Monday, August 1, 2011

Amica Mid Summer Olympic Triathlon

Amica Mid-Summer Olympic Triathlon
July 31, 2011
Blue Lake Park, Fairview, OR

1500m swim, 40K bike, 10K run

Time:  Total—2:50:14

The train keeps on chugging along.  Race #4 in as many weeks was the Amica Mid-Summer Triathlon back at Blue Lake Park.  Second race at BLP this year and pretty much the same courses as the Rev 3 Half Iron distance I did 4 weeks ago.  I admit it freely; coming into this event I was tired and beat.  I was also a bit burned out and blah, blah, blah.  No spark, no fire in the belly.  I ached all over; I was sleepy and just kind of wanting to do something different this morning.  But as my dad taught me at an early age, I am no quitter and I aim to finish what I started.

This is an Olympic distance or “International” distance triathlon.  Pretty much universal all over the world, it uses metric distances.  I think these events are the most challenging.  With a sprint event an athlete can basically go all out for 90 minutes, hold everything at threshold and do okay.  At half and full iron distances everyone has to execute some kind of proper pacing strategy otherwise you’ll blow up.  But Olympics require a combination of hard core effort and disciplined pacing.  The balance comes in just how much intensity do you burn.

SWIM  1500m, 28:12 (1:43/100 yards)

I did this same event last year, same distances and pretty much the same course.  My strategy for the day was to go conservatively on the swim and bike and then go all out on the run.  So in the water I go for an almost 1 mile swim.  I immediately started drafting off of the feet in front of me.  I was going to draft as much as possible and keep things nice and smooth.  About 200m into the swim, my feet disappeared.  Better find some other feet.  But no one was around me.  What the?  For the first time I was hugging the buoy line.  I was right next to the marker buoys while everyone was a good 15 yards off.  No one was near me.  How weird.  So, I just kept plugging along and tried to stay smooth.

My swim stroke was not pretty.  I tried doing different techniques and visualizations but then I would have to breathe or sight or once a wave hit me in the face when I was trying to breathe and I gulped a bunch of Blue Lake water (ewwww).  Oh well, just keep going.  My swim time was about 1 minute slower than last year.  Okay, that is alright. 

BIKE  40K, 1:16:51 (18.6 mph)

I had a good transition time and got out on the bike.  The bike course is flat and super fast.  When I did the Rev3 I averaged 18.8 mph on the 56 mile course.  Today I would only have to go about 25 miles so I wanted to do about 19 or so.  I tried to stay in the aero position as much as possible and keep a high cadence. 

Ooooh, my legs are sore.  After 3 intense events, my legs are hamburger.  No power, no drive and they were already screaming at me.  Okay, so much for a good speed average.  I will just stay steady.

An interesting phenomenon happened during my ride, the odometer on my bike that I started in January 2010 was getting ready to turn over 2,000 miles!!!  Holy crud!  I don’t want to miss this, so as the odometer approached 1,999.9 miles I watched it as I pedaled and tried to keep my pace.  Well, talk about distracted driving, I drifted off the path and into the gravel on the shoulder of the road!  Doh!!!!  Good thing I have superior off road skills, the skinny tires were sliding and washing out all over the place, but I calmly brought her back to the tarmac and shook my head, “way to go, dummy!” 

For nutrition I guzzled my full aero jug of water (about 24 ozs), drank 6 oz of diluted G2, and ate a gel and 2 snickers bites.  Came into the dismount line slipping my feet out of my bike shoes and running barefoot into the transition.  My time was almost 6 minutes slower than last year, but the proof would come on the run.

RUN 10K, 59:54 (9:38/mi))

My transition time was fast, the fastest in my class by a long shot.  I am pleased that my transition times have improved, that was one of my goals for this year.

Headed out on the run, saw Wendy and she had made me another awesome sign!  I love it, she is so creative.

Ouch!  Almost immediately I had a bad side ache.  Ooooh, ouch!  It hurt badly.  Okay, time to dig into the toolbox.  I tried stretching while I ran by raising my hands above my head.  That doesn’t work, it seems to make the muscles cramp even more.  Maybe I need to slow down?  I was running at about an 8:10/mi pace.  Oh yeah, that’s way too fast.  I slowed to a 9:10/mi but it still hurt.

After about a mile of hurting I had to walk.  Okay, just 30 steps to assess what is going on.  It didn’t subside and just at that time a guy in my class comes running by.  Oh no you don’t!!!  I ducked in behind him and kept pace.  Okay, this isn’t too bad, we are running about a 9:30/mi.  Other than my side ache I felt fine.  I stayed right behind him, no more than 2 paces apart.  He would look back every once in a while to see if I was still there.  Hah!  This helped keep my mind off of the pain and focus on other things like race strategy.

At mile 2 we came into an aid station and he stopped to take in aid.  I wasn’t about to stop so I grabbed 2 cups of water pouring one over my head and slurping the other.  A few dozen yards down the path he came up to me.  He asked me what Ironman event I did (he must have seen my tattoo).  I told him CDA and he said he did it this year and last and that he also did Canada.  Well, you go then, champ.  He then picked up the pace and went on by.  I tried to keep up with him, but I was really hurting.  My side was on fire and now my legs were feeling like jello.  I had to walk.  Grrrrrr.

There is no shame in walking during a triathlon, no matter what the distance, but I was really trying to smoke the run.  Dang it.  I even thought to myself that I would have done pretty good if not for the side ache.  After walking about 2 minutes I was feeling better and then got back to running, but I could tell that it was at a much slower pace.  I was hovering around 9:30-9:50. 

I could see the guy in my class, with his red and white top, just up ahead.  Okay, lets see what kind of race strategy I can put together to pass this guy before the finish.  I had about 3.5 miles remaining in the run.  I decided to run 30 right foot strikes at an 8:00/mi pace and then 30 right foot strikes at a 9:30/mi pace and keep doing that until I caught up to him.  The first couple of rounds weren’t too bad.  But I checked my heart rate.  150!!  Oh goodness, I can’t sustain that for very long!  I think one of these times I should ditch the Garmin and HR monitor and do everything by feel.  I wonder how that would turn out?

I was really tired and really, really hot!  I had to dowse water over my head at every aid station.  I didn’t have my fancy cotton towel to soak in cool water and place around my neck.  One other problem surfaced at about mile 4—chaffing!  Remember by raw nipples from the safety pins from last weekend’s half-marathon?  Well, they didn’t like rubbing on my wet shirt and became so raw, they started to bleed.  In addition, I had developed some chaffing under the armpits on my new top.  Oh bother.  I need to some Vaseline, but they don’t have any on this course.  I would have to suck it up. 

Finally made our way back into the park and I couldn’t wait to cross the finish line.  As I ran by the picnic shelters I could smell someone barbecuing chicken.  Mmmmm, oh it smelled so good!  I had drunk both of my bottles of G2 (blue flavor) that I later found out turned my tongue blue.

I was trying really hard to keep my run less than 1 hour and sprinted the last couple hundred yards and barely made it in 59:54.  Oh brother!  The finish was anti-climatic, I heard them announce my name, but I was so tired and dizzy it was all a blur.  I saw Wendy and thanked her profusely for being there and supporting me through my adventures.

So I was a full 5 minutes slower at this year’s event over last.  I am not pleased with that performance, but given the big picture of my training (lack thereof) and the intense event schedule, I think just finishing in a respectable time is victory enough.

Next up is the Hood to Coast 197 mile relay the end of August with my sister’s crazy team.  I am looking forward to that.  Thank you everyone for your amazing support.


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