Saturday I raced the Daybreak Sprint Tri. It was a nice taper-period workout, and a good time since a lot of my fellow IronMan CDA participants were there. I had Michelle on the cowbell, and my mom cheering me on, so that was fun! And, I was able to pull-off a 2nd place overall spot too!
Here’s short rundown on the day.
This was my first race in my new wetsuit — an Xterra Vector Pro so I was excited to try it out. It is definitely a more snug fit in the arms than my previous suit, but is still surprisingly easy to put on.
The swim start was done relay style, which I’m really not a fan of — it makes it impossible to tell who your competition is during the race. I hopped into the water just moments before my start time. Fortunately the water was quite comfortable. But still, I did suffer a bit from the lack of warm-up time. For the first 500 meters (the majority of the swim) I felt extra slow. It definitely pays to get in early and do a few sprints if you can.
The swim was in a man-made lake that was very shallow. At one point I noticed someone to my right (the channel side) who was walking instead of swimming! About halfway through I got my wits about me, and started focusing on my technique — press the chest, bend the hips, kick a bit, cock the elbow, pull pull pull.
I ended up finishing in 15:13, with my Garmin saying I’d swum about 800 meters. That’s only a 1:54 pace, not too fast. But, I think that time includes a bit of a run up to the bike transition. So, probably a typical pace for me.
My plan for the bike was go go go! I tried to push myself to maintain aerobic threshold levels for most of the ride. If I wasn’t breathing really hard, I tried to push harder.
The course was a steady climb/false flat for about the first 5 miles, then a couple of maybe 7-8% grade short hills, and then the turnaround at 7.25 miles. We’d driven the course the night before, and I knew to win you’d have to basically hammer the first half since that’s where the majority of your time would be spent.
It was a fun course, and the roads were smooth. I held a strong pace all the way out, and cranked up the last hill, trying to leave it all there since I’d have a little rest going the other way. The return trip was very fast — slight downhill most of the way back. There was only one rider that I didn’t pass quickly. A guy on a new Specialized, with a nice pair of firecrest zipps. I’d barely caught him before transition. I got lucky with a perfect flying dismount, which is one of my favorite parts of the race.
Finished the bike in 37:43, 23mph average, and the best bike split of the day!
My transitions were pretty weak. I didn’t have my shoes, sunglasses and belt in the right order in T2, and was just kind of slow in T1. I ended up losing a minute on the winner just in transitions. And, Specialized guy had passed me in transition.
My legs felt surprisingly good coming out of transition. I heard Michelle cheering as I went by and set my sights on Specialized just ahead. At first I thought he was going to run away from me. But, he stripped down his jersey to his waist, which made me think maybe he was suffering a little? I did make the pass a short while later, but kept hearing footsteps behind me. About a mile later I heard someone coming up on me and I thought he’d found a second wind — I looked over though and realized it was a different runner, and dangit, he’s in my age group!
Unfortunately, my run shape is not exactly fantastic, and it was soon obvious I wasn’t hanging with this guy. I tried to limit my losses and use him as motivation. By the time the finish line was in sight he’d put about a minute on me. But, fortunately it turned out he was in the Olympic race!
In the last few hundred meters I could start to feel my hip aching a bit. I’ve been dealing with some kind of hip problem all winter — it is definitely made worse by fast running. But, overall I think it held up well, particularly since I’d just done my last long run before CDA on Tuesday. I sprinted into the finish, happy that I’d kept up the pressure on myself during the race.
Final run, 23:06 for 3.25 miles, which I believe was about 7:06 pace. Not any kind of sprint PR, but I’m happy with that given the amount of running I’ve put in this year.
Ended up getting 2nd overall, 2:10 down from first. I’d lost 3 minutes to him on the run, and 1 on the transitions. So, it was within reach. The guy that won is Eric Wynn — who I’d kind of like to meet, he’s a great tri photographer. I didn’t know he’s a fast triathlete too.
So, all in all a good day. Nice warm up intensity workout for IronMan CDA in two weeks, and depending on how the pacesetters work out it may be a decent points race towards my All American status this year (I hope). Now, it’s taper time for CDA!