Sunday, May 15, 2011

Second Tri...TriRock Annapolis

With the first race out of the way I figured the second one should be a little easier. I was partially right. For the second weekend in a row I was going to do my second triathlon. This one was in Annapolis, Maryland with the swim being in the Chesapeake Bay. Below is a picture of Main Street in Annapolis. It leads right down to the water...I apologize in advance for all the complaining.

This is the Maryland State Capitol building which was right across the street from my hotel.

Even though I'm only about an hour from Annapolis, waking up before 4am and then driving an hour, finding parking and walking to transition did not sound fun at all. On top of that there was the drive to packet pickup and back. That's 3 hours of driving, probably more because one trip would definitely be in traffic, before I even get to the race. Needless to say, I decided to stay in a hotel...the Historic Inns of Annapolis. These are a series of buildings throughout "downtown" Annapolis which are considered historic some of which are haunted. I stayed in the one below.

I got to packet pick up about 90 minutes into it and it was pretty dead. I picked up my packet and met Ann Wessling who is on the cover of Competitor Magazine. She even signed a copy for me and thanked me for believing it was actually her on the cover. Before the swim next morning she had on a flowered swim cap.

I sat around in the hotel and loaded up my new transition bag, which is much better than my regular backpack I used for the last tri. Everything easily fit and it had a spot for a wet wetsuit. During any race longer than 10 miles, I usually eat pasta in the late afternoon and pizza around 7:30 or 8, it seems to work pretty well. I don't have an eating plan for the night before sprint triathlons since they only take about as long as a 10 miler. I ate my pasta down by the water and had a slice of pizza. After that I decided I wasn't going to eat pizza that night, so I went back to the hotel and watched tv. The water in the Bay was decently high and a parking lot near the docks was flooded. I figured this was due to all the rain we've been getting recently but, I was wrong. According to the news in Annapolis, this is due to the winds...interesting. Then later I realized not eating pizza was a bad idea since I was starving and searched for the subway on the street behind me. Luckily this didn't turn out to be a bad decision, like the time my marathon coach ate Indian food before a half marathon and didn't run a PR because he needed a bathroom break.
I rolled into the transition area around 5:45 and it wasn't very busy yet...the race started at 7. I like the way they have this set up, there was a lot of space and having a tire slot makes it a lot easier. Each slot was marked with out names. I don't know if this is always the case since the last tri was pretty low budget. Luckily I was on the end and had all the space I needed.
I got everything laid out some what neatly and went to look at the water. It was 6am and they hadn't put the buoys out yet nor did anyone know what the water temperature was...60s was their best estimate.

I stood around for a bit and chatted, there were a lot of first timers and I felt cool since it wasn't my first time. I signed up for the Clydesdales division again since I figured I have the best chance of doing well in this division. I'm 27 so there is no chance in hell of me coming close to winning my age group. Last weekend was probably a fluke since the competition is a bit more stiff in this area. Around 6:30 I threw on my wetsuit and headed over to the water. This race was about 800 people larger than the last but, luckily I was only in the 4th swim wave. Everyone crowded in and we stood there for about 30 minutes. Anxiety kicked in and I kept telling myself I wasn't going to make the same mistake as last weekend at the start.

Keep in mind this is a Tri ROCK race...a horrible electric guitar version of the National Anthem, which Jimi Hendrix could have played better with Parkinson's, the first wave went off. This was an in water start so I'd get to tire myself out by treading water first. Thankfully, my girlfriend is an excellent water treader and we practiced treading water together. Sadly she can tread much longer than I can. I hopped off the dock and into the water making sure to be near the back of the pack. I realized treading water in a wetsuit is easy. The horn went off and it was slow going at first while I waited for everyone to swim through the start buoys. I've never swam distances in the oceans before and boy did it show. The waves tired me out quickly and I only managed to swim to the first buoy before needing a break and did the back float. I felt like an idiot since this was such a short swim and the next wave was already catching up. The second 250m wasn't so bad even though it still took me 17 minutes on the swim. For some reason they decided a four ladder system would be enough to get everyone out of the water. I swam up and saw an open ladder and for some reason there was a wait at the other ones. I climbed out of the water and managed to run to transition this time. I think my first transition took about 3 minutes but it was a long run from the water and a long run to the mount point.

It had started raining at this point but I hopped on my bike and didn't have any problems with my shoes this time. The bike course was two loops using a system which was not explained anywhere on the website or in the pre-race briefing. The first loop was to be done in one EXTREMELY narrow row of cones and the second look was to be done in the lane of cones next to it. The lanes were so narrow it made it very hard to pass at some points. On top of that people didn't seem to understand they needed to stay to the right if they're not passing. I'm a pretty courteous person but ended up yelling at a couple people for blocking the lane too long even after nicely saying "on the left" a phrase I heard yelled constantly. The bike part went fine except for a near crash when my left hand slipped off the handle bars when I came out of the saddle after going around a corner. It's a very good thing my right arm was strong enough to hold me up and keep the bike steady at the same time.

My second transition was a little better even though I decided to wear socks this time for the run. I developed a burn on my foot from my shoes last weekend and didn't feel like making it worse. I've been considering going barefoot for several months...and by barefoot I mean Vibram five maybe this is a good time.

The 5K run went much better this weekend. I decided to carry a water bottle with me on the run which turned out to be a great idea. I was still out of breath the whole time but, I managed to keep it around 9:30 a pace I consider good for someone my size. I finished the race around the same time 1:39:30 and thought this was odd since the run went better and the swim was shorter.
It turns out I was wrong about my pace somehow since the results say 10:40 miles. Then I looked at my watch...I ran 3.55 miles, even with accounting for shortest route and the margin of error being that far off seems impossible. I mapped the run on gmap from memory and it said around 3.6 miles. Then I looked at the map on the Tri Rock website and the run was different from the run we actually did. Sooo....Tri Rock, your 5K is not a 5K. It's not surprising since the majority of the volunteers didn't seem to be able to answer any questions. Oh well, I still had fun and got this nifty medal.

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