Monday, July 20, 2009

Race 4 Recap

I'm skipping my Race 3 recap and doing Race 4 because I didn't really feel like blogging Race 3. That will be incorporated in this recap.

Race 4 was the 2nd in the Fort Lewis Triple Threat triathlon series which are three identical races close to my house. I did Race 3 a month earlier. I was happy I finished because time was very tight with a newborn and family and work responsibilities. I hardly trained for Race 3 and I was very slow. The positives were that I raced, I practiced transitions, and racing conditions, and all the intangible stuff that can make the sport really hard.

This race I concentrated on getting a solid three weeks worth of work. My focus was on staying above 90 cadence, staying in the swim draft, and finishing "all out". I was able to rejigger my schedule around enough to get my training in. Instead of going to bed at 10:30, I would hit the trainer for 30-40 minutes of speed work. I snuck a few long rides in as well. In addition I ran a few times and employed "transition runs" after my bike rides to get used to race conditions. Finally I focused on simple acheivable goals that would guarantee improvement.

The race went really well. On Race 3 I somehow lost my line in the lake and wound up swimming by myself for the final few hundred meters. This race, I sighted towards the end to make sure I was always with someone. My swim last race was a disappointing 16 mins while this race I was a satisfied 15 mins over 800 meters. Out of the water I had a very good transition and smartly brought a tub filled with water to wash off my feet because they were filthy coming out of the water.

My bike started off pretty fast. Fort Lewis is flat and straight and ideal for practicing smooth, fast cycling. I maintained my 90 cadence which guaranteed me a much, much faster bike time. Psychologically I found myself hanging with some guys out there, which boosted my confidence. I finished the 15 mile ride on 49 minutes, thus besting my previous time by 11 minutes.

With two enormously successful legs finished, I could have hopped the three miles and been happy. But I wanted to put together a complete race that included a fast run and hunting down some of my competitors. I remember reading an article say that the last few miles of the run are all about guts. The three miles flew right by and I worked myself into my legs. I was tired but I wanted to finish "all out" just to understand the feeling of leaving everything on the course. I crossed the line at 1:30:ish with a full on sprint and found my way back to my gear.

Overall the race was a huge success. I trained hard, I stuck to my prerace goals, and executed them as well as possible. I came in 53 out of over 200, was in the middle of my age group and have a lot to build on. I can shave about a minute off my swim time, I can conceivably take 5 minutes off my bike, and there is always ways to run faster. I realize the only difference between below/average performance and very good performance is some good work prerace and an executed plan in the race. I'm not sure if I will get to do the third race in this series due a planned vacation, but I will get one or two more races in by the end of the season.