Monday, July 14, 2008

I like the Podium

It was good to get back to the Olympic distance at the Old Colony YMCA race and it was a bit of a reality check. My last two Tri's were short sprints with short runs. My runs felt really good and I was hoping that I would be able to a) tweak some more power out of my biking legs for upcoming races and b) attack the next couple of weeks with some fresh legs after a recovery week. However I ended up posting the fastest bike split and coming apart on the run, not running sub 6's like planned.

Part of my misery on the run must no doubt be due to working three hot days on a roof and another ripping off Clapboards and doing some LPG work with my new buddy Jim. Being a recovery week it turned out that I spent more time recovering from work and not being bothered with recovery/tech specific workouts.
Also the choice pre-race dinner of Swordfish, mussels and grilled buttery potatoes is definitely not the chosen meal of champions. However, I somehow remember eating the exact same meal the night before a race last year with similar ill consequences. Humm.....what? Pretty sure I've learned my lesson now. I'm sticking to pasta and meatballs. (Why is it that races are always on Sunday instead of Saturday? Way to kill the weekend.)

See how I'm really setting my self up for a killer race here?

Never the less the alarm went off and Sarah, Evelyn and I busted down to Middleborough in good time. The swim looked awesome and pretty short for a 1 mile swim until I found out that it was a two looper with an exit out of the water between laps. Which was actually pretty cool to do, except that it's a little tough getting back in the water and thinking "Shit I got to do that swimming" Plus they started the 39 and unders in a second wave 3 minutes back from the 40+ crowd. Why, who knows. Maybe to give us the added challenge of swimming through throngs of geriatrics. I mean if it was like 10 minutes or something maybe, but just three minutes. Dang, start them second right? This week it was much harder to see where any green caps were (my wave) which was a little disappointing. Plus my stomach was slooshy and soft for most of the paddle. (thank you very much Mussels) But I managed to finally feel a little bit smooth on the second lap and pull out an okay swim for myself.

Old Colony was a pretty well put together race but they could pull together the transition area a little bit. It was ambiguous where you came in from the swim, came in from the bike and where the run entered and exited. And the transition area was wide open. Which is kind of nice because you can sneak in and get your gear before the race is over. But it always adds an air of Amatureness.

I tried not to rush T1, made it smooth and ran out to the road over the 50 yards of pine wood chips that the race directors were kind enough not to cover up with any type of mobile carpeting. Later in the day I realized that a couple of the hot spots on my feet were in fact splinters.

This past week I did manage to practice my shoe-putting-on-while-riding-the-bike technique and it paid off. (Once I brushed off the sawdust and wood chips) This was a 4 lap pretty flat bike and I was coming in pretty excited to see how I could throw down. And perhaps I got a little excited about it. I was rolling on the first lap in an "I can keep this up for an hour" mode. Which more or less turned out to be true, except for feeling slower on the latter two laps, and thinking "huh, there wasn't a hill here on the first lap". I hit my second Gu a little later than planned which helped neither my run nor the chunks of Swordfish still banging away somewhere between my small intestine and colon. I was pretty happy averaging somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 mph, but it's still a far cry from an ideal ride of 27 mph. Any way, it was on to the run. (It should also be noted that there were like a bajjilion people on the bike, due to the laps. Which, while fun and fast feeling when you just completely blow by people, makes for tough passing and tough cornering.)

OH, have I yet to mention how crazy uncomfortable my saddle is? Like after half a lap (read 8 minutes) I thought my lower genital region was anesthetized. I was praying for any kind of hill to get me out of the saddle for a minute, which only came on a couple of slight downhills, the course was that flat. Not to mention this saddle seems to do something funky with my upper/inner hamstring area. Not exactly straining it, but setting in some discomfort.....

And that's what I felt when I got off the bike. I couldn't believe how tight that area of my hammy was. I kind of hobbled out of T2 and tried to get my legs moving on the dirt road that lead out to the rest of the run. My first mile on the run was a promising 5:45. But having lost just a little bit of steam on every consecutive lap of the bike didn't bode well for what was to come on the run. I could see three people ahead of me and It was time to do some reeling. Mile one: No one yet, but they're right there and I'll be damned if they get too far away. Mile two: okay, huh, not really getting any closer. Mile three: yup caught this guy, but he's in the 40-45 group and def slowing up, that guy in the black and yellow is so not coming to me. Mile four: okay lets just see if we can hunker down and not lose any spots. About 800 yards after mile four: okay so those two guys just came rolling by me with no hope of me catching a ride, try not to drop any more spots. (one of the guys was Brian Dolt, whom I used to do some swim training with, and whom I had caught on the first lap of the bike) Shortly before this point I could feel my self slipping (and watch my splits slipping too! YEE!). Maybe if I drink some more water that'll help? I usually don't drink much, but maybe it'll get me through. Or maybe it'll give me a vicious cramp and make the last mile and a half that much more burtal as if my failing legs and negative mind weren't enough. I held on for the last two miles and ended up running them in a pretty impressive 8:30 (or so) pace. When do I ever run at an 8:30 pace? Probably the most nasty part of the race was coming into the rather long access road to the finish and expecting to run back across the wood chips into the finish chute, but oh no!!! Take a right instead and run on a busted old dirt road for another quarter mile! That was just mean.

Glad to be done I was hoping that a couple of the people in front of me were teams or of the 40+ ilk. But not feeling so psyched about my overall performance (run in particular) headed to the lake for a little cool off.
Much to my chagrin I squeaked out a Third place finish about four minutes back from the leader and 2 back from Brian. If it wasn't for the wheels coming unhinged on those last two miles things my read a little different, but four podium finishes in four races isn't so bad right?

Thanks for coming down and watching Ben, Sarah and Evelyn. It helps a lot to hear some cheers. Especially when I'm out on the sand and headed back into the murky Tispaquin for round two, ready, fight!

Results should be posted here: Old Colony YMCA
Hardware: '1st place' (?) finishers Medal with a cool little twirly piece in the middle
Shwag: Tub of HEED drink mix (Ben said to go safe with Lemon-Lime, maybe if I do well next week I'll go for the Mandarin.)

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