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Grand Rapids Triathlon - Olympic Course - Triathlon

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Ada, Michigan
United States
Total Time = 00m
Overall Rank = 144/377
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 14/29
Pre-race routine:

Like most people I've had my eye on the weather forecast this week. Unfortunately Sunday was as predicted, wet. I woke up around 4am to drink my morning coffee and get the plumbing flowing. Breakfast was my usual; two rice cakes with almond butter and a banana. It's a 25 minute drive to the race site so I left around 5:30. I was a bit nervous when I had to have the wipers on high for most of the drive.
Event warmup:

Not much of a warm up. The swim warm up was 6-6:30 and I didn't go off until after 8 so I didn't see much point in getting in. My warm up consisted of standing around and talking to friends while yelling at those who were exiting the water.
  • 29m 12s
  • 1500 meters
  • 01m 57s / 100 meters

This is my first race since a panic attack in the water at the end of last year and the first 200m did not start out well. I was able to get in the water for a few minutes before our wave start, submerge myself, etc so I thought I was ready... this turned out to not be the case. The contact didn't bother me as much as I expected, but once again I experienced the panicky feeling in my chest and had a hard time breathing. It felt like my wetsuit was a boa constrictor and it was trying to squeeze the life out of me (I'm claustorphobic). It also doesn't help that I don't like open water. A neighbor kid showed me Jaws when I was 7 or 8 and I haven't been a fan of lakes since then. A shark tried to grab me a couple of times (aka, a stick... keep in mind, it's a river swim), but I was able to fight the shark (stick) off with some sweet ninja moves and a minimal amount of panic. It also helped that I talked to a teammate before we started and she mentioned how much she hates the first 200-300m. I kept reminding myself that I wasn't alone in this and that I just needed to keep going until my watch beeped (500m) and then I could reevaluate. Fortunately things calmed down and I went on to have a fantastic swim. My goal was 34 minutes with a stretch of 30, so 29:12 was outstanding. I believe I was actually out of the water in 28 and change. One note, most people lined up left of the sighting buoys, which didn't make sense to me as you need to swim a dog leg to hit the turn buoy. If you line up to the right it's almost a straight shot to the turn buoy and I think it cut some time, unless you are in my age group... then you should go as wide as possible. I breath to one side and was worried about having an uneven stroke, but after looking at my Garmin data for the swim I couldn't be happier. It was a nice straight line and only about 40m long.
What would you do differently?:

Realize that the first 200m sucks and that you have to accept that. Hopefully this will improve with more experience.
Transition 1
  • 02m 20s

Wetsuit strippers are awesome.
What would you do differently?:

I was 7th in my age group for T1 so I must have done all right, though it felt slow. At some point I need to learn how to do a flying mount, but today was not the day.
  • 1h 13m 30s
  • 24.85 miles
  • 20.29 mile/hr

My goal was to keep my heart rate in the 135-140 range but I couldn't get it to settle down, which worried me after about 5 miles. Eventually I decided to go by perceived exertion since this was my first Olympic race and I really had no idea what I was doing and the 135-140 range was arbitrary to begin with. I seemed to settle into the 145-150 range (averaged 149) and went with that. The first half felt too easy but I forced myself to stay disciplined and not cook the bike. My goal was to average 19-20 mph so 20.3 was good enough for me given the conditions. It was depressing being passed so often on the bike but it must mean I had a good swim. I also noticed that most of the people passing me had full carbon bikes and all the toys that go with that. I had one bottle of Infinit Go Far on the bike and it worked great. I did almost fall getting off the bike, mainly b/c I had never tried jumping off a moving bike. At the end of the race on a rainy day is not a good place to start.
What would you do differently?:

Start picking at the low hanging fruit like aero helmet, drink system in the aero bars, etc. to lower my time with a minimal effort. I've been focused on my run for the past year and my bike training has been spotty at best so I was happy with these results but expect more next year after another season of training.
Transition 2
  • 02m 30s

This was slower than I would have liked but someone bumped the trash bag that was covering my running shoes so my socks were soaked and I had a hard time getting them on.
What would you do differently?:

Find a better way to ensure my socks and shoes stay dry.
  • 54m 40s
  • 6.2 miles
  • 08m 49s  min/mile

I started this crazy journey by taking up running about a year ago. I added the bike and swim as a way to stay in shape when injured, but the run has been my focus for the past year and it's starting to pay off. I've seen huge improvements in the past year and set PR's virtually every race. My Olympic triathlon 10k time was 5 minutes faster than an open 10k late last summer. I didn't feel like running once I hopped off the bike (glad I didn't upgrade to the half!) but some teammates were out cheering and that helped motivate me. I fell into a reasonably comfortable pace and was surprised to see that it was around 8:30 and that I actually had to pull myself back. I finished the run portion in just under 55 minutes and every mile was faster than a 9 min pace (my half marathon pace), which was my stretch goal.
What would you do differently?:

I still need to learn to suffer more on the run. After looking at my heart rate data from the race I think I could have gone faster and believe it's a mental thing, some of which goes back to my initial training which was all slow.
Post race
Warm down:

Grabbed a banana and a cookie and walked back to transition to gather my things. It was a 15 minute walk back to the car with a friend so that helped me stay loose.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

My overall engine still needs to improve in all three sports, but that will come with time. I couldn't be happier with the results and adding toys as I go forward (aero helmet, power meter, etc) will only serve to lower my time further. I should limit the post race beers and bad food as I gained 4 pounds overnight!

Event comments:

Overall a great race that's close to home with lots of friends and teammates. We had a blast despite the weather. The organizers do a wonderful job and there are plenty of volunteers, though they can always use more. I spent a few hours the day before setting up transition and think the banked karma helped me on race day!

Last updated: 2015-06-15 12:00 AM
00:29:12 | 1500 meters | 01m 57s / 100meters
Age Group: 12/29
Overall: 133/377
Course: You can't see the turn buoy from shore, which was a bit intimidating, though it's a relatively straight swim out and back. It's technically a river swim but takes place near a damn and the current is virtually non-existent.
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 65F / 18C Current: Low
200M Perf. Bad Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 02:20
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
01:13:30 | 24.85 miles | 20.29 mile/hr
Age Group: 17/29
Overall: 154/377
Performance: Good
Course: A relatively simple out and back with one easy turn aside from the turn around. The course is flat, but there were some large puddles that required you to almost cross the yellow line to avoid. Typical Michigan roads so keep an eye out for potholes and launched water bottles.
Road: Rough Wet Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:30
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
00:54:40 | 06.2 miles | 08m 49s  min/mile
Age Group: 16/29
Overall: 177/377
Performance: Good
Course: A fairly straight forward out and back with a couple of side loops to complete the distance. The course is fairly flat with the exception of one hill around the 4 mile mark.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
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:
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2015-06-15 6:40 PM

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Subject: Grand Rapids Triathlon - Olympic Course

2015-06-15 8:52 PM
in reply to: #5122791

Subject: RE: Grand Rapids Triathlon - Olympic Course
Congrats! You really nailed this one.
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