Monday, April 21, 2008

Day two of hell: Kinetic Sprint Tri

So what Saturday held in the way of glorious outside weather, Sunday made up for. At 9am it was rainy and 70 degrees (thank god it wasn't colder) and I stood around mostly in a daze watching other people prepare their things for the Kinetic Sprint Triathlon.

Let me back up here, I want to make sure you all understand just how hard I am and all that jazz (or what a complete idiot I am I'm not sure I've decided yet). I got home Saturday night/Sunday morning from the Leesburg Bakers Dozen around 1am, unpacked the loads of things I had in the truck bed, took a much needed shower and crashed somewhere around 2am. Though I had 4 separate alarms set for around 5:30/6 am not a single one actually worked, though the light sleep I was in allowed me to wake up on my own around 6:15.

Got on the road about 15 minutes late but traffic was a breeze aside from the constant moderate rainfall and I got down to the race site, aka mud pit with plenty of time to spare. Unfortunately my hazy mind in the am didn't allow for any additional rain gear or gear in general as I just grabbed the bag I'd prepacked and headed out the door. So, my transition area was my small suitcase (yes I really mean suitcase) covered by my only jacket to keep the few remaining dry items I had from being soaked.

With help from some other more experienced tri-folks I managed to squeeze on the wetsuit and headed down to the swim area. I was really just in a haze, watching the people around me, picking out the guys in my age group that were going to kick my ass and the guys I'd hopefully beat. When we lined up in the starting area I stood mid-pack, silently watching and listening. The suddenly 30 seconds, 15 seconds, Go! We ran through the shallows and then waded/swam until we were away from the ground. Getting going here was pretty awful though it wasn't the rough, kicked in the face experience I was expecting. The hardest part of the group open water swim for me was the increasingly choppy water and my general inability to breath without taking in a full mouthful of water.

In practicing I'd been breathing every third stroke, alternating sides, but now I couldn't possibly make it more then every two to the same side. Even that for the first half of the swim wasn't working for me. For the first half I spent a majority of the time working a slight breast stroke trying to stay away from the flailing arms and legs surrounding me. My foggy head didn't help me here but it seemed like every time I swam free I'd run into people and then catch a mouthful of water and choke, so I just sat back and went. I even spent a small amount of time on my back just catching my breath. For the second half of the swim and especially the final third I felt much better and swam easily back to the beach. Not sure if it was because we were more spaced out or if I just loosened up finally but I certainly wish I'd managed that for the entire swim portion. On the other hand I distinctly remember not being able to close my fingers into a cup because they were so cold; the best I could get was a Spock live long and prosper thing.

Swim time: 16:55 for 187th place overall men. Ouch... I knew I was a bad swimmer but damn.

Anyway, out of the water and onto transition 1 was very smooth. The suit peeled off without a problem and I threw on the bike shoes and helmet and ran to the bike start. I meant to bring glasses, tire repair kit, tube and repair tool as well but I was just happy I remembered the helmet and a gu which I downed in the first minutes of the bike. I started gobbling guys up left and right that had swum faster then me and was suddenly feeling pretty good. I could feel snot and spit all over my face but that was inconsequential at that point.

The course was relatively flat and smooth and speed was easy to come by. Surprisingly my legs felt solid and produced a good deal more power then I was afraid of. For the bike portion I averaged just under 22 miles an hour which was right about where I expected to be. The position on the aero bars felt great and despite the rain pelting my body I loved my time on the bike. I was probably a bit delirious at times as I remember snot and drool hanging from my face as I stared down the riders ahead of me, laughing out loud to myself whenever I'd catch someone. The people riding towards me probably thought I was possessed or something watching my face, but hey I was moving.

Bike time: 49:46 for 57th overall men. Not too bad.

After the bike my transition, while still seemingly respectable was pretty poor at 2 minutes flat. Putting on my shoes was no problem but tying the laces proved to be nearly impossible. My fingers were essentially frozen by this point so getting them to do what I wanted was a battle in and of itself. When I ran across the pad I could feel my legs were pretty exhausted but I managed to pick up the pace a little bit and enjoyed the cheering on lookers for the first 100 yards of the run. Then I turned up the short steep hill which turned into a steady false flat my somewhat quick pace out of the blocks quickly plummeted to slow plod.

The run was pretty awful and I got passed by a handful of guys. I'd look back and see someone and tell myself to pick up the pace, increase my cadence but nothing would happen. I just couldn't get my legs to move faster. So I plodded along and gave what I had. The finishing stretch was a bit downhill where I finally managed to pick up my cadence a bit. I heard some footsteps coming from behind so I tried extra hard to pick up the pace even more and then once we hit the flats before the finish I opened up my legs into a longer more hectic (and probably significantly less graceful) stride and held off the next guy through the finish. I didn't puke at line, though I almost fell over a few times and I did feel like I was going to during the run a couple of times. Eh, maybe next time.

Run time: 21:42 for 72nd overall men. Not terrible but I KNOW I can run much faster then that, even after all that other crap. I should at least have been putting in 7 minute miles.

And the grand whopping total time for the day: 1:32:36 for 76th place overall men. Not to bad out of 365 finishers though not quite what I'd dreamed about in my "new guy breaks into the tri scene with x place at the Kinetic Sprint!" day dreams. Notice only 1 x... just kidding, I didn't really have that bad of delusions. On the other hand after a bit of counting I found out I did manage a solid 7th place in my registered category men 25 - 29. SWEET! Looks like there is hope for me after all!

So now I'm gunning for my category, and outlining on my head where I'll be shaving time in my next rendition. The swim of course will be an easy place to shed some minutes. I should for one be more prepared for the start next time and hopefully with a full night's rest ahead of time and a slightly less battered and bruised and exhausted body I'll be able to keep a steady pace throughout the swim. Conservatively I'll say I should easily be able to cut 3 minutes off my swim time. Less conservatively I'd say 4 but I'm not going to hold my breath for now.

Next my bike to run transition. I saw a guy that came in after me across the rack from my area take off in seconds; I'm guessing he wasn't tying his shoes manually. So, quick tie shoelaces are a must. Conservatively I'd say there is a solid 30 seconds, better yet I'd think a full minute would be possible.

My running? I can at the very least run some 6:45 minute miles. Brick work outs are in my future for sure. Conservatively I'll give myself another minute here, though considering the run is the final section and it's only a 5k I'd less conservatively give myself 2 minutes here. There is no reason for me to be standing after I finish so I need to give every last bit I have during this final leg of the race.

As for the swim to bike transition and the biking, I could almost see myself loosing a little bit of time. The transition was almost flawless I felt and while maybe I could save some time with a couple of small adjustments I think I did pretty well there. I would like to remember some supplies in case the inevitable happens and I need to change a tire. As for the bike, my little zone I was in really helped a lot. Hopefully I'll be able to recreate that and with fresher legs I won't have the slight bonk I had on one of the hills after crossing over the lake the last time. It was minor but it probably could have shaved a few seconds. I'm hopeful I can shave some time off the bike leg but I'm very satisfied with the effort and outcome of my performance there.

So, conservatively I'm shaving 4:30 off my time just on body fatigue and general mental awareness for the next time out. That result over the weekend would have placed me just in the top 50 overall, 5th in my age category. Less conservatively I drop 7 full minutes which would have put me just into the top 30, 2nd in my category by just a few seconds by just over a minute. If I then manage to cut on the bike and second transition I could easily be looking at a 1st place age group finish here.

All that said, the elite men category includes a number of heavy hitters from my age group, but at the awards ceremony no one really cares about that, right? (Ok so 10 of the elite men are in the 25 - 29 age range, but that's their fault for being good enough to possibly win the whole thing.)

So the post to end all posts is now finally about finished. I know you probably didn't make it all the way through this, no reason to really as most of it is speculative gibberish but if you did, just remember not to take me too seriously.

Posted results overall

Age group results


John P. said...

I don't think you're asking too much with the times you want to take off your overall. Coming from running, I often wondered how I'd do, but never actually went and did anything about it. You are doing it.

Great Job, and keep it up.

Burnt Couch said...

That's just awesome man.
I'll be posting a bit about ya on my blog as I blather about my own Tri-training this evening.

I wanted to do this one but given the weather, glad I missed it ;)

Congrats again!

KMAX said...

Thanks John! I'm eyeing up some races right now to see what my basis for improvement should really be. Hopefully it'll be along the lines of what I'm talking about here, though if its not that just leaves me more room to improve!

Bri, thanks for the encouragement. I noticed you're signed up for the Pittsburgh Olympic-distance tri. I'm thinking I may try and actually do that one this year as well. We should talk.