Sunday, May 30, 2010

Pelican Fest 2010

It has been a few years since I race in a sprint triathlon. I have been working on my pace and speed and wanted to have a trial run on a short course to test this effort. My goal for the race was to push a max effort and be able to sustain it for the entire race in each discipline.
The race was in a small town called Windsor in northern Colorado. It was a small local race but in years past has had good attendance from some of the better racers in the state. I liked the look of the race with a point to point on the swim, a fast bike and a seemingly flat run.
I was in the first wave start and lined up on the beach with my heart racing. I was very excited to toe the line today and felt really good at the start. The siren sounded and off we went running through the water. I hit the water and started swimming at a very fast pace. I was able to jump on some feet and was working to keep up with them past the first turn. The feet could not keep a straight line and so when they drifted to the left I held the line and was able to pass just swimming straight. I was alone for the moment and worked on a smooth hard stroke. I was feeling the results of a hard swim from the start. I passed another few guys and then found a second pair of feet to follow. He was a kicker and it was easy to follow him and he kept a straight line so I relaxed just a bit and let him pull me to the finish.
Out of the water and a fast run to my bike rack. I took my goggles and swim cap off with one hand and was able to pull the top of my wetsuit off with ease. I found my rack, dropped my wetsuit top and worked to get the bottom off. Seconds later I was ready to put my sun glasses and helmet on and was running through T-1 holding my bike seat in hand passing swimmers as they finished. The first 4 miles of the bike was up hill and usually I would take it pretty easy but not today. Last week I did hill repeats up Deer Creek and in the 3rd hour on my 3 repeat I was instructed to ride as hard as possible. I kept my HR between 175-190 for over 45 minutes after doing 3 hours or riding already. So to say that I was going to take the bike easy today was not possible. I was to build on the hard swim and take the bike even harder. I slowed down on the bike after a few minutes only to put my shoes on and then I was off again hammering up the hills like I did last week. Usually this time in all my races I am the pretty fast swimmer that gets passed by many faster bikers. So when the first pass came I was OK with it but I was also reminded that I am not that guy anymore. I picked up my tempo and cadence even a bit more and tried to relax my upper body. The first 4 miles went really fast and I was only passed by one. I felt OK about that since in the climb I was able to pass two riders myself. The next 4 miles was down hill and fast. I took a drink and dropped my gears until I had no more to give. I kept a very aggressive pace and what seemed like just a few minutes I was on my last few miles before T-2. Just as we were in our last half mile left on the bike I was passed by a guy that would win my age group. I wanted to stay with him to the end so we hit the dismount line within 3 seconds of each other. I ran faster then normal to my rack and had my helmet off in seconds. I slammed on my shoes, no socks and grabbed my race belt and hat and was off. I made eye contact with the guy that just passed me and he was still working on his transition. Out of T-2 and on the flat run course. The game plan here was to take the first mile pretty fast and then drop it like it hot but today I was racing and I did not have time to take it easy. I was in max run effort out of T-2 and wanted to make the guy work to get past me again. It was just at about a half mile in that he blew by me running what seemed like a low 6 minute mile. I know that I am not that fast and so I watched as he ran away from me. I still had to finish and so I relaxed my upper body and rolled my shoulder forward and put my head visor down and went to work on the last few miles of the race. This course was an out and back so I was able to count how many runners were in front of me in my wave. I could see 5 ahead of me and they were not that far in front of me. I counted one, then two and three were pretty close and then a break. I was approaching the turn around and was passed by the guy that I raced out of T-2 and then one other. I also at the turn checked to see who was trying to chase me down and I had a fairly big gap between me and the next guy. I was pretty tired at this point and had to focus really hard to stay relaxed and in good form. I passed T-2 and was on the last mile of the race. I picked up my effort for the last bit and was definitely at my max effort. I held that all the way to the finish line and as I was approaching the finish shoot I saw the race clock and it had just turned to 1:04. I smiled crossing the line and was very pleased with myself. I wanted to come in somewhere between 1:09-1:11 and I killed that goal.
I cheered in Holly, Julie and John as they came across the finish line. Everyone seemed to have a good day and raced well. After some pancakes and a cookie I went to see the results. I knew that I had a good day and was even more pleased to see that I had taken 2ND in my age group and 14Th overall. It was my fist time ever ranking this high in a race and for the next hour I soaked it up. The awards were really fun for me and for some reason it was a bit easier waiting around for the awards ceremony to start.
I enjoyed this race and would recommend it. I felt safe on the roads, the volunteers were in mass and were good at their jobs. The event was a success and was really fun. Good job Pelican Fest I will return again.
800 yard swim - 13:12
T-1: 1:32
10 Mile bike: 26:28 22.7MPH
T-2: 1:06
5K Run: 21:52 7:04/Pace
Total: 1:04:08

Monday, May 10, 2010

Rev3 Knoxville TN

After being on the plane for 45 minutes I was finally able to start relaxing and calm down. The effort that I went through the last 24 hours to get ready for this trip was one of the most difficult challenges work wise that I have ever had. Like many other’s right now work these days are tough to navigate and for me trying to get done what needed to should have taken 2 days and I was able to compress it down to 24 hours and then get most everything packed and ready to go for the trip. Anne took me to the airport and was very eager to make sure that I took this time away from the stresses of work and life and to really work on me. No family to take care of and a very relaxing schedule for my first race weekend.
The 2.5 hour drive from Nashville to Knoxville on I-40 was spectacular and very enjoyable. The colors of green I saw are very uncommon in Denver and it was fun to be spending some time in a state that I have spent very little time in before. The race site was right down town next to the University of Tennessee.
Beth, Michelle, the Wieck’s including Eric, the Beeson’s and Randy and Ross were the familiar faces and friends that I was able to travel with. We spent Friday and Saturday getting ready for the race on Sunday, previewing the course and working out race day logistics. The swim was in a local river with riverboats, bridges and snakes to keep our minds busy. The ride took us through campus and then out into the hills and country of Knoxville. The road was rough in areas and I spent the few days before hoping for a safe ride because I felt it could be a challenge for many. The run was open, fairly flat with lots of shade for my new shaved head. After the preview I was a very excited athlete and ready to toe the line for the first triathlon of the season.
Swim recon the day before the race. Thanks for the Photo's E. Wieck

The race was put on by a company called Rev3 and they came to town as a class act and made us athletes feel like this race was a big deal. I would recommend going to this company’s races, they put on a really great event.
The races early season start later in the morning and so sleeping until 6am was great. We had our transition bags packed and had checked our bikes in the day before. After setting up and taking a quick warm-up run I was left to get my wetsuit on and head to the start.
Getting transition ready for the day

The water was warmer than the air and it was fun to jump into it. I was in the 5th wave and started with all men between 30-39 years old. I took the swim a little faster than I would normally race and was feeling good. The first section went into the rising sun. The river boats, restaurants and fans were fun to swim by and look at every time I took a breath. The first buoy came quick and I started to relax and really focus on swimming smooth and pulling hard. I was able to get into a grove and navigate through traffic without too much effort. My sighting was on and I was able to see the swim exit faster then I felt I usually would in this race distance. I felt fast in the water. Jumping out onto the dock the crowd was cheering loud and I was able to fully get into the race focus on my approach to T1. Over the timing mat and into transition I grabbed my glasses, helmet and bike and then was off. I hit the line out of transition and was able to get on my bike and start working on getting my shoes on. The next few miles were pretty calm and I was feeling good. The first half of the bike is always funny to me since the slow swimmers who are great riders and runners have to get past me. By the first hill I was hitting the effort that I wanted to for the first half of the course. I was getting pasted by the really fast riders and it was fun to have Anthony pass with a word of encouragement. He was rocking and looked to have a good day. I was right since he took 2nd in our 35-39 age group.
Coming back on the bike after 24 miles of riding

The bike course once out of town had 3 good climbs and as I approached the first one I decided to take it very easy and was pleased with how smooth I was able to climb. Climb 2 and 3 were similar. I was fast and unafraid on the downhill’s and were able to pass guys that climbed better than I did, then they had to pass me again. I liked having to make them work to get past me the 2nd time. I saw 3 crashes on the bike course and was glad that I was able to stay safe. Coming into T2 I was able to bring my heart rate down and had a very clean T2.
Start of the run

The first 3 miles of the run I was working to take easier than the last 3 and worked hard at getting calm and finding a good grove. I was able to see Anthony, Sonja, Michelle and Beth on the run course and everyone looked great. I draw energy from seeing friends and teammates during the event and it was especially great to see them working so hard.
The first 2 miles in the run I had been passed by 2 others in my age group. One of them took it out way too fast and I caught him by mile 3. The other came into view at mile 3.5 and by mile 5 I was on his heels. Literally!! I kept it calm and followed him stride for stride for the next mile. I was able to hear his breathing change and as we made the climb to the finish I took my effort way up and passed him. He did not come with me and I was able to keep the effort up.
My very first chase!!!
As I was making the final turn into the finish shoot I heard Sonja, Troy and Michelle yelling my name and encouragements. I passed them with a strong kick and then hit the tunnel where Anthony was. He realized that the volume was strong and the echo was impressive so I went through with a very loud push from him. As I left the echo of the tunnel I head him laughing at how loud he really was. I kept the effort all the way in and finished my first race of the season feeling awesome. The first race of the year went really well for me and I am very pleased. I did not find out any of my times until later in the day and when they came in I was again very pleased and happy. I have several areas that I will be working on the next few months. I will not be taking the bike so casual anymore and will keep the hard swim effort in my races going forward that I had for the first time this race. I look forward to the 2010 race season and I am pleased to be leaving Knoxville the way I am.
Michelle Ford and Sonja killed it in the Elite age group finishing close to one another. They were able to use each other to push themselves and were pleased with the results. Only if the timing would show their results!!!!
Anthony took 2nd in our age group and as I said before looked strong and impressive. Beth took first place in her age group and really killed it. She is so casual about it so it is my opinion that she is a real rock star.
Eric took several hundred pictures and Troy, Annie and Michelle Beeson were the best cheerers.
Traveling home to my family I am tired, happy and in love with racing triathlon all over again. Racing keeps me training and that keeps me healthy, happy and headed in the right direction.
I want to tell my family that allowed my to travel this weekend many hundred thanks. I love you and know when I travel it is not easy but worth it.

Picture with Tara from the Biggest Looser, She Rocks!!

All my love Anne,