Got The Nerve? Triathlon - TriathlonSprint

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Mt. Gretna, Pennsylvania
United States
Got The Nerve? Triathlon
75F / 24C
Total Time = 1h 33m 48s
Overall Rank = 213/600
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 35/53
Pre-race routine:

Bagel with turkey and salmon for breakfast; an apple on the way to the event. I arrived at the site about 6.40 and off-loaded my gear and bike. I walked down to the race area and was surprised by how crowded it was. It was also very well organized. We gathered for the race instructions, but they were pretty much impossible to hear.
Event warmup:

Went for a seven minute run, just enough to get the sweat up and feel loose. At swim time, I did some strokes in the H20 to get the feel of it. I felt really strong...slippery.
  • 13m 4s
  • 500 yards
  • 02m 37s / 100 yards

After jumping in, I actually thought about going without my wetsuit. It restricts my arms a little at the top of the stroke, increasing my fatigue on the swim. Then I remembered: plan your race, race your plan.

I put myself in the middle of the pack and the horn sounded. I planned to go out easy to the first buoy, go up a notch on the top of the triangle and then see what I had left at the end. I started off nice and easy, but found myself staying with the pack. Was I going out too fast? I didn't think so. I just felt natural. Stroke, stroke, breathe. Stroke, stroke, breathe. I remember thinking to keep my chin down which leveled my body in the water, and also to use the entire stroke, and not waste anything (thanks Steve!).

I turned around the first buoy and begin to swim across the top of the triangle. I'm still freestyling and waiting for the fatigue to catch up, to kick in, to slow me down. It doesn't come as I head for the last turn, where I will make my way back to the beach.

As I head for home, I still wonder where the fatigue is. It occurs to me that I will not falter. I will freestyle the entire 500 yards, finishing as a swimmer. I "site" the buoy and realize I have have 50 yards to go. I finish the swim, feeling like I could have done another 500 yards...easily. I feel INCREDIBLE.

I now realize I can be a strong swimmer, with work and practice. I feel better about this swim than any I have had in my life. Ever.
What would you do differently?:

Train more so I can swim faster! Learn to breathe bilaterally.
Transition 1
  • 01m 45s

I walked/ran to my bike. In the future, I will run faster, recognizing I have the ability to rest while I get my shoes, helmet, and glasses on. I eschewed socks and was glad I did--much quicker and no less comfortable.

The run out for the bike was on the opposite end of where I was racked with my bike. They had assigned rack places this year and I drew the short straw. Whatever: SUCK IT UP, BUTTERCUP.

I geared up quickly and got going.

It was then I heard my daughter yelling, "GO DADDY!" and my wife cheering for me. It's actually kind of cool to be able to pick out Mrs. Fish's voice, my daughter's. It's also amazingly uplifting. My mom and dad came in from Jersey to see the race and I heard my dad, and my mother's Irish brogue above the crowd screaming for me. It was amazing. I hopped on the bike and went.

What would you do differently?:

Better seeding in the transition area.

Run to my bike.
  • 49m 40s
  • 14.8 miles
  • 17.88 mile/hr

I started up the hill of Pinch Road, realizing that there is a flat spot about half way up, where you can catch your breath for about 15 feet. I hit it hard and my legs started to burn. I ground it out and reached the flat spot, feeling good about where I was. Then I attacked the last part of the hill, rising out of the saddle to adjust my position once, then settling in to the grind and the burn. It felt good. Bad. But good.

I BOMBED THE BACK HALF OF THE HILL!!! I was flying...a later computer readout confirmed 51.8 miles per hour. The back of the ride was a blur. I passed and was passed. My legs felt dead on the ride, though. I knew I was in trouble. I couldn't seem to wake them up. It was so frustrating, because I knew I could be riding stronger than this.

I couldn't ride stronger, so I had to ride smarter. I developed a strategy of stalking riders on the rolling hills. I made up my mind to pass them on the downhill. Then I would attack a bit on the uphill, to separate myself further in an attempt to frustrate and demoralize them. It worked. I'm not patenting it, but I surely am remembering it.

At the end of the bike course are two hills, the first a sharp 200 foot climb, the second a long, slow climb of 150 feet over two miles. I hit the first hill and felt something. A zing. something in my legs came alive. It was GO TIME, BABY. I hit the hill like Lazarus, risen from the dead. I passed A LOT of riders on that hill, bombed the back side (40 and change), then got ready for the next steady climb.

There was electricity in my legs now. I looked to the right and saw a sign, nailed to a tree. ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE it read. Inspirational to the average reader, but I knew the rest. Matthew 19.26: With God, all things are possible. My stroke was now clean, driving, lifting, circling in a pure motion. I had found it. At one point I looked down and was doing 20 miles per hour. Solo. Uphill!

I hit the last part of the downhill, then cruised into the transition area.

What would you do differently?:

Spin before the race.
Transition 2
  • 01m 25s

I had to dismount at the front of the area, then run all the way to the back in my cycling shoes. Totally teh suxxor, but still, it was what it was. Racked my bike, dropped down, shoes off, runners on, spritz the head with water and I was off.

What would you do differently?:

Unclip a little earlier.
  • 27m 39s
  • 3.1 miles
  • 08m 55s  min/mile

Linguine legs...only, not as bad as last year. The couple of bricks I did, I focused on fighting this off. I started off with the wobblies, but (TRAINING!!!) got my legs under me quickly. I was passed by a guy with a 44 (age) on his calf, and then a guy with a 39 on his calf. I determined to push a little and run with them, even though I knew I was running downhill the first half of the run. It's a tough course because it's hard to gauge just where I was.

I knew my friend Kurt, with his marathon background, was lurking back there somewhere. Shortly after I made the turn for home, Kurt was there. I wasn't hurting as bad as I thought I would be. I picked it up a little to stave him off a bit. It was just a matter of time, but I wanted to make him earn it.

I saw a bright spot on the course, and I knew it was the opening that meant I was in the home stretch. Kurt still hadn't caught me.

I hit the tarmac, and I heard a voice behind me. "Rob. Triathlete." I knew it was Kurt. He passed me with about 600 yards to go. I ran on. I wanted to finish strong, finish well. I could see Kurt up ahead. Then, he slowed down. I picked it up and ran up next to him. "Finish strong, brother," I I passed him. He kicked it and passed me back and I didn't have enough in the tank to catch him this time.

As I was coming in to the last 400 yards, there were three guys. Two were in my age group, and the third was 28. I passed them in a full out sprint. By age group, my best event was the run. Huge ups to my friend Scout who gave me the confidence that I could be a good runner. Now, I want to be a STRONG runner!

What would you do differently?:

Run lots. Run faster.
Post race
Warm down:

Walk around, stretch.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Two glasses of wine with dinner the night before?

Dead legs on the bike.

Crappy seeding in the transition area.

Event comments:

Chris Kaag and his volunteers do an amazing job! Huge ups for an excellent event.

Last updated: 2007-05-27 12:00 AM
00:13:04 | 500 yards | 02m 37s / 100yards
Age Group: 40/53
Overall: 342/600
Performance: Good
Suit: Body Glove Shortie
Course: Inverted triangle: about 100 yards out, 300 yards across the top and another 100 yards to home.
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 74F / 23C Current:
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Average
Time: 01:45
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
00:49:40 | 14.8 miles | 17.88 mile/hr
Age Group: 35/53
Overall: 179/600
Performance: Average
Wind: Some
Course: Loop near Gretna Lake...through the surrounding hills.
Road: Smooth  Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:25
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Below average
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Good
00:27:39 | 03.1 miles | 08m 55s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/53
Overall: 0/600
Performance: Good
Course: Out and back course on a local rail trail.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 5