Thursday, July 21, 2011

Girlfriend's and Dude's Sprint Triathlon--July 17, 2011

Girlfriends and Dudes Sprint Triathlon

July 17, 2011

Frenchman’s Bar, Columbia River, Vancouver, WA

0.5 mile swim, 12.5 mile bike, 3.1 mile run

Time:  Total--1:15:49

The calendar reads 'July' but it was more like a morning out of April.  As I laid awake in bed I could hear the rain on the carports outside and the water trickling through the downspouts.  "Oh goodness," I thought.  "Why do I do this crazy stuff?"  If I weren't so dedicated to this new lifestyle, I would have rolled over, hugged my pillow, and gone back to sleep.  But if I did that, then what would I write you all about? :-)

It was a wet day and before the day was over, it would be recorded as one of the wettest days in July on record.  To top it off, the rain must have driven away some of the event sponsors and entertainment because there was no PA system in the morning and Tommy O's, one of the food sponsors, did not show so all they had was bagels and grapes.  Bummer.

But I try not to let things like this dampen my enthusiasm to push myself and see what limits there may be to my physical abilities.  This is a sprint distance triathlon at Frenchman's Bar on the Columbia River.  It has received lots of praise in years past as being one of the funnest events in the region.  I am coming off of a half-ironman distance event just a week ago and typically a person should take about 3 weeks off, but I need to get in as much racing as I can before Ironman Coeur d'Alene in 2012.  Racing experience, just like the training, is important so I can experience a number of things and issues that only racing can bring about.  Remember my forgetting the liquid nutrition last week?  Yeah, that's the kind of stuff I am talking about.

SWIM  0.5 miles, down current 10:53 (6th out of 33 M40-44)

One of the big draws to this event is that the swim is with the current of the Columbia River.  We walk a half mile up the beach to the starting line and then swim with the current.  Swim times are usually very fast and this was no exception for me.  Although there wasn't much current and the water was FREAKING COLD!  I don't know what was colder, Lake Coeur d'Alene last year or this.  I started in the Men 40 and over and the Relay Team wave.  After about 100 yards I looked up and I was in 4th place overall.  Cool.  But certainly faded after that since I was getting pretty winded.  The swim was pretty easy except the Columbia was very murky.

BIKE  12.5 miles, 36:28 (20 mph avg  9th out of 33 M40-44)

Came into transition and hustled up the hill and tried to be as quick as possible.  With these short events the transition time is just as important as overall time.  Although I had trouble getting my wetsuit off.  I was really dizzy and almost fell over twice.  I had to steady myself on the bike rack.  Got my shoes on, helmet, race belt, Garmin and glasses and I was off.

I started in the last start wave so there were a lot of people in front.  It was fun blasting by them, made me feel like a rockstar.  Whooooosh!  This was only 12.5 miles on a very flat course so it was going to be an all out effort.  Hold her at threshold as long as possible.  I could feel my legs burning from the start.  They were ragged from last week's event, bike ride to work and long hike on Friday.  Oh well, keep going.

I had just 2 people in my age group pass me that I could see and I think it was less than 10 bikes passed me the entire route.  I kept it plugged and averaged right at 20mph for the distance.  A first for me.

RUN 3.1 miles, 25:46 (8:17 pace  17th out of 33 M40-44)

Came into transition, pulled my feet out of my clipped in shoes while still on the bike, dismounted and sprinted to the bike rack.  Slammed my bike on the rack threw off my helmet and glasses and put on my runners and was out of there in 1:02.  Pretty good transition time looking at everyone else's.

Now to see if I screwed my race strategy or not.  Let's see how long I can keep my running at threshold.  I should be able to do a 5k at 140 bpm threshold and that should be about an 8 minute pace when rested.  I kept chugging along and while the rain was coming down, I could taste the sweaty salt from my face.  I was pretty hot and pretty tired.  Kept a solid pace and slowed to a 9 minute mile for about 200 yards, otherwise I was go, go go.  Just before the finish, two guys in my age group go whizzing by me.  I tried to keep up but after 5 steps there was no way, they were going a full minute faster than me.  Oh well, I'll get em next time.

Came into the finish and was happy to cross the line.  Great to see Wendy there waiting for me.  So awesome.  I finished in 1:15:49 a great PR for this distance by 7 minutes or so and was 10th out of 33 in my age group.

Amazing how I consider this such a short event.  I remember 2 years ago this was the BIG EVENT!  And it was, I won't take that away, but after doing much longer distances, this one was over about the time it got started.  I was pleased with my performance, finish and effort.

Next is a half marathon this weekend.  Going to go out and do this for fun, no real time goals, but would be nice to validate that sub-2 hour mark, you know? :-)

Thanks for your support.

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