Monday, June 8, 2009

A Perfect Race

On Sunday I raced the ‘Tri for Fun’ sprint race.  I’ve done the race 3 times on the same course before – so I had to do one more before I left California – the land where a local sprint race gets 400+ people.  In my AG I’ve finished 5th, 4th and 3rd before- all within 2 mins of each other- so after a year’s hiatus, I wanted to give it one more crack with some slightly different training under my belt. 

The pre-race went perfectly:

Breakfast: 1 bagel w/honey + 1/2 Clifbar + half-decaf coffee and then about 20 oz of Cytomax and 1st Endurance Pre-Race.

Once at the race site, I set up my super-minimal transition are: small towel, running shoes, race belt/number and visor.  The bike was loaded with shoes and helmet. 

I then followed my Marin 10k pre-race and did a 5k run – easy with 5-7x100 efforts.  Pre-running the course was a nice way to see it – plus find the food/drink tables full, but unmanned.  So I had a gel, some water and a decent course recon. 

Once back at the race site I got into my wetsuit and did about a 5-7 min warm-up.  Then we were off. 

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The swim went well and I jumped (if you can call it that) on a few feet but was never convinced they were fast – so I went around and kept pushing with every stroke.  In the end I took about 2 mins off my previous time –could be the course was a bit short, but they have run this course 26 times now, so I’m guessing it’s pretty close.

I got out of my wettie pretty quickly and onto the bike- still reluctant to jump onto the bike in one beautiful leap, it did a stop, hop and go.  I got settled, had a 200 mg caffeine gel and a sip of water and took off.  I passed a lot of folks –and got a bit inside of 6.5 miles before I saw anyone coming back on the 8 out and 8 mile back course.  Unfortunately, the 8 back was uphill.  So I was within a few mins of the front group that already had a 5 min head start. 

I passed one guy who decided he wasn’t going to let me by peacefully –so he re-passed me a few mins later and we went back and forth: everytime we hit a hill, my 100rpms got me up and over quickly and then on the downhills his 60 rpms seemed to work better.  The last 2 miles are a false flat and I just saw 10m behind him.  This was the first race where I was able to ride well over 90 rpm and still feel pretty good.  It definitely left a lot in the legs for the run, or at least enough.

I ended up averaging about 24.5 on the way out and 22.5 on the way back, I was back in before an hour which meant I was going to smash my previous time even if I sloughed it and ran 7 min miles.  I had a beautiful dismount and even heard some oooohs and ahhhhs (I go for crowd pleasing and see just how fast I can leap off the bike).  Nearly getting whacked in the head I ducked under some guy who decided to pick his bike up and run in T2.

I got out onto the run and shuffled only the first 200 meters before I felt my legs beneath me and started passing more folks. 

I ran everything at a 6:50-6:55 pace, not my best – but I didn’t have anyone behind me and wasn’t motivated to dig much deeper to get some guys who appeared to be duathletes on the road ahead (unless they’re really good at getting socks on after the swim or bike).  I ended the morning 4 mins faster than any of my previous 3 races and took home 5th again. 

Some things that really helped:

  • Macca helped me get my transition area to a pretty minimal setting.  He also got me putting on my helmet and glasses before getting my wetsuit off my ankles.  It’s pretty hard to think about getting the wetsuit off without much blood in the head, so take a few seconds to get the helmet on first and then finish off the wetsuit.
  • Ben helped me get my suit off by showing me the cross-leg rip and strip and said to use Vaseline on my ankles which helped a ton.  Fastest stripping I’ve done. I wouldn’t have made a cent in Vegas with my 10 second show.
  • Pre-race warm up.  The longer I train for 70.3-the harder it is to get my HR up for these short efforts.  A 5k warm up with some intensity was perfect.  I was soaked by the time the race was starting and the engine was ready.  Not a single hiccup in the swim –no hyperventilating or freak outs. 
  • In master’s swim I’ve stopped doing all of the non-freestyle stokes and have been just focusing on my form on the non-freestyle sets – my coach doesn’t care much and has noticed an improvement in 2 weeks of doing this.  So long as I’m getting better – he doesn’t care.
  • Not too much water- but just enough on race morning.  For 70.3 races I pre-load with Base Performance Base Water – but for the short ones, I just hydrate well the day before and take in about 30oz in the 3-4 hours before the race. 1 gel about 20-30 mins before race start worked perfectly.  ClifShot Apple Pie was remarkably good. 

All in all, it wasn’t the fastest race I’ve ever done – but it went perfectly start to finish.  Especially since I had felt terrible all week and have been fighting off a house full of sick people. 

Then I got home and my friend Tracy told me that someone broke into his storage unit in his apartment building and they stole his pretty new custom Hampsten tri-bike. 

2 comments:

Rik said...

Great job!

I did a time trial last weekend instead of cavorting in the shadows of the cooling towers. So it looks like I have one last shot at you before you move up north - you are doing the Silicon Valley Tri right?

Loren Pokorny said...

Yeah, I think I'm doing San Jose or SVC tri. I really hated that run course and now know the bike course isn't exactly 100% flat.