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Giant Acorn Olympic - Triathlon

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Lake Anna, Virginia
United States
Kinetic Multisports
50F / 10C
Total Time = 3h 00m 22s
Overall Rank = 90/171
Age Group = M 50-54
Age Group Rank = 8/16
Pre-race routine:

First Olympic and only second tri in eight years. After dealing with back issues and even surgery in 2017 I finally was able to figure out running again this year. Let's just say I do a lot of core work, but for whatever reason it came togther. Still very (maybe criminally?) undertrained for the run but have had a great year swimming and biking so far, including getting back to Masters.

I originally had planned to do this as an aquabike in 2020 (deferred COVID), and 2021 (deferred family emergency) so after having some success this year running I decided the hell with it let's do an Olympic tri. Cool vibe at this race and it's the collegiate championship so all the regional tri clubs were here, making for a 300+ person field. No Penn State, though...come on, man. Oh well, at least I can root against Duke. :-)

We've had a really warm September and I've been monitoring local water temps which have hovered in the upper 70s. We had a cold front come through on Thursday which really dropped the air temps so I figured we'd be fine for wetsuits.

The Plan was to swim a "smooth hard" during the wetsuit-legal swim, hold about 0.83 IF (so go hard-ish) on the bike and nail my nutrition, then run/walk at about a 9:30 pace with 1-2 minute walk breaks during the aid stations and see what happens. Targeting :30, 1:15, 1:10. I did, well,...some of that.

Drove down to Fredericksburg to spend the night before the race...of course the traffic was hell on 95 and I think I spent 30 bucks in tolls using the express lanes. LOL Got to the hotel, checked in and noticed that we were basiclally up against I-95. Like I think it would be quieter in the median. Ugh. Guess we'll see. Went over to a local Italian place and had some pizza and salad. Went to bed around 8:30 and fell right to sleep. Woke up at 1:30 and maybe slept a little in and out after that. Road noise was loud but tolerable. Up at 4:30, at a Zone bar and an apple slammed some coffee. Out the door at 5:45 for the 35 minute drive down back roads to Lake Anna.

Event warmup:

All week I've been wondering about the weather - low temps in mid to upper 40s and I really don't have cycling gear for that. Also, water temps were 81 degrees on Thursday (thank you nuclear power plant!!) so was wondering about wetsuits for today.

Pulled in around 6:30, still just getting light out. Did check in and walked over to body marking and heard the USAT official say water temps were 81 degrees. No wetsuit - great, never swam that far OWS without one. So, it's 48 degrees out and we can't wear wetsuits. LOL...this can only happen at Lake Anna.

So now I'm debating wearing a suit and just not qualifying for awards...I mean this is a strong field and I'm not going to podium anyway, right? That's when Coach Mike (my inner coaching self, a persona comprised of about 100 people I've "met" in my mentor groups, challenge groups, Facebook groups..) smacked Triathlete Mike (me) upside the head an said "Dude. WTF. You've been swimming for almost 13 years now...if you can't swim 1500 meters without a wetsuit you got no business being here." Well OK then. Guess we're swimming without one.

Set up transition, leaving an outer layer for the bike. I was debating myself (Coach Mike had no opinion on this one - thanks, dude) about the outer layer after hearing Karen's (HotRunner) recent race report about IM Washington 70.3 and Jenn's experiences at IMLP where they basically got hypothermia under the same conditions. Well I bet the water wasn't 81 degrees, but still. OK, we'll decide during T1 because I can always make good decisions mid-race, right?

About 7:30 I started jogging around to get my body slightly above freezing and get as loose as possible. With an Oly not too much warm up. Watched the collegiate teams go in and then we lined up TT style. As per my custom, took a quick second to take it all in and feel the gratitude for what, and who, brought me here. Off we go!
  • 36m 10s
  • 1500 meters
  • 02m 25s / 100 meters

Once I made the decision to bag the wetsuit I got really psyched to do this. I wasn't apprehensive at all. It was a run-in start so I was able to wade in for a while to get used to the water. Swam a few strokes, walked, swam a couple more, until I got to about chest deep then started swimming.

I have this horrible reaction to OWS where I start to hyperventilate 200 to maybe 400/500 yards into the race. I'm used to it so I can push through it but it sucks. Today for some reason that never happened. Maybe the wade-in start with the couple of swim strokes did the trick (and the 81 degree water), but I felt great out there. Started slowly and just followed the crowd so I didn't swim too far off course (you see...I like to give my competitors an advantage by swimming circles normally...) and it worked. I got about halfway through, rounded both buoys and actually started to pick up the pace. 2-2-4-2-2-4-sight rhythm and worked on rotation and body position like I've been working on in the pool. Felt stronger as I went and I feel like I was passing some people in the water. Rare feeling.

The field thinned out a little but I still was able to find some feet here and there. Also managed to not get swam over or kick anyone, so that's a bonus. Got about 100 yards out and started kicking harder to warm up my legs so I didn't cramp coming out like usual. It worked.

Out of the water in 35 -flat. I beat more than half the field and my AG so I bet the course was a little long. Clock time includes uphill run to transition, 'cause those are fun.

7/16 AG, 81/171 OA
What would you do differently?:

I executed this about as good as I can. Swam hard, didn't hyperventilate, didn't cramp, didn't almost drown anyone. Good show.
Transition 1
  • 02m 23s

I was mentally prepared for strong transitions here, as I've been listening to Nathalie in my mentor group talk about her speedy tranistions like she's freakin' Ironman turning on his nanotech suit. I also had The Wife here, who usually stands outside of transition yelling at me to hurry up. I guess I'd better get my act together.

Made the decision to just roll with the trisuit and not put another layer on, which I figured would just get wet anyway. Besides, all the cool kids weren't wearing them (and by that I mean literally the cool "kids", as in the college ones) and it's uphill the first 10 miles so that will get me warm for sure.

Got out of transition in about two minutes then had to jog with the bike to the timing mat and mount line.

6/16 AG, 52/171 OA.
What would you do differently?:

I still can be a little quicker than this but decent enough.
  • 1h 15m 22s
  • 40 kms
  • 31.84 km/hr

Clipped in on the steep uphill and started pedaling with one leg until I could get my other foot in. Didn't take too long. First mile is a pretty hard uphill, then a rolling uphill climb until mile 10, downhill for 5, rolling for another 5, then reverse some of the course downhill back into the park with a steep downhill to transition at the end. Hope my brakes work.

The Bike Plan was to ride pretty hard the first 10 miles to make sure I warm up, then just hammer the hills while holding a good aero position on the flats and downhills. I have autolap every 5 miles to remind me to drink my Gatorade so I'll finish that bottle on the ride. More on that plan in a minute - I finished it all right. Shooting for about 0.83 or so IF and hoping to break 1:15.

First five miles was getting going and adjusting to the right pace, and frankly just trying to warm up. It's pretty chilly but I'm amped up so it was OK. About a mile or two in I noticed something on my's my running hat. I had asked The Wife to run it up to transition as I had forgotten to do it and the swim was about to start, and she was really nice and did it for me, and hung it on the aerobars. Well obviously I didn't need my running hat as it would look silly over my helmet so I stuffed it into my trisuit pocket. I was thinking to myself "well something always goes wrong in a race this isn't so bad".

Got to the first five-mile beep and I actually remembered to drink some. Yay me!! Drank a little and while I was patting myself on the back for remembering to get my liquid / nutrition, I proceeded to drop my bottle putting it back into the bottle cage, and decided it would be best to just run it over with my bike for good measure. I'm doing about 22 mph at this point so I quickly (after screaming a profanity BT won't let me type here) slam on my brakes and stop as 1) I probably need that nutrition and hydration, and 2) well, it's a jackass move littering on the course AND probably a penalty if a marshall sees it. I jog back to the botttle about 50 yards and I see that I managed to rip the top half of the bottle off. Well - that's not good. I'm now glad it's cold out. At least I didn't crash. I then put what was left of the bottom half of the bottle into my cage and stuffed what remained of the top half into another trisuit pocket. I'm running out of pockets now for stuff I don't need on the bike. Coach Mike is shaking his head and doing the Jean-Luc Picard facepalm meme.

Oh, well. Onward. Got back up to speed and just hammered the rest of the bike. Power up the hills, solid on the flats, as aero as possible on the downhills, solid turns, keep pedaling. You know, that's one thing about riding the trainer all the time is that you always are pedaling so that muscle memory comes outside with you. I only coasted on the steepest downhills. I stood on some of the steeper climbs to use different muscles and stretch out my back...maybe 10 times or so. Passed maybe 30 or so people on the bike, and only got passed by 3-4 on really nice tri rigs.

Hit the 20 mile mark (miles 15-20 were rough - no flats, lots of cornering and jacked up chipseal roads), and got back onto smooth pavement and flat/downhill. I started passing more people like crazy as I'm hammering it now. Get to the steep downhill and coasted the last 1/4 mile or so, brakes worked, stopped, dismounted. Done.

Avg power: 207
NP: 225 IF: 0.85
4/16 AG, 46/171 OA

Pretty much nailed the plan.

What would you do differently?:

Not drop my nutrition / hydration. I'm really lucky it wasn't hot out.
Transition 2
  • 02m 28s

Be quick, but don't hurry. An old John Wooden saying I like to think of in transition. This one was pretty solid but I probably lost 10-15 seconds because my hands were so cold and my feet were numb. Time includes running with the bike about 20 seconds into transition.

6/16 AG, 84/171 OA.

What would you do differently?:

I can definitely be faster here, but no picnic this year for me.
  • 1h 03m 29s
  • 10 kms
  • 06m 21s  min/km

Coming out of T2 I'm 4th in my AG. Not for long. As noted I'm not trained for this distance - I maybe have 200 miles in my legs so far this year and that's first running of any consequence I've done in years. Longest run so far 5.3 miles.

The Plan was there really wasn't one as I wasn't sure what to expect. I wanted to walk about 8 minutes of it and had thought about just doing it at the mile markers, but they didn't align with the steeper parts of the course or the aid stations so I just decided to walk some of the uphill sections and the aid stations.

Considering I've had about 3-4 ounces of liquid / nutrition so far I knew I had to get some water and Gatorade in me. Lemon lime GA...blech but it'll have to do. My punishment for being stupid I guess. Oh and my feet are completely numb right now, so I'm not sure what hurts or not.

Got through the first uphill mile pretty well...first tough part over. Picked up the pace and held about 9:30 running and 13:00 on the short walk breaks. Ran the whole third mile and got through the halfway point under 31 minutes - right on track. Mile four was brutal and that was where I walked the most...maybe 1/3 of it at least. At least I can finally feel my feet now.

Mile five was OK and now I'm really feeling the legs give out. I try to pick up the pace for the final mile and they just weren't having it, so I just cruised down the hill around 9:30. Once I hit the 6 mile mark I let it fly, getting down around 7:00 pace through the finish.

Solid run considering my lack of run training, but ugly results:

13/16 AG, 138/171 OA (ouch - lost 4 places in my AG during the run)

There is always a point in the race where you get into a rhythm / "flow" and I hit it just past mile four - felt great, the sun's out now, lots of people on the course all cheering each other on. It's what makes this sport great and brings you back again and again.
What would you do differently?:

Considering my injury past and low run volume, just happy I ran almost the whole time. Everyone and their brother passed me on the run. This run course does not play to my strengths at all.

Post race
Warm down:

Did the usual bend over for a minute and assure the volunteers I'm not going to die. Some angel volunteer was nice enough to take off my timing ankle thingy for me and hand me some water. Volunteers just rock.

Walked back up to transition, stretched a bit, packed up my stuff and walked back to the car. Grabbed some pizza for the drive back as I had no desire to eat right now (I never do - takes like 30-45 minutes). Got back to the hotel, showered then chowed down on a burger and a beer.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I raced my ability and nailed The Plan (minus the whole water bottle fiasco). I obviously need more run training to compete at this distance but very happy with the results anyway.

Very happy to be back racing this distance as I love the Olympic...a higher commitment to training, nutrition matters (well except for me, apparentlly...), there's some strategy involved but the training and racing doesn't destroy you like long course. I still have ZERO interest going longer.

I was prety shocked I didn't crash and burn with the very limited nutrition...I guess I have plenty of fat stores. :-) Speaking of which, I need to drop another 5-7 gut pounds for next year.

I also need to do a better job of picking races. Hills are no good for Triathlete Mike. I need to stick to Lum's Pond and Rock Hall around here.

Great finish to the season and looking forward to a few days off before tackling an off-season plan. Thanks to the BDAS mentor group for tolerating a non-triathlete for six years LOL and helping me get to the starting line.

Event comments:

Kinetic does a nice job overall. The post-race food was kinda lame other than the pizza - no chips or pretzels or anything like that which is what I usually eat. Race vibe was great with the college kids and I had a great time.

Last updated: 2022-09-25 12:00 AM
00:36:10 | 1500 meters | 02m 25s / 100meters
Age Group: 8/16
Overall: 81/171
Performance: Good
Suit: Desoto Forza Trisuit
Course: out 700, right 100, back in 700
Start type: Wade Plus: Time Trial
Water temp: 81F / 27C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 02:23
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Below average
01:15:22 | 40 kms | 31.84 km/hr
Age Group: 4/16
Overall: 46/171
Performance: Good
Wind: None
Course: lollipop course with first 10 miles uphill, 5 miles downhill, 5 miles rolling, then 5 miles downhill - very little flat sections
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Average Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Not enough
Time: 02:28
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal
01:03:29 | 10 kms | 06m 21s  min/km
Age Group: 13/16
Overall: 138/171
Performance: Below average
Course: two-loop course, a mile uphill (starts steep, then more gradual), a more or less flat second mile, then a downhill third mile (starts gradual, then more steep, and a little technical on a paved trail through the woods. Flat couple of hundred yards near the finish line.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Too hard
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2022-09-26 9:49 AM

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Middle River, Maryland
Silver member
Subject: Giant Acorn Olympic

2022-09-26 11:10 AM
in reply to: #5282969

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Baltimore, Maryland
Subject: RE: Giant Acorn Olympic
Great job, Mike! This was fun to read. A couple notes:
1. Glad Coach Mike showed up! I can't imagine how hot you would've been in 81 degree water AND a wetsuit.
2. Your brakes worked! What a relief!
3. Volunteers really do rock!
4. Thank god for pockets! I do not have pockets on my tri suit so would have had to stuff things down it most likely.

Overall, awesome job! Glad it went well and you met your goals! The run will come, but best to be safe and avoid injury for sure.
2022-09-26 2:22 PM
in reply to: nicole14e

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, Kronobergs lan
Subject: RE: Giant Acorn Olympic
Good job!

Don’t you love it when things go according to plan? (other than the dropped bottle and the numb feet that is)

Nice to see you didn’t spread your picnic blanket in transition! I knew you had it in you

2022-09-26 5:27 PM
in reply to: Rollergirl

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Auckland, North Island
Subject: RE: Giant Acorn Olympic
Great job Mike. Way to nail yuor plan and hit your targets.

A thought on the non-hyperventilating on the swim. Any chance your wetsuit is the cause of those? It did go away un expectedly on a non wetsuit swim...
2022-09-26 5:39 PM
in reply to: #5282969

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South Windsor, CT
Subject: RE: Giant Acorn Olympic
simply awesome!!

and you can't tell me that coach Mike wasn't beaming...

I loved the report and it was so personalized that I felt like I was right there, seeing it all happen-and those are the best reports, where we just feel every thing happening

Congrats on finishing. Congrats on achieving. Congrats on nailing a super long non-wetsuit swim *(I can relate to that feeling from Miamiman 2018...) and hitting perfect Oly pace cycling effort!!

oh, and congrats on even finishing a run in a race at a distance not yet achieved in practice!!!!!!!!!

what the what???

it was simply....awesome, Mike.
2022-09-28 7:11 AM
in reply to: dtoce

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Carbondale, Illinois
Subject: RE: Giant Acorn Olympic
Awesome job, Mike!

I've done the 81Fswim/40F bike races before and they are rough! Turns out, feeling your feet is an important part of running!

also...there's a name for when you have multiple people living in your head... :P

2022-10-03 2:00 PM
in reply to: drfoodlove

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Bronze member
Subject: RE: Giant Acorn Olympic

Great job out there! And definitely kudos for going back to clean up your bottle ... 

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