Race Report: Steelman Olympic 2012

The day begun as a typical race morning with the alarm beeping away at 3:50AM. I slept well until about 1AM and then it was up every hour checking the clock. I stuffed down some chia seed toaster waffles with maple syrup and a cup of coffee. Then after a quick morning constitutional, I racked the bike on the car, through my gear bag in, and off we headed to Lake Nockamixon by around 4:45AM. The race “athlete note” said to be there by 5:30AM, so we were under the gun. I still had to pickup my race packet and decorate everything with the appropriate number placards. We decided to bring our dog, Yuki(pronounced U-kee and not after the Philly newscaster), along since he was so excited this morning. He actually followed me out to the car without me knowing it and he usually does not leave the house without a leash on. He seemed pretty stoked to go along so we tossed him in the car too.

The ride down there went pretty fast since the only people on the roads at that time on a Sunday morning are triathletes and bakers. Once we hit routes 313 and  563, it was a solid line of vehicles all with bikes mounted to them in some fashion. Once we got into the Park(Lake Nockamixon), we were directed into the upper parking lots. This really stinks since it is a 15-20 minute walk each way to transition. The thing that really sucked was the kids directing traffic started redirecting people back down to the Marina right after we parked. The marina is where the race start is. We made our way down to the marina and I picked up my race stuff and got marked with my number, 171. They were not bashful with the markings, and I don’t think there was any direction that you could not see my number. I sauntered into transtion and bumped into my coach and his wife who were doing the sprint relay together(btw…loved your shirt Scott! Smile ). After a quick chat, I was off to find a spot on the racks.

Steelman does not assign rack spaces based on your bib #, which makes it a bit of a free-for-all to find a transition spot if you are not an early bird. I was able to find a few inches of rack at the back of the 5th row from the Swim In and the one guy next to me moved over a bit too. while setting up my transition spot, I was starting to feel some pressure building in my lower digestive track. I then headed over to the outhouses after getting my space in order. As I came around the corner of transition, the shit-house line went on to infinity. Shit!(pun intended) I ran into my wife and Yuki and we headed to find the end of the line. It was 6:40AM and the race was starting at 7AM. The line moved fairly quickly though and I was able to get in there before transition was closed. Whew…much better!

I got down to the swim start for a quick warm-up. Water was really warm and it was not a wetsuit legal swim. I think the water temp was around 80 degrees F. My warm-up swim felt good which gave me some confidence. Getting out of the water was a bit chilly though as the air was still a bit cool. Good thing I was only the third wave.

The Swim(.9 mi)

I waded out to the start for my wave and stayed to the far right side. There were a few guys in front of me and when I realized that there was still about 10-15 feet from them to the start pylon, I waded out past them. The gun went off and we were off. The race start adrenalin got the best of me and I realized I was kicking much more than usual. Not having a wetsuit also causes me to kick more to get that same level of buoyancy too. I tempered the kicking and settled into a steady stroke. After making the first turn buoys I started to feel a bit of stomach malaise which started playing with my mind. Apparently, the buffet food fest I had at the Honey Underground Vegan Supper Club was not the wisest of choices for my pre-race dinner the night before. I had fairly open water, but still managed to get punched in the nose. I love when you think you are free and clear and some dude comes out of nowhere and cuts right across your line. Then he proceeds to take a stroke directly into your head. He then bounced off me and redirected back in the other direction. WTF??!

Thoughts of “blowing chunks” started to consume my mind. Where do I go to do that? Do I have to swim out of the general path of swimmers? That would be gross. I would probably follow me too. Eventually that subsided, but the swim seemed to take forever. I didn’t look at my watch the whole time so I really had no idea how I was doing time-wise. Eventually I reached the boat ramp exit unscathed and was glad to have that behind me. I don’t know how many times I have to screw up that pre-race dinner before it sinks in to eat something basic and don’t overeat!!! I hit the timer at ~32:00, which is about 2 minutes slower than last year. Given I didn’t have a wetsuit on this time, it isn’t horrible, but I just didn’t feel great like I have before.

Swim Result: 32:05 for .9mi(1500m) (Pace1:57/100 yds) 

T1

The run to transition was a light jog and several people passed me. I was still suffering from my “full” feeling in my stomach. My wife said I didn’t look good coming out of the water. I found my bike lane, but there was another guy in my lane with the exact same bike as me, so I studder-stepped a bit until I realized I don’t have Zipp race wheels on my bike. I wish, but they are worth more than my bike. Talking to this guy later I found this bike is a 2006 model. So my good friends at Cycles BiKyle sold me a 3 year old bike as new when I bought it in 2009. I had rubberband-ed my bike shoes to my bike to avoid another bad bike mount, but they both snapped when I pulled the bike off the rack. Great…here we go again. I actually had a good bike mount so it was a non-issue.

T1 Time: 1:55

The Bike(24.6 mi)

The bike went well. I kept a high cadence the whole time. On the climbs I dropped down to the small chainring and spun away. I saw so many people standing up pushing big gears and thought about how they will pay for that later. I also had a bottle of Skratch Labs hydration mix on board and did a bottle and a half of water, which kept me hydrated well into the run. The sodium and minerals in the Skratch mix really helps to get rid of the cramping on the run. I was actually a little full of water on the run, but not too bad. Tried to kick it up a bit on the 2nd loop of the bike and then ease up for the drive back into the marina. One guy went flying by me in the the dismount area and ended up taking out a slew of other guys and crashing to the ground. Was kind of humorous to watch really. Even though I felt like I was taking it easy on the bike my overall pace was faster than last year I think. I think this is testament to my training plan and performance this season. Also I have 15 lbs less weight to carry around too.

Bike Result: 1:17:27 for 24.6mi ( Avg Speed 19.1mph. Event results say 20.8mph)

T2

T2 went ok too. Had a little issue getting my shoes on but nothing too bad. I didn’t wear socks with my New Balance Minimus Zero’s and they were fairly new so I could be in for some issues on the run. They are very smooth inside though and I didn’t have any issues with them on short runs.

T2 Time: 1:28

The Run(10k)

The run started well and finished even better. I truly felt the best I have ever felt on a triathlon run. Holding steading on the bike really paid off here. This is the kind of thing where experience pays off. I started off running a <= 8:30 pace for the first half of the run and increased the pace up a bit on the second 3.1 miles. I saw high sevens during the end. There was one guy in my age group that was just ahead of me and I tried really hard to catch him in the end. I didn’t get him and he got me by 4 secs. Oh well. Still felt really strong at the finish and I think I am started to gain some maturity in my racing.

I hadn’t seen my wife and my dog the whole race, so I was wondering where they were all day. I eventually found out on the run. My wife ended up volunteering at the run aide station at the turnaround for the Olympic distance run. I dropped the water she handed me on the first loop and she said I was the only person to drop a water all race. I had asked her “where’s my dog?” and she said “over there.” So when I looked away I missed the cup. I wasn’t allowed to say anything to my dog as he would start freaking out if he saw me. It was pretty funny though because he was checking me out when I went by.

Run Result: 50:47 for 10k ( Avg Pace 8:12/mi )

Race Summary

Despite the swim, I think the race overall was personally successful. I cut off ~15:00 off of my time from last seasons’ race. If I was going to have a bad leg the swim is the best one to have it in, but I think that issue is the easiest to resolve. Although I seem to keep making that mistake over and over again. The difference between 23rd(my AG Place) and 10th place is only 10 mins, so if can chop off another 10 mins next year I could be in top ten. I will be moving up to the 45-49 group next season, so no idea what that will be like. Hopefully some of these guys retire!  As a reward to myself I had 2 slices of CHEESE pizza which was quite yummy! So I should be good on vitamin B12 now for a while. The weather today was perfect with moderate temps in the morning and low humidity. Was a great day to race.

Click here for the my actual race results…

Click here for the overall race results…

Overall Finish Time 2:43:40
Overall Place 135/380
Gender Place 109/229
Age Group Place 23/45

As of this writing I am feeling quite well. My coach published this weeks training schedule and it looks like a doozy. No rest for the weary! We are heading up to the Finger Lakes this weekend, which is a great place for a training weekend. Open water swims in Keuka Lake are always a good time. Stay tuned and thanks for reading!

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