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Lions Spring Sprint Triathlon - TriathlonSprint

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Marlboro, Massachusetts
United States
F.I.R.M. Racing
70F / 21C
Total Time = 1h 11m 10s
Overall Rank = 118/193
Age Group = 30-34
Age Group Rank = 9/12
Pre-race routine:

Packed everything up the night before - my first triathlon so wanted to make sure everything was all set. Woke up at 5AM to put the bike ontop of car, get dressed, make a few last minutes checks and head out. Didn't sleep as well as I wanted - my 2 year old son woke up several times during the night and my wife and I took turns getting him to go back to sleep. I brought a cup of coffee and some peanut butter toast - but I was way too nervous to eat or drink much. Arrived on site @ 6:20AM - they made us park down the street a bit and walk to the transition/start area.
Event warmup:

I picked up my registration packet - it was a pool swim so numbers were based off of swim time. I was number 11. I found the rack area that I would be using, and realized I found myself not fitting in with this group. These guys and gals all looked like professional triathletes with rocketship triathlon bikes. I set my bike and transition area up right away. I wasn't too sure how to hang my bike on the rack, as every tutorial video I have see shows them hooking them on by handle bars or by the back of the seat - but my Superwing and Aerobottle were both getting in the way. I asked one of guys one my rack how to do it and he showed me how to hook it up by the front of the bike seat instead. That works! I can't believe how tight the transition area was. I did some light stretching but I didnt run or ride my bike as I was too nervous. Realizing I didn't eat breakfast - I took a Hammer Gel with caffeine at about 7:30. Being a swimmer all my life I decided to go jump in the pool to warm up - did an easy 600 yards to stretch out. I definitely felt like the pool was my comfort zone and got to chatting to a few of the triathletes about swimming.
  • 03m 24s
  • 250 yards
  • 01m 22s / 100 yards

I was seeded with the 11th fastest time so I was in the front of the pack -which was nice and nervewracking at the same time. It's been 11 years since my last big college swim meet...I used to swim a 200 free in 1:47 and some change. Now I can only hold a 1:20/100 yd or so pace - that's what 11 years and 20 extra pounds will do. Was hoping that adrenalin would kick in and boost my times a bit. I felt good off the bat -breathing every 8 strokes or so for my first 100. I did have a SNAFU with the first few flip turns/push offs under the next lane - I ended up still in the same lane -so I had to dip under. Luckily the person behind me was well off in the distance and I had time to get under before a collision. This happened with a few of the other turns and I definitely lost some time here. Finished up climbed out of the pool and ran out to the bike.
What would you do differently?:

Practice flipping and pushing off into the next lane. We used to screw around in college and do this during practice all the I didn't think I needed to work on it that much. WRONG! I definitely lost some valuable momentum here. I don't know how many more pool tri's I will do - but if I do, I'll make sure I practice this.
Transition 1
  • 03m

FIRM lumps the T1 transition in with the bike - so this is an estimation. The run from the pool to the bike was alright. It was crowded when I got there - the person in front of me in the swim was there as well getting her helmet on and such. So I had to work around them. I got my glasses, headband (I sweat a TON), and helmet on no problem and started running with the bike to the mount line. My heart rate must have been through the roof at this point - but I didn't have any clear data to prove it (as my Polar HRM broke the week before and is currently being serviced). As I was running to the mount line I looked down at the ground at my shadow...I noticed my head looked mighty pointy. Turns out - I put my helmet on backwards!!! UGH!!! I pulled over to the side and flipped it around while a race official held my bike.
What would you do differently?:

Well...put my helmet on the right way ;) That cost me about a minute as I needed to stop take it off, put it back on, and then get back up to speed.
  • 32m 59s
  • 9.3 miles
  • 16.92 mile/hr

I settled in on the big ring early on - wanted to spend most of my time here. I didn't pass anyone - I had my sights on the woman in front of me for a while and got within 20 feet of her when two cars settled in between us...and I never got the chance. Once they turned off - she was long gone. I had some trouble with gearing - making smooth transitions between big ring and little ring on some of the larger hills which killed my speed. This bike is still 2 weeks new to me - and I still need to get the feel of actually riding on real road as opposed to the bike at the gym. There were some big downhills where I cranked it in the aeroposition and on the big ring and I felt like I was flying.
What would you do differently?:

Improve the engine! I need to log a lot more miles out on the road. Also - hoping to lose at least 10 more pounds, so hope that will help. I want to be able to shift gears more smoothly as well - so that the transitions between flat and uphill aren't as noticeable. Also - I would have drank more - I had some HEED in my aerobottle - but I am finding that it's not positioned correctly and trying to draw a sip is difficult - I have to take my eyes off the road and bend my head at an akward angle. Need to move the bottle up - so it's not so much of a reach. Also - I neglected my nutrition on the bike - I had a Hammer Gel in my tri shirt pocket - but was too focused on the road to think about it...this might have come back to haunt me in the run.
Transition 2
  • 04m

Estimating my transition time - felt like it took forever.

This is where I got VERY annoyed. The woman who I was racked next to and was trying to chase down on the bike, racked her bike on top of all my stuff - there was no room for me to rack my bike and get to my sneakers and number belt. I was totally annoyed here. I had to take her bike off the rack, while holding my bike and push her down to her spot. Then put my bike back up. I couldn't believe she did that!!! It was very annoying. After I cleared my area, I was able to put on my socks, my sneakers, visor and race number and off I went. Aware of the fact that I didnt take any nutrition on the bike, I took a water bottle filled with HEED with me on the run.
What would you do differently?:

Not rack next to this person? Look - I am new at this game and I don't know if that is an acceptable practice - or if I am just supposed to find another open spot or what. But I didn't appreciate that. I also appreciate the fact that everyone's gear in the game is ultra expensive so when moving her bike I treated it with kid gloves and moved it slowly as to not cause any damage - but this slowed me down even more.

The space above her transition towel was wide open - so I don't know why she didn't rack her bike there...
  • 34m 47s
  • 3.2 miles
  • 10m 52s  min/mile

UGH. My legs felt like they were made of lead...lead coated in bricks. I practiced some bike/run bricks during training to make sure I wouldn't fall over in a heap of calf cramps - but I think the racing pace on the bike, the adrenalin wearing off, the lack of breakfast and nutrition on the bike, and knowing this was the last stretch all contributed to me running like Frankenstein. Again - FIRM lumps the T2 time in with the run time - but I was slow, slow, slow any way you cut it. I knew coming into this that running was my weakest link - being a swimmer, I always avoided it. I was hoping to run 9 minute miles...but was definitely running 10 minute plus. It took nearly 2 miles before my legs started feeling like they had any life to them. I was consistent with my pace though - even on the all of the uphills I didn't go slower - I don't know that I could have gone any slower...I would have rolled down those hills. I drank the HEED I had with me - and think it kicked in about the 2 mile mark. With running I need some kind of visual motivation - a mile marker or something like that to let me know how far I have come and how far I have left. There was nothing like that on the course. I was passed a ton of super speedy people. My goal became just to finish without walking -I told myself to HTFU and finish.
What would you do differently?:

Nutrition on bike - to help me prep for run. And RUN more!!! This was definitely an issue with preparedness - I couldn't run any harder if I had wanted to. I think just running more times per week will get me into it. Since starting training in February - I couldn't run 0.5 miles without having to stop and walk...and now I am running 3.2...I'm getting there.
Post race
Warm down:

After the race, I went back to my TA and talked with some of the triathletes. I did some stretching and had some refreshments - some fruit, a granola bar, a rice krispie treat. I watched several more finishes. I wanted to see my family so badly at this point that I packed up and went home - but I picked up some McD's cheeseburgers on the way home. My wife and son greeted me with big hugs and that's everything I could have asked for.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I'm new. There's an aspect of that that limited my ability - alot of my transition moves were slow and thought out, making sure I didn't forget anything - even though I did put my helmet on backwards! Thank GOD I noticed that before I headed out on the bike course - those pics would have been embarrassing. Being new to biking and shifting gears slowed me a little bit - I want to really work on making those changes seemless so there isnt such a big hit in my cadence. Making my legs stronger will also help this - and this will come with time out on the road. And running of course...I really need to put the time in and get my body used to running. Also - I need to make sure I eat breakfast and take nutrition when I planned to.

I think I am finding that I will probably be best served maintaining my current swim times and putting in a lot of training on the bike and run. Run especially.

Event comments:

This was my first triathlon. I was very nervous. But I had a great experience. The few triathletes that I spoke with were very kind and helpful.

Last updated: 2010-05-03 12:00 AM
00:03:24 | 250 yards | 01m 22s / 100yards
Age Group: 2/12
Overall: 11/193
Performance: Average
Suit: Orca tri shorts and top
Course: This was a 250 yd pool swim. Snaking up and down the lanes and under the lane lines. Swimmers were sent with 15 seconds in between each.
Start type: Inside Pool Plus:
Water temp: 74F / 23C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 03:00
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
00:32:59 | 9.3 miles | 16.92 mile/hr
Age Group: 8/12
Overall: 85/193
Performance: Average
Wind: Little
Course: This was an out and back "lollipop" course. It was narrow, curvey, and very hilley in certain areas. Lots of potholes and cracks in the first mile or so.
Road: Potholes Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Not enough
Time: 04:00
Overall: Bad
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Bad
Shoe and helmet removal Good
00:34:47 | 03.2 miles | 10m 52s  min/mile
Age Group: 12/12
Overall: 166/193
Performance: Bad
Course: Out and back lollipop course. A lot of uphill.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2010-05-17 9:10 AM

Subject: Lions Spring Sprint Triathlon

2010-05-17 10:19 AM
in reply to: #2862868

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Extreme Veteran
Milford, MI
Subject: RE: Lions Spring Sprint Triathlon
Chris - all in all you did great!  Like  I said before, its a learning experience and truthfully, there's not any amount of "explaining" that I or anyone else can do to really prepare you for your first tri.  All of the little things you experienced in transition, getting your helmet on right, etc....believe me, you're not the only one who's had those things happen.  I've seen people take off without a helmet and they get disqualified, so at least you didn't do that.  There are also things like how to set up your transition area, putting a towel down, getting your shoes and socks all prepared, etc.  All of those things you'll learn as you do more and you'll figure out what works for you....including how to deal with adversity like the girl who put her bike on top of your stuff.

Regarding nutrition....first, for a race that's as short as this one, which wasn't even as long as a normal sprint tri, taking nutrition on the bike wouldn't have helped you.  By the time your body digested any of the gel the race would have been over.  Drinking, however, would have likely helped.  That's one of those things that a lot of people forget to do - they're so focused on riding hard that they forget to hydrate.   For your oly, this is going to be critical, and in that one, having some nutrition on the bike will benefit you, since you'll have at least an hour of riding which is enough time for some digestion to take place.  But make sure that you practice this too - you don't want to go into a tri without having practiced when/how to eat and hydrate.

Your swim, dude, was awesome!  Swimming a 1:22 is incredible.  The only thing I'll warn you about when you get into the longer tris (most sprints have you doing at least 800yds) is not burning yourself out.  The difference between a slow swimmer doing it in 16 minutes and you doing an 800 in under 11 is less than 5 minutes.  If you're wasted at the end, then you'll likely loose a few minutes on that person in transition, so now you've got only a 3 minute see where I'm going with this.  Its all about pacing and knowing where you can make the biggest impact in overall time.  I think you now realize this with the trouble you had on the run, and you only swam 250yds.  I'm not saying you were even close to being burned out here, since 250 for you is probably about 20 strokes but I think you get the idea.

Anyway, great job to you.  You're no longer a tri-virgin!  I can't wait to see how you do on your next one.  And next year, you'll be ready for an HIM!!!
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