Fresh Ideas Triathlon Race Report

The last month has been a blur.  We were moving our offices at work, several events came and passed, I really ramped up my training hours and started doing two workouts on most days (you know, kinda like I was supposed to do all along…!).  It’s been a mess.  Sorry for the silence.  I guess I was too busy living life to write about it… 🙂

A quick summary up to this past weekend would simply be:

I never made it to the starting line for the KC Triathlon.  My camping stuff got blown into the woods by a severe thunderstorm at my campsite and I spent the next two hours retrieving it and trying to out drive the storm.  By the time I got away from it I noticed two things.  First, I was nearly all the way back home (about 80 miles driven to avoid the weather) and second, it was nearly 2am.  Transition opened at 4:30 and the race was at 7:30.  I just went home…

The Sedalia duathlon was a fun, small event.  It was hot and I wasn’t quite used to it yet so my splits went horrifically wrong.  I averaged 7:09 for the first 2 mile run, went a shade under 20 average on the bike and then blew up on the second run.  I walked, complained, whimpered and generally felt miserable as I limped to a 10:39 average for the second run.  It was ugly.  The race is fun though.  Not difficult, but the ride is more hilly than you think.  The run is a mix of grass, Katy trail and a local (lightly traveled but open to traffic) road.  A good training race and great practice.  There is one in the fall as well and I will be doing that one too.  Hopefully with a better second run split!

The workouts are going better than I could expect for the most part.  I am feeling more and more confident on the swim (if only a little faster…) and my bike splits for intervals are surprising.  On a relatively flat course my averages are between 22 and 23 and that is mostly alone or drafting with one other person.  I have discovered over the past two years, though, that my run splits just suffer in the heat.  As much as I bitch about running in the cold… I run better in the cold.  I melt in the heat and sweat so profusely that it is almost impossible to keep enough fluids on board to prevent cramps.  Ahh well.  Can’t have it all I guess.

Last weekend was the Fresh Ideas Octomax Triathlon by Ultramax.  Always a great event with a challenging course.  I did this two years ago and remembered that there were hills everywhere (yes, even the swim) but that’s what I liked about it.  Believe it or not, this was my first real triathlon of the year… and it’s almost JULY!  Sad…

I just drove the hour and a half to the race site that morning.  I always sleep lightly/poorly the day before races anyway so it didn’t matter that I had to get up at 3:30 anyway.  We set up by race number so it really didn’t matter that I got there early.  They made the old guys run the farthest with our bikes.  I guess they thought having us lean on our bikes might help keep us from falling on the grass and breaking a hip or something…  Transition was short enough that it really didn’t matter though.

As I said before, the course is gorgeous, challenging and even a tiny bit technical on the bike (until you get out of the resort) but the roads, for the most part, are in good shape.  The drivers are usually cordial, if occasionally a bit confused about what the heck is going on.  It seems every year somebody bounces off a car that just decides to stop in the middle of the course or something.  This year it was an ambulance that did the damage!  He decided it would be a good idea to pass another ambulance that had stopped and pulled right into oncoming racers.  Genius…

The water was BARELY wetsuit legal and I think we of the poor swimming sort have the race director to thank for that.  He may have had to take a few samples in order to get one under the minimum… 😉  No matter.  The lake is beautiful and a good swim.  Easy to follow and well supported.  We went off in waves and I swear each one could have been it’s own event.  I don’t know the numbers but there were over 230 in the short race.  My group (40+ male) was pretty big.  When the gun went off  we ran in from the beach and were off.  After the initial 15 seconds of being in the blender were over I felt surprisingly calm.  My heart rate usually shoots up but not this day.  I felt completely in control.  I knew where I was and where everyone else was.  I bumped and banged a little but it actually felt good.  I was in it again, finally!

The buoys were set up for left turns which is opposite of the way I breathe so I had to keep checking as I got closer to them but even at the turns there was minimal carnage.  I chose to swim in a wetsuit for comfort and confidence.  It was warm but tolerable to swim in it.  I don’t want to say a swim felt “good” but this one… well…  It kinda did…!  Since I never got that sense of panic I just relaxed, thought about things a bit, tried to concentrate on a few key points and just relaxed.  And then my hand hit bottom and it was over.  I hope all my swims go that well!

The “transition” for this race includes a couple hundred yards of uphill running to the transition area.  Not conducive to those 45 second transitions I am used to but everybody had to run it so there was no advantage.  I got to transition and got out of my suit pretty quickly.  The rest of transition went smoothly and I was out and on the bike pretty quickly.

The bike portion of this race WENT a lot better than it FELT.  I couldn’t get completely into my shoes for over 2 miles.  The left one kept getting rolled under my heel.  But since you are in hills and turns immediately I didn’t think it was a good idea to screw with it in traffic.  I just tried to get my heart rate down and futz with it as I had time.  If you had told me during the ride that I was going to average just over 19 I would have said you were nuts.  I felt so incredibly slow.  The only indicator that I was actually going faster that I thought was that the only people to pass me were the same 2 guys (we traded paint the entire ride) over and over again.  I would catch them on the flats and downs and they would run me down again on the bigger ups.  NOTE TO SELF:  1.  Do more hills, 2. Lose some F*@&in weight… (sigh).

Back in from the ride to T2 I felt decent off the bike but I knew that I wasn’t going to run fast.  I’m just in really poor shape right now so all I could do was give it everything I had left and hope I didn’t fall apart.  I think that, even as short as these races are, I still need to take in calories and fluids at a higher rate than I do now.  I really needed water and I felt thirsty off the bike.  Not good.  T2 was faster but I decided to put on socks (I usually run without them) due to some lingering blisters from the last run I did without socks.  It maybe added 15 seconds to my overall time, but it felt MUCH better.

The run course is a rolling first mile, uphill second mile and a rolling to downhill last mile.  Unfortunately, I forgot the whole second mile part…  Brutal.  I know that mile had to have been 10:30 or worse.  So when it was all over and I finally went to check I was actually pleasantly surprised at the 8:45 average.  This SUX by the way, but it’s better than I thought I did.  Anyway, the run was tough.  Thank goodness the temps were moderate.  I don’t know how they did it last year when the temps were 20 degrees hotter!  It is a fun course in that when you come down the hill to the finish, the road opens up so that you can see the entire finish area, hear the music and the announcer.  It’s really cool.  One of my favorite finishes.

For a first triathlon of the year this was a good one.  I didn’t forget anything.  I didn’t do anything stupid.  I didn’t burn out or blow up.  I’m ready to do it again at the next one.  I just need to run in the heat a little more…!

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