Hy-Vee Triathlon 5150 U.S. Championship - Triathlon

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Des Moines, Iowa
United States
Hy-Vee Triathlon
78F / 26C
Total Time = 2h 36m
Overall Rank = 113/829
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 15/95
Pre-race routine:

Work up at 4:30am. Breakfast was a bowl of cereal and banana. Drove down around 5am. Since I'm local it's usually only a 15-minute drive. Took me nearly an hour to park because they had closed the road that I usually take to park. The detour affected everyone, and they also allowed traffic in from the north, which they usually didn't do. They also did a poor job of alerting everyone that the start time had been pushed back, as well as transition closing. So unnecessary panic as a result of poor communication and last minute changes. I wasn't too worried, seeing the long line of traffic I knew there was no way transition was going to close at 6:30. I don't require a lot of set-up time anyway. Fill up bike bottles, inflate tires, get my towel and shoes laid out and I'm good to go.
Event warmup:

The worst part was waiting. This year the pros went off first, then the championship qualifier divisions, then the age-groups. Add that to the fact that all the start times were pushed back by about 45 minutes, there wasn't much to do. It wasn't a wetsuit-legal race, so nothing to worry about there. I did a lot of sitting around, some stretching but not much. My division was 4th from the end to go in. It seemed last year we went in much sooner.
  • 32m 18s
  • 1640 yards
  • 01m 58s / 100 yards

Great start. I sprinted down the beach and got some immediate separation. I really like time-trial starts. Headed out with a strong stroke, finding some space, then started settling in. After the first right-hand turn I noticed the chop. I knew the wind had picked up, but it was more than I had anticipated.
Despite that, I was feeling really good throughout the entire swim. Despite it not being a wetsuit legal swim, I was confident I could get done in under 30 minutes as long as I didn't have any issues. Great navigation, only made contact with about 10 people total, felt good enough to kick it up a notch the final 200 meters or so. So all this good, and I was extremely disappointed to see my time of 32 min plus change when I got out. What the hell? All my swims had been SO strong all season. I was dejected, but not demoralized. Had to find other ways to improve, so it was a sprint up the chute and into T1.
What would you do differently?:

I really don't know. Maybe I was TOO comfortable since my swims had been solid all season long? That's the only thing I can think of. Maybe the wind and chop affected me more than I thought, but I did HIM Kansas in worse chop and a far better time (granted, with a wet suit). I know the wet suit makes a difference, but I average 1:42/100 yds in the pool doing warm-ups for crying out loud. I'm still at a loss for how I ended up doing a 1:59 pace. Very, very disappointed.
Transition 1
  • 02m 19s

So much easier without a wetsuit, but man - the mount line was a lot farther than last year. Probably to avoid congestion since the bike out/in was the same location. First time all season I had no issues getting my helmet on, but I did have problems with one of my socks.
What would you do differently?:

Different socks, maybe? Not much else.
  • 1h 12m 39s
  • 24.85 miles
  • 20.52 mile/hr

Got out of T1 easily with no issues, but more crowded this year. I was really eager to make up time from the swim and went out at too quick of a cadence - within 1 mile my right quad was telling me to dial it back down, so I did. As soon as I took the first turn out of the park onto MLK I knew it was going to be a tough ride - a steady wind out of the north at around 15mph greeted us. Ugh. Well, let's see what we can do. After about 10 minutes the tight quad had loosened back up, and I stayed in the 90s for rpm almost the entire time. This was new for me but good - most training days I try to stay in the upper 80s. But the mid-90s was feeling right, so I kept with it. Lost of passing, but man - lots of poor etiquette. Hardly anyone saying "On your left" when passing. I always make it a point to say it loudly - it's just common sense and safe. Lesson learned for many around Mile 20 - we're coming up on a 90-degree right hand turn. I set up outside to pass a few, and had made my announcement to them. Apparently there was quite a crowd bunched up behind me, and as we were entering the turn I heard a female drop a loud F-bomb followed by a lot of yelling, then heard a ton of brakes, gear changes, you name it. I didn't look back since I was navigating my turn, but while I was hoping no one wrecked, I also thought how I did NOT hear the f-bomb person ever say "On your left". Lesson learned the hard way for someone. Hope it didn't ruin their race - don't let it ruin yours.
Anyway, all that drama aside, the last 5 miles was cake. Mostly downhill, the wind only a factor for maybe 300 yards of that stretch. Solid bike, a little better than last year's time, but the wind definitely was a factor.
What would you do differently?:

Even though I have a new tri-specific bike, I need to improve here if I want to crack top 10 someday or ever have a chance at Kona. That means more TITS and strength-training this off-season. As far as the race itself, not much more I think I would have done. Good hydration and nutrition.
Transition 2
  • 01m 45s

No issues coming in. Saw my wife, our friend and his family cheering me on which was a great boost! I had trouble getting into my shoes, though. They're Brooks Pure-Flo, and they have a different kind of tongue - it's stitched on one side, which makes it more difficult to pull on quickly. Cost me maybe about 30 seconds, which was too bad - usually my T2s are much better.
What would you do differently?:

Practice T2 more often after getting new shoes.
  • 47m 1s
  • 6.21 miles
  • 07m 34s  min/mile

I've had some tough runs this year. On my recent half-iron distance event two weeks prior, my bike brake was rubbing the entire ride so I had nothing left for the run. I walked several stations at that event and unfortunately my brain was now thinking it was OK to walk aid stations. I had to fight that mental hurdle a few times after mile 3. My goal was to run negative splits, but after coming out with a 7:30 there wasn't going to be much room to improve. As a result, I stayed at 7:30 nearly the entire race, slowing down just a bit on miles 5 and 6. In retrospect I could have pushed it, but I've been fighting PF for about a month now and didn't want to completely cripple myself. Ended up with a heel blister from my shoe on the last 2 miles, but that wasn't a big factor. On the final 400 meters I thought I would coast in, but as usual, once I saw the finish chute I found 5th gear and practically sprinted across. I always feel better when I do that - wish I could find a way to start that kick sooner.
What would you do differently?:

Start out juuust a bit slower to run negative splits the whole way. In my defense, this is the only Oly distance event I do all season - I usually train for 70.3 distance, so I feel really going being able to come out and run 7:30s.
Post race
Warm down:

Felt great - I've never felt bad after finishing an Olympic distance event. Found some chocolate milk, banana, fruit, cookie. Tried a few other foods but really wasn't that hungry. They had ice baths at the finish but I didn't feel like I needed that either. A few chocolate milks and bananas and I was good to go.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Like I mentioned before, I don't train for this distance. If I were to spend a good 5 or 6 weeks on timing, cadence, pace, etc - I could probably get a top 10 finish in my age group. But given all that, I'm pleased with my finish - I just need to put in more bike time, and figure out what the hell went wrong with that swim.

Event comments:

I know this is still a young race, and HyVee tries so hard to make it go off smoothly. But this year was worse than last year. The delayed start, the long wait as a result, the post-race area seemed a bit 'less' than last year (I can't explain why, it just didn't have the same feel). It seems on my limited experience (and talking with others) that they address one issue one year, and then another new one pops up the next. But overall it's a very, very good race with great people. If my schedule allows, I'll definitely be back every year.

Last updated: 2013-01-31 12:00 AM
00:32:18 | 1640 yards | 01m 58s / 100yards
Age Group: 30/95
Overall: 368/829
Performance: Below average
Suit: None
Course: Point-to-point, modified rectangle. Two right-hand turns (start and finish) and two left-hand turns.
Start type: Run Plus: Time Trial
Water temp: 86F / 30C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Average Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 02:19
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Average
01:12:39 | 24.85 miles | 20.52 mile/hr
Age Group: 26/95
Overall: 191/829
Performance: Good
Wind: Strong
Course: Out-and-back closed course, all paved. Mostly city streets. A few rolling hills. A few too many sharp u-turns for my tastes (3 in all). RR X-ings were carpeted, which is always a bonus.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 93
Turns: Below average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:45
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Below average
00:47:01 | 06.21 miles | 07m 34s  min/mile
Age Group: 14/95
Overall: 143/829
Performance: Good
Course: Out-and-back on paved trails, along the Raccoon River out to MLK Parkway (again, closed course) then back, finishing at Gray's Lake.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %3%
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? No
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4