Posted by: bradhammond | June 20, 2012

TriMonroe – Race Report

I did another race this past Saturday, the TriMonroe Sprint triathlon.  The race consisted of a 1/4 mile swim, 20 km (about 12.4 mile) bike ride, and a 5 km (3.1 mile) run.  The same race course was being used for quite a few races that day – there were USAT Junior Elite Cup races and Youth Elite Cup races that drew top Junior Elite (16 – 19) and Youth Elite (13 – 15) triathletes from around the country.  Those races were all draft-legal, but they also had a non-drafting age group race for the older, slower triathletes like me!  Anyway, the race was on a closed course sort of like an ITU race – bike ride was 4 loops on a 5km course that had a U-turn at each end and a sequence of 6 right angle turns as the course went off the road and around a school.  The run course was 2 loops around the little lake that we swam in, so we went past the start/finish area quite often.


My race started at 7 am, and I had to pick up my number and timing chip first, so I wanted to leave the house fairly early.  I woke up around 4 am, figured it was useless trying to go back to sleep for another 20 or 30 minutes, so I got up and had breakfast.  I went through my normal routine of stretching and exercises, and had no trouble getting to the race bright and early.  I think I was the 4th person to put my stuff into the transition area.  We got to choose our spots, and a woman had already chosen the end of the bike rack next to where we would run out with our bikes, so I set up right next to her.  My back was feeling really tight, so after I set out my bike gear and running shoes I went over to a playground and did some more stretching.  At about 6:30 I put on my wetsuit and did a little warm-up swim. The water was very nice – about 65 with great visibility, so I figured I would enjoy the swim.


The swim started on the beach, so I lined up right in the middle, with one toe possibly in the water.  We started right on time, with everyone running in when the air horn sounded.  The orange floats were just the same color as the swim caps, so for most of the first half I just hoped the people in front of me were going the right way.  From the first float to the 2nd seemed really short, like about 20 yards, and then we headed back toward the beach.  I decided I had been going too slow for the first half, so I increased my stroke rate a lot and passed a few people coming back.  Time: 6:41, not too bad compared with my past races.


The timing mat for the swim was right where you come out of the water, and by the time I got to the actual transition area I had pulled off my swim cap and goggles, unzipped my wetsuit, and pulled my arms out (sleeveless wetsuit).  There was a guy who had his bike racked right next to mine who was partway through transition and he was talking to someone (maybe me?) as I flopped on my back and kicked/pulled the wetsuit off my legs.  I remember thinking “Wow, this guy sure is chatty!”  I snapped on my helmet, put on my bike shoes, and ran out while he was still working on stuff.  After my problems getting my feet into the shoes while on the bike in my last race, I decided to just put the shoes on in T1.  It was a really long run in bike shoes, so I did a bit of second guessing on that.  Time: 1:16 – would have been much quicker without putting the shoes on, but then my bike time might have suffered – seems like a coin flip.


As I was running over to the bike start, I heard the announcer saying something like “The number on his leg is his age.  He’s only 12 years old!”  Within 100 yards or so, I knew just what he was talking about, as I saw the 12 year old boy ahead of me on the bike.  I passed him right away, but I couldn’t help wondering whether the kid was a really fast swimmer for his age or whether I’d been swimming slower than I thought.  Pretty soon I came to the series of 90 degree turns as we went around the school.  I tried to set up really wide as I approached the turns, hold as much speed as I could through the turn, and then pedal hard to accelerate out of each turn.  Things were a little damp, but it didn’t actually start raining until I was finishing my third loop.  Partway through one of my early laps I saw the race leaders who appeared to be about 1/2 lap ahead of me – or 1/2 lap away from lapping me if I didn’t go fast enough.  With all of the coasting into turns and pedaling hard out of them, the bike ride was more like an interval workout than a steady effort.  I used the threat of getting lapped as a motivational factor.

About halfway through the bike I got passed by Bob, one of the few people I actually recognized.  I had managed to beat him in a race 4 years ago where we finished the bike together, and he got a huge lead in T2 because he had biked in his running shoes.  I noticed he was biking in running shoes again, so I knew I’d have to stay close on the bike and run pretty fast to have a chance of beating him.  I managed to keep him in sight, but he was about 20 seconds ahead of me going into T2.  We had to make two 90 degree turns as we left the course and headed to the transition area.  I didn’t see the sign for the second until I had gone too far, and had to almost completely stop to get back on course.  Time: 34:06 for 20km, about 21.8 mph.  I’m happy with it; I had never raced on that type of course before, and I thought it was a fun change.


The first thing I noticed was that the woman’s spot on the end was still empty, but the chatty guy on the other side had finished and gotten out on the run course already.  I was right next to the exit, and one man ran out while I was still putting on my running shoes.  There was a water stop right away, but I just ignored it.  I passed a couple guys right away, and I could see 3 more guys between me and Bob.  They didn’t look like they were going all that fast, but I didn’t seem to be able to close the gap any.  This is probably due to the fact that I run slower and slower every year – I can remember running faster, I just can’t actually do it!  There were signs for 1k, 2k, etc. so after I had gone 500 meters there was a 3k sign (which was true the 2nd time I passed it) and so on.  After I passed the 2km sign I knew I was falling further behind, rather than gaining ground, and I started worrying about getting lapped on the run course.  (It hadn’t happened on the bike course…)  I got passed by a guy in a red tri-suit just before the end of my first lap, but he had another lap to go, just like me.

On the second lap I started feeling a stitch in my side.  I decided to stay at about the same intensity/pain level until the 4 km sign, and then try to mount a finishing kick.  There was a corner near the 4 km sign, and when I rounded the corner I could see that the guy ahead of me had passed 2 other people (lapped them actually) so I tried to kick past them.  The first one I caught up to was the 12 year old.  As soon as I got close, he heard me and started running a lot faster, but after 100 yards or so he slowed down again and I went past.  Next was a woman who kept her speed more constant.  I managed to pass her a little ways before the split – bear left to do lap 2 and bear right for the finish line.  I didn’t catch the guy in red, but I tied him for getting the timing chip off and grabbing a bottle of water – oh, that’s not part of the race, too?  Time: 24:44 for 5k, a blazing 7:59 pace.  This was the only split I was really disappointed in.  Unless my memory is faulty I was able to do about a 7:30 pace in sprints last year, and between 7:10 and 7:20 a year or two before that.  I’ve been doing a lot of intervals lately, and I had high hopes, but so far I have to conclude that I am just slower right now.


They had an I-Pad kiosk near the finish area where you could type in your race number and see your results, so I was able to find out fairly quickly that my total time was 1:07:44 and that I was first in the 55 – 59 age group!  That made me pretty happy!  I was 13th place overall, and I managed to beat the first woman by over a minute.  (First triathlon in my life where I beat the first woman…)  Bob had won the 50 – 54 age group and had beaten me by over 2 minutes, so I congratulated him and headed on home.


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