Thursday, July 2, 2009

I'm Baaaaack, well sort of

So I finally got off my duff and entered a triathlon. It was my first tri since Ironman Florida in 2007, I had only raced 5 running races (my true background) since then. Pace Kids 10K, Diamond Valley 10K and Midsun 10K in 2008 plus Foothills Academy 10K and Diamond Valley 5K this year. For me 5 races in 2 years is pretty sedate.

But given Melanie and I are racing Ironman Florida in November of 2009 it was time to try and blow some cobwebs off. I realized that my work schedule is just not going to change a whole lot with the new job so I needed to get to basics and show some discipline. Time to stop wasting time and get training. Given that I really only started productive training late April I didn't feel ready to race Chinook 1/2 Ironman. $215 bucks to race this early was bound to leave me disappointed so I saved the cash and decided to race a couple of sprints first.

Also new to me is that I picked up an "advisor". He doesn't consider himself a coach and doesn't come from huge triathlon background but as a former high school swimmer, 2:31 marathoner, working family man I thought he would be a good person to help me plan my way to Florida. Fortunately for me he accepted the request and is helping me get ready. Not only that he understands the need for me to balance work, church, family and racing.

So armed with my "adviser's" advice we decided to find out how hard I have to go on the bike before I bonk a run. That's right, me Mr. Negative Split, cautious and conservative runner was entering a race with the whole idea to go "Pablo" (For the record an old running acquaintance whose idea of strategy is start hard, hold the middle and the kick like "heck").

The swim was easily the worst swim of my tri career (well maybe not the worst if I consider the 1989 LA Tri series race that i tried to swim in a scuba wetsuit from the 70's but that was another life). I spent about 8 lengths of the 500m swim with goggles full of water since I left mine at the gym, stopped and emptied goggles at least 4 times, swam 2 extra lengths - verified by 4 people that I decided to give the field an extra minute or so lead.

After one of the longest transition runs outside of Ironman courses and an additionally brutally slow change on my part from swim to bike I finally was out on the bike course. Going Pablo meant no cushy 135 to 150 HR on the bike, immediately I was up at 160 HR and rode the bike 157+ HR for the whole 20K. The legs were screaming and felt jello-ish but I was working my way up through the field and was passed by only one cyclist. I guess that is a hidden advantage of a sucky swim.

I had a better bike run transition and started the run feeling weak (an understatement) and was happy that I accomplished one goal - to go red zone on the bike - and was curious to how bad the run would be. It didn't take long as 20 seconds into the run a guy goes blistering past me. I surprise myself by running in pain and at 168+ HR passing everyone else and averaging around 4:10 / km. On the way to the run turnaround I see a quick moving Tony Smith, an even quicker moving Ciara Kary, the guy who passed me earlier (Anton Nel) but nobody else really running my pace per se.

I manage to complete the run in 21:28 and score a 5th fastest run split on a hilly run course that less than a month ago I raced only 50 seconds faster as a 5K not in a triathlon proving I can run relatively fast after going ballistic (for me) on the bike. At the end of the day I finished 7th , 2nd in 40-49 in 1:10 and change and would have been 6th if i swam 500m not 550m. Swim 17th, Bike 13th, Run 5th

Results here

The upside is that I get to do it all again in 3 days at the Okotoks sprint, hopefully with a less ugly swim.

Tip Hat to Pablo and my Advisor

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