Saturday, July 6, 2013

2013 Topeka Tinman Short Course Race Report

The 33rd annual Topeka Tinman took place on Saturday June 15, 2013 at Lake Shawnee, Kansas. This was my first triathlon of 2013, and one that will hold a special place for me, as it's the only race in my hometown of Topeka, Kansas. I had done the race back in 2011, which was only the second triathlon I had ever completed. This year's course was exactly the same, and I was excited to see how my times would compare after 2 years of training.

Cervelo race ready!

Number 2. No pressure or anything...

Rach and I made the drive back to Topeka Friday night and stayed at my parents' house to avoid the necessary 4:00am alarm on race morning. We got to sleep in till 5:00am instead. Despite being home, I didn't sleep well. I probably only got a few hours of sleep, but that's becoming pretty standard the night before races. For breakfast, I drank some Gatorade and tried to eat some oatmeal, the same thing I eat about 95% of the time for breakfast, and just couldn't. I was too excited!

Sister looking almost as cool as me. Almost...

We soon left and headed to Lake Shawnee. We arrived around 6:15, and found my assigned rack.  It was the furthest rack away from the entrance off the bike, but the closest for the run exit.  I was the second person at the rack, so I basically had my pick of where to stick my bike.  I set up my transition area in about 30 seconds and wondered around for 30 minutes, wondering why I always get there crazy early.  I then left for a 5 mile bike warmup to make sure the Cervelo was ready to work. I headed down to the swim start once I got back and squeezed into my wetsuit for the swim!

Can you spot me?

Making fart noises...

"I need to lose some weight"

My swim wave was the first to go.  We lined up on the beach, but had to go off at a diagonal into the water (tough to explain).  I positioned myself up in front (or so I thought), and sprinted into the water once the horn went off.  

I immediately started pushing hard, but noticed that most of my fellow AGers continued to run parallel to the water along the beach.  Poop.

Not surprisingly, I was immediately dropped off the lead group of 3, and struggled to find feet.  The swim was incredibly short (400 meters), and I wanted to stay with the lead group throughout. Well, that didn't happen.  Despite pushing hard, I never got close to catching them. With about 100m to go, I just settled into a nice pace and hung onto some feet to draft a bit and save my energy for the remainder of the race.

Time: 6:27
Distance: 400 meters
Pace: 1:28/100y
AG: 3/19
Overall: 12/325

There's is a fairly long run up a slight hill back to the transition area. I had the longest run possible back to my rack, which I was cool with because it allowed me to have a bit of extra time to get the wetsuit off.  Once I got to my rack, I got my wetsuit off my legs, helmet and sunglasses on, and I was off.  This was my first race keeping my shoes clipped in my bike to start, and I had no issues! Thankfully...

Flying mount!

Time: 1:35
AG: 2/19
Overall: 16/325

I can't tell you how excited I was for this bike segment! There was a bit of a headwind out, but really it was pretty light.  After slipping my feet into my shoes, I immediately started chasing people down.  Being the first age group to go is sorta odd, as there is literally no one out on the course.  Luckily, I had a slow swim so I could follow people :)

The ride was really uneventful.  The course itself is very flat, but on chip sealed roads which made the short ride a bit longer.  I ended up passing 3 riders immediately out of transition, and 2 more out on the course.  I caught up to the 2nd place rider right as we were heading back into T2, but never saw the 1st rider out on the course.  I was really happy with how the ride went, and felt like I was working hard the  entire time (and had the heart rate data to prove it).  

Heading into T2

Time: 36:00
Distance: 13 miles
Pace: 21.7 mph
AG: 1/19
Overall: 10/325

T2 went really well.  I slipped out of my shoes prior to riding into transition, and did a rolling dismount which carried into the run to my bike. The only issue was having to rerack my bike, as I didn't want my new Carbon baby falling to the ground...  Rack bike, helmet off, shoes on, peace...

Time: 0:38
AG: 3/19
Overall: 7/325

On to the humid, humid, humid run.  

I was pretty spent after the bike, but I knew I was in at least 2nd place in my AG.  I began on the course and tried to keep a higher cadence.  After a half mile, I still wasn't hitting the pace I knew I was usually capable of doing and really started feeling hot.  My legs just couldn't turn over fast enough. It was so insanely humid and I was really starting to overheat.


At the turn, I got to see the 2 guys in front of me, who were both in the 15-19 AG, which meant I was in the lead! Unfortunately for me, I also got to see who was chasing me.  There was a group of 3 guys about 30 seconds behind me that were in my AG and hauling ass. I started to freak out a bit, and thought of all those professional triathletes (Chris Lieto in Kona...) that get chased down on the run. I just tried to focus on my leg turnover and not how effn hot I was.

Really hurting...

I really gave it my best on the way back in. I was really disappointed with my pace, but my effort was incredible.  My abs were cramping, which made taking a full breath impossible.  As I turned to head down the finishing chute, I tried to kick it up a bit to give it everything I had. There was one guy right on my feet, about 15 second behind me and closing. I was about to turn down the finish chute with nothing left in the tank, and was told I needed to make a small loop back around transition to the other side of the chute!  I about stopped and walked, and was certain I would be passed for 2nd place, but it never happened!

The Correct Finish Chute

I held on, barely, and crossed the line in first by 12 seconds. 

Time: 23:20
Distance: 5 kilometers
Pace: 7:32/mile
AG: 3/19
Overall: 29/325

Total Time: 1:07:58
AG: 1/19

Overall, I was really happy with my first Age Group win! I was not, however, very content with my run.  It sucked, and I'm sure the humidity and heat had something to do with it (along with the insanely hard bike), but it was still far below what I know I'm capable of doing.  Regardless, I'm really motivated to get back to training and seeing if I can get some more run speed to go along with the swim and bike!

Made the news. Because I got beat by a 16 yo girl. Not joking...

For the 2011 vs 2013 comparison:  my total time on the same course (although the 2011 swim was probably 100 meters short) was 1:13:33. I'm happy with a 5:30 improvement, despite having the poopie run this go around. The bike has come along way since 2011 (averaged 17.8 mph).

Awards! Yeah!

I have to thank Rach for sherpa-ing for me (yet again), and my family for watching me race! It was a great race, Ultramax always puts on top-notch events.  I know I'll be back in the future!

If you ain't first, you're last!

Thanks for reading!

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