Monday, September 14, 2009

Nation's Triathlon 2009

When I signed up for this year's Nation's Triathlon, both Aimee and Brian were planning on racing as well, the first Olympic distance race for each of them. Unfortunately Brian's legs, lower back and possibly sciatic nerve issues sidelined him for most of the year and put any training and racing on indefinite hold. Aimee, dealing with her big move (into my place and further from her job), tonsil removal, work and wedding travel, swine flu and the general stresses of a complicated (to say the least) relationship to a superior in the workplace was left with little time or motivation to train and prepare for the race as well.

While I continued to plan on racing, my motivation for the race was almost nonexistent. Between the Pittsburgh Triathlon and race I didn't manage to get to the pool to swim even once, barely touched my road bike (or my mountain bike for that matter) and only completed two "bricks" in the form of a mountain bike then trail run at Rosaryville last weekend and a few weeks earlier. That said, my expectations were not very high going into race day. My main thoughts were to be sure to take in enough fluid during the bike portion to avoid a repeat of last year on the run, and to beat Mayor Fenty again (last year I beat him by about 5 minutes).

I managed to keep myself well hydrated this year but unfortunately beating the (faster then last year) Mayor just was not in the cards.

The swim went better then expected and at about the half way point I felt like I really settled in to a solid pace. Aside from a kick in the right eye that suctioned my goggle to my eye harder then I ever knew was possible things were going well. At the very last buoy, turning back up river to the exit ramp my calf suddenly cramped up hard and fast and as I spun in the water to try to work it out my hamstrings began to cramp as well. After somewhat successfully working out the worst of the cramping I swam, legs dragging to the ramp and made my way out and over to transition.

T1 and the bike leg were uneventful overall though both very crowded with the race having doubled in size over 2008. Overall I felt strong and was moving well though while I was passing people on the uphill sections, others seemed to be hitting it harder on the downhill sections then I was. Possibly a result of the 10 lbs I've lost over the last month or so, leading to slightly better "climbing" but no real improvement in overall power?

Getting back to transition I heard my family (all of them with Aimee) cheering for me. The transition entrance was jammed with people and I might have been telling people to move and get going the whole way in; praising one rider I'd been back and forth with throughout the ride along the way.

The run started out a little bit rough as the calf muscles were still a bit tight and sore from the cramping. After a slow first mile though I began to feel a bit better and settled into a (probably overly) comfortable pace. With about a mile and a half remaining I picked it up after the 180 degree turn around and just kept trying to motivate myself with the I can run any pace for a mile and half. Coming into the last 2 tenths of a mile I hopped onto the coat tails of a 40+ running a brisk pace. I held there up to the last 100 yards or so where I coasted in to the finish, my family once again calling out their cheers of support from the sides.

In the end I lost about 1 1/2 minutes from last year in both the swim and the bike, but I made up those 3 minutes on the run. My transitions however were each about 1 minute slower then last year, in part probably due to the huge transition area and in part just due to me taking it a bit easier. Final time 2:27:53 compared to last year's 2:25:50 (which it should be said was a fairly different course).

bib number: 1834
age: 26
gender: M
location: Greenbelt, MD
overall place: 347 out of 3933
division place: 46 out of 392
gender place: 318 out of 2480
time: 2:27:53
pace: 0:
swim: 29:44
t1: 2:10
bike: 1:08:10
t2: 1:58
run: 45:54
penalty: 0:

Have to say I won't be doing this race next year since it was simply too big for me to really enjoy. Also I was a pretty big fan of the bike and run courses from last year that went around the mall and finished up Penn Ave with the Capital in the background. Apparently the overall displeasure of people with the finish being so far from transition overtook the novelty of the race being really in the Nation's Capital. Otherwise it was once again a well organized and run event with a wonderful atmosphere.

Big thanks to my family and Aimee for getting up early and coming down to see me after a late night watching the nail biter of a game that was USC vs Ohio State, a far cry from last year's romp at the Coliseum.


Darren said...

I think I see someone doing the SM100 next year.

harburgm said...

Sweet Blog! I enjoyed. If you are not already, definitely join the Nation's Facebook page:

Good luck with training!