Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Midwest Meltdown Long Course Race Report 2013

On Sunday August 25, 2013, I raced my last triathlon of the year (wahhh wuhhh) at the Midwest Meltdown in Paola, KS. I did the short course race last year, and enjoyed the flat course and small registration numbers. I up'd the distance and was in for the long course to end my triathlon season.

The week leading up to the race was very light in terms of training following Jackson County the previous weekend. Plus, Rach and I made a quick and fun trip to San Diego for a wedding. The place and wedding were beautiful, I had a few too many beers, and danced like no one was watching into the wee hours. We returned home 36 hours later, and arrived home around 11:30pm the night before the race, and still had to pack my stuff up.

When I woke up race morning, I knew I wasn't about to have my best race of the year. I was wrecked from traveling, the beers, the dancing, no decent meal the day before, and lack of sleep. I immediately decided to just have some fun in my last race of the year, and be content with that.

Pre Race
Rach and I got to the race site around 6:30am, which provided enough time to get set up, go on a short ride, and get a 5 minute warm up swim in before my wave started at 7:30am. The race itself was very small, but there was a lot of "talent" in the long course race. There were 2 men's waves for the long course. Mine was the first to start, with about 25 people in the wave. I saw Pete, my training buddy, in the wave and decided to try and stick with him like I did for Jackson County.

ME with the BEST sherpa ever!
Our little wave started at 7:30 without any contact. The group began to spread out quickly, but I had to navigate my way around a few people in front of me because I didn't have enough time to get positioned in front before starting.  I quickly saw Pete to my right, and began to try and pull onto the group in front of me to draft. I never really caught the group, but kept them within striking distance much of the first lap, although there were a few guys off the front.

Swim start. Chaos.
The first loop of the 750 meter course was really uneventful. I was able to get into a groove immediately, and focused on bilateral breathing. At the start of the second loop, I could feel myself slowing down, and was immediately passed by Pete and another swimmer. I made up my mind to stay with them and hopefully draft, but they quickly got out of reach. I stayed within 10 yards of them the remainder of the swim, but didn't get any benefit from drafting.

I really began fatiguing the back half of the second loop and could consciously feel my legs sinking, really wishing the swim was wetsuit legal. My feet began to cramp about 100 yards from shore. I tried to focus on a good body position and strong pull till I got to shore, again a few second behind Pete.

This is what the pros call "exiting the water".
Time:  26:27
Distance: 1500 meters
Pace: 1:37/100 yards
Age Group: 2/3
Overall: 22/73

Once on shore, I just ran to my bike, threw on my aero helmet, and took off. I already had my shoes clipped in, and had an excellent transition spot! Always helpful!

Time: 0:40
AG: 1/3 (tie)
OA: 2/73 (tie)

The bike course consisted of four 5.2 mile loops around Lake Miola.  The course itself has been compared to riding on a running track. It's flat, but has quite a few little turns. There was also a minor wind out of the South that was more annoying than problematic.

Out of transition, I was immediately passed by Pete and a short course racer. I tried to keep up with them, but I just couldn't.  My legs were not feeling like riding hard, and my heart rate was really low, despite just getting done with a hard swim. I started drinking some water, wondering if I was dehydrated (probably from the weekend). After a half lap, Pete and the short course racer were out of sight. I actually couldn't see anyone, either in front of me or behind me.

Getting da party started... Terrible position.
After the first lap, I started taking in some fuel, hoping my legs would start pushing hard. That didn't really help. I kept trying to push, hoping to see the heart rate rise, but it just stayed in low zone 3. At the start of the 3rd lap, I took a gel with caffeine that seemed to bring my legs to life and I started making up some ground.

Better position, but not liking the pointed toe...
By the time I started the 4th and final lap, I was ready to be off the bike.  I was having a ton of pain in my butt, but it wasn't from sitting on the bike saddle. My guess is it was from all the sitting while traveling and I hadn't stretched out. Regardless, I just pushed and hoped to salvage a decent run. I eventually caughtf Pete in front of me (who obviously slowed down for me) right before T2, and we were going to start the run together for the second week in a row.

Ready to be done...
Time:  54:07
Distance: 20.84 miles
Pace: 23.1 mph
AG: 2/3
OA: 16/74

I did a rolling dismount and kept my shoes clipped into my bike. I just hopped off, ran to my transition spot, took off the helmet and put on my shoes. GONE!

Time: 0:28
AG: 1/3
OA: 2/73

This run started out exactly like last week's awesome run: with Pete setting the pace. Unlike last week, I was unable to hold it for more than a half mile. I quickly began to slow down to something I could maintain for 5 miles, and let Pete go. I soon realized the run wasn't going to be fun, as I began heating up and my legs just didn't have much left.

The run was the same loop as the bike course, so it was nice and flat, but had absolutely no shade.  I was hot. I was able to catch a few people in front of me, but I would have caught them if I was jogging. I kept running, and only walked to take in water at each aid station.

As the miles went on, my pace continued to drop. By the middle of mile 4, I was in full-on damage control mode, feeling like I was about to have some serious cramping in my quads and hamstrings. The sun was brutal, the humidity was worse, and the only thing that prevented me from walking the last mile was the final aid station on the course. Volunteers could tell I was struggling with the heat and they drenched me with ice water. My spirits quickly improved, and I was able to finish the race without walking (or dying).

Black was a bad choice...

Time: 38:27
Distance: 5.2 miles
Pace: 7:24/mile
AG: 2/3
OA: 15/73

Upon finishing, I quickly found Rach and went and sat in the water for a few minutes to get my body temperature down to a more realistic level. I found Pete, who beat me for the second week in a row (getting you next year...), had a few (more) beers, and watched the finishers.

Time:  2:00:09
AG: 2/3
OA: 12/73

All in all, I thought the race went about as well as I expected.  I wasn't expecting an amazing race, and I didn't have one. But that's okay. I still had a great time at a really great local race. I was pumped about the AG podium, but I really didn't care too much about that. I would have podium'd by walking the entire run... But I am happy about placing in my Age Group in every race I did this year!

Well, my triathlon season is officially over. I definitely want to keep racing and training, but I feel like I need a mental and physical break. I also started my fall semester the next day (no coincidence), so my time will be put towards that. I'm going to take a few weeks off of anything structured, and will then begin half marathon training for a fall 13.1.

Be back for a season recap! I progressed A LOT!!!

Thanks for reading!


1 comment:

Ryan Falkenrath said...

Nice work, captain. Impressive to hit top 3 in your AG in each leg! ;)

Sad I didn't make it out for that race, but bigger snakes to kill come Sept 22.

Nice improvement on the bike for the year!