This year has been a great departure from the past few years. The pattern I have become accustomed to is to race bikes nearly every weekend starting in March, and switch over to tris starting in May. However, this year found me racing for the first time on June 12th. Much of my reluctance to get out there and race resulted from a lack of confidence due to a lack of quality training. It has been a challenging year (if you have not read this, please do so) and training has not gone optimally. I decided I would look for a smaller race outside of Boulder to test my fitness in a lower pressure situation. I decided the Greeley Sprint Tri would fit the bill.
Going in, I knew this would hurt badly. The swim and bike were shorter than the standard sprint distance, and I figured I would be finishing in a little over 50 minutes. This meant I would be redlining the entire time. I was unsure how this would go, because my training has not really taken me to the higher levels of oxygen debt, and I did not know how good my lactate tolerance would be.
I got to the race venue without a hitch, and got to work setting everything up. Having been racing tris for five years now, everything on race day is second nature to me. I felt like garbage on my warm-up jog, which meant I was in store for a good race (typically the worse I feel warming up, the smoother I feel when the gun goes off). After some delays in the start, and after waiting for the junior and U23 races to go off, we lined up for our TT start (lake was too small to accommodate a mass start). The swim was honestly over before I realized I was swimming. 500 meters is wicked short for a swim. I was somewhat apprehensive about my ability to perform well in the swim, due to the fact that I have only been swimming 2-3 time per week on a good week since the winter time, without too much focused work. However, the swim is the discipline in which I have some "talent" or natural ability, stemming from the f
act that I swam competitively as a kid for a few years. My belief is that if you learn something as child, you never lose it, but if you try to pick it up as an adult, you will never feel natural. Who knows what might have happened if I had stuck with swimming, but I can say with fair confidence I would have gotten to compete at the Division 1 level, if I had chosen to do so. I also would probably have huge swimmer shoulders, which might be cool. It is a truly moot point now. In any case, I had a good swim.
The bike was also uber-short (10 miles). I was no
t a big fan of the course, either. It seemed like the race organizers said "okay, we have 5 miles worth of road, let's make a 10 mile course out of it. There were three of four traffic circle roundabouts, and too many corners and turn-arounds to count. Nothing scrubs speed like having to slow down to nearly a standstill to go around a tight corner with all sorts of sketchy riders around you (why did they send the men off by age, with the oldest guys going first?). In any case, I got through unscathed and managed a decent split despite the technical nature of the course. I benefitted greatly from using a HIGH CADENCE for the first time ever. My buddy Drew would have been so proud of me and my spinning. It was a very un-dino-ish ride.
Then it was time for the run. If you know anything about my history, it is pretty common for me to get into T2 with the lead, only to lose it on the run. For this reason, my sole focus this year has been on improving my run. I have gotten a lot of advice from Chuck, and have been gobbling up any and all books about run training. I have taken a focus
ed yet patient approach to running, and I was unsure just how the first race would go. Well, I came close to setting PR for the 5k, and had the fastest run split on the day. It was a pretty big confidence booster for me, and it indicated that I am on the right track. All I can say is watch out next year, because all my training is planned as part of a long-term approach.
I took the overall win by two minutes or so, which is a big chunk of time for a 50 minute race. Unfortunately, because it was a TT start, I had no idea of my placing when I got to the finish, although I knew I had done well, and suspected I had won. This is the second straight TT-style race that I have won. It is great to have won, but in this format of race, I have not been able to unleash the victory salute. Oh well.
It was certainly a good start to the season. I will not be doing too much racing this year, as I am still in dire straights financially, and would like to continue to focus on the process of training. Next race will be Boulder Peak in three weeks. The A-race this year will be Ironman 70.3 Lake Stevens on August 14th. I will be able to stay with my sister in Seattle, and spend some quality time with her. It will be great and I am looking forward to it.
Thank you for your continued support.
P.S.- Congratulations to my college buddy Erin Fortin on completing her first triathlon. She had a blast, and I was thankful to have someone to hang out with after the race.