Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Just Not Enough Time!!

Ok, I guess I really don't expect any sympathy from you. It's not like I have a family, kids, or other responsiblities that many of you have. I do have a house that's an ongoing project, but it's not like I'm putting much time into it these days! Just posting a quick note about the sacrifices one makes when attempting to improve in endurance athletics, don't ask me right now if it is worth it!

I'm biking a lot these days. Last night I got off of work and got home around 5:15. Found my ankle reflectors, rear light, mounted a headlight on my bike and headed out on the road about 5:45. Around 8:30 I was rolling back in after a 45 mile ride. Didn't leave a whole lot of down time before I was in bed resting up for another day.

Today was even more full. Up at 5am for a 10k run, followed by a 1,200 yard swim. The run was an easy paced run because I knew tonight I would be riding with the local bike racers on their fast paced Tuesday evening ride to Hallsville and back. So once again, shortly after getting home from work I was out the door for another ride. This ride was much faster than last nights, 21.5 mph average for 45 miles. Considering that my average after the first 7 miles was around 16 mph, the last 38 miles were fast!

The nice thing about riding faster was getting home around 7:30 and feeling like I had all kinds of time left in the evening. That is until I realized I needed groceries. Since I really didn't feel like using chocolate milk again on my cereal like I did this morning, a trip to the store was in order. Between going to the store and fixing dinner, the night was gone.

So now it is a little past 10 and since I plan on getting up at 5:30 to swim, I really need to head to bed. A quick post to my blog (http://triathleteguru.blogspot.com/) and then off to bed recharging for another round in the morning!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Republic Tiger Triathlon Race Report

I actually have three other race reports I’ve neglected to write, so I’m going a little out of order here! However, I had a really great race this past weekend, probably my best performance of the year and I feel like writing about it while it is still fresh in my mind, maybe I’ll write the other three later...

I've been chasing one person all season in the Ultramax Series, Jay Orr. He and I are two of four people who have done all the races in the series so far and every time we've raced head to head he's beaten me, usually by two or three minutes. He is leading the Ultramax Series while I'm sitting in second. Exactly one week ago, at the Kansas City Octomax Race, Jay Orr had taken second overall to my fifth, finishing two minutes and thirty-eight seconds ahead of me. This week my goal was to make it a much closer race!
The Republic Tiger Tri is a pool swim with a self seeded time trial start. Since Jay and I are usually pretty similar in the swim, I decided to line up directly behind him meaning I would start exactly fifteen seconds after him. If I could catch him in the swim I would have fifteen seconds in the bank for later in the race...

We were lined up about fifteen people back from the first swimmer so in a little over three minutes Jay jumped in the water and fifteen seconds later I was after him. The swim distance was a little over three hundred yards, down and back five lanes with a left hand turn at the end of the fifth lane to the end of a shallower kids pool about forty yards in length. On each length of the pool I could see that I was slowly making up time on Jay and could also tell the person behind me was falling further back. By the fifth lane I had caught up to Jay's feet and settled down to enjoy a draft for about the final sixty-five yards. Jay came out of the water and sprinted into transition with me right on his feet. I got through transition smoothly and quickly, a split second ahead of Jay.

Once out on the bike Jay passed me within the first mile. Unlike the previous week, I was determined to keep him within sight! The bike course at Republic is quite hilly with a lot of turns, some of them sharp and steep. On the flat and downhill stretches, Jay would start pulling away slightly, but on the up hills I would stand and try to maintain as much momentum as possible and the gap would shrink. At the end of the first lap, I was back about twenty-five seconds to Jay, but more importantly I felt the gap was shrinking and if I kept at it I could pull him back all the way! While I never did end up passing him back, by the end of the second loop I was right on his tail and as we came into T2 I knew a fast transition would put me out on the run ahead of him. With an increased sense of urgency, I had the fastest T2 split of the day, outspliting Jay's T2 by nine seconds and was out on the run.

For the time being, Jay is a considerably better runner than I am. Even though he has been racing with a bum knee all year, he has consistently put about fifteen seconds per mile into my racing pace. So while I had at least a fifteen second lead heading into the run, I knew that lead wasn't likely to last. About a quarter of a mile into the run he caught up with me. For a while we ran side by side and despite the fact that we were competing head to head, he tried to encourage me and my running, suggesting that I relax my running. Somewhere shortly after the first mile, he began to pull away. For the most part I continued to keep him in sight, but eventually he had pulled far enough ahead, my fifteen seconds had been spent!

Final time, 58:03 and 5th out of 319 overall. Jay Orr had beaten me by thirty-two seconds, the smallest margin of the year, even smaller than a stand alone 5k we had raced back in July. Interestingly, looking at the bike splits from the race, the top six finishers in the triathlon had the top six bike splits in the same order as their respective finishes! I had improved by 2:37 from the previous year, moved up from 8th to 5th overall, and had biked 1:52 faster. All very positive results, but most importantly I had achieved my goal of a much closer race with Jay Orr!