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Finger Lakes Triathlon - Olympic Distance - TriathlonOlympic

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Canandaigua, New York
United States
Mary M Gooley Hemophilia Center
50F / 10C
Total Time = 2h 36m 27s
Overall Rank = 85/271
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 15/44
Pre-race routine:

A very fun, late season race. Its the 2nd year in a row that I did the Oly. Last year, I was 2:41 and change coming off some injuries that limited my swim and run training. So I was eager to see how I might do this year.

I packed the car the night before. Included in my bag were a brand new set of arm warmers. I bought them the day before the race when I saw that there was a frost advisory for the area for that night. They came in handy.

I woke up a few minutes before 5. I ate a breakfast of quinoa, chia seeds, and honey. One of the new things I'm trying out. Also got a big mug of coffee for the 30 minute drive to the race. I ate a banana on the way also. The temps on the drive down was 38 according to my car. It was a couple degrees warmer as I got closer to the lake. I parked in the big strip mall parking lot. Pumped up my tires in the dark, with the help of the street lights. Grabbed my bag and wetsuit, and walked over to transition.

I wore a set of heavy polar fleece sweats as well as my bright yellow bike jacket. I was comfortable with that outfit. Actually, I was sweating a touch after my warmup runs.

There were assigned rows, and I got a decent spot. Set up a few minutes after 6. I needed a bigger band for my chip, so I went and got that. About 6:45 to 7AM, I had another banana, a Powerbar gel shot, and a couple mouthfuls of chia seeds. Washed those down with some water.

Right as the pre-race meeting was ending, I felt the urge to makea BobbyStock break. I thought I had taken care of that with three previous trips, but no. I had to take care of that business before heading down to the water.
Event warmup:

Last year in warmer temps, I went down to the water and swam for about 15 minutes as a warm up. In fact, I listened to the pre-race meeting while standing in the water. But this year, with the temps in the low 40s, I decided against getting wet until my wave was called. I made a few 5 minute runs as a general warmup.
  • 26m 52s
  • 1584 yards
  • 01m 42s / 100 yards

The wind was coming up the length of the lake. So the waves were coming at us for the first leg. It was a decent level of chop.

I was in the second wave. I did not get into the water until my wave was called, 4 minutes after wave 1. I am thankful that I came down and swam in the lake on Friday morning, because that definitely prepared me for the cool water temps. I did a minimal warmup.

The wave started and I dove in. Tried dolphining a bit, but gave that up quickly. I just started swimming. The wave action was coming right at us. Definitely interrupted the breathing patterns. The sun was strong and bright and on our left side. This helped me navigate quite a bit.

I knew my breathing would be heavy for the first few minutes with no warmup and I was right. It was tough to keep under control for awhile, with the initial burst plus the waves slapping you in the face. Didnt really matter which side to breath on, the wave action was a factor.

I tried to focus on staying calm, breathing well, and just letting my stroke lengthen and be easy. I had mixed results with this endeavor on the out leg.

I caught up to some people from the previous wave about half way on the out. There were people around, though usually not in my immediate vicinity. I swam alone quite a bit. I was never able to find any feet to draft off.

It seemed to take forever to get the the turn. I went around the buoy fine. Made my way over to the next, and went right by the next one. Turn for home.

I knew the waves were pushing us in. It was a MUCH more pleasant return leg. I was able to settle into my normal freestyle motion/breathing pattern and made good time. I was happy just to get into a nice rhythm and keep it under control. I didnt feel like pushing it.

As I approached the shore, the water temp got colder and colder. I guess the deeper parts held their warm temps better than the shallow ends. I was surprised at how much temperature difference there was. I didnt notice it on the way out, but it was dramatic on the way in.

I swam until it wasnt feasible to do it any longer. I actually was pulling on the bottom with my hand for a bit. It was that shallow when I got up. I heard the PA say that the first woman was coming out about then. I guess I made up the 4 minute time difference on the wave in front.

As I got out of the water, I glanced at my watch and saw 26:04. Not my fastest oly swim, but about a minute and a half faster than last year.

A good run to transition. Got goggles and cap off fine. Got wetsuit top off well.
What would you do differently?:

Not much. It was an ok swim. Nothing great, but nothing particularly wrong either. I've done better. In looking at the results, I'm surprised to see that I had the 28th fastest overall swim. I didnt feel that fast or effective.

Transition 1
  • 02m 30s

On the run from the water to transition, I decided it was warm enough to not put on my bike jacket. I would, however, put on my arm warmers.

I found my spot with no trouble. I sat down and tried to pull off my wetsuit. It got stuck on my heels. Lost some time there. Then I tried to dry off my arms and feet with some hand towels. Socks and shoes got on okay, not real efficiently though. They needed some adjustment.

Putting arm warmers onto damp, just-dried skin is not easy. This took awhile to accomplish. I actually didnt even get the one on my left arm over my watch. So I couldnt see my watch during the bike.

Sunglasses and helmet went on fine at least.

I felt slow and inefficient in this transition. 40 seconds slower than last year. Blah.
What would you do differently?:

The decision to put on the arm warmers definitely cost me time. They did help keep my arms warm, but I'm not sure this was really needed.
  • 1h 11m 11s
  • 24 miles
  • 20.23 mile/hr

I got into my clips fine leaving transition. Got up to about 22mph on the road out to 5&20. Passed a couple of people here, got passed by a few.

I realized on the road out to 5&20 that my cycle computer was messed up. I think it got botched as I reset it while the bike was sitting in transition. I normally have the cadence in the upper screen and the speed in the lower part showing. Somehow, the top part got set on my speed. I pushed buttons which changed the bottom part. I could not find cadence. I finally settled on distance so I could get a rough feel for how much more to go.

Actually, through this whole ride, I got passed somewhat regularly. I'm not used to that on the bike. The run, yes, but not the bike. The reality is that having the faster waves starting behind me, getting passed is going to happen. At least I was able to take a rough poll on what bikes were going past me. Lots of Cervelos. One Cannondale. One Specialized. One Guru. Lots of Zipp wheels.

Out to 5&20, I got passed by a few more people. I wanted to pick it up, but thet legs just didnt have any pop in them. Actually, it was about this time that I realized that I was feeling somewhat complacent. That the high energy/adrenalyn that I can usually feel when racing wasnt there today.

Last year, I remember getting in a full bottle of gatorade on the bike, as well as a lot of water. Given the cool temps, I really wasnt thirsty. But I knew I needed some calories. I got most of my gatorade in while on the bike, but didnt finish it. I never touched the water bottle.

Anyway, I just kept plugging along. Turn off to go to Gorham. I passed a woman. She must have gotten ahead of me during transition.

I made good time on the downstretch to Gorham. I rode in aero for this and kept plugging away. Rounded the corner to go to Rushville.

I went back and forth with a couple of guys here. I would pass them on the uphill, they'd get me on the flats and downhills. With the rollers here, it was an ebb and flow.

At one point on this route, I did feel a touch more energy. I got a little more aggressive and pushed a decent pace through here. I still got passed with some regularity, however. And my energy didnt last long.

We turned up the steep climb coming out of Rushville. I actually thought about getting off the bike and walking. My energy was that low. I told myself that wasnt going to happen. I put it in my lowest gear and spun up. I actually did pass a couple of people here. But more passed me.

We crested the hill and got to the long downslope that eventually ends by the lake. I actually felt like I made good time in here, often crusing well over 30 mph. Most of this was in aero, until the steep part before turning onto Lake Road. Safety had me on the drops there.

We turned onto Lake Road. I just set the cruise. The energy wasnt there to hammer. I think there was a slight wind behind us, as I was going 23-24 mph along these flats. Thats a touch faster than I'd normally cruise given my relatively low effort level.

Up to the performing arts center. I got passed by the first woman today that I'm aware of. She'd made up the 8 minute start time difference on me. I told her she was in first place, she appreciated that.

We cruised on back to transition. I got off the bike and was surprised to see Mary Eggers directing traffic at the dismount area.

My legs and particularly my hamstrings, while sore, were much, much better than a year ago. Last year, I could barely walk getting off the bike. I hurt, but it wasnt bad.
What would you do differently?:

Hard to say. My energy level wasnt the best. But still, I beat my time from last year by about 50 seconds, so its hard to complain too much. I'm sure with better energy I could have had a better ride.

Given how often I was passed, I was surprised to see I had the 63rd fastest bike time.
Transition 2
  • 02m 24s

As I ran with my bike to my spot, I heard my wife call my name and was cheering for me. That was really nice to see her and get some support.

T2 was better than T1, but still not great. Shoe swap went ok. Helmet off ok. I could not find my visor however. I rummaged around but could not find it. I gave up and just went with my sunglasses.

In retrospect, I probably would have benefited from a Powerbar gel shot here. But thats something I'll have to think about down the road.
What would you do differently?:

Get things laid out better so everything can be found easier.

Looking at the results, I'm shocked to see 2:24 total time. Only 6 seconds faster than T1. That makes no sense to me. My T2 last year was 1:15. I really don't understand this time result.
  • 53m 30s
  • 6.38 miles
  • 08m 23s  min/mile

My legs, especially hamstrings were sore coming out of transition. But as mentioned, better than last year. I figured they'd loosen up fairly soon and they did by the time I hit the gravel trail section of the course.

On the way to the trial section, I also took off my arm warmers. I stuffed them into my back pocket in my tri shirt. I could finally see my watch again! It was 1:41 and change. I realized I was maybe a minute ahead of last year's pace. I was kind of bummed by that, but took it in stride.

My run is normally my weakest leg compared to the field. I've had some foot problems for most the the last 18 months. So I can often only average about 10 miles per week with a max run time of about 45 minutes. Kinda hard to train for 10K distance with that.

One thing that I realized over the summer is that my custom orthotics were causing some of my foot problems, not solving them. Given that I've gone the full support route, I have begun the transition to the exact opposite direction. Barefoot running.

It is so very different running barefoot or with minimalist shoes compared to heavy padded running shoes with anti-pronation features. You run on the balls of your feet, not your heels, among other things. Running on the balls of your feet puts a lot of strain on the achilles and calf muscles. It takes awhile to condition those areas. I can normally only run about 10 to 12 minutes before those areas get annoyed. I hope to build that time up over the winter, but for now I'm stuck with my normal running shoes for most of the race.

After getting to the trail area, I quickly settled into a little jog. I was breathing somewhat heavily, but that was out of general fatigue more than overall pace. I figured it would settle in as I got into a rhythm, and it did.

I knew I was going to get passed a lot, and such was the case. One runner who passed me on the back stretch of the trails was Kathy Hayden. I told her she was in 2nd place. She asked how far ahead the first place was, and I said about 1 minute. She thanked me and motored on.

In looking at the results, Kathy finished 2nd overall woman. The woman who passed me on the bike was first woman (and 5th overall at 2:13:11!) The person I didnt see pass me was Dana Woody, the third overall woman. Looking at the results, she had to have passed me on the run. Anyway.

But back to my run. I exited the trail section and heard a cheer from my wife. Further down by the Hess station was Kam29 and her kids. They gave me a good cheer. Paul Cupo was maybe 50 yards further down.

I felt a good bit like I did on the bike. I was pattering along aerobically, but didnt have a faster gear. I could feel myself getting a bit thirsty, so I walked the first couple of water stations and took a drink.

Out to 5&20 then down and back on the pier. I kept plodding along. Back onto the main road, I got passed by Kevin Walter. I know him from the Train-This group, and he's also transitioning to a barefoot running style. As he passed, I asked him where his Vibrams were. He answered that he wasnt ready to race in them yet. Made sense. It takes awhile to adjust to them.

On this stretch from the pier back to the start, I scouted out the roadside. Just over the bridge of a little canal and boat shop were stretches of grass with minimal people on them.

I passed the turnoff to go to the finish and get more cheers like on the way out. On to the trails again for lap 2. I was ready to be done.

I wanted to pick it up on my last lap, but the energy wasnt there today. I just kept on trudging.

No water stops this leg. Too late to make a difference. Out to the turnaround by 5&20. I was getting warm, so I pulled up my race belt to vent my stomach. In the process, I managed to knock out a container in my back pocket. I turned back around and picked it up. What I didnt realize at the time is one of my arm warmers also fell out of the pocket. After the race was over, I walked the course to find it. It was right where my container fell, as I expected.

Anyway, out the pier and back. I was trudging along. Can you pick it up for the last bit maybe? Nope. The extra gear wasnt there. Off the pier. Pass the boat shop on the right. Over the bridge of the little canal.

Screw it. I'm going to run barefoot from here to the finish. I got on the grass, stopped, and took off my shoes and socks. I stuffed the socks deep into the shoes and picked up one in each hand. Off I started to the finish on the grass.

It was like I had taken off ankle weights. I was free! My legs were light! Quick! I HAD another gear! Hell yeah! I'm kicking it up now!

I motored down the grass, next to the road. I had to get on the pavement a few times, but that was fine. Its tough on the feet, going on pavement, but I didnt have far to go.

I was passing people. We turned to the finishing shute. I heard someone in the crowd say "he's going barefoot, thats cool!" Two guys were ahead of me. They were trying to finish strong too. But I knew I HAD them. It was like they had no chance with their shoes on. Those extra gears were there!

I heard someone yell "Go Ridgelake!" as I was sprinting to the finish. I think it was Dexter, but I'm not sure. As I rounded the corner, I heard Rich Clark say over the PA, "Here comes Rob Hilton! I guess he didn't like his running shoes! Going barefoot to the finish!"

At work the next day, I saw a guy who was at the finish cheering on his wife who wsa doing the sprint. He said I had the biggest smile on my face. I can believe it. It was fun and exhilarating running barefoot and KNOWING I was just flying! Like a little kid running just for the glee of it!

I pulled away at the finish line and crossed it strong. Carrying my running shoes in each arm like footballs.

The official time said 2:40 and something. I was a little bummed that I didnt go under 2:40. Then I looked at my watch and saw 2:36 something and realized I started in wave 2, 4 minutes after the race start!

Over to get the chip removed, then to grab some water. My wife was by the finish line, so I got a nice hug, kiss, and congratulations from her.
What would you do differently?:

I ran as good of a race as I realistically could. I really didnt have another gear until I took off my shoes. And the course wasnt conducive to that until I did so.

Would a Powerbar Gu shot have helped in T2? Possibly. But hard to say for sure.

Looking at the results, I can't believe I did 53:30. Over 4 minutes faster than last year. My pace for this leg is gosh darn close to my PR stand alone 10K pace. I sure felt like I was trudging along until removing my shoes. I would not have guessed I was in the mid 8's pace with the shoes.
Post race
Warm down:

After the race, my wife and I walked around and chatted with people. I drank a good bit of water, as I was somewhat dehydrated. I had a few pieces of watermelon. I would have liked some chicken, but it had been cooked with tomatoes, something I'm allergic to. So I wasnt able to eat what I wanted post race.

I looked for BT people, but didnt see anyone until after maybe 30-45 minutes. I guess folks were busy with the kids race and stuff. I did eventually catch up with a few people.

I also walked all the way out to 5&20 to retrieve my dropped arm warmer. I wanted to jog out there, but my legs were done.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Overall, I had a very good race. I beat last year's time by about 5 minutes and set a PR for the oly distance. Each of my splits was faster than a year ago, except transitions.

That said, I feel like I wasn't "on". My energy level was never high until the very, very end. I had no real ability to push into anaerobic zones. This made the race seem somewhat methodical. On the other hand, its nice to put up a respectable time even on an "off" day.

I had a good summer of training, particularly for the bike and somewhat for the swim. But since the week before Labor Day, I had been busy with family committments and I'm sure I lost some fitness during that time. Life happens.

I was also clearly not run trained appropriately for this distance. But I feel like I have found the answer to my foot problems. I am more encouraged than ever about my run potential. Especially after a near 10K PR run pace split. I can't wait for my body to adapt to the barefoot style so that I can get more than token training miles in.

Event comments:

Score-This ran a good race. There were a ton of volunteers and police. The intersections were all well guarded and supported to keep racers safe.

A couple of minor complaints.
1) the post race food was bad. They need to have more variety.

2) Everyone was forced to remove bags, etc from transition. That was fine for bringing stuff in. It was not fine for getting things out. I gave a few things to my wife as she was leaving. I eventually laid out my big towel and bundled up the rest of my stuff in that to carry things out. Significant PITA.

3) We were not allowed back into transition for quite awhile after the race. Yes, there were other participants still coming in and out. In certain areas. But the races were numbered in groups, so oly people had a certain area, sprint folks a different one, and kids different still. By closing transition to everyone, we were forced to stay there for probably an hour or two longer than we otherwise might have. I'm glad I didnt have anything pressing to attend to post-race. It might have been an issue. I hope they work something out for next year.

Last updated: 2009-06-26 12:00 AM
00:26:52 | 1584 yards | 01m 42s / 100yards
Age Group: 3/44
Overall: 28/271
Performance: Average
Course: Start near the shore. Swim out about 700 meter or so towards the middle of the lake. Cut over maybe 50 meters to another buoy. Then, come back to the shore. A big rectangle.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 63F / 17C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Bad
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Average
Time: 02:30
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Below average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed: Average
01:11:11 | 24 miles | 20.23 mile/hr
Age Group: 14/44
Overall: 63/271
Performance: Below average
Wind: Little
Course: Gradual uphill for about the first five miles or so. Then a nice long downslope to Gorham. Rolllers over to Rushville which has a relatively steep downhill into it and the biggest and steepest climb of the ride out of it. A good downhill coming back to the lake, followed by flats for a few miles along its edge. A quick detour through the music venue, then back to transition.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering:
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
Time: 02:24
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
00:53:30 | 06.38 miles | 08m 23s  min/mile
Age Group: 23/44
Overall: 146/271
Performance: Good
Course: A two loop course along the top of the lake. First, over to some gravel trails, then along the road out to 5&20, turn around and go out to the end of the pier, come back and do it again. The course is like a giant Y shape in many regards.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? No
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2009-09-22 10:33 AM

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Rochester, NY
Subject: Finger Lakes Triathlon - Olympic Distance

2009-09-22 11:28 AM
in reply to: #2419822

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West Chester, Ohio
Subject: RE: Finger Lakes Triathlon - Olympic Distance

Nice job!!  Sounds like the barefoot run agrees with you

2009-09-22 1:25 PM
in reply to: #2419822

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Subject: RE: Finger Lakes Triathlon - Olympic Distance

Awesome Rob!  Especially the run- I'm so glad the barefoot thing is working out.  And it looks like all the swimming time is making a difference too!

2009-09-22 2:50 PM
in reply to: #2419822

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Malvern, England
Subject: RE: Finger Lakes Triathlon - Olympic Distance
Despite your lack of energy, this was a good race and a PR to end the season with.  And your running is coming along nicely. Think what you will be able to do with some more run training and a good day!  Congratulations! (and I get to hold onto my bike title for another year   )
2009-09-22 3:41 PM
in reply to: #2419822

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Canandaigua NY
Subject: RE: Finger Lakes Triathlon - Olympic Distance

Nice race Rob!!!  Great way to finish up the season!

2009-09-22 4:11 PM
in reply to: #2419822

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Binghamton, NY
Subject: RE: Finger Lakes Triathlon - Olympic Distance
Great race Rob and I love the report! I think the PR came from the last BobbyStocks you took prior to the start. Yea ..... that was it!! Much better than taking one 100 yds before the finish!!


2009-09-23 3:28 PM
in reply to: #2419822

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Rochester, NY
Subject: RE: Finger Lakes Triathlon - Olympic Distance
WTG Rob!  Nice race!
2009-09-23 3:34 PM
in reply to: #2419822

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Reston, VA
Subject: RE: Finger Lakes Triathlon - Olympic Distance
Great race out there! Nice PR!
2009-09-24 10:41 AM
in reply to: #2419822

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Extreme Veteran
New Joisy
Subject: RE: Finger Lakes Triathlon - Olympic Distance
Nice race.  It sounds like you were really thinking throughout the race and barefoot running...... just awesome!  Wish I could have seen you come in.
2009-09-24 12:20 PM
in reply to: #2419822

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Subject: RE: Finger Lakes Triathlon - Olympic Distance
Nice race!  38 degrees on the way to the race?  In SC we have a word for that:  WINTER!  Congrats on beating last year's race time.
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