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Pleasant Prairie Triathlon - Sprint Course - TriathlonSprint

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Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin
United States
85F / 29C
Total Time = 1h 10m 8s
Overall Rank = 20/405
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 3/50
Pre-race routine:

Wake up at 3:45am. Take a shower. Rack the bike in the car and start driving at 4:20am. I ate breakfast while I was driving so the food would be already digested 3 hours later because my wave started at 7:30am. I ate 2 ham and chess sandwiches, 1 chocolate cookie and 1 glass of orange juice. Arrive at the site about 5:10am. Only 50 minutes to the event (no traffic).
Event warmup:

Right after parking, I took my transition gear in my back-pack and rode the first 1.5 mile of the course and back. I tested the brakes, the tire pressure, and the shifts and everything was working ok. I also took mental note of the last over pass before turning right to get to T2 so I would know where to give the last push later in the race. I didn't do any swim or running warm up this time.
  • 12m 32s
  • 820 yards
  • 01m 32s / 100 yards

I positioned myself in the first row of my wave that included 2 age groups: M35-39 and mine, M40-44. It was my triathlon number 18 and for the first time, my goggles moved and water started to get into my left eye. I made the mistake to buy a more expensive goggles only 1 week before the race and it seems that in this case the maxim "you get what you pay for" didn't apply.
So here I am fighting for a position in the top 5-7 swimmers at 90% of maximum heart rate with the filling of a hose of water "drilling" my left eye. After 200 yards I decided not to stop to fix the goggle and tried to swim with one eye closed.
Then, almost accidentally, I did another new thing not done in my previous 17 triathlons: drafting! I was having a hard time navigating with only one eye so after swimming side by side with one of the top swimmers in my wave, I gave up and let him pass and stayed right behind him without touching his feet. From that point (about 300 yards) until the last turn (abput 50 yards from the finish) I didn't lose his feet. I said last turn because he didn't see the last buoy and was heading to the shoreline in an angle. I did the last 5o yards without drafting merging with the olympic swimmers. Finally, I learned to appreciate the benefits of drafting.
What would you do differently?:

Stick to the old, cheap, used, ugly, foggy goggles. They work.
Practice drafting technique and pacing strategies for the swimming leg.

Transition 1
  • 01m 19s

Positioned the helmet inverted over the aerobar (no aero-drink) with sunglasses in it. Used 2 rubber bands to hold the left shoe attached to the pedal in horizontal position. I didn't wear socks. I had been training my feet without shocks the last 5/6 weeks to avoid blisters. I had put lubricant from the calves down the heels in both, my legs and the wetsuit legs, so it came out easier than usually. I sat in the ground to get the 2 legs of the wetsuit off my feet.
What would you do differently?:

Finally, I am starting to get the bang! bang! thing of transitions. Still, I can try to run a little faster from the lake to the rack by training barefoot. I can be a little bit faster getting off the wetsuit with more practice.
  • 32m 32s
  • 12.43 miles
  • 22.92 mile/hr

I tried to hold my horses the first 2/3 miles as much as I could but it was slightly uphill and I almost cross my personal redline of 90% MHR. The next 5/6 miles were hard but I felt comfortable pushing at 91%. I was focusing on pushing uphill and relaxing downhill although the steep differences were barely noticeable. In general, bikers were very well organized and almost everyone was respecting the rules and staying in the right side unless passing. Very professional crowd.
I also have to admit that competing in the sprint distance when there are many bikers doing the olympic motivates you to push harder because they need to save their energy for a second lap, while I was almost done with the bike.
When I saw in my odometer mile 9, I was ready to "suffer" the last 3 miles and started pushing. To my surprise, at mile 10 I started to recognize the road in which I had been warming up in the morning. I realized that something was not right, or was it?. The bike course wasn't 12.43 miles as they said. According to my odometer it was about 11.7. I am still curious about this because I've never averaged more than 22 mph in any triathlon and, according to the organization, my average for this bike leg was 23 mph. I'd love to think I am that fast, but being realistic will help my performance more in the long run, rather than lying to myself.
Please comment with your perceptions of the distance of the bike to confirm.

What would you do differently?:

Stop turning my head to the left to see what's behind me, specially with the aero-helmet on.
Save money to buy a device to measure power in watts. That will be more accurate than the Heart Rate monitor
Transition 2
  • 01m 1s

I took my feet off the shoes in the last 500 yards. Having practiced that helped me to delay that moment until almost until the end of the bike leg. However, I didn't feel confident enough to dismount on the move. I stopped the bike completely before dismounting, a la Chrissie Wellington. The body-glide helped me to put the running shoes on faster. This time I decided not to lose a second and I didn't wear a hat.
What would you do differently?:

Learn to dismount on the move. Wear the bib belt under the wetsuit, so by T2 is there already. Try elastic laces.
  • 22m 46s
  • 3.11 miles
  • 07m 19s  min/mile

Wow! What a way to end the race. I knew I was doing well when I left transition and saw my time. Less than 48 minutes had passed from my wave start and I knew I could do a 5K in less than 22 minutes. I also knew that I could do it in more than 30 minutes. So, in the best case scenario I could've done a total time under 1:10'. Knowing past year performances of other guys in my age group, that would place me top 3, and that was the goal for which I had been trying the previous 9 months. I've never got an agegroup top-3 medal before, but I know I had a chance, small chance, but it was there. I thought that by now, I'd be second because I knew one of the guys who was really fast was racing, lets call him C. After the race, I learned that I was in second position but the first guy wasn't C, but another guy even faster, whom I'd call T.

So those were my thoughts during the first 20 seconds of the running leg. And then, my right calf started cramping. So I go to plan B, which is to negotiate down my expected time for the run, and instead of 7 minutes/mile, I slowed down to about 7:30 or 8 min/mile. And then, after about 3 minutes into the run, someone (let's call him D) passed me with a 43 painted in his calf that meant he was in my age group and I was in trouble. That was tough. I though I was in 3rd position now, after C, and D. But in reality, I was 3rd after T and D.

I was feeling really bad, not able to push harder, I had to watch how D was putting yard after yard between us. Then, when I was about to surrender to the pain, I remembered one of the race reports in this website. Someone had made it to the top 3 because, according to him, he didn't give up. At that moment, that thought seemed to wake me up, and I did all I could, damage control, and focus on my own race. I try to stay as close as possible to D, and despite being unable to reduce the distance, I didn't let it bother me. I was doing my race. There was nothing I could do if the others were faster. I just kept running at my pace.

Then, by mile 1.5, another runner with a number between 40 and 44 in his calf passed me! It was C! He was running strong, and it was obvious that he would overtake D in a matter of seconds. By now my calf cramps were gone, and I felt happy because I thought I was still 3rd, not knowing that T was far away ahead of the 3 of us. As C was catching D, I tried to follow C, and as if C was pulling me, I found myself passing D. At that moment I thought D was giving up, and that motivated me to push harder. I had mixed feelings, was I taking advantage of one of his weak moments, or was I playing a smart strategic move. Regardless of my feelings, I could hear D breathing heavily behind me, so I kept increasing the intensity of my run to my limits until I stop hearing D, and then some. The 1st mile was 7:35, the second 7:20 and the 3rd 7:08.
I crossed the finish line thinking that I could've been second, but I was 3rd, 56 seconds after the second, C, and 7 seconds ahead of the 4th, D.

I've always finished all the other 17 triathlons that I've started, usually in the middle of the pack and I always wondered how would I feel if I ever get to the top 3. I finally made it, and the feelings were positive, exciting, exhilarating, breathtaking, vitalizing, and thrilling; just like the previous 17.

What would you do differently?:

I'd lose 5 or 10 pounds more to see if that makes me faster or not.
Post race
Warm down:

Lay down in the grass

What limited your ability to perform faster:

My genes. I think I've been training so hard that I gave 98% of what my body can give at my age.

Last updated: 2012-07-03 12:00 AM
00:12:32 | 820 yards | 01m 32s / 100yards
Age Group: 4/50
Overall: 42/405
Performance: Good
HR constant at about 85% of Maximum Heart Rate Capacity
Suit: Sleeveless Wetsuit
Course: Out and back. In the last 20 yards many swimmers lost their way because they were trying to reach the shoreline in a 45 degree angle, instead of keep swimming parallel to the shoreline until being in front of the finish line and turn 90 degrees left and reach it perpendicularly, at which point the sprint swimmers were joining the olympic swimmers. The problem with this mess was evident when a new wave was starting and 2 or 3 swimmers were arriving to finish line in their way. I was sorry for them.
Start type: Run Plus:
Water temp: 77F / 25C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 01:19
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
00:32:32 | 12.43 miles | 22.92 mile/hr
Age Group: 3/50
Overall: 29/405
Performance: Good
HR almost constant at about 91% of Maximum Heart Rate Capacity
Wind: Little
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 92
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:01
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Average
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
00:22:46 | 03.11 miles | 07m 19s  min/mile
Age Group: 6/50
Overall: 47/405
Performance: Good
Increasing HR constantly Mile 1 = Averaged 91% of Maximum Heart Rate Capacity. Pace 7:35 Mile 2 = Averaged 93% of Maximum Heart Rate Capacity. Pace 7:20 Mile 3 = Averaged 95% of Maximum Heart Rate Capacity. Pace 7:08
Course: Very flat, nice out and back course by the lake with smooth curves that sometimes make you feel you are in a formula 1 race.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2012-07-24 6:25 PM


Subject: Pleasant Prairie Triathlon - Sprint Course
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