Thursday, July 16, 2009

Jeff & Brede's Intergalactic Triathlon

I just competed in Jeff & Brede's Intergalactic Triathlon (a sprint tri), 3 weeks after the Ironman. For fun! I had been recovering pretty well, and so wasn't too worried about injuring myself. I have a particular affinity for this race, since it's the race in which I got my first age group place (and win) two years ago. The race is also put on my my triathlon club (Houston Racing), so the race competitors and volunteers are all friends and acquaintances.
It had been a long time since I'd done any cycling or running for speed, so I knew I wasn't going to be setting any records, but I also knew that it would be fun to compete and fun to hang out with the triathlon community.
My swim was pretty bad, though my time was pretty much identical to the last two years. I had some really awful turns, and was reminded that I really need to start doing turns in practice. After all of those years of water polo and open water swimming (neither of which require turns), the flip turn is not exactly second nature. True, the first couple always go OK, but once I'm tired everything devolves pretty quickly. On this day, that started around 200m into the swim, and I'm pretty sure the last couple of turns would have been much faster if I'd opted for an open turn instead of the tired, awkward, floundering, wall-missing, bottom-scraping monstrosities I was throwing in towards the end.
Swim: 4:35 for 300m, 1:32 pace

I had a flawless transition, and headed out on the bike. For some reason, I felt really slow. My speedometer showed between 22 and 23 mph for the whole ride, but I wasn't able to dig out any more speed, and was pretty actively frustrated by it. One guy in my age group, whom I had beaten in IMCDA, passed me about halfway through the bike, and seemed to be going easily 2mph faster than me (he's a better cyclist than me, but it shouldn't look that easy!). I made it back into transition wondering just how awful my run was going to be, very cognizant of how little actual running I've done in the last 8 months, not to mention even less speedwork.
Bike: 33:40 for 12 miles, 21.3 avg (all of the race results showed lower avg's than we actually raced, but this was still disappointing)

I had a flawless dismount, another great transition, and was out on the run. I had a great run! It took me about a mile to get enough breath to start getting my speed up, but I eventually did, and my last 2 miles felt pretty fast, and pretty good. I had a very strong finish (as always!). I would estimate that I ran the first mile at around 8 min/mile pace, and the last mile at around 6 min/mile pace. I had a pretty good kick, for not having run fast in such a ridiculously long time.
Run: 20:27 for 3 miles, 6:49 pace
Overall: 1:00:28, 5th place in age group (only 30 seconds slower than the year I won my AG)

1) I need to start doing flip turns.
2) I need to continue to get stronger on the bike. I'm even or better with my competitors on the swim and the run, but tend to fall way short on the bike.
3) I need to get in some bricks. Somehow I need to improve my run speed coming out of transition; going 1 - 1.5 miles before I start feeling OK really slows me down.
4) It'll be fun to get back into doing some speedwork!
5) I have a couple more races this year against some of the same guys. Let's see who improves the most between now and then... :)

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