Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Lawrence Triathlon Race Report

On Sunday, I did the short course race at the Lawrence Triathlon.  The race took place at Bloomington Beach at Clinton Lake, KS. This was the third different race I've done at Clinton Lake, but this was at a different beach, so it was quite a bit different.  The weather was looking terrible leading up to the race, with thunderstorms forecasted for the morning. Luckily, when I woke up Sunday morning, the radar was relatively clear.

The week leading up to the race included quite a bit of training, and zero tapering for my performance on Sunday.  My quads and hamstrings were really sore following the Shawnee Mission Triathlon the weekend before, despite not really running hard at the race.  Probably from all the climbing on the bike course...  I regularly stretch and foam roll, and this finally started helping my legs feel better on Thursday.

I didn't have any goals for this race, and treated it as a speed session for all 3 disciplines.  I just wanted to push really hard, especially on the run.  After last weekend, I was really disappointed in the effort I put forth on the run, and I wanted to change that. I was going to leave the Garmin on the bike and run by feel. It would be my first race without a pacing device. I wanted to feel like I was working!

On Sunday, I woke up around 4:15am, and slept really well following a night out at a baby shower (and 3 Boulevard Pale Ales). Crazy Saturday night... I had the Jeep loaded up and took off with Rach around 5:00. We arrived at Bloomington Beach around 6:15, and were really surprised how close we got to park! The race itself was pretty small, so we were able to park 100 feet away from transition. This is really unheard of!

After finding my transition spot, I started unloading my stuff and realized two things: One, it was really muddy.  I would need to spend a few extra seconds wiping my feet off before the run.  And Two, I forgot my rubber bands to keep my bike shoes upright for my flying mount.  Shoot...

I then went on a quick warm up ride to check out the first few miles of the bike ride, and found some friends after returning.  The long course race started at 7:30, and I was able to get a solid 15 minute swim warm up in before my wave took off. The race director notified the short course athletes that the bike course turn around had been extended an extra half mile to make for a safer turn around, and we got to climb an extra hill. No biggie, but some people weren't happy about the extra mile on the bike ride.

Men's 35 and Under 

Soon enough, it was 8:15 and we were off!

The swim was a bit odd. Due to the low water level at the lake, we were able to run about 50 yards out into the water. And we could have gone a bit further, too.  There was a 15 year old that took off immediately, and since he had USA all over his kit, nobody really intended on following him...

And there's the winner by 6 minutes...

I got settled in quickly, and stayed right on the feet of a 30 year old who's pace was right in tune with mine. I was able to draft off of him for 75% of the swim, and passed him towards the end.  I felt really good in the water, my technique was great, and I wasn't working nearly as hard as in the past few races.

When we got to about 75 yards left in the swim, we hit a low spot in the lake and had to walk about 10 paces on rock, and then swim the remaining distance to the beach. Really weird...

The time included the beach run to transition, as the timing mat was located just before you got into the transition area.  My watch had 8:02 for the swim, which would be a 1:28/100y pace, which is right where I was hoping for.

Time: 9:01
Distance: 500 meters
Pace: 1:48/100m
Age Group: 1st/12
Overall: 6/116

Nice and smooth.  I wasted a few seconds finding my spot, but recovered quickly. Despite not having my shoes rubberband'd to my bike, I was able to get my feet on top of my shoes really easily.  I think the only way to make this any faster is to just run harder.

Time: 0:40
Age Group: 1/12
Overall: 6/116

After the race director indicated the bike would be a bit longer than 12 miles, I actually was happy. I wanted to push hard, so I could have a good comparison to the Topeka Tinman race, as it was also 13 miles.  In the end, the bike was at least 13 miles, as my Garmin had 13.2 miles despite starting it late and stopping it early.

Taking off!

Overall, I had an awesome ride!  It was my first race with the disc wheel cover, and it really helped! I rode at a hard effort the entire ride, I was never passed, and was really happy with the output I sustained.  I was immediately able to get into a good groove and felt powerful, as opposed to last weekend at Shawnee Mission, where I felt really flat.

About 4 miles into the ride, a big bee flew into my face, got lodged between my sunglasses and eyebrow, and I got stung right above my eye.  I'm surprised I was able to keep the bike upright, as I thought I was about to get stung right on the eyeball and I couldn't get the bug free. I regrouped, and stopped noticing the pain sometime after the bike turnaround.

Heading back for the run
I had a solid negative split, averaging almost 25 mph on the way back (with probably an elevation loss) and a 23 mph average for the entire ride according to my Garmin. Since I've got the data, I'm going with that! Regardless, this was by far the best bike performance to date, and was helped by the smooth and flat roads, conducive to fast times!

Get a wheel cover. Or make one...

Time: 34:43
Distance: 13 miles
Pace: 22.6 mph
Age Group: 1/12
Overall: 2/116

I rode into transition with my feet already out of my shoes, and had another good rolling dismount without my shoes flying off. Transition was really muddy, and I took a few extra seconds rubbing my feet off on my transition mat before getting my shoes on.

Time: 0:33
Age Group: 1/12
Overall: 7/116

On with the run, where I was looking for some redemption! My legs were HEAVY coming off the bike. Big time.  It took at least a mile for them to loosen up to resemble my normal running stride.

"Do as I say, LEGS!"
The run itself was pretty uneventful. I guess that's what happens when you don't check your GPS watch every 15 seconds to see your pace... You just run!  The achilles acted fine, and is even better after the race. I hope it continues to get better!

Near the finish, clearly over-striding. But going hard!

I ran hard the entire time. I was able to pass 4 or 5 guys on my way in, all from earlier waves. The course was through the campgrounds, with half of the run on gravel.  There was some shade, which was great, but it didn't help the humidity. But all in all, the temps were favorable.

Soon enough, I was near the finish, and kicked as hard as I could to the line. I was really hurting at the end, which was the complete opposite of last weekend. I'm happy with the run, given the lack of run training lately to keep Mr. Achilles happy.

Pirate leg

Time: 22:17
Distance: 3.1 miles
Pace: 7:12/mi
Age Group: 2/12
Overall: 9/116

Total Time: 1:07:12
Age Group: 1/12
Overall: 4/116

After finishing, I needed to stop for a bit because I was not feeling very well. My stomach agreed that I went really hard at the finish, and thought it needed to evacuate it's contents.  After I settled down, I found my family, did some light stretching, and went to check out the results.  I knew I did really well in my age group, but was curious to see how I did overall.  I ended up winning my age group (AWESOME! Second win this year!), but missed out on the overall podium (top 3 overall) BY ONE SECOND!!!

Let me say that again: One second.

I immediately went from being really happy to super super disappointed. How could I have not made up a second on the course?! That would be like taking 3 hard strides on the run, maybe 5 strong pulls on the swim, hell finding my rack in T1 like normal.  I was getting pretty disappointed, but Rach, being the awesome fianc√© she is, pulled me back down to Earth and made me realize I had a pretty awesome race. And I needed it to even get that close!

Now, a few days after the race, I feel really good about the results. The bike was crazy awesome, the run was better than I was hoping for, and my effort was there. This race was exactly what I needed and I couldn't be happier with the results. But come on... Just one second....

Getting a sweet beer mug helps the pain...
All in all, the Lawrence Triathlon was a pretty awesome race for the first time running.  Everything was well organized, I wasn't bummed about the extra bike mileage as it was changed for safety, and every athlete was in a great spirit considering the possible thunderstorms.  I will really consider the Olympic Distance next year!

I'd like to thank Rach for just always being the voice of reason I need to hear (well, usually), my future Sister and Brother in law for spectating ( and letting me know a 15 year old girl still beat me), and my parents for spending another weekend morning cheering me on!

And you, too. Thanks for reading!

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