Sunday, June 5, 2011

Smallwood Sprint Tri - Race Report

My blog has now gone international! Germany, New Zealand and Canada!

This past Sunday was the General Smallwood Sprint Tri in Indian Head, MD. In all honesty, the only reason I signed up for this was because I wanted a sort of "do over" of my first triathlon since I'm more comfortable in open water. The only difference being this is a ~16 mile bike route instead of 20k.

The week leading up to this tri consisted of an open water swim at Sandy Point on Memorial Day, where hundreds of people were grilling at 8:30am. I'm not sure why they started at 8:30 but, why gotta eat. We were definitely the minority that day. The day before was a 30 mile bike ride, without Garmin. It froze in the car on the way and I wasn't sure how to fix it. I figured out that to reset it, hold down both buttons until it resets, no data lost. I ended up keeping my iphone in my Camelbak and used mapmyride which ate up 83% of my battery in two hours. Wednesday night was track in the heat and what felt like 900% humidity even though that's not possible, it should be. You would think the extra humidity would help you hydrate since there is more moisture in the air...nope.

Back to the race...It was about an hour drive from my place and I got there two hours early for packet pickup and all that jazz. I think I was the 5th or 6th person there. Everyone else on my rack decided to show up early as well....what are the odds? Oh well, I racked my bike set, set everything up and then had no idea what to do for the next hour. I went down and checked out the water. The swim was on a fishing creek and had a lot of seaweed or something of the sort. I was in the third wave so maybe the first two waves would clear a path. I sat around, ate some yogurt and then put my wetsuit on. I have no idea what the water temperature was but this company, SET UP Events, seems to use a 78 degrees rule rather than 76.1 degrees. I'm not complaining but, I guess since it's a sprint it doesn't matter. I also forgot dental floss and a rubber band, good thing I realized my shoe will just rest on the crank arm while I run with the bike.

With my wetsuit on I hopped in the water and warmed up for about 50 meters, the exit from the swim was up a slimy boat ramp. I tried to see who else was in the clydesdale division...I'm determined to get third in this division one race this year. I watched the first two waves (AG Men and then AG Women) go off and headed down the dock for an in water start. I think the waves were 4 minutes apart. This time I decided I would start towards the front but off to the outside of the first turn. It turned out to be a good idea since I didn't get pummeled at the start and got into a good rhythm in the first 25 meters.

I desperately need to work on my sighting, I was off to the right coming to the first buoy and then off to the left heading to the second buoy. It probably cost me a minute or two. I didn't have any problems with the swim except for this girl who kept hitting my feet when approaching the 2nd turn. I kicked hard a few times and did a few breaststrokes with hard kicks to see if she would back off but, she was right back on my feet when I switched back to freestyle. I purposefully treaded water around the buoy as close to it as I could to try and piss her off. I passed a bunch of people from the second wave...big improvement. I was still swimming off to the left down the last stretch, I later realized I wasn't pulling equally with both arms. No other problems except for accidentally grabbing some booty, good thing it was a girl. (Sorry Susie) We both stopped, she looked at me and I apologized. She said "it's OK" but, she seemed shocked. I'm sure I'm not the first person to do this in a triathlon. I sprinted to the inflatable squiggly man and jogged up the ramp. Oh, did I mention the plants/seaweed like stuff I kept catching in my strokes for the last 200 meters. I just hoped it wasn't alive and was going to grab me or get caught in it and drown. So much for the first two waves clearing the way. There was also a metal pole barely under the water in the middle of the creek...I crashed into it.

Swim time: 19:05...seems a little slow, not sure if the course was longer since they changed it from what is shown on the map or if I was just that far off course. I was expecting under 17:30. Nevertheless...55/89 for the men...not too shabby considering I passed 3 or 4 people from the first wave and more from the second wave! Also strange, I had a faster swim than my AG winner.

The run to the transition area was equivalent to the one at Hilton Head except without the beach. It must have been around 1/4 of a mile to T1. Excellent job of putting the timing mat right at the water instead of at the transition area. T1 was slow as usual. I should probably practice so I can get my heart rate down sooner and get a heart rate monitor. T1 was slow, I need to pick it up since this is "free time."

I had the quickest mount of the season and no problems getting my shoes on. The first mile was still slow 13 mph but it was mostly uphill. It was rolling hills with a couple hills of 100 feet in a 1/2 mile...not too steep. I was determined to make this my best bike yet even though it was 16 miles instead of 20K. The bike field was spread out since it was a single loop. I just figured I'd pick off as many of the women as I could. I managed to pick off a few of the men and was only passed by one person...she was doing the relay. Along the way I asked a couple women if they had been passed by any "C" people. I don't think they had any idea what I was talking about. No problems on the bike, I hydrated without running off the road and took in some gel. I've decided I need some type of nutrition on the bike in prep for the run considering my size and being out there for more than an hour. I thought I was lost at one point during a long straightaway. I couldn't see anyone in front of me and I was afraid I missed a turn. Right as a turned around I saw two people coming from around the bend. I booked it so they wouldn't catch up. I sailed into T2 averaging just about 17.5 mph making this my fastest and longest bike yet.

Bike time: 55:04 surprisingly 54/89
Max Speed: 34 mph

T2 went about as well as it always does except we were getting yelled at to dismount AFTER the line...strange, maybe these girls were given the directions for T1 instead. I wonder if anyone took that to mean anywhere after the line and rode right into transition? I put on my socks and heard the announcer say the first person was heading to the finished...I'm just happy I finished my bike before he finished the race. Shoes, gel, hate, number...running.

I felt great the whole run except a slight burn in my quads on the hills. The first mile was the same as the bike, uphill most of the way. I started out trying to keep an 8:45 pace but quickly realized, on the first hill, that was out of the question. The first mile was ~9:38, not bad for someone my size going up hill. The second mile has a little down hill and then a biiig uphill but water was at the top. I walked through the water stop and had a slow second mile of 10:04, still not too bad. The last 1.1 miles was mostly downhill so I picked up the pace as much as I could. I even managed to clearly ask a kid volunteering what he was listening to on his clue what he said. I felt great at this point but didn't want to push my luck. The trail went off road down a dirt path which was a nice change. Then it went across a bridge over the creek back to the swim start and up the same path to T1. It was nice not having anyone around me an a long runway to the finish. I got a lot of cheers from Team Z (still jealous of their cookout) and other people. I cruised into the finish, heard my name called again...much better than a run since I've never heard my name called out in a run...and ran the last 1.1 at an 8:47 pace.

Run time: 29:16 70/89 for the men...I guess this race was mostly fast runners. 15 places slower seems crappy compared to the bike and the run.

Total Time: 1:49:14...broke 1:50:00....60/89 for the men and 80/151 overall.

This is definitely my best race so far considering it was 4 miles longer on the bike and my time was only 10 minutes more than the other 2 races with the same swim. AND there was pizza!

I stuck around until the last person crossed the finish line and saw the specialty groups get their awards....5/7 in the clydesdales. I was pissed when the top two people in this division looked to barely weigh 200lbs...doesn't seem very fair. 2nd place in that age group would have won his division, sucks for him. In my mind Clydesdale = heavy and slower...a 22 minute 5K after a swim and a bike does not say heavy or slow in any way. Personally I think the weight should be bumped up to 220lbs or as one guy on a forum post said..."If you can't put a pencil under your stomach and have it stay there, you shouldn't be able to race as a clydesdale." I sort of agree but hope it never gets to that since I don't come close to qualifying. What do they say? 3 seconds per mile per pound lost? Using that logic 220 (30lbs lost) would make me an ~7:45/mile runner for a sprint tri. Complaining Done

Tonight was track night in the 'feels like' 104 degrees temperature and humidity. The dew point was around 60 so, when added together you get around 160. This is not considered safe for most people to exercise outside. The workout was changed to 200s, which is surprising since I don't remember ever doing a workout of 200s since I started running at the track. I think the original workout was 600s. Changing it was an excellent idea. It was a small group, out of the DC roadrunners, tonight. I ended up running 12 x 200 with a 200 rest in between then had enough of the heat. Although I can't really blame people for staying at home in the AC and eating bon bons.

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