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.