Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Black Diamond Olympic Triathlon--September 16, 2012

Black Diamond Olympic Triathlon
September 16, 2012
Nolte State Park, Enumclaw, WA
Time:  2:55:08 (93/164 OA; 17/24 AG)

After coming off the big Ironman CDA in June I have been taking it relatively easy and doing a few events here and there just for fun.  Nothing serious, although I like to still put in a great effort and want my results to be respectable, it is all about fun and enjoying the sport and my new lifestyle.  This event was extra special since I got to share it with my future brother-in-law Curtis who was doing his very first triathlon.  Very exciting for him!

Nolte State Park is a beautiful setting in eastern King County outside of Enumclaw, WA.  I have been to this park before and have certainly spent some time in the surrounding area when I used to live up there. 

Swim:  1500m 28:13 (44/165 OA; 1:43/100 yards)

Swim was a two-loop course in 61 degree water.  Brrr.  Again, I don't like being cold.  But thankfully it wasn't in the 50's like I have experienced at CDA and Lake Berryessa last April.  After wishing Curtis good luck and some last minute strategy talk, the horn sounded and we were off and going.  I expected to stick with the lead pack the first 200 yards or so, but so many people were in a frenzy to get to the front that I was mowed over.  Lots and lots of contact.  Not as violent at Ironman, but it was close.  Didn't care for that too much.  Finally found some clean water swim in and then it was like hitting a wall..... those swimmers who were so anxious to get out front suddenly slowed significantly and I was bumping into them left and right.  It was difficult to manage a way around them since there were so many.

Finally got into a groove and tried to keep things smooth and steady.  My swim fitness has suffered a lot since I haven't done any swim training since Ironman.  I was getting really fatigued after the first loop.  I still had another 750m to go.  The swim in an Olympic distance triathlon is nothing to sneeze at.  A half-ironman tri has a swim just 3 tenths longer at 1.2 miles.

Made it to the shore and the bottom rises up sharply so once my hand touched the bottom, I stood up and took literally 3 steps and I was out of the water.  We had to run up a very steep hill.  I am usually very dizzy after the swim and it was hard for me to get my bearings while running.  But saw Wendy, Maija and Erik cheering me on as I made it to the top.

#1 Transition

Arrived in transition to find my bike laying over on its side.  The dude next to it said he was sorry that when he unracked his bike mine fell over.... Gee guy, you couldn't pick it up?  Once again, I think I take way too much time in T1.  Getting my wetsuit off has proven difficult with my dizziness.  Getting my socks and shoes on without falling over has proven to be difficult, too.  Then fussing with my helmet, GPS, race belt, etc.  Takes forever it seems.  2:57 in T1 needs to be improved.  Although I had the 8th fastest T1 time of 24 in my age group.

Bike:  40K (24.88 miles) 1:23:11 (99/164 OA; 17.9 mph)

Rolled onto the bike and expected to at least hang with other riders coming out of the swim.  But I was immediately passed by a bunch of dudes.  Dudes that were in my age group.  Bummer.  Once again, I haven't done much bike training, although I have ridden about 200 miles since Ironman, mostly to and from work. 

About 7 miles into the bike, it felt as if I was dragging an anchor.  I literally had no power.  I was pedaling hard and doing only 12 mph.  Omg!  I even stopped and got off the bike to look and see if something was rubbing on the rims or what?  But all looked good.  I was puzzled.  Later I found out that this section was a false flat (a section where there is an elevation gain, although you don't realize it).  I just buckled down and kept going trying to keep my heartrate under control. 

An Olympic distance tri is very difficult I think.  It is short enough that racers can go very hard, approaching threshold for much of the event, but it is long enough that if you mess up in your pacing, you will bonk and will pay for it dearly later. 

After hitting the turn around on the bike course I felt as if I was picking up the pace a bit.  Finally my speed increased to over 23 mph and on one downhill I got her up to 40 mph.  Weeeee!

Downed a full bottle of water, ate two bites of PowerBar (cookies and cream :-)) and slurped two gels.  Came into the dismount line a bit hot and skidded the tires to a stop!  Later I found out that I popped my rear tire with this little stunt.  Oh well.

#2 Transition
Kept my bike shoes on after dismounting the bike since there were rocks and uneven ground.  Slammed my bike onto the rack, changed my shoes, resetted my GPS and tore out of there.  1:49 was a better time (15 of 24 in age group).  A new goal of mine is to have transition times in the top 30% of my age group.  I think that is a good goal.

Run:  10K 58:57 (117/164 OA; 9:29/mile)

Oh goodness, time for the run.... my most difficult of the three.  It was very hot and sunny and I was really tired already.  Legs hurting and in revolt after the bike.  But I took off with a short stride and fast turn over get my running muscles firing.  This seemed to help a bit.  My pace the first half-mile was pretty good in the high 8's.  But then things slowed down and I then started battling with myself.  Trying to find ways to keep moving, keep running and not lose focus. 

The course was an out and back for the first 4.5 miles and then a 1.5 mile trail run around the lake.  The out and back had a few hills which I had to walk up.  Oh goodness, I wish I could run up these, but I just can't do it.  Mental weakness?  Lack of fitness?  Probably both.

I carried a waterbottle full of G2 Gatorade and sucked this down. Took one swig of water at an aid station and poured the rest over my head.

Got to the trail section of the run and tried to keep a good pace.  After last weekend's trail run and realizing just how hard it was, I tried to keep it steady.  The trail was pretty and well maintained.  Not too many obstacles or uneven ground.  My stabilizer muscles are really out of shape so I was careful.

Was able to pass a guy in my age group (rare occurrence during the run) just before the finish and hold him off before I crossed.  Was really spent when I finished.  Oh brother that one hurt.  Was really trying hard to finish in less than 1 hour for the run and 3 hours for total time.  Made it on both counts.


Was really proud of Curtis for finishing right behind me in 3:04.  An excellent show for his first ever triathlon.  Looking at his time of 34:05 for the swim, 1:32 for the bike and 52:49 for the run, he certainly has the talent to have solid performances in each of the three.  With some more experience and now that he knows what to expect, I imagine he will improve leaps and bounds the next time around.

Was so cool to have Wendy and Erik and Maija there cheering us on.  Always a great treat having them there.  Afterwards we enjoyed a post race meal and strawberry shortcake.  Yummy.