Thursday, July 11, 2013

Riverhead Rocks Race Report

I was very excited when I signed up for this year's Riverhead Rocks Olympic Distance Triathlon.  I would be revisiting the site of my first Olympic distance race.  At last year's race, I established myself as a solid "middle-of-the-packer" at this distance.  My hopes for this year were to greatly improve in all four disciplines (I consider transitions one of them) and as a result, I set a somewhat unrealistic time goal for myself.

Over the years, some wise people have taught me three very important things about goals:
  1. Your goals should be "Specifficult", concatenated from Specific and Difficult.
  2. Be weary of setting your goals too low, you might just achieve them!
  3. A goal is a dream with a deadline.
For this race, I had set a goal finish time of 2:15:00.  Just for reference, I finished this race last year in 2:41:39.  Yes, I thought I would beat my time by more than 25 minutes!  As it turned out, that was a bit of a stretch.

Prior to the race, I developed time benchmarks, start the bike at 30 minutes, start the run at 1:35, run a 40 minute 10K and finish at 2:15.  Here is how it panned out:

The swim has always been my weakest discipline.  I am sure that if I took a survey, 90% of all triathletes would say the same thing, so I wasn't putting too much pressure on myself for the swim.  Since February, my coach has had me in the pool at least 3 times per week for one hour sessions.  In addition, he has come up with these torture sessions he calls intervals.  I have basically water-boarded myself every Wednesday for the last few months.  Well to my surprise, it worked.  I was out of the water in 24 minutes with a below-threshold effort.  This swim gave me a ton of confidence for the rest of the season.

I have been practicing with my shoes clipped in to the pedals and a "flying mount", but I have never done it in a race.  Although I was nervous about a possible face plant, I went full throttle and nailed it.  Out of T1 in 0:1:31.  I beat my benchmark by almost 5 minutes heading out on the bike.  So far, so good.

A near flawless T1 had me riding high as I started the bike leg.  I went at a comfortable level, but maybe pushed a little hard in the first 15 minutes.  Once I settled down, I found my rhythm.  I fueled on the bike with Amrita Bars and hydrated with Nuun.  My speed was right around where I thought it would be, but it turns out that the bike segment in this race was about 1.5K longer than the 40K listed.  I had the benefit of almost 5 minutes, so my 1:10 bike time only put me behind my benchmark by about 5 minutes.  At that point, I was satisfied with a possible 2:20:00.

I took my feet out of my bike shoes with about a mile to go on the bike.  This allowed me to incorporate my flying dismount going into T2.  Bike on rack, helmet off, shoes on and I was on my way.  Got out of T2 in 0:0:45.  Nailed this one also.

This is the discipline that I have been putting the most effort in to.  A few years ago, I HATED running.  Running a mile was nothing less than 15 minutes of hell.  Over the last 2 years, I have actually come to love running and I had all the confidence that I could tap out 7-minute miles for this race.  That is where it all went wrong.  No matter how hard I tried, I just could not get my legs to go any faster.  My Garmin chimed in with 1-mile splits: 7:45, 8:05, 8:15 and so on.  This was not the plan.  Maybe the humidity?  Under fueled?  Dehydrated?  Over trained?  Who knows.  I finished the run in 51 minutes, almost 10 minutes longer than expected.  I still don't know why I couldn't get the turnover I was seeking, but I hope I can figure it out before my next race at the NYC Triathlon.

The final result was pretty good.  2:29:11, 35th overall and 4th in my age group.  I discovered that I missed the podium by about a minute and a half.  That was also how much I missed qualifying for the Age Group Nationals this year.  Something I have to strive for next year.

It was great to have Tara at the race cheering me on.  It was also nice to meet some followers of this blog and your positive feedback was greatly appreciated.  Off to the next training session.

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  1. You're going to fly in NYC--have a great race. Great report!

  2. I expect NYC to be a great race. Thank you for the support.