Tag Archives: PR

2010 Austin 70.3 Race Report

Overall (5:04:52, 30th AG, 275 Overall)

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I felt fantastic heading into this race with hops of setting a big PR and finishing somewhere in the 4:50 range but that was not to be. I was able to set a 15 minute personal best and PR every part of the race but I still left a lot of time out on the course due to technical and race execution issues.

Pre Race

This race had two separate transition areas so it involved some prerace logistics but wasn’t to much a hassle. The transitions areas needed to “clean” which means everything had to be in bags.

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You could leave everything out the day before or do it the morning off. I didn’t want to leave my gels out in the heat the day before so I just took care of everything the morning of without any issues. The run transition was by the arena and finish line so I dropped my run bag at my rack and took one of the school buses the mile ½ to the swim area and T1 where I got my bike all set up.

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The start was cool with someone parachuting in flying a big American flag while the national anthem was sung; and then things got started with the pro wave. I had an hour until the start of my wave so I had some time to kill just sitting around.

Swim (35:18)

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What a tough way to start the day.

I lined up near front row off to the right and was able to get a good start. I was swimming towards the front of the group and had some good feet to draft off of when the zipper on the back of my wetsuit popped completely open.

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I tried to grab the leash and pull it back up but was unsuccessful so I swam the rest of the way with it open. I took fairly good lines all the way around the course but could really feel the extra drag from wetsuit, it seemed like I was pulling a parachute. Towards the second half of the swim I could even start to feel the top of the wetsuit starting to slip off my shoulders.

I got out of the water expecting to see something close to 40 min so I was happy to see 35 considering what had happened, and I still managed to eek out a PR by a few seconds. I was expecting a 32 min swim, and after talking with my coach based on the time I managed to put up I could have been close to a 30 minute swim if I didn’t have the wetsuit issues.

*   I did some research and it turns out my wetsuit problem was user error which I’m surprised hadn’t happened earlier considering I’ve had this suit for almost 3 years. The zipper has a “quick release” where if you pull up hard on it after it’s zipped the zipper will disengage, the idea being it helps for a quick transition. Well before the swim start I thought I hadn’t zipped things up all the way so I gave it an extra pull and heard a click that I thought nothing of. Turns out that was the quick release engaging.

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With my wetsuit already falling off I didn’t have to waste anytime unzipping it and used one of the wetsuit strippers to get it the rest of the way off. I ran up the hill and put my wetsuit and goggles in the bag and was off on the bike.

Bike (2:30:36)

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I also had some bad thoughts in the back of mind at the start of the bike ride. During my prerace workout on Saturday my cassette (the gears) in the back came loose. I took it in to tech support and the culprit was the freehub body being worn down, the ridges that lock the cassette in place had worn down and were no longer working.

Unfortunately all the race wheels had been rented out so with the help of the tech support and some tape the cassette was back in place again and he seemed to think it would hold up for the race. I rode for a couple minutes and it held up but I would have that bad thought in the back of my head all day that if came loose again that was the end of my race.

 

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I thought the course was ok, it had some rolling hills at the start and end with mostly flats in the middle. But the road conditions really weren’t that great in several spots. I also did not like the fact that for the last 5-10 miles the course was coned off so two-way traffic could get by. I completely understand why they had to do this and how hard it is to get road permits but it made passing and staying in a good rhythm tough.

As for my ride, I was able to set another PR, this one by about 5 minutes. The plan was to settle the heart rate down in the first few miles and then ride the first half of the bike at moderately hard rate which gave me a 22 mph average at 218 watts through the first half and I was feeling great.

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Then it was time to bump up the effort for the next 17 miles keeping the heart rate between 169 and 174 bpm and I was doing an ok job of that. I spent a lot time on the lower end of that range but still managed to average 23 mph at 236 watts during this section.

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What I’m disappointed in is the last 10 mile section. Next I was to bump the heart rate up again to between 175 and 178 and it just wasn’t happening. Part of the problem was the coned off section I mentioned earlier. This made it hard to stay at a solid rhythm which makes it tough to keep the heart rate that high. The other part is I was starting to feel the desire to just be done with the bike section. Either way this section should have been much faster then the 21 mph average on 210 watts that I had. There was an awful lot of time left on the course here.

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But this was still a 5 minute bike PR for me with my old best being on a pancake flat Eagleman course.

T2 1:54

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The dismount area was crowded so I decided against the “flying dismount” and just stopped and unclipped the bikes shoes. Nothing to exciting, I put on my shoes, grabbed my fuel belt and I was out on the run course.

Run (1:54:06 8:42 pace), First loop (53:09 8:09 pace), Second Loop (1:00:57 9:18 pace)

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The run course changed from last year. In the past it was a 3 loop course all on pavement and this year it changed to a two loop course with about half of it “off road” on grass and dirt paths. I’ve seen mixed opinions on the course but personally, I liked it. It was probably a slower course because of the added hills and fact that half the run was on trails and grass but I liked the variety and thought it helped break things up.

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Coming out of transition I felt awesome and was moving along at a good sub 8 pace till the first off road section. The plan was to get settled and run the first 4 miles at a conservative heart rate which I was able to do and felt good, going through the first 4 miles in an 8:13 pace including the off road climb on the first loop which brought the average pace down a bit.

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Next I was to bump the heart rate up for the next six miles but I was never able to get the heart rate consistently where it needed to be. I was staying below or on the low end of the zone. I think part of the problem was mentally not trusting that I could hold that effort. Thoughts of blowing up and needed to walk the end of the run like all my other half IMs held me back here. But I keep moving along and averaged 8:44 for this section.

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The last 3 miles called for another bump up in heart rate but this turned into an exercise of blocking out the discomfort and continuing to move forward. I shuffled my way up the big off-road hill again and kept moving along not wanting to start walking. I was able to make it through this section with a horribly slow 9:44 pace but I wasn’t walking. And I still managed to PR the run by 5 minutes.

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After the race I looked at my flask fuel of gel and I had only gone through about 1/3 of what I should have used which I think played a factor in the lack of energy for the second half of run. Usually I refrigerate the EFS gel before I use it but couldn’t because the hotel didn’t have one. So either the change in consistency or excitement from racing caused me to not take in as many calories as I was needing.

The finish was inside the arena which was neat to come down the finish shoot and see a few hundred people sitting in the stands cheering.

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Post Race

After I finished I kept walking around for a few minutes. I felt a million times better then at Eagleman but I could still feel my calves starting to cramp a little bit. I tried to get some salt tablets from the med tent but they didn’t have any and suggested potato chips. I got a couple of small bags and those hit the spot. I felt better after walking around for a while and didn’t need a med tent visit this time.

I got back to the hotel and passed out for a couple hours before going out to watch the Redskins Sunday night game against the Colts.

I would have really liked to break 5 hours which was very attainable given my current fitness if things hadn’t gone wrong on the swim but I know all my hard work has paid off. And I can’t complain to much with a 15 minute overall PR and PRs at all three sections to wrap up the 2010 triathlon season.

Sea Colony Olympic Distance Triathlon Race Report

Overall (2:18:34, 1st AG, 11th Overall)

This is a 2 min personal best on a course with a 41 km bike leg instead of the traditional 40 km distance and a very long run from the end of the swim to the transition area, about a minute extra. This is also my first age group win and highest ever overall finish. So you can probably guess I’m very happy with this result and all my hard work the last few months has been paying off.

Pre Race

I stayed at a condo in the Sea Colony resort and was able to watch them setting up the swim buoys the night before so I had a very easy morning.

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I still got up at 5:30 so I could eat breakfast and give it time to settle before the start of the race. And then I rode my bike the short 1/4 mile to the other side of the resort and transition area.  

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Swim (23:38, 5th AG, 54th Overall)

The swim was point to point so everyone had to walk a mile down the beach to the start line.

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This was a good swim and was about a 5 personal best for this distance. The swim was with the current so that had something to do with the time improvement but I’ve been doing a lot more swimming lately so I’m sure that played a big part.

The swim started on the shore with everyone running in and swimming 50 meters to the first buoy. The swim was crowded getting to the first buoy with lots of kicking and running into people.

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But after turning left  to swim parallel to the shore I got into a good rhythm and passed a lot of people and things thinned out until turning toward shore at the last buoy.

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Then it was a run out of the water and up the beach.

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T1 (2:25, 2nd AG, 25th Overall)

It was a long run from the beach onto one of the condo decks and then through a fresh water shower.

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Nothing to exciting happened and I was off on the bike. 

Bike (1:06:22, 1st AG, 13th Overall)

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I had a very good bike ride averaging 23.1 mph for the 41km (just over 25 miles). The course was pancake flat but had some challenges with some wind and a stretch of 3 miles on some not so great roads.

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I had a race plan to stay in a specific heart rate range for the first 15 miles and I settled in and was cruising along comfortably at 21.8 mph with some headwinds during that section.

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The plan was to bump up the heart rated for the last ten miles and with a little help from the tail wind at sections and an increased effort I flew into transition averaging 25.7 mph for the last 10 miles!

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I passed a ton of people on the bike and when I passed someone 3 miles from transition I didn’t see anyone the rest of the ride and all the volunteers at the intersections seemed surprised to see me. I was thinking I might be in first place overall, but when I got near the bike finish I could hear the announcer saying I was 7th overall.

T2 (0:50 1st AG, 7th Overall)

I have been practicing my transitions the last two weeks and felt comfortable enough to doing the “flying dismount” coming into T2. This is where you slide your feet out of the shoes and then swing one leg over the bike so you are balancing on one side of the bike. Then you brake a bit and hop off running into the transition area. It’s much quicker then the alternative of stopping, unclipping your shoes and running into transition and then taking the shoes off. Here I am reaching down to slip one of my feet out.

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Run (45:23, 4th AG, 21 Overall)

The plan for the run was to start out at lower heart rate and build into a harder effort later into the run. Unfortunately I got a little too excited and ran a 6:30 min/mile pace for the first half mile which was faster then I should have.

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Being at the front of the race made the out section of the out and back course very empty but any local spectators and the people working the aid stations were very enthusiastic and cheering. I could see the guy ahead of me but he was about 1/4 mile ahead and pulling away from me so I had no chance of catching him. Also on this section I got passed about 2 mile into the race by someone not in my age group and he was going fast enough that it wasn’t worth trying to keep up.

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After the turn around I was able to see I had about a minute on a group of about 3 people behind me.

After the first two miles I was suppose to bump up the heart rate but because of my over excitement at the start and increasing heat (it got up to the high 80’s) my increased HR just meant I was staying at the same pace instead of speeding up.

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The back section of the course was tough and I was putting out a lot of effort and the crowds of people starting the run were very encouraging with good things to say. I did get passed by two more people in the last 2 miles but they had the 2nd and 3rd best run splits on the day and neither was in my age group so I don’t feel to bad about that. 

The finish line was nice with a clock over the finish and a small grandstand with spectators that was filled up.

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Post Race

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I stuck around to check out the results and saw I came in 11th and won my age group. Another benefit of staying at Sea Colony was I had enough time to go upstairs and drop my stuff off, take a shower and still go to post race picnic before the award ceremony.

The award ceremony was very nice, the race supports Make-A-Wish and before they gave out any of the race awards they recognized the top fundraisers. Some people raised more then $40,000 which is awesome. And for the awards they had Pearce give a speech about her wish granting experience and how much it meant to her. She also gave everyone their awards which was a nice backpack with the race logo and finishing place.

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I went back to condo to drop things off and then spend the rest of the day at the beach.

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National Half Marathon 2010

I ran the National Half Marathon in DC this weekend. As you recall I sprained my ankle about a month ago and lost out on several high mileage weeks so I knew my sub 1:30:00 goal was realistic anymore.

But here is what I did do:

Overall AG Gender 10 km time 10 km pace chip time pace
402 106/605 335/2909 43:34 7:01 1:35:11 7:16

 

This is a five minute PR on a course that I think was hillier (ie slower) then the course in Atlanta which was a surprise to me. And the weather was absolutely perfect today.

The race starts at RFK which was painless to get to in the morning and then makes a clockwise loop around DC.  I really the liked the course, the first few miles involved a trip by the Capital building as the sun was still rising which looked awesome. And then the rest of the course had great crowd support from the neighborhoods and aid stations. 

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The start wasn’t much of a hassle and I was able to settle into my pace but I was up towards the front so it might have been different further back.

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There was a slight downhill on the second mile that I picked up some time and then I settled into a 7:10 pace for a while until the hilly section. I took things easy going up the hills but looking at my chart for pace I didn’t make up as much time going downhill as I should have.

After the hills I keep chugging along and passed the 10 mile mark in 1:12:00 (which is a PR). I tried to pick it up for the last 3 miles but that didn’t happen. Instead I lost focus around the 11 1/2 mile mark and slowed down quite a bit. 

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I still put in a good effort and think I paced the race well based on my splits time remembering that the middle miles are a bit hillier.

And here are the obligatory finish photos of me looking like I am going to throw up.

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I milled around the finish area getting some food, drinks, and then took a photo at the start line. Looking back it’s been nice to see the progress in my half marathon times. I’ve gone from a 2:02:04 to a 1:53:50 to a 1:40:54 and now a 1:35:11.

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This race signals the end of my running focused winter and now it’s time to get back into full triathlon training mode and ramp up for the Eagleman half ironman in June where I think the plan is going to be to shoot for a 1:45:00 half marathon.

MCRRC New Years Day 5km 2010

Just like last year I ran the New Years day 5k in Gaithersburg. The weather was a lot warmer this year which made things nice. The course is two loops through an industrial park with one small uphill/downhill on each loop.

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I warmed up and then the race got started.

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I went out at a decent pace but slowed more then I wanted going up the hill both times. Also the second time going up the bridge it took a while before I got my legs going again.

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Right after the first turn getting ready to go down the hill.

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Second Lap

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Finishing up

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Setting a new PR. I ran a 20:40 a few weeks ago so it’s nice to see another 20 seconds off my time, and I’m inching close to breaking 20 minutes.

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Post-race and then it was time to get bagels and coffee. DSC08855

That’s another really nice thing with these low key races. You just sign up to be a club member and pay $5 for your timing chip you use all year, and after that all the races are free. And they have free food afterwards! The races normally cost $10 so the membership and chip pays for itself after three races. 

 

 

I did manage to set a new PR for highest heart rate as well. I topped out at 199, I just couldn’t break 200.

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I have been doing a lot of running the last couple months and it’s nice to see a drop in all my race times and it seems like things are on track for me to have a reasonable shot at meeting my goal for the half marathon this spring.