/mile pace
Run Rank: 371 out of 485 run finishers
234 out of 297 males
27 out of 31 age groupers
Total Time 6:27:13
I could not be more happy with my total time. I cut twenty five minutes off my run time compared to Liberty. My best ever half marathon is around 2:15, and that's without the 4 hour build up. I really didn't think 2:30 would be possible for me. My swim seemed slow, but I beat the overall, male and wetsuit averages. And, my bike was another personal best. It's entirely possible that I will never be this fast in a 70.3 race again. I genuinely have never felt this good about myself in my entire life.
Position: 336 out of 485 finishers
228 out of 297 males
23 out of 31 age groupers