Sunday, May 17, 2009

Race Report: Lebanon Sprint Triathlon

Remembering last year's heat-fest, with similar projected temps for this year, I decided to take proactive action and bring along a little neck cooler. By the way, many of the links with directions to make these also mention that soldiers serving in desert regions need them, so if you're a person who likes to sew, make a few extra and help keep some soldiers cool! They really work, and I had a much, much more enjoyable run this year than last.

But I'm getting ahead of myself in the race report. This is a small local race that nevertheless draws a really fast crowd, including a lot of the local university's triathlon team, so it's fun and competitive at the same time. I felt pretty good about my training going into the race, I've been averaging about 8 hours a week of tri-specific training, and 5 - 7 hours a week of extra stuff like Crossfit and Karate. I thought I had a good taper this week (more on that later, hah!), although the weather was so beautiful (after so much rain!) that I inadvertantly rode a little bit further on Thursday's supposedly "easy, short" ride than I should've (the beautiful road beckoned and I answered).

The race started at 8:00, but since it had a pool swim, my wave wasn't until 10:00, I had plenty of time to ramble around. After racking my bike, I got settled in to warming up, and satisfied Section 1.0 of Robin's Race Code, which goes something like this:

1.0 Always find at least one first-timer and encourage them
2.0 Give verbal encouragement to everyone on the course that you have breath for
3.0 Thank every volunteer and police officer on the course
4.0 Congratulate fellow athletes (especially first-timers) after the race

I got to chat with Tri-newbie Will, a first-timer who had a great time in his inaugural triathlon. Also, my daughter's piano teacher Becky was doing her first race with her husband and son also in their first triathlon, and they all finished with smiles to go around. Since there were so many heats, I had plenty of time to cheer the folks in the earlier waves. My own cheering section was absent since Asa had another dance performance back at home and Wayne was on costuming and transport duty.

Here's my goals, from an email to my Crossfit coach:

Last year I did the same race in 1:14:23. Splits were:

7:30 Swim
36:30 Bike
27:45 Run
2:40 Transitions (total T1 & T2)

Ideally this year I'd like to be:

<7:10 Swim
36:30 Bike
<27:00 Run
2:30 Transitions (total T1 & T2)
For somewhere around 1:13

Onto the race: My wave of the pool swim was the fastest swimmers. I was 2nd in my lane, the guy who was in front of me had estimated 6:40 for his swim, I estimated 6:55 for mine. He was a big guy so I was hoping for a great draft! No such luck, he petered out quick and kindly let me pass in the first couple of laps. I had to lap the girl who was swimming behind me as well, and felt strong and smooth in my swimming. As I climbed out of the water and glanced at my watch, I was really really happy to see 6:44. Then I remembered that I started my watch when the first wave went, which gave me a time of 6:39. Niiiiiiice..... As far as I could tell, there were only a couple of guys who got out of the pool before me.

T1 was about 1:20, so far so good. Out onto the bike course. This course is so pretty, I really love it. All intersections well monitored by local police (thanked them as I zoomed past, taking care of RRC 2.0) Out into rolling countryside with beautiful pastoral views. Normally the bike is kind of a no-brainer for me, I just pedal away like mad and enjoy. It wasn't going so smooth this time. Big-time quadriceps cramping going on. Has never happend to me before, very confusing. So I had to back my gear off a notch and take a bit faster cadence, dropping my speed slightly. A little bit of worry about what this means for my run, but other than that I just tried to enjoy the course. Out and back course means I get to see everybody else. Confirm no women from my wave in front of me, two guys from my wave smoke past me but that's it! A couple of women about 3 - 4 minutes behind me, must try to put some more room behind me. Although quad cramps a mystery, I cruise into T2 in 37:30, a bit slower than I wanted to be but at least legs feel okay.

T2 is just under 1:00, I remember to take my neck cooler with me and I'm off on the run. Quads feel wooden, but miraculously start to feel better. Still don't know what's up there. Had a nice run, but my left foot starts to hurt, look down and see I'm running kind of funny I think still due to the quad cramping, I'm turning my left foot slightly out. It will probably hurt tomorrow but it's only 3 miles so I just carry on. Only one woman passes me, but she's on a relay team, so no women from the my wave have passed me, yay! Forget to get my run split on the watch, but cruise in with a total time of 1:12:39. Doing the math gives me a run time of 26:09, which is an 8:25 run split. Not too bad for this early in the season.

After I got home, I took a look at my training log to see if I could pin down the mystery quad cramps, and I think I have the culprit. Although I tapered off well on all of my workouts (no Crossfit last week, reduced volume in tri workouts, etc.), because the weather got nice I was doing all of my running around town on my commuter bike instead of the car, and I used the tandem to take Asa to her dance and theatre rehearsals. So though my tri training tapered off, my bike volume actually DOUBLED last week. Commuter miles and especially tandem miles are very quad-heavy because there's a lot of stopping and starting with heavier loads (plus I live on a hill, so doing the hill every time I come home). That's not a good way to taper! I'm making a mental note to taper not only my tri training but to make sure I don't overdo the bike commuting before a race. I rolled out the quads last night and they feel just fine this morning, no knots just a little tired.

All in all I'm happy because I beat my time from last year AND my goal time for this race. Not a PR, but a good time for an early season sprint!


Jeremy said...

Amazing work! Great swim! Good to hear everything went great - i especially loved your pre-race rituals and attention to detail. Very inspiring writing! Lets keep chipping away at your times!


Sara Cox Landolt said...

Nice job! Great times!!
I like Robin's race code too, I'm sure it made a positive impact on many first-time triathletes.

I'm checking out the neck cooler project now, thanks for the link.

Robin said...

Thanks Jeremy. I can tell the upper-body work from Crossfit is really paying off in the swim. Feels great!

Thanks Sara. And those neck coolers are the business. I think I need a couple more for the kids for the summer when they're running around in the heat.

cherelli said...

Well done on the tri- great times! I had a long run after work yesterday and whilst at work I was thinking "don't forget to try out the neck cooler" (which I bought last year). But yep, forgot it. And suffered...