Syracuse 70.3 is this weekend. Right now it’s the longest triathlon, and only 70.3, I have planned. Technically it would be considered an A race, but I give it my all in every race and don’t necessarily consider any race a B race.
When I got back from Asia and began training I had this race targeted on my calendar. I didn’t have a specific goal for the race, but I figured as I went through the training a goal would develop organically. Well, I’m less than 36 hours from the gun and I still don’t have a specific goal. In terms of time I’d be disappointed if I was slower than the 4:57 I did on this weekend last year at Tremblant 70.3, but I don’t have a specific number I’m focused on. With that said here are my thought on S/B/R heading into the race.
I had planned on swimming twice a week for the past 8 weeks, but that didn’t happen. I only swam Mondays, and I’d get in between 2000-2600m. Last year at Tremblant 70.3 I had a surprisingly good swim; I stayed on course and managed to stay on fast feet most of the way. I’ll be in tough to match or beat my time of 32:31 from last year. I have got in some good workouts in the pool, but I just did not make a big enough commitment to really improve.
I feel like I’ve been able to improve my cycling considerably. First with TrainerRoad, and then getting a PowerTap, I’ve done a lot more quality workouts on the bike this year than last. Out on the road I feel stronger than I felt last year, but I really don’t know how I managed to pull off a 2:35 bike split last year, so this time will also be very difficult for me to improve upon this year.
Run training started off a little slow in January. This was due to a mix of brutal weather, and a disheartening amount of fitness loss since my peak running fitness in November at the Hamilton Marathon. But as I got into it I started knocking out some really great workouts. This year I did my long runs by time and added some quality to them. For example a 1:40 run would consist of 15min warm-up, 7 x 3min hard, 7min easy, 15min cool down. This helped me break up the monotony of long runs and allowed me get in some quicker paces on tired legs. This is an area where I do think I can see improvements over last year. Last year I ran a 1:42:58. I don’t have a specific goal time this year, but I would be disappointed if I ran over 1:40.
I feel pretty good. Cambridge Sprint Triathlon last weekend went well and allowed me to shake out a few cobwebs. I think my nutrition is better this year than it has ever been, I’m eating well but also have a balance to satisfy cravings. My weight is around 170lbs, maybe just under, which is a few pounds lighter than last year.
I’m excited to get to Syracuse tomorrow (Saturday), take in the energy at the Expo, and then race Sunday. Perhaps as I set up my transition area race morning I’ll settle on some goal times, but for now I’ll say my goal is to make my legs hate me and feel my lungs burn.
All it takes is all you’ve got.
750m Swim, 30k bike, 6k run
The day before the race I went out for a relatively easy 90k ride. I did this to get in one more longer ride before Syracuse. I didn’t look at my power meter, I just kept it light and easy. I wasn’t overly concerned about what I ate the night before the race, I always eat pretty well, and got an alright night’s sleep.
Race morning I was up just after 5AM. I had my standard breakfast of 2 english muffins with almond butter and honey, pomegranate juice, and a tablespoon of chia seeds. I brought a bottle of water and a handful of jujubes with me to snack on in the car ride and time before the race.
The race started at 9AM. We arrived at about 7:45AM with gave us (Lisa was also racing) lots of time to register, set up in transition, and get into open water for the first time this year. I didn’t pay too much attention to those people around me, I wasn’t overly concerned with how I placed, today was meant to go through the motions before Syracuse next weekend (but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t give it my all).
Swim (13:51, 1:51/100m but I’m pretty sure the timing mats were in transition and not where we got out of the water, so I think my swim was low 13:00’s)
I didn’t make it to the Open Water Race in Peterborough this year so this was my first time in open water in 2014. I did a (very) short warmup in the water, as per usual, and then got to the start line ready to go. My wave didn’t seem to have too many people, and I positioned myself right at the front. Next week in Syracuse there are 186 people in my AG so I decided I could use the practice being jostled around.
The horn sounded and we were off. I was excited to finally be doing a race this year. There was some bumping at the start, but nothing too serious. When I was sighting I did notice there was a pack of swimmers that were separating themselves from myself and the rest of the field. All the was to the first turn buoy (about 250m) I felt a tightness in my chest. I don’t know if it was anxiety or what. When I was breathing I felt like I was sipping air, but I just kept moving trying to relax my mind and trusting it would pass. Sure enough around the first turn I had forgotten about it. The swim to the second turn was rather uneventful, from very early on I didn’t have any feet to follow, and I didn’t feel like I had anyone right on my toes either. As I made the second turn and had 250m left I began to think about transition and what I needed to do. I always do this, and repeat the steps over and over as I swim towards short (helmet, glasses, shoes, bike, watch).
My transition was a little slow. I got my wetsuit off relatively easily but I decided not to have my shoes attached to my bike. I hadn’t really practiced this much this year and the start of the bike course was really bumpy. This proved to be the right decision because I passed 3 people right after the mount line as they struggled to control their bike and slip their feet into their shoes.
Bike (47:32, 37.9km/h)
When I hoped onto my bike the OAT official let me know I was 4:08 down on the overall leader and in 15th place. I’ve never received this kind of split before and thought it was pretty neat. I always enjoy getting onto the bike and began picking people off. Because I knew I started the bike in 15th I would count down in my head every time I had passed someone. The bike course has some rolling hills, but there were only 2 short climbs going each way that I needed to get out of my aero bars for. By the time I got to the turnaround I was up into 5th. At the turnaround I heard a scraping sound, and would discover later that was the non-drive side of my wheel cover coming untaped. Right after the turnaround I was passed by a much faster cyclist who was flying. I didn’t even attempt to chase. Not long after the turnaround I saw Lisa heading the other way, it’s always nice to see familiar faces. The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful. Throughout the ride I tried to hold my power around 230 watts, but don’t have an exact number of what I managed.
As for nutrition I had 1 bottle of Scratch (sports drink) on my bike and a waffle on the bike. I ate half the waffle going out, and half coming back. The Scratch I drank throughout.
My T2 was also slow. I made the decision the night before the race to run in brand new shoes that I had never worn before. I wore them around the house as I was getting my things together to ‘break them in’. I put speed laces on them and when I arrived in T2 and tried to pull them on I realized they were way too tight to slip my foot it. If felt like ages, but was likely only 0:10-0:12, but I finally got my foot inside and headed out to the run.
Run (24:07, 4:01/km)
In the online description of the course it said much of the course was one trails. They weren’t lying. The run quickly made its way into the park and onto trails. I wasn’t a big fan of the run course. It was only sparsely marked, had a bunch of tight turns, and twice had you running across the face of a slope. During the entire run I didn’t see anyone in front or behind me. Not the courses fault but my Garmin also went a little wacky in the woods and had my pace jumping around a bit. I think I passed 3 aid stations and managed a little water at each one. I’d have liked to have run under 24:00, but I was satisfied with how I felt.
Race (1:27:31, 1st Age Group 25-29, 7th overall)
Ultimately I accomplished what I wanted to. I got in an open water swim, went through the motions of a race, and identified some potential problems (wheel cover coming off and speed laces too tight). I would have liked to have gone a bit quicker in every segment, but I’m happy to be moving on injury free and ready for Syracuse 70.3 next weekend.