Sunday, September 26, 2010

Rev3 Cedar Point Half-Rev Race Report - Sept 12, 2010

By Joe:

Rev3 Cedar Point - Half-Rev (1.2mi Swim, 56mi Bike, 13.1 mi Run)
Sandusky, OH
Sept 12, 2010

Heading into this race, I was taking a few risks with an atypical taper. I was still doing hard intervals on the bike and swim (not on the run though, since this year I didn't do run repeats, except for the one time I did a 10x800 yasso). All other workouts were either short or very easy. On the three days heading into the race I biked, ran and swam once per day to make sure that no rust stuck. 9 workouts total for Tue, Wed, Thurs before driving out on Friday. I prayed that it wasn't overkill.

I was careful to not over eat heading into the race. As much as I wanted to execute a good carbo-load, I didn't feel confident enough that I knew how to do it well, so I opted to just eat enough to keep my glycogen supplies topped off and no more.

There have been very few races that I've tapered so carefully for, and executed the lead-up so well. As a matter of fact, I've NEVER held back on eating on account of a race... this was the very first time I made that sacrifice. There were no lingering injuries and no loose ends. In my opinion, I had made no mistakes and was lucky enough not to get hurt or sick in those last few weeks. I've seen how a well executed swim taper can result in massive time drops at pool races, but I've never truly experienced that kind of physical leap on a triathlon taper. This race was about to change that for me.

34:21 (58/591 overall)
Nutrition: 2 Gu gels and an S-cap tablet

I found feet early and stuck to it past the two turns. The guy didn't have a beautiful swim style and I had to slow down every few strokes in order not to run into him. As a result, I kept an eye out for other feet to switch off to. Finally as we started to head back towards the finishI saw another pair of feet about 15 yards up and I made the decision to try to surge onto them.

30 seconds later... not really much closer.
1 min later... arms getting a bit of lactic acid... still not much closer.
2 min in... breathing a bit harder now.... wtf... why is that guy still 15 yards away?!

I start mentally beating myself for abandoning my original set of feet, when that dude cruised up along side me! I said a prayer of thanks to the open water gods and slid back behind my familiar flailer. The rest of the swim was relatively uneventful for me. Behind this guy, I was able to pretty much swim a cool down pace the rest of the way. I knew it was risk I was taking by not going harder, but I figured that I'll be as fresh as anyone coming out of the swim. This IS a Half Ironman after all.... which means the swim is nothing more than a footnote. :)

Overall I'm slightly disappointed with my time, but I think the relaxed swim allowed me to get on the bike fully charged.

Felt great coming out of the swim. Didn't notice the Team Sports Bistro super-fans until I was right up on them... but yea, they were screaming! :) It was awesome.
This is the one section of the race I didn't win.... Sports Bistro Ton beat me by 10 seconds!! And I was flying through transition...

2:28:25, 22.64 mph (11/591 overall)
Nutrition: 540 calories from Perpetuem. ~ Gu Gel. ~45 ounces of water. 3 S-caps.

The start of the bike was a bit gnarly. The road wasn't perfect and I was worried that my bottle on the aero hammock was going to fly. It was a bit tense for awhile, but the good news was that my legs felt great. Right off the start I passed this guy in EVO team gear. He re-passed me pretty soon after that and barreled down the road. (We'll get to him later.) Soon I got into rhythm and stayed at a draft legal distance behind a guy in a Team Canada jersey. We were blowing by a ton of athletes doing the Ironman distance race, and my wattage remained relatively steady around 200-250, and my legs were feeling great. The only thing I was worried about was of getting a flat. Deep down, I felt that everything was going too perfectly. (The thought of Sports Bistro Chris getting 2 flats at last year's SBR sprint triathlon gave me chills.)

The other thing that I really focused on during the bike were the signs/directions. After my last experience of missing turns at the Bangs Lake Triathlon, I knew that this race would not be as forgiving... nor would I be if I made that mistake again. I was surrounded by athletes doing the Ironman distance race, and I realized if I blindly followed people into turns, I may end up going 112 miles.... which would be a nightmare. As a matter of fact, I got so nervous at one point that I considered riding up to Team Canada and ask him if he was doing the half-Ironman distance race as well. We finally passed the half-Ironman split off, I felt a bit of relief, only to realize later on that we would converge courses with Ironman distance athletes again. Ughhhh...

I remember hitting the halfway point (mile 28) right around 1:13. I knew I was killing this bike course!! If I kept this pace up I would come in under 2:30, which would be much better than I expected.

At some point I ended up behind the EVO guy again. Somehow I had managed to reel him back in. I remember feeling sprinkles and looking up .... not a cloud in sight. Then I looked forward to see that guy with one leg up off the side and pee spraying out. I immediately surged past him and told him he got me pretty good. That was the last I saw of EVO, at least on the bike leg.

With about 10 miles to go I realized that I was feeling absolutely fresh. I picked up the pace a bit and was able to move up the overall position by a few spots in the last few miles. No cramps, no hunger, not breathing hard, legs felt strong. Everything was just right heading into T2.

Best thing about the bike was that I beat Sports Bistro Chris's split. :) He got me pretty good at our last race (the Evergreen Triathlon in Illinois) so this was very satisfying indeed.

I leaped off the bike to the screams of the Team Sports Bistro Super Fans. :) T2 was blitzing, and I was able to take this 'event' from Sports Bistro Ton because he had to stop and pee.

Running out of T2, I saw that the Team Sports Bistro Super Fans had made their way from "Bike In" to "Run Out" and were waiting for me. They're at opposite corners of the transition, so I was being somewhat surprised to see them there before me... especially because I was BOOKING it through transition. Either way, they were already lying in wait cheering me on. As I ran past Sports Bistro Rob, he said something to me that sounded awfully like "You're in 7th place... OVERALL". I was a bit confused because that was, in my mind, quite impossible.

1:33:44, 7:09 min/mile, (19/591 overall)
Nutrition: 2 Gu Gels, 5 S-caps, 1 cup of water every station. Lots of Team Sports Bistro support!

Right away, I set off to a steady pace. This was it. To me this WAS the race. My whole race strategy was based on getting to the run as fresh as possible. My whole training was geared towards building that fitness. I've executed everything perfectly till now, it was just a matter of seeing if the plan would work out.

I passed two guys right out of transition, and saw no one ahead of me. That made me a bit nervous but I kept my head down and focused on my turnover. I knew my feet and lower calves were the weak links for me, so I kept my strides as light as possible. I finally caught sight of a guy far ahead. I was hoping to reel him in, but was never able to. (After the race I found out that he ran 7:07 pace, which was 2 seconds per mile faster than me... thats why I always saw him from far off). There were parts of the race where he'd disappear and I was running alone on empty city streets. Even though I knew I was on the right course, the fact that there was noone in sight, ahead OR behind me, made me feel very uneasy. I couldn't wait until the course looped back on itself so that I could see other racers. That happened around mile 9 I think... and boy was it refreshing. A lot of the people passing the other way were incredibly supportive, cheering me on. At that point I think I was in 7th ot 8th place. (I had asked some volunteers earlier what position I was at, and they said 7th, so I knew what I heard from Sports Bistro Rob was correct).

Unfortunately, I started to feel the beginnings of a cramp at around mile 11. That's when EVO and another dude passed me. I tried to pick up the pace but my quads tightened up immediately. Deep down I realized those positions were out of my reach. I decided to just dig in and maintain my pace until the finish. And boy, was the finish chute something. We ran through the back of a trailer or some alley way to get to it... I had to admit I was a bit disappointed at first, then as I turned around the corner I saw the glory of the Rev3 finish chute. People were cheering and clapping, there was a jumbo-tron, but right away I was able to hone in on the Sports Bistro gang cuz they were SO MUCH LOUDER than everyone else. :)

Overall, I was very happy with the results. I've been planning for this race since last winter, and I've put a lot of effort into making sure the pieces come together on race day. With a bit of of luck, I was able to get through the race unscathed. This whole experience has allowed me to shore up one of my weaknesses- endurance. Next year the goal is to work on my 10k run speed and getting down to a 22-23 min olympic swim, in preparation for Team Sports Bistro's first international showing… The Olympic Distance Triathlon National Championships of Thailand!

Final Result: 4:38:15 / 10th Overall / 4th place Age-Group

Monday, September 6, 2010

Marathon Training: Weeks 3 and 4

Week 3 got off to a good start with a 4 miler, 6.2 miler, and 5.9 miler Monday - Thursday, but unfortunately that ended up being it for the week.  I moved apartments on Friday and after that marathon session (no joke) spent all day Saturday cleaning, unpacking, and setting up and Sunday was a deserved day at the beach.  So much for a big training week- I only got 16.1 miles in over 3 runs!  As a side note, moving is tough work, but a great quad exercise!

Week 4 I got myself back on track.  The heat and humidity were killer last week and I was NOT used to this after having spent the summer in Seattle (unlike my NYC teammates who are more than accustomed to working out in the oppressive conditions).  That said, Monday I got in a 5.6 mile run and then Tuesday did my first bike ride in over a month.  Wow, have I lost a lot of biking fitness!  It's amazing how the two sports are so different and fitness (other than cardio) really doesn't translate that well.  But I was happy to be on the bike so that was a good day.

Wednesday and Thursday were two harder 7.7 and 5 mile runs.  Friday was a planned off day then Saturday morning I set out for my 11 mile run.  7.7 miles was the longest I had run since mid-July so I didn't want to push it.  I ran an out and back along the Hudson River path and the first 5.5 miles were at a super easy pace.  When I got to the turn around I felt great, but didn't want to be out there forever.  I picked up the pace about 1:15/mile and just ran home.  End time:  90 minutes for 11.2 miles.  I was very happy to have finished so easily, with no residual soreness or fatigue.

I had planned on running an easy 5 miler on Sunday but I woke up late, did stuff around the apartment, and had to run out the door for brunch.  But that's okay because I had hit my goal of 30 miles for the week so now I am back on track!

Goals for the coming week:
Last first week of classes ever!  I get back on a routine so this should help my training.   My plan is 35 miles over 5 runs with the long run of 13 miles.  With classes not starting until 2:15pm 3 days a week (and Fridays off!) there should be no excuses...