Monday, June 20, 2011
3 Little Pigs Sprint Triathlon Race Report
Well from everything that I heard, this was a race not to miss, I mean, c'mon the name SCREAMS cool! So a few months ago, I signed up for it and boy I am glad that I did.
I was not sure what to expect of this race, given my hip / groin area has made running a real test of will and my swimming workouts laughable (I have spent more time in the bathtub soaking than in a pool this month) so I expected it to be a "well it was fun" kind of day, but it turned out much better than expected.
The wife and I got out the door at 0530 to get to the Smithfield area in about an hour, so we rolled in at 0630 and got a good parking spot, unloaded the bike and gear and headed to packet pick up, which was long, but manageable, and ran in to a guy who was with the 75th Rangers a while ago and chatted with him as we waited. I got all my stuff, tshirt, numbers and chip and got body marked, I was #82 this week (I really am superstitious about double numbers, which means I like 55, 99, 202, etc), but 82 was just fine, it was my roster number at Air Assault School many years ago, so I was happy with it. Funny thing about superstitious and lucky numbers, I know they don't matter, but sometimes puts you "in the perfect" frame of mind. I don't know, I digress...
I set up my transition area, which I am glad I am small and don't need that much room, because my rack mates seemed to have a TON of room, just spreading out and making the late comers suffer with 2 feet of space while they put in the post race jacuzzi in their area. Just a minor pet peeve of mine. But got the numbers on the bike, helmet and race belt, got everything laid out just right, and rehearsed in my mind how the T1 / T2 should go down (more on that later), and headed out to say howdy to folks I know. Ran into my buddy Ken, a fellow blogger, and the LIGHTEST Master Clydesdale you will ever see (the body marker marked him as over 200lbs, when he probably weighs closer to 150 than anything). Chatted him up for a bit, met with the bored wife (yeah, she thinks this is getting old quick) and stretched out, hit the port-o-let and headed in for the swim portion of the fun!
I listened to the briefing as we all gathered around the pool and translated to the ladies in front of me who couldn't hear the guy on the bullhorn clearly (and I'm surprised I did) and started to head to the swim start, as I was the 82nd person to go off. Ran into Sam, a guy from Bragg also, and chatted with him and a few guys from the Fayetteville Area Tri-Warriors and I think I am going to become a member, so that I can have some training partners to work with. I got in the pool, which was chilly to me, got in line and talked to the folks around me and got ready for my "favorite" event.
I purposely went out slower than normal to ensure I didn't burnout too early, and my pacing turned out to be spot on. I loved the fact that the pool was new and the lanes were wide, AND we were only going up one lane and down a different one, so no worries about "head-to-head" encounters. I felt relatively strong and passed three people and didn't get passed myself. Swim Time - 4:07 for 250 meters, good for 50th overall and 7th (!) in my AG.
Out the door to T1, which was very close to the pool, and my rack which was only 5 in to the transition, meant that I should have a quick T1 time; WRONG! Oh dear lord where to begin. I got in and tossed my goggles down, and started on my socks and that was a little hard given my wet feet, then the race number spin-around I did to put it on ate up some more time, then the shoes, helmet and glasses. Yikes! Lucky when I grab my bike, I can haul ass running with bike shoes on, because the transition area is VERY long. SO after a 1/4 mile it seemed, I hit the mountline with my usual flying mount, stuck the landing and off I went! One day I am going to land wrong and DNF (if you get my drift), but not today! But still, T1 took me 1:17, which is well behind the leaders, so bottom line is, going to try running without the socks (which are a soggy mess anyways) and practice my transitions alot more. That 77 seconds in transition had me at 74th fastest overall and 8th in my AG, but in NASCAR terms, I would have been lapped twice in the pits!
The bike is about my favorite event because I pass the most people on the bike and to quote Ricky Bobby, "I like to go fast!" Well my buddy Ken told me the route was a flat one, which I guess means rolling to me! Just kidding Ken! But the course was a rolling one that was an out and back lollipop with one wicked sharp left turn (which I almost blew thru in aero!) But I changed a few things, mainly taking a GU early in the ride and just taking on water instead of the gatorade / water mix. Seemed to be just fine that way. Only thing I regret is that I soft pedaled for a mile at around mile 8, so could have hammered it in, but I was using the Garmin's "multisport" method and didn't have my usual display with MPH, so it kind of messed with me a bit. Maybe next time. But I just kept my head down and legs moving hard and blew by about 15-20 folks on the bike. I ended up with a 37:55 split, which translates to 22.1 mph over the course, good enough for 34th fastest, 5th in my AG (man my AG was stacked!)
Back into the transition area, I had the long run to the rack, which was very foreboding. I hit my area and promptly racked my bike on to my hand, OUCH! Got my hand between the saddle front and the bar, not a good move at all. Just enough to draw a little blood (which ended up on my running shoes) as I tossed my helmet and glasses to the ground in disgust (and pain) and slid into my shoes grabbed my Garmin from the mount and chased two folks out of T2, who they promptly took a wrong turn as I kept going the right way and the volunteers yelled at them. I would have said something, but I was huffing and puffing to bad to make a sound. I need to wear my HRM for a race just to see where my heart rate spikes, I am betting right around entering and exiting the transition area! Well my less than stellar T2 had me giving away 1:20 to the tri gods, which was 141st overall and 19th in my AG. EGADS!
At least I could run away from T2, and I seemed to keep it at a nice even pace the entire run. The run course was an out and back affair on a linear trail, which was luckily shaded, because the sun was now out in full force. The trail seemed pretty flat, but it ended up hillier than the bike, according to Garmin. But the run I kept picking off people while repeating my mantra, "the legs feed the wolf", and I had to make sure I was still hungry. As I passed folks I gave them encouragement, telling them this is the cool down from the bike, and other funny things like that to keep them motivated and smiling. I passed Sam and he gave me a thumbs up and to keep going hard, and after the turn around, I gave him a high five and told him it was time for him to get the lead out! I guess he did pick it up the 2nd half, so good on him! But by about the time we entered the park area, I wasn't sure how much longer it was (the bike mile marks were a bit off from mile to mile), so didn't get to try the final .5 burst that I had been planning on, and by the time I rounded the corner of the woods, the finish line was only 75 yards ahead, so I just eased it on in, and crossed with a run split of 22:11, not too bad given the lack of miles the last month or so. That gave me the 26th fastest run overall and 5th again in my AG.
My overall time was 1:06:49, good for 28th overall and 6th in my AG, so my feelings were mixed. I accomplished my goal of faster than 1:10:00, but the places were a little off for me. Maybe I expected too much, but overall I am happy with the results. That aside, I absolutely love racing, not just for the competition, but for the atmosphere, running into guys like Ken and Sam, and meeting others, that is what it's all about. Sure the racing feeds that little bit of ego I have left, but I LOVE making new friends who are like minded. It is guys like Ken and Sam who make the early morning trips all over North Carolina that much more fun!
Well, I am going to have to get my wife's camera and get the photos on here (because everything is better with pictures), so if you read this and I haven't gotten the pictures up yet, stop back later, you'll love at least one that I'll post!
I race again in two weeks up in Michigan at the Gull Lake Triathlon on 2 July. Should be a fun one, hope I get the transitions worked out by then! Take care everyone!