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Nautica Malibu Triathlon - Classic Distance - TriathlonSprint

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Malibu, California
United States
Michael Epstein Sports Productions
65F / 18C
Total Time = 1h 43m 12s
Overall Rank = 135/1417
Age Group = M 50-54
Age Group Rank = 7/65
Pre-race routine:

Fifth time racing at Malibu...fourth time for the sprint distance (did the Oly in 2010). This was the first ever tri for both my wife, Liz, and myself back in September 2007.

This was the closest I've ever come to a DNS: On Sunday, 9/4, I rolled my ankle all the way over off a curb on a run and wound up with a Grade II sprained foot. Bad enough that even though ER x-rays were negative, my doctor wanted followups done when she saw me more than a week later, to rule out a possible fractured metatarsal. Wasn't able to get x-rayed until Thursday afternoon, 2 1/2 days before the race...and as I write this, a day after the race, I haven't actually gotten a report from the radiologist. I had to look at the x-rays on the HD monitor in the radiology suite at the imaging center and decide for myself.

In the 48 hours before the race, the painful swelling and bruising in my forefoot finally subsided enough for me to consider racing. When Liz decided to volunteer at the Saturday Oly at Malibu, I brought my bike and squeezed in a test brick--7 miles with a climb out of the saddle on the bike, then a 1 mile run at race pace. Went well enough to decide to go for it.

First time Malibu allowed day-before racking of bikes, which was nice. I was one of the first into transition Saturday afternoon and got prime spot. It was a pleasure not to have to roll my bike a half mile from our parking spot in the pitch black on Sunday AM.

As usual for this race, we arrived at the entrance to Zuma Beach by 4:30am...the lot fills quickly given the 3000+ athletes in the race (individuals and relays) plus spectators.

Liz was only doing a swim on a Disney Tri Team relay this year, so I let her get on with playing team "den mother" for the morning. I was set and ready to go by 5:20...which left 2 1/2 hours to kill before my wave start.

For my test brick, I decided to tape my foot with KT worked really well. So I did a fresh tape job Saturday night and decided to wear some throwaway socks for the walk up the beach to the swim start.

Transition was closing almost an hour before my start for the mob scene that is the pre-race briefing (with National Anthem by Sheena Easton). Then I walked up the beach with Liz and her cyclist and runner to the start.
Event warmup:

Took off my socks and got in the ocean (65F...incredibly warm by Zuma standards...was 58F last year)...conditions were ideal, but it was clear my tape job on the injured foot wasn't going to last. Finally decided to tear it off at the starting line.

Got up to the outside front of my wave and waited for the cannon...
  • 15m 10s
  • 880 yards
  • 01m 43s / 100 yards

I've really had a good summer of tri swims...finally feel like I'm living up to the inherent advantage of having been a swimmer three decades ago in HS (vs people who come to tri with no swimming background). Best swims ever at sprint, Oly and HIM this IM, if you count my Full Vineman Relay time.

Conditions were amazing...minimal surf, warm water (by local standards), not a lot of current, but some northbound push from what swell there was. Water was by far the clearest I've ever seen it in five summers of swims at Zuma...for the first time, I really found I was able to be involved tactically in a race, because I could clearly see the caps of the swimmers around me and try to stay in contact with the other guys at the front of my at Vineman in July, I was able to push myself to try to draft off a guy from my wave who passed me late in the swim.

Almost no surf going in, until one wave broke as I was standing up that was perfect to body surf almost all the way in on.
What would you do differently?:

Pay more attention to navigation at the start. I like to be wide at the start and at Zuma, there's normally a lot of push to the right as you head out. Not today...found myself hanging too wide left and had to correct not to end up swinging too far out from the buoy. Otherwise, really good swim.
Transition 1
  • 03m 11s

Interestingly, this took EXACTLY the same time as my T1 the last time for this race (2009).

I was concerned about how my foot injury would handle both the deep sand run into transition and a longish run on asphalt (with carpet) to my rack. Both were up to decent speed running through transition.

Right cuff of suit hung up a little, but that was only issue. Didn't spend much time drying my feet and got into socks quickly. I'd hoped to sneak under 3:00, but putting on socks probably makes that impossible, given how ridiculously long the TA is from swim in to bike out.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing, really. I didn't put on my race number (usually get that out of the way in T1) and because I ripped off the KT tape from my foot at the start, my fears of wrestling with socks and tape were moot. Although the fastest T1's in my wave were solidly sub-3:00, my time was 13th out of 65...that's better than the norm for me.
  • 54m 46s
  • 18 miles
  • 19.72 mile/hr

If 2011 has been the summer of improvement on the swim, it has been the summer of disappointment on the bike. I started out with a lot of quality base training in January, then proceeded to get a major calf injury...rehabbing that and then protecting my legs for Boston Marathon in April meant a minimalist approach to riding until May. Then I took on the project of shepherding Liz through training for her first IM distance ride at the Vineman Relay...that meant lots of T.I.T.S., but no speed development...the lion's share of my training on the bike in June/July was at Liz's pace. Consequently my bike splits at Strawberry Fields Oly, Timberman 70.3, and this race didn't live up to my swims and runs.

Normally I race at around 84-92 bpm cadence. With the injured foot, I made a decision to take the hills at a high cadence in easier gearing (which is reflected in avg cadence of 98 where it would normally be no more than 90-92 for this course). Spun up all the hills, even the biggish one inbound after Leo Carillo Park.

Ride ended up being very uneventful...punctuated only by eating one gel about 35 minutes into the ride (i.e., 50 minutes into the race). Noticed a couple guys from my AG passing me (turns out there must have been 6 total...of whom I caught 5 on the run).
What would you do differently?:

Roll the dice and push a bigger gear on the hills. No way to know whether that might trash the sprained foot, though. (Injury also had the unfortunate side effect of robbing me of the one week I had set aside to focus entirely on power work on the bike.)

Results this summer would have been better served if I hadn't done all of Liz's 70-105 mile rides with her at her pace, but she needed and deserved the support.
Transition 2
  • 01m 38s

Took 13 seconds off my last Malibu T2. Goal was 1:30 or better...struggling a moment with the clasp on my race number belt was the only thing that was a misstep here. 10th of 65 in AG for T2.
What would you do differently?:

Usually put race number belt on in T1, but decided to put it on while running out of T2 this time. Then, of course, I spaced that out and put it on while at the rack anyway. Oh, well.
  • 28m 26s
  • 4 miles
  • 07m 07s  min/mile

I could tell right away that the sprained foot was going to be a non-factor. Goal was 28:00 or better...first time I looked down at my Garmin, I saw 6:58/mile, meaning right on target.

Almost immediately I found myself running shoulder-to-shoulder with a guy I know from the Disney team...he's five years younger and a faster cyclist, but we typically are dead even for runs. Mile one, there we were: Side-by-side or leapfrogging a few feet plus or minus. In mile two, though, he started to pull ahead gradually. I was still sitting around 7:00-7:05 (i.e., where I wanted to be), but told myself I wasn't going to let this guy--Mac--drop me, esp. since I was thinking he'd actually put some weight on since the last time I'd seen him. At the turnaround he was about 30 yards ahead of me, but throughout mile 3, I moved up on him and, with 1.5 miles left, I caught and left him for good. (Turned out I was right about Mac's weight and he was racing in a Clyde division for the first time...he paid for the extra weight on the run.)

Anyhow, I spotted two guys in my AG that I passed in the last mile-and-a-half (and must have caught one other that I didn't see). I was definitely suffering (5K type suffering) and with 500m to go, both quads were threatening to cramp. Managed to get in a final burst and PR'ed the run by about 25 seconds.
What would you do differently?:

Not lose 13 1/2 days of running to a Grade II sprained foot. Otherwise, I'm about as fast as I've ever been since I started racing again in 2005.
Post race
Warm down:

Got some mini Clif Bars and water. Walked a lot. Found Liz and we watched awards...there were only partial results posted, so I made her hang around until my AG was announced (awards were 5 deep, so it wasn't ridiculous given my time) medal for me, but I was 7th of 65 finishers (67 starters) in the AG...first time in top 10% overall at Malibu (135th of 1417) and my AG result actually qualifies me for USAT AG National Championships next year if I want to make the trip.

By the time we got to the fundraiser brunch, it was a bit picked over, but I still ate too much. Liz and I ran into Ali Vincent, first female winner of The Biggest Loser, and had a brief pleasant chat with her.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Overall lack of bike fitness--for reasons discussed above. I improved my swim, run and T2 times from 2009 and equalled my T1...only my bike regressed...first time since 2008 that I didn't average over 20 mph on the Malibu course...and that year, I broke a spoke during the ride.

Obviously completely shutting down all aerobic exercise, even swimming, for 13.5 days prior to the race wasn't helpful.

Event comments:

Fewer big name celebrities in 2011 than is the norm for this race and also fewer big name pros. Nonetheless, this is an excellent opportunity to experience the feel of an "M-Dot" scale race at a (longish) sprint distance.

Last updated: 2011-03-01 12:00 AM
00:15:10 | 880 yards | 01m 43s / 100yards
Age Group: 11/65
Overall: 186/1417
Performance: Good
14:35 split out of the water + 0:35 run to mat. Distance in water ~900 yds per Garmin 310XT output.
Suit: Xterra Vortex 2 fullsuit
Course: Rectangle...about 115 yds out, right turn, 650 northbound parallel to the beach, then right turn in 115 yds to the beach.
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 65F / 18C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Good Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 03:11
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
00:54:46 | 18 miles | 19.72 mile/hr
Age Group: 16/65
Overall: 244/1417
Performance: Average
Wind: Little
Course: Generally rolling out-and-back course on Pacific Coast Highway.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 98
Turns: Good Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
Time: 01:38
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
00:28:26 | 04 miles | 07m 07s  min/mile
Age Group: 5/65
Overall: 87/1417
Performance: Good
Garmin 310XT splits = 6:58 / 7:05 / 7:00 / 7:06
Course: Dead flat out and back on concrete promenade and asphalt road (plus tiny stretch of sandy path).
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
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: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2011-09-19 11:37 PM

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Northridge, California
Subject: Nautica Malibu Triathlon - Classic Distance
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