There are simply too many words to describe the past couple of months, but the end result is I finally finished my first “Half” (70.3 mile) triathlon. Mental toughness is required, as the numerous temptations to quit continuously ‘punch you in the face’: between drinking five gallons of water during the swim, the soreness of your legs and your “saddle” area while cycling 56 miles, or on the run where everyone simply looks beat down… trying to muster enough strength to finish their half marathon. Knowing that I was able to overcome all of those and cross the finish line was great (plus there was free pizza and a finishers medal).
Overall, I’m glad it’s over… but really happy that I finished. It was also amazing to see the onslaught of Facebook props my team provided once I returned to my truck and grabbed my phone. It would have been great to have a fellow team member race, but now I get to sit back and relax and watch some of them travel to TN while they race their Half IRONMAN in Chattanooga.
Among the Male 40-44 category, I was able to be competitive, but that swim killed my rankings:
Oh, and pro tip… you should really really really wear sunscreen
|Kinetic||1.2 Mile Swim||T1||56 Mile Bike||T2||13.1 Mile Run||Total|
First place finished in 4:16:20, and is the same age as me! ↩
I really had no idea what to expect. Times based on slower times compared to Smithfiled: 2:00/100m swim, 17mph ride, 9:00 minutes/mi run because of current injuries. ↩
Apparently VTS/MTS races and myself have an issue, and the issue is RAIN! Similar to last year’s Colonial Beach Sprint (although not as bad of a downpour and no open water swim with gasoline fuel on the top), we were challenged with Mother Nature… and she did not disappoint.
The Smithfield Sprint is a pool swim start, because this early in the year in Virginia most lakes/bays/ocean is simply not warm enough for people to go out in open water (unless you are REALLY crazy and thik something like Norseman would be a good time). With a swim start you have to stagger swimmers in hopes that you won’t be impeded (slowed down because there is a large group in front of you, or force to let someone pass yourself thus holding on the wall) while everyone is in the pool. This dictates a one person start every 10 seconds. With over 520 people starting every 10 seconds, you can imaging that the first people will definitely finished before others get into the pool. Thank goodness this year I was able to do with fellow teammates from Speed Sherpa! Between Madi, Melissa, Peyton, and Will; we were able to pass most of the time (for me a 1 hour and 41 minute wait) chatting in the hallways while trying to stay warm and dry.
Now that I’ve began the race (officially starting at 11:41.45), here are my thoughts on each part:
After the race we were served some excellent Carolina Style BBQ (as there was no sauce but only a hint of vinegar) with some beans and slaw. The Speed Sherpa team found each other and shared some highs and lows (one crashed) from each other’s race experience, but quickly knew that one of the “sherpettes” was going to place in the top three of her age category. I decided to stick around so I could snap a picture of her on the podium, while she waited for the remaining racers to crossed finish line. Little did I know I placed third! I’m really surprised by this as I know VTS/MTS has some excellent racers and the Male 40-44 category is one of the toughest to compete (hello fellow mid life crisis friends). When I was looking at the results for my category, I thought I was fifth vs. third. What I then later discovered was the gender/age categories did not separate out the “Masters” and Aqua Bike racers.
I don’t believe I place again this race season so I won’t let this get to my head, but greatly appreciate the support from my coach, teammates, and family to get me this far. Here is to the next race, my first Half at Kinetic!
Among the Male 40-44 category, I was able to compete at a high level across all three sports for the first time:
If you want accurate pace info for races, I’ve been using Running Free Online’s Triathlon Race Calculator.
|Smithfield||300m Swim||T1||10 Mile Bike||T2||5k Run||Total|
This is a long over due
race run report for the “Reston 10 Miler” as this took place over two weeks ago on March 5th, 2016. The primary goal for this event was to get my legs used to a long run for the upcoming triathlon races, but not burn me out that would jeopardize races early in the season. One of my triathlon races that is scheduled in mid May will require me to run 13.1 miles after I complete the swim and bike sections.
For this race I had a good idea on what my pace should be with the previous month of doing descending runs (as planned by my Speed Sherpa coach Josh). For the past month I’ve been slowly increasing my time of descending paces that lated between 15 to 20 minutes at a time. For the Reston 10 Miler, I wanted to target 8:30 pace for the first and second “20 minutes”, 8:10 for the third “20 minutes”, then end with 7:30 for the remaining distance of the run. This would also prevent me from burning out early in the run as the course is very hilly. The plan also worked out well, as there were a few key downhill points just after mile four and mile 8.5 that aligned perfectly for the timing to increase my speed.
The pre-even atmosphere was great, and you could tell there were many well trained runners who have been doing this for many years, but also LOTS of smiling faces of first timers who were supported by their friends and/or families by participating in the fun of a long run.
Only complaint I have on myself is that I didn’t prepare for the full timeline of the run, and how much the weather would change. In the morning it was cold, so I bundled up with my sweats, thermal shirt, hat, and gloves. But after the first hour I wish I was running in shorts and begged for a way to ditch the gloves, as the combination of my body generating heat and the sun coming out to shine on everyone (as seen in the pictures) was becoming strong. Good to have these experiences to gain knowledge for my 2016 race season.
Amazing what one year makes; for the good or bad. This is the second time I’ve raced the Reston Triathlon, so I’m going to compare my numbers to see where there was any improvement.
What I remember about last year’s race was it was a nice warm fall day that made it great for the bike and run, but that my swim was horrible. Why? It could have been the warm water making it wetsuit illegal, or if it was due to the fact that I really don’t like swimming in a lake since you can’t see anything once your face is in the water. I believe I remembered my bike and run being at top of my A game for the race which helped me make up for my poor start.
As for this year it was a cool 65° and the water temperature was at 77°, which makes it wetsuit legal. The swim was awesome (you will see the time difference in a bit)! I haven’t been feeling well the past two weeks so my goal for the bike and run was to push myself just above easy-strong pace. Nothing fast, because I really didn’t know how much my body would handle.
Results, I beat my time last year (not that hard with a horrible swim), but I also beat my targeted time and it was all because of my swim.
Swim time was 27:48. I shaved off 11:06 from last year, ELEVEN minutes! That is where I got all of my gains when comparing to this year vs. last year.
Bike time was 1:15:59 which was only 13 seconds faster than last year. It is interesting that I almost got the same time as last year, even though I don’t feel like I’m at my peak fitness.
Run time was 52:30 which was 25 seconds slower than last year. Not really surprised, but again I didn’t push myself like I remember last year and I’m almost the same pace.
Transitions were damn near identical. However, since I had a wetsuit this year and did not have one last year, I’ll say I improved… somewhere.
Placing was an improvement, but also noticed that my age group is much more deeper. Last year I was competing against 29 people in my age group, while this year I’m against 54. So with the larger field of competitors it’s hard to say that my placement percentage of the top 37% is measuring against apples to apples when looking back last year. However, in terms of overall placement there were 440 racers vs. the 426 racers last year. A little more, but not by much. This time I came in as 99th top racer which puts me at the top 23% vs. the top 33% last year. A significant improvement, and again all due to my swim knocking off 11 minutes from my time.
Wisdom Oak Winery (WOW) Sprint is a 750 meter open water swim (OWS) in a lake, 16.6 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run that is hilly.
For those of you outside of the Virginia area, the race is actually in Walnut Creek Park located “… in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and just a ten minute scenic drive outside of the City of Charlottesville…“1, with the primary sponsor Wisdom Oak Winery (hence the title of the race).
Pre-race game plan
Results Here are my thoughts after reading the results.
I don't know if I would do the Olympic in the future as the swimmers had to exit the lake, run on the beach to get a clear spot that was not obstructed by life guard equipment, and then jump back in for lap #2. It seemed odd.↩