Thursday, July 30, 2009

Vineman 70.3 Race Report

IMG_1093 If you're from the Seattle area - my half marathon was run in 95 degree weather.  Given that it's 95-105 here today, you know that it sort of sucked. 

I had to do better than last year - I had to, but I didn't really. 

The day before was good - we spent the day warming up for a bit, spending some time with Chris Lieto (he's one of our Z-Team sponsors).  We compared calves and I think I won on looks, he wins on function.  Somehow mine put out about 100 fewer watts.  See photo and be impressed.  We talked a bit about his Boise 70.3 race where he lost the race in the final seconds of the race.  I also got to chat with a race friend (someone you see a few times a year at races and exchange emails with both before and after the race) Brian from Alcis.  This stuff is AWESOME and they've dropped the price by 50%.  They also sponsor a bunch of triathletes, races and can always be found a most bay area race expos.  (If you're a triathlete - support these guys. I've given their cream to my mom and nana - anyone else need some- I've got samples!). 

I met 2 blog readers - one was the guy who checks your ID and finds you in the long list of race participants.  He even quoted the title of my post from a year or more ago - he was like 'I read your blog because we did the same race'!  The other was Rory, a friend of Ben's but now he's more my friend.  Meeting Rory turned out to be awesome- more on that later....

We had a big dinner - 10 people including Lieto, Ian, Matt Dixon, Base Performance's new CFO Robert Larioza and a few other folks.  We unfortunately had a nice private room for dinner - which also happened to be the restaurant's wine cellar!  Not easy to NOT think a nice Pinot Noir when you're surrounded by it!

Then Ian, Matt (Dixon), his girlfriend Kelli and myself all checked into a cozy little chateau up in Healdsburg - Matt and Kelli stayed outside while I enjoyed what was at least my 20th night in a sofa sleeper (still haven't moved into our new home). 

My race didn't go off until 8:14 but Ian's race started at 6:37am and Dixon had a few athletes he was coaching go off at all hours but most notably Tyler Stewart.  About 10 mins before the race started - I remembered that I left my goggles in the car and went to go ask Matt for the keys - he was standing next to Tyler who just happened to have 4 extra pair.  So I was given one with the condition that I wouldn't say she was a bad swimmer.  She finished 2nd in the race for female pros - exiting the water 7.5 mins down on the lead woman.  She's really an awesome biker (rode 2:23). 

With that done -I only had to wait another 1.75 hours!  I got coffee and watched the pros and a few friends actually finish their swim and head out on the bike. 

IMG_1095 Then, despite the water temp being in the high 70's - they declared it 76 and a wetsuit swim.  It didn't bother me much and I began what was to be a very slow float up the river.  I like to think I swam as fast as last year - which included a lot of running in the shallow spots.  There were a few this year, but I tried to swim them instead. About 1/3 of the way into the swim I met up with a swimmer on the wrong side of the river in a head to head collision.  Ouch.  Amazing how tangled you can get even though your arms and legs are attached. 

I hit the halfway at 22 mins!  Eeek.  I finished up about 17 mins later - so I know I can swim faster, I just need to do that from the start.  At least I got to the end of the swim and thought 'is that it'.  I sort of struggled to get through transition, I forgot to set up to maximize for running as little as possible with a bike ARGH!  I had to run around a few people and then onto the course with the bike.  I got on and quickly got rolling. 

I got settled with a group that set a good pace - I kept my proper distance and we just powered.  The guy in front of me was riding at least 1 meter from the guy in front of him, so after a while I rode up next to him and said I'd punch him in the head if he didn't stop drafting.  About 4 miles later, he gets a 4 min drafting penalty.  Sort of glad, I really didn't want to punch him as he was about 6'3".  I did have to pee, which was better than having to go on the run - so I did that, but it's hard to pedal and pee so I just coasted and found myself trying to coast up a hill and pee.  Good times!  I got back on pace and started tearing through the masses in front.  Most of the hills were pretty congested, so I passed a lot of folks on the left side.  Turns out I forgot that is bad and even worse when there's a course marshal behind me. 

I had finished hour 1 of the ride at ~24 mph avg.   Pretty good.  But the second half would be a bit slower as I had a stop and go penalty, which had more stop than I wanted.  I had to wait for them to give one to someone else, then they mark everything -your number, your bike, and then their sheet.  Then you sign it.   Then you go.  I had a gel as I waited.  I also had water, because they put the penalty tents next to water stations. 

I finished the ride in an official 2:28 or so but think I was about 1:30 faster without the penalty - either way, I was faster than last year by 4-6 mins, depending upon how you want to look at things. 

Then it was the run.  I got socked up and felt pretty good, but a bit dry and it was getting pretty warm.  I think the avg. temp last year was 66 and this year it was 88. 

BTW - here's a photo from this year (left) and last year (right).

image vinemanbike

I was hoping to run about a 6:50 pace, something I had been training for pretty well and was capable of getting the first 10k knocked off in 42 mins - hopefully giving me some buffer to finish under 1:30.  Mile 1 was 7:05, not bad since I was taking a handful of pills and water and sort of fumbled a bit.  Then I grabbed water and knocked the 2nd mile off at 7:30 but thought it was ok, since I did slow for water through a busy station.  Then I felt the heat.  It was Africa hot for me and I knew that I should walk the water stations quickly and keep running.  Mile 3 was 8:30 and thus my pace for the rest of the 13.1 mile run.  I never once walked between aid stations and although I had a race plan and a goal HR, it wasn't going to happen.  My avg HR on every mile was from 180 to 205 - depending upon whether or not there was a hill.  Normally I'd run with a HR of 168 - so this wasn't going to be easy.  I felt 'ok' for the run - not bad but if I went too hard my core temp went up and the feeling of going into a tunnel started to creep in.  My feet were burning from about mile 2 until mile 13.  Not from blisters or anything like that - but from the pavement!  I did run in my Under Armour Spectre - which are a training shoe, but pretty light and with their 'footsleeve' they fit really nicely for race day.  This is the first race I've ever done where I was blister free. 

I passed a LOT of people but apparently the walking through each aid station was not going to get me to the end as fast as I wanted.  I saw my race time from last year 4:57 pass by and I finished a few mins after in 5:03.  With about 50 yards to go, some joker decided to sprint past me and I wasn't going to go all that way to get pipped by anyone - so I sprinted by him (thanks coach for the track workouts) - sure, it's sort of retarded sprinting for what must have been 187th place, but I wasn't going to be 188th (out of 1,517, sad but true. Really sad).  Then I saw my HR hit over 200 and I knew if I didn't keep walking and breathing I was going down.  The world got very dark and I remember some guy saying 'I need your timing chip, I need your timing chip'.  I made the poor guy get it off me while I walked.  I finally saw daylight and went to find water and a place to sit

I found Rory in the USAT Mobile Tour booth (you'll see from the link above that he had a nice chair for me, t-shirt, skins, 2 things of chocolate soy mile (the Silk booth was next door), at least 3 smoothies and somewhere around 3 dozen EFS chews.  From the time I sat until the time I got up, close to 2 hours had passed.  During that time, we saw the temp go up from 95 until 105 or something ridiculous like that.

Overall, the race was not a success - from a numbers standpoint.  Some takeaways:

  • I finished with nothing in the tank.  Nothing.  Could I have gone harder, maybe 1%.  Probably not.
  • I rode well and put 4-6 mins into my PR. 
  • I swam the 2nd half well, if I bring that effort and intensity into the first half, then I'm going to see a much better swim.
  • I suffered in the heat but mentally was rock solid. Never felt I had to 'push' - I just kept going.  Even used ice in a cup as a metronome to ensure I wasn't slowing down.  This SORT of backfired when I heart ice in a cup behind me going faster! 
  • I had a great nutrition plan.  Maybe more water, but not much more - probably focus on one more bottle BEFORE the race
  • Instead of walking the water stations, jog them - at 30 secs to 1 min per station, I was easily giving up 10 mins. 
  • Remember to pee on the downhill section of the bike.  Uphill is harder to do.
  • Passing over the yellow is a no-no.
  • Go faster.

That's all.  Timberman in 3 weeks.


Anonymous said...

good race report, it was almost worth the wait. I like how you sprinted past that jackass at the end.

Chris Tremonte said...

I tried to pee while biking while in Oregon last week ... I'm still struggling with the technique on that one.