Sunday, June 19, 2011

Race Report: Topeka Tinman

Saturday was the Topeka Tinman, the first triathlon I have ever heard of, and definitely my "A" race this year, mainly because it's my hometown, my family would be there, and I knew the course.  Despite having some tough training "challenges", I had a great race and a wonderful time.

Pre Race: I headed back to Topeka on Friday night, after I got off my clinical.  Rach and I arrived in Topeka a little after 7, made some pasta at my parents' house, went for a walk, and headed to bed.  Unfortunately, I have my bed in Kansas City and my parents haven't replaced it, so I spent the night on a twin mattress on the floor.  I wouldn't say I slept sleep "soundly." 

Saturday the alarm went off at 4:50am and I heard it! I got up pretty easy, mainly because when I glanced outside, it was hardcore storming.  After quickly checking the weather, I grabbed some OJ, a bagel with PB, some gatorade, and my transition bag.  Rach and I were out the door by 5:25! Not bad!


We were there pretty early, and luckily I got a great transition spot right on the end of my pre-determined rack.  This was only my 2nd race, but I now know the purpose of getting there early to get the "pick of the lot" for transition spots.  It makes it so much easier for me to see my stuff when I'm hauling in after the swim or bike.  Once I got my bike on the rack, I went and got marked, got my chip, and set up transition!

After setting up, I basically just hung around and warmed up.  Obviously went to the porta-johns a few times (3!).  I finally got to meet Scott and few others from the KU Tri Club.  I was happy to see a friend from high school racked 2 bikes down from me, who finished his first tri that day. Awesome job, Justin!  After a brief warm up jog, I downed a Gatorade Prime and I headed down to the swim start to warm up the shoulders. 

Swim: After the warm-up, everyone got out of the water, and got ready to go.  My wave went first, and it was a beach entry to start the swim. 

The weather was great.  Luckily, the storms passed earlier in the morning, which actually pulled all the swim buoys off their original locations and the finisher's shoot was lost.  They fixed the buoys into a triangular out and back course, but never found the shoot.  Somebody probably has it on their roof...  The water was 76 degrees and no waves.  I previously made up my mind to not bring a wetsuit, and I'm glad because I wouldn't have used it. I lined myself in the 2nd row, dead center.  I planned on pushing it hard, and was lined up right behind the guy who ended up winning the wave. I picked the right guy to draft off of!  At 8:00am, the gun went off, everyone hit 'start' on their watch, and dove in. 

I'm in there somewhere, probably in the front...haha
The 400 yard swim went awesome! Although it was only my second OWS, I felt much more comfortable. We swam with the buoys on the left, and I'm a little more comfortable breathing on my right, so I just did that, along with lifting my head every once in a while.  Eventually I was comfortable with bilateral breathing, and my pace really got going. I was able to get in a groove almost immediately, which was nice, because I avoided most of the kicks to the face (key word was most).  Before I knew it, I was heading back towards shore with only 2 people in front of me, and within reachable distance. I pushed pretty hard at the end, and was probably 8 feet away from the leader.

The leader, second place, and ME!
Time:  5:10
Rank: 16/201

Bike:  Once I got to T1, things went good.  Got my shirt on (partially), shoes, sunglasses, helmet, and out!  The shirt was "on", but it resembled more of a sports bra from the front.  It was stuck on my shoulders, so I just thought I would fix it when I got up to speed. I was in 3rd place heading out of transition.

Pulling. It. Off...
The 13 mile bike leg of the race is when the wheels all fell off.  First off, my bike computer decided to stop functioning.  I had no idea of my cadence, speed, or distance.  Although this affected my pace, I still felt pretty good, pushing hard, but not too hard.  About halfway into the race, a police officer blocking an intersection was talking to a driver and I saw him pointing across the street, thus signaling me to make a left turn.  Since no other riders were within sight to follow, I turned left.  Just as I had turned and started hammering, I heard the police officer yelling at me, saying sorry and to turn around.  It turns out I needed to remain going straight through the intersection.  As I turned around, I got passed by 5 riders.  I was pissed.  I know it wasn't the cops fault, but it definitely got me out of a rhythm.  

As I pushed on, I tried to catch the group of 5.  Unfortunately, I think I ended up just tiring myself out.  I got passed by 3 more people before entering back into the park.  On a good note, they were in "full aero" attire, equipped with tri-bike, aero wheels and helmet...

As I began heading towards T2, there were a few quick little turns to maneuver.  Near the end, my right foot came unclipped.  More unfortunately, my right shoe slipped off my foot.  I have no idea how this happened, but my shoe was on the ground!  I stopped, slipped my shoe back on, and was back on my way towards transition after the 15-20 second delay.

Time:  43:49 / 17.8 mph
Rank:  97/201

Run:  T2 went smoothly. I got my bike quickly mounted, shoes on, helmet off, grabbed my hat and race belt, and took off.  I was a little bummed about the bike, mainly because of those extrinsic factors that I couldn't control.  My HR was through the roof, and was really starting to feel the humidity.  My calves were burning pretty bad, and I felt like they were about to seize up.  How ironic would that have been?  I had no mustard!!!

Exiting T2, in my "aero" run position

Getting in the groove...
The 3 mile run went fairly well, overall.  I got passed once early, but I ended up chasing him down at the finishing sprint.  Turns out, he wasn't even in my AG.  The course itself was a little hillier than I expected.  There wasn't a single flat section on the run, it was either up or down (it seemed like there was way more ups...). 

Chasing down some guy close to the finish
Got him...

Time:  22:10 / 7:23 min/mile
Rank:  32/201

Overall:  It was a great day and a great race. After finishing, I grabbed my finisher's pint glass, saw my family, and began to start sucking air.  After recouping, I took some photos, got some food, and ran into Big Tom and his friend Rocco, thanks for saying hello! and nice job on the MTB!

Worth it...
Time:  1:13:33
Rank:  43/201
Age Group:  6/25

This race really gave me a little more insight into my training.  I know the last few weeks have been unplanned to a certain extent, but I now know I need more time on the bike.  I felt a significant decrease in power on the hills, especially closer to finishing.  I could also use a little more hill and speedwork on the run. I did learn that I'm a swimmer, though.  Shocking...

I just want to say thanks to Ultramax for putting on a good event ( I will be back next year fa sho), thanks to my family for the support, and thanks to my GF Rach for helping me carry, organize, photograph, and strategize!  

Next race will be in July, at Shawnee Mission Park! Can't wait!


ScottyB said...

Great job on the race! Congrats on meeting your sub-1:14 goal too. Great race report as well. It was nice to finally meet you out there and see you in three weeks!

Next time... I'm getting the race report published first!! ;)

Rachel R said...

Thanks for all the shout-outs! I love tagging along with you and watching you Tri :) Can't wait to help / watch you at Shawnee Mission Park!!!