A Jim of All Trades

Triathlon Race Report

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Last Sunday I did my third triathlon of the year, another short “sprint”, and here’s my race report…

The weather was beautiful: clear, sunny, no wind, and not too hot. The race was also only 15 minutes from my house so that made it easy to get ready and get there in the morning. I arrived early, got a good transition spot, and had plenty of time to setup.

The Swim:
It was a 300 meter swim in an outdoor pool; same as my last two races, racers started 1 by 1 about 15 seconds apart, went down one side of a lane, came back the other side, moved over to the next lane, and repeated until done. I caught up to the guy in front of me by the end of the first lap and he let me pass at the wall. After that is was smooth sailing for the next few laps, but in the 5th lap someone caught up to me and I let them pass at the wall. I tried to hang with them and draft for a bit but they were gone soon… much faster than me. My official swim time was 7:04, but that included getting out of the pool and a jog to the timing mat at transition. I think the actual swimming time was around 6:30. I’m a bit disappointed in that and should be right around the 6 minute mark at this point. Swimming is my weakest discipline and I need to keep working on it.

T1:
Transition 1 was a wreck, and sort of funny. I was wearing a heart rate monitor strap beneath my tri top and it slid down my chest to over my stomach during the swim. During the run to transition I rolled my top up and pulled the strap up around my chest, but it came undone in the process. I was carrying my goggles too and in the process of reconnecting the heart rate strap, I got my goggles closed in it, so I had them connected and also hanging from my chest. My bike was at the far end of transition and I got the goggles out and the strap reconnected till I got there, so it didn’t cost me much time. That was the funny part… running with my goggles stuck in my heart rate strap. Then, when I was running out with my bike, just about to mount, my garmin fell off the bike. I have a bike mount and had just set my watch on it, not snapped it in. A volunteer grabbed it and handed it to me and I snapped it back in, but got my pedals disoriented in the process, and it took me half a minute at least to get on the bike and going then. Frustrating. Had I just snapped the watch in, it wouldn’t have been a problem.

The Bike:
The bike portion went smoothly. It was a 15.8 rolling hill course with a few climbs that required some work, but nothing overly steep or long. There was also one section of the road that was dug up and the asphalt replaced with gravel due to construction; it was short, but I was less than pleased to have to go over it, though I know it isn’t the race director’s fault that there was construction. Anyway, I passed a lot of people; I stopped counting at 10 and am guessing it was between 20 and 30 total. This probably is more a result of me being a slow swimmer than a fast biker; if I wasn’t so far behind from the start there would be less people in front of me. I only had one or two times where I had trouble getting around people due to traffic or maneuvering during descents, and things went well. My race plan was to hold back a bit on the bike to be sure I had enough energy left for the run, and I did fairly well at it. I kept my effort in check and watched my heart rate to keep it from climbing, but still put forth a decent amount of effort. My overall bike time was 46:24 which ended up being good enough for the 9th fastest bike split, so I’m relatively pleased with that, but still know I have room to improve.

T2:
The 2nd transition went much smoother. I took an extra ~5 seconds to move my bike from one side of the rack to the other so I wouldn’t block another person, but otherwise I got through it just fine.

The Run:
The run was a 3.1 mile out and back course that was mostly flat. The plan was to negative split it (run the 2nd half faster than the 1st) so I really wanted to manage my pace and finish strong. I was so-so at accomplishing this. I did keep my pace in check for the 1st half, but when I went to turn up the speed in the 2nd half I didn’t have a lot extra in the tank to draw from. It was still a faster 2nd half, but my time wasn’t really any better than the previous races this year where I was running out of gas at the end. I’ll note though, that my garmin said the run course was 3.2 miles, while the timer was counting it as 3.1. That tenth of a mile makes a difference and would make my pace look a bit better, but I’ll stick with the “official” time and distance for consistency. I finished the run in 23:55, which I’m honestly disappointed in.

Overall:
I was and still am a bit disappointed in this race. The T1 mistake could have been avoided had I just snapped my watch in, and my running and swimming times were slower than I wanted them to be. I don’t think I’m doing anything wrong with my training, but I’m going to look over my plans and reassess where I’m at. I also think I can push myself a bit harder during races, which is more mental than anything.

With that said, I ended up placing fairly well. I won my age group out of 11 guys, and finished 10th out of about 120 overall, so that made me feel a bit better about the whole thing. Where you place in these races has as much to do with who else shows up to the race as anything else. I looked at last year’s results and, had the same people came Sunday and had the same times, I would have finished 5th in my AG and ~20th overall. So, I did good compared to my competition on that day, but still have quite a gap to close between myself and the top guys. Not that I’m trying to make this my living or anything, and I know where I place doesn’t actually matter for anything, but I’m very competitive and have room to improve, so want to see myself being comparable with the better local guys.

Anyway, I got a medal – just like in the Olympics! ;) – for my AG finish.

LRC AG Medal-s

What’s Next:
I had planned on this being my last triathlon for the year, but it’s just so much fun and I want to see if I can improve more, so I’m considering doing another. There’s a sprint distance one in 3 weeks about 45 minutes from my house that I’m considering, but some potential travel plans could mess with my training, so I’m looking at a few races in September that might be workable. I’m also toying with the thought of doing a half marathon in late September. I’ve never done one before and think it would be a neat challenge and something to help me focus on improving my running, so I’m considering it. But, honestly, triathlons are more fun to me than just running, so that’s my preference at the moment.

Alrighty, thanks a lot for reading and following along – happy training!

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Written by Jim

August 10, 2016 at 10:41 pm

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