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Chinook 51.5 Triathlon - Triathlon

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Calgary, Alberta
Chinook Triathlon Festival
70F / 21C
Total Time = 3h 21m 29s
Overall Rank = 124/134
Age Group = M30-39
Age Group Rank = 42/45
Pre-race routine:

First Oly!

My training got thrown for a loop when I started doing an out-of-town project 4 weeks before race day -- made it difficult to keep up with a consistent training regimen. I did manage to cover each of the distances as standalone, plus some... swim + 50%, bike + 25%, run + 100% (half marathon).

The event had OWS practice the week before -- tested out my new (used) wetsuit and practised a slow, controlled front crawl without losing breath or experiencing panic. Also did a brief brick mid-week but otherwise, I took my tapering seriously...!

Pasta dinner the night before. Breakfast of strawberries, yogurt, granola, peanut butter toast, OJ.
Event warmup:

My wife joined me for the day -- nice to have a sherpa!

We left a bit late -- also had to make a pit stop to deal with some... er.... GI issues. Quite worried that I was catching the sickness that had been floating around my family -- but happily enough had no further issues.

Got to the event with limited time to spare -- quickly set up transition. We missed the start of the half-iron race, but we wandered over to watch everyone finish their first lap, and then later zip out to T1. Yeesh, some of those folks are speedy...!

At T-45, I had a final bio break, and put on the wetsuit.
At T-30, I went in the water to warm up. Started with a few minutes of breast stroke, then tried 20 strokes of front crawl, then 50 strokes. Everything going well!
At T-10, we lined up in the start corral. Seeded myself toward the back, and tried to remember -- above all else -- slow and steady, slow and steady.... Chatted a bit with a couple of other athletes.
And.... the horn blows and we're off!
  • 37m 1s
  • 1500 meters
  • 02m 28s / 100 meters

Last OWS (in September 2012), I got swept up in the moment -- started way too quickly, and ran out of steam very early. Did 80% breast stroke -- the goal this time was to have a successful, panic-free swim...

  • ... WHICH I DID!!!!!!! Complete 180 from last time. I did 80-90% front crawl, never felt panicked, kept my stroke slow and steady, did a reasonable job of sighting. I first knew things were going well when I rounded the second buoy and checked my watch -- 10:xx. Really?!? I finished the first lap in 17:xx which was lightning speed for me. Second lap was a bit slower (19:xx) but still really good. Overall time was a 1500m PR for me.

  • What was the key? Proactively switching to breast stroke... anytime I had a setback -- before it got worse. Running out of breath, swallow some water, water in the goggles, need to sight... I switched to breast stroke, if only for a couple of strokes. Really helped prevent any minor setback from becoming something worse. May not be the fastest approach, but it worked like a charm. Having a strategy for dealing with setbacks made me way more confident about plowing ahead with front crawl.

    First leg was really busy -- lots of body contact nearly the entire way -- quite a pain to deal with. Things started to open up on the second leg, and for the third leg and the entire second lap, I was so alone I thought I was off course!

    Best feeling in the world was touching sand on the final lap.... I did manage to embarrass myself emerging from the water -- my legs buckled under for a moment, and I went down. No harm no foul -- but right in full view of the spectators, bad timing..... though Kim later told me that I wasn't the only one!
    What would you do differently?:

    Nothing. I was so happy with the swim, wouldn't change a thing. For next time, I need to practice sighting.
    Transition 1
    • 04m 11s

    Wetsuit strippers! First experience with them... quite a nice touch, I must say...

    Kim was cheering me at the swim exit, and then again at transition. Otherwise nothing too notable here. Tried to slap on a bit of sunscreen, but I certainly didn't end up with 100% coverage!
    What would you do differently?:

    Arrive at transition earlier, and fully think through the placement of everything. I put the towel on bottom (with shoes on top), even though the towel is the first thing I want. As a result, I forgot to dry my left foot, which led to some issues during the run.
    • 1h 28m 54s
    • 40 kms
    • 27.13 km/hr

    Overall -- better than I'd hoped. Was worried about the wind, but I've done enough wind training that it was no big deal.

    0-5km: Slight downhill, downwind. Though I didn't realize it! I was going at a good clip, and thought I was pretty hot stuff!

    5-10km: Slight uphill, upwind. Definitely a slow pace (under 20 km /hr) but I was feeling good. I think I had convinced myself that this section would be steeper uphill, so it was easier than expected. Not faster, mind you... but easier.

    10-15km: Steeper uphill, upwind. This was my biggest fear going in -- but again, it wasn't too bad. I did have an embarrassing moment when I literally drove off the road -- provided a good chuckle to the other cyclists....

    15-20km: Rolling hills, upwind. By this time we were out in farm country, so that plus the rolling hills made it feel exactly like my training neighbourhood! Was nice to have a few downhills after the long climb up.

    20-35km: WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!! Downhill, downwind. I swear, I don't think I went under 35 km/hr this entire time. THIS is why I love cycling. Got passed by the first half-iron racers -- man they were zippy!

    35-40km: Slight uphill, upwind. Not a fun way to end the bike, race organizers! But not too bad. At this point, I knew I had a solid bike leg in the bag -- so was primarily focused on not overcooking the legs.

    Managed to drink most of a Powerade bottle, and eat two granola bars.

    What would you do differently?:

    Hard to say. Other than just generally increasing fitness, losing weight, and thus getting my speed up.
    Transition 2
    • 01m 48s

    Was nice to be back in an area with spectators (including my wife...)

    Lots of bikes in T2 by the time I got there -- managed to walk right past my stuff which added a bit of time. Luckily, since I still use the same shoes for bike and run, it was still a reasonably fast transition.
    What would you do differently?:

    Find my stuff?
    • 1h 09m 33s
    • 10 kms
    • 06m 55s  min/km

    Not fun. By the time I hit the run, I had been going for 2h10min -- I've done that a few times before, but no farther. So I was in new territory -- and my cardiovascular system was not amused. Ended up doing a lot of run / walk intervals. Good news is, my legs themselves were OK.

    For the first 3-4 km, I "rewarded" myself with a 30-45 second walk at every km marker. As I went through -- the walks became more and more frequent. Particularly at the 5-8 km point, which was right in the valley, bright hot sun, no wind.... most of my run training was in cold weather, and I struggled a bit in the rays.

    Sooooo happy to see the final turnaround! Less happy to see "Heartbreak Hill" which was a nasty, nasty hill at the 9km mark.

    A bit disappointed that I was passed by a bunch of people in the last 2 km -- but I was well beyond my body's comfort zone....

    Convinced myself to run again for the last 500m (for show, naturally!). Right at the end, I found my "personal cheering section' again. Very happy to cross the finish!
    What would you do differently?:

    I need to be more diligent about longer training sessions. If I intend to do Olys again, I need to get to the point where 2+ hours is boring and routine.

    Also need to rethink nutrition a bit. I was super hungry -- need to eat more on the bike. And perhaps invest in a water belt.

    Post race
    Warm down:

    Eat banana, drink water, sit for a few minutes. Didn't have much chance to loiter, as we needed to get to our daughter's dance recital!

    What limited your ability to perform faster:

    Same old story... weight, cardiovascular strength, need more training. But I can clearly see improvement from prior events -- fantastic to see!

    Event comments:

    Overall good. The race organization was "casual" -- had a local community feel, which was good. Only suggestion would be more / better aid stations... particularly on the run. Maybe the provincial park didn't allow more, but it felt like a long way between aid stations.

    Last updated: 2012-10-07 12:00 AM
    00:37:01 | 1500 meters | 02m 28s / 100meters
    Age Group: 43/45
    Overall: 126/134
    Performance: Good
    Course: 2 laps of 750m in Lake Midnapore. Large right-angled triangle.
    Start type: Wade Plus:
    Water temp: 65F / 18C Current: Low
    200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
    Breathing: Good Drafting:
    Waves: Navigation:
    Time: 04:11
    Performance: Average
    Cap removal: Helmet on/
    Suit off:
    Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
    Jump on bike:
    Getting up to speed:
    01:28:54 | 40 kms | 27.13 km/hr
    Age Group: 43/45
    Overall: 129/134
    Performance: Good
    Actual distance was a bit less (~38.5 km or so) as measured by Garmin & trip computer
    Wind: Some
    Course: Out-and-back on Highway 22X. First 10 km flat / slight uphill, then 5 km more uphill, then 5 km slight rolling -- then reverse the whole thing.
    Road:   Cadence:
    Turns: Cornering:
    Gear changes: Hills:
    Race pace: Drinks:
    Time: 01:48
    Overall: Average
    Riding w/ feet on shoes
    Jumping off bike
    Running with bike
    Racking bike
    Shoe and helmet removal
    01:09:33 | 10 kms | 06m 55s  min/km
    Age Group: 41/45
    Overall: 121/134
    Performance: Below average
    Course: Short run through suburbs, then a run through Fish Creek Park.
    Keeping cool Drinking
    Post race
    Weight change: %
    Mental exertion [1-5]
    Physical exertion [1-5]
    Good race? Yes
    Course challenge Just right
    Organized? Yes
    Events on-time? Yes
    Lots of volunteers? Yes
    Plenty of drinks? No
    Post race activities:
    Race evaluation [1-5] 4

    2013-06-16 1:26 AM

    User image

    Calgary, AB
    Subject: Chinook 51.5 Triathlon

    2013-06-16 11:02 PM
    in reply to: #4777628

    User image

    Greenville, SC
    Subject: RE: Chinook 51.5 Triathlon
    Great Race, Scott! Congrats on your first Olympic! Also great to hear that you see yourself improving so much. Keep at it, you're doing great!
    2013-06-17 2:26 AM
    in reply to: leechj

    User image

    ann arbor, michigan
    Subject: RE: Chinook 51.5 Triathlon
    Way to set a PR.

    Now you have a bar to beat in the next one

    I am really impressed with how your hard work is paying off.
    2013-06-17 9:04 AM
    in reply to: wannabefaster

    User image

    Simsbury, Connecticut
    Subject: RE: Chinook 51.5 Triathlon
    Nice job!!
    2013-06-17 10:38 AM
    in reply to: mtnbikerchk

    User image

    South Alabama
    Subject: RE: Chinook 51.5 Triathlon
    Great job Scott! Always great to see progress. Glad to see that you had a much more comfortable swim. Keep it up!
    2013-06-18 12:26 PM
    in reply to: slornow

    User image

    Verona WI--Ironman Bike Country!
    Subject: RE: Chinook 51.5 Triathlon
    Steady improvement is what it's all about.  Congratulations on a great race!

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