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Rock Hall International Triathlon - Triathlon

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Rock Hall, Maryland
United States
Set Up Events
70F / 21C
Total Time = 2h 38m 1s
Overall Rank = 141/453
Age Group = M 45-49
Age Group Rank = 14/30
Pre-race routine:

This Olympic race was over three years in the making. I DNS'd three races in 2011 and Ealgeman in 2012 due to injuries, and didn't really get all the way back until last summer. I've had a great six months of training for this race, getting a PR in an open 5K a few weeks ago and running some other solid races. I already have more swim yards in this year than all of last year, so it's as good as it's going to be.

I was a little concerned with my cycling, though. My volume was fine but as I moved to my build phase my intensy was crap. I had a couple of good outdoor rides in the last two weeks where I could hold pace, so maybe I'd be OK.

This was my early season 'A' race, so I tapered fully for the race. "The Plan" was to swim strong at around 30 min, bike around 1:10, and hope for the best on the run. I was attempting to qualify for AGN and I figured 2:30 would definitely do it, but it would take the race of my life to get there...probably needing a 10K PR to boot.

The whole course set up perfectly for me: wetsuit legal harbor swim, almost flat bike course into the wind on the way out and tailwind on the way back, and a pancake flat run in beautiful weather.

We drove down the day before and stayed at the Black Duck Inn B&B, which was all of 100 yards from transition. Worth. Every. Penny. Got to bed early and had a good night's sleep. We brought our own coffee pot, our own breakfast; the innkeeper thought we were nuts. :-)
Event warmup:

Woke up naturally, 5 minutes before the alarm. Grabbed a cup of coffee, a Zone bar and an apple, and watched the sunrise on the Rock Hall harbor and the fishing boats go out. Went back in later and grabbed my gear, made the 1 minute walk to transition and did the body marking. Unbelievably relaxing morning...couldn't set up better.

I started my warm-up around an hour before the start. 10 minutes of running going through my paces and then lots of stretching. By now it's about 7:45 and I just want to get this thing going.

Headed to swim start...The Wife was a big helper here. I didn't have to put my wetsuit on until the last minute. Into the water we went, 5th wave. The faster swimmers from wave 1 were already coming around so it was going to be a crowded course.
  • 31m 58s
  • 1500 meters
  • 02m 08s / 100 meters

The swim started out as a deep water wave start. I got off to a decent start and immediately lost my Road ID to Poseidon. Hopefully that would be the worst of the swim.

Got to the first turn feeling good but then started to get that burning lung, panicky feeling. Told myself to slow down, relax, blow out your nose...WHACK!! got smacked in the head. So much for relaxing. Got to the next buoy and started to figure out my sighting a little better.

Once I got through the first loop I started to really feel like I was swimming. Like actually racing swimming. Then I got raked across the face by some dude's fingernails.

Got to roughly 1K and started to fatigue a bit, but knew it was downhill from here. Cruised in pretty well but the last 250 or so were brutal; right into the sun.

The swim exit was really difficult. You had to climb up steep stairs onto the dock. I cramped a bit dragging myself up there, but recovered and ran to transition.

I was hoping for sub-30 but around 31-flat is OK by me. Time included flopping onto the dock and about 100 yards run or so to transition.
What would you do differently?:

Sight better in rhythm with swimming. I'll get better with this as I continue to practice OWS and race.
Transition 1
  • 03m 7s

Had some trouble with getting my wetsuit off, but not too bad. 17/30
  • 1h 11m 22s
  • 24.5 miles
  • 20.60 mile/hr

Was very happy to be done with that swim and onto the bike. As mentioned above, I was worried about my bike fitness given the difficulty I had hitting threshold efforts on the trainer recently. I knew I could ride all day, just wondered how fast.

"The Bike Plan" was to ease into the first couple of miles and start drinking my Gatorade as soon as possible. I'm terrible at remembering this, even with alerts on multiple Garmins. I hopped on the bike and started pedaling easy and had a little trouble clipping in but no biggie. There were a couple of turns in the first mile so I was going fairly easy anyway.

Once I got to about mile 1.5 I started up to race speed. The wind forecast was out of the north so that would be a headwind for 10 miles, a crosswind for a few, and then a tailwind the last 8-10. I guess in the grand scheme of things that's pretty optimal. I targeted 19.0 MPH as my overall pace on my Garmin and slowly started to climb up to that.

I started passing people. A lot of people. I guess being a middling swimmer in a late wave biking 20+ mph will cause that. It actually worked out pretty well. Racers were doing a good job staying right and passing correctly; I only got boxed in once or twice and a quick "passing on your left" did the trick.

Mile 5: wind is getting tough and varying between dead-on headwind and crosswind; must have been tough in high profile wheels. box R500s stayed true to line. :-)

Mile 10: finally getting out of the wind, getting over 19 overall, hills start. Enjoyed the relief of using different muscles here and there standing on the climbs.

Mile 15: hills are done, we've had a pretty good tailwind, approaching 20 mph overall. Tailwind becomes a little less prevalent; kind of a rear-quartering wind. Dang, now I need that disc wheel!!!! With 9 miles to go my legs are losing a little snap but I'm excited about how I'm doing so far. Can I get over 21? I think I passed by 200th person by this point (I think I'm only slightly exaggerating). I did have a couple of relay team cyclists blow by me like I wasn't moving.

Mile 20: Legs are starting to fatigue pretty good, low back is really stiff, still holding 22-23 pretty consistently. Field is spreading out I'm looking for guys my AG. I think I only passed two on the bike total.

Finish: coming into town you have to slow down a bit for some winding road and turns, but I pushed straight through to the finish and almost overshot the turn into T2. Legs and back are really stiff but I feel pretty good overall.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. Executed my bike plan perfectly. Very happy with the results given where I thought I was.

I probably should have drank a little more Gatorade. I think.
Transition 2
  • 01m 24s

12/30...that'll work. Kinda fell over putting my shoes on. TIM-BER!!!
What would you do differently?:

Hustle up a little
  • 50m 17s
  • 10 kms
  • 05m 02s  min/km

Recently I've run a sub-22 open 5K and a low 47s open 10K, so I was figuring on somewhere around 49-flat, hoping for 48:XX. Given the course, I figured shoot for a high 24s first 5K and try to negative split.

I got into a "pace hole" early. Coming out of transition my legs weren't real happy with this running thing. I planned on easing up to about 8 min/mile pace the first mile but that was even tough the first few hundred yards. I grabbed a water and aid station and slowed down for about 5 seconds and then started again, legs felt a little better.

The 2nd mile was better, getting down under 8 and holding it fine. Weather is beautiful; great water views, all the racers are cheering each other on. We had the first of four (YES, FOUR!!!) U-turns on the course. For the record, I hate U-turns.

3rd mile: starting get warmer out, view along the bay is still beautiful, holding 8 min. I know sub-48 has gone from "hope" to "no way in hell". :-)

4th mile: passed the 5K mark, grabbed some water and tried to up the pace; the legs were not having it. Every time I pushed under 8 min pace, my legs would just yell at me and my HR would spike. Passed a few people which helped mentally. Got to U-turn 3 and that just sapped what was left of the snap in my legs. Didn't notice anyone in my AG in striking distance, nor gaining on me.

5th mile: Hang on...hang on...hang on. Still passing people. Got passed by one of my tri club members and I kept up with him for a couple of hundred yards and then let him go.

Final 1.2: I'm done...hanging on to 8-flat by a hair. Just about over. With about a half mile left I force my body to pick up the pace but just that :15/mile change was brutal. Legs hurt, back is stiff, I'm getting hot. Now no one is within 5-6 seconds either least I won't have to sprint. Made the final turn and the crowd pulled me in. The final 5 yards were in really soft grass, almost like running in sand. Glad I didn't need to sprint.

Cross the line in 2:38:01.

What would you do differently?:

I have no idea...I felt like I raced the way I wanted to, just didn't have that one more gear to hold the high 7s and get down to 48-49 or so. Still a good run.
Post race
Warm down:

I did my usual cool down: stand bent-over motionless until someone tells me to move, then I start walking and find some water. Met up with The Wife who was thrilled with my race. Usually I get yelled at for being slow at transitions, so I'll take that as a win. :-0

Again, staying at the race site was awesome. After walking around stretching for a few minutes I grabbed my stuff from transition and my sherpa dragged it back to the car for me while I checked out the results. I knew the final verdict, no AGN for me this race. 3 1/2 minutes short.

Grabbed some pizza and chips and walked back to the hotel. Grabbed a quick shower and we decided since it was basically lunch time to grab a bite at the Waterman's restaurant. Chit-chatted with a few other races; one younger guy made AGNs and had a great race. Everyone seemed to happy with results.

Given the injuries I've dealt with over the past three years, I couldn't be happier. I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little disappointed about AGNs, but there's always next year.

That was the BEST crab dip and pale ale I've EVER had. :-)

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I'm thinking, in no particular order:

1) lack of OWS racing experience - my sighting left something to be desired, as in way too often
2) lack of OLY experience - uncharted territory for me, but I'm happy with the result
3) bike fitness - I'm thinking this was why I couldn't get at it more on the run; I had no problem cranking 20+ mph for OLY distance, but then I can't hammer the run afterwards
4) nutrition - maybe more Gatorade on the bike; I only went through one of my bottles and I wanted to get through almost 2

Honestly, though, I can't complain. Solid MOP the whole way through.

Event comments:

In a word, this race was awesome. The venue was beautiful, we had great weather, the town supported us completely. Tons of volunteers, decent swag (shirt AND socks), good food afterwards. It's also a nice place for fans...good visuals for the race plus they can signt-see a little if they want.

Contemplating Waterman's Half in the fall...same venue, more or less same weather.

Last updated: 2013-12-31 12:00 AM
00:31:58 | 1500 meters | 02m 08s / 100meters
Age Group: 19/30
Overall: 30/453
Performance: Good
Suit: sleeveless
Course: two loops of a more or less square, I think the course was just a little long judging by the elite times but nothing way off or anything
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 68F / 20C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 03:07
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
01:11:22 | 24.5 miles | 20.60 mile/hr
Age Group: 14/30
Overall: 30/453
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: out and back, fairly flat with a couple of relatively easy climbs
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Not enough
Time: 01:24
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Average
00:50:17 | 10 kms | 05m 02s  min/km
Age Group: 13/30
Overall: 30/453
Performance: Good
Course: two loops; pancake flat; limited shade
Keeping cool Average 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? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2014-06-04 8:27 AM

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Middle River, Maryland
Bronze member
Subject: Rock Hall International Triathlon

2014-06-04 8:51 AM
in reply to: #5006802

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Simsbury, Connecticut
Subject: RE: Rock Hall International Triathlon
sounds like a great day - coming back from injury you rocked it!

Sorry you missed your goal by a few minutes but congrats to you - because it looked great to me!!
2014-06-04 8:54 AM
in reply to: #5006802

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South Alabama
Subject: RE: Rock Hall International Triathlon

Nice job! The run on an olympic is always tough. Way to hang in there. Lots of gains ahead as the season progresses.  

2014-06-04 11:46 AM
in reply to: #5006802

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New Hampshire
Subject: RE: Rock Hall International Triathlon
Great job. Sounds like you enjoyed the new distance. Glad you were able to conquer the Oly monster.
2014-06-04 12:26 PM
in reply to: jonD81

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Subject: RE: Rock Hall International Triathlon

Good race, Mike!  Staying so close to the venue = pure win!  First Olympic down, now you'll know what to expect for the next one.  Sorry you missed AGN, but how cool to be so close! 

2014-06-04 12:26 PM
in reply to: jonD81

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Crab Cake City
Subject: RE: Rock Hall International Triathlon
Great job Man, glad to see you racing again

2014-06-04 1:28 PM
in reply to: dmbfan4life20

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Bellingham, WA
Subject: RE: Rock Hall International Triathlon

Well done Mike.  I am so relieved the race went well for you.  I was sending speedy vibes your way.

Very well executed race overall.  I hope I have your bike and run times this weekend (first Oly of the year).   

2014-06-05 12:09 PM
in reply to: #5006802

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Subject: RE: Rock Hall International Triathlon

Congrats on a terrific race! Reading your report it sounds like you executed well, learned a lot and are ready to keep getting stronger and faster. Most importantly, you had fun! And fwiw, your wife's thoughts re transitions are solid. Its a lot harder to shave a minute or two off the swim or run than it is to stay speedy in T1 and T2. Well done!

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