Sunday, September 10, 2006

What a day!

Today was the Great Lake Escape Triathlon. This race is similar to the Escape from Alcatraz because the swim start is from a ferry boat. This was my first race since Ironman USA and I had never done this one before. The jumping off a boat into Lake Erie is what makes this race so fun, and it's close to home.

Aimee secured a house in Lakeside, a couple miles from the event site, that we could spend the night at so we didn't have to wake up at some insane hour race day. We drove up the night before and saw many friends and bloggers (DaisyDuc, TriFrog, and JT) at packet pick-up. There was also an athletes meeting to discuss the swim start. The weather on Saturday was very windy. The lake was choppy. The RD was telling us about the possibility of the swim being cancelled. While a total bummer if that happened it was a safety issue. If the Coast Guard issued a small craft advisory the safety boats would not be able to line the swim course. We all hoped that the weather would improve for the Sunday race.

We went to dinner with TriFrog and his wife. A local restaurant had a pasta buffet and was showing some college football games. The big game for the night was OSU vs. Texas. We hit the place way before any crowds then finally made our way to the house we would crash at for the night. I had not been to Lakeside for many years. This gated community was founded as a Methodist retreat and camp. My mom was often a delegate from our church and I had to accompany her since I was still in elementary school. We walked around and Aimee watched me reminisce about the park, pier and downtown. It was pretty cool to share that with her.

We got to bed around 9:00PM after watching the first quarter of the OSU game. Actually she was sleeping and I was reading. I woke up around 2:00Am to hit the bathroom and never really fell back to sleep. My alarm went off at 4:00AM so I could eat and get ready to leave. Transition opened at 5:00AM with busses leaving for the ferry at 6:00. We were very early getting there and I was possibly the 10th person to rack their bike. I managed to find some of my friends in the dark and we talked about the strong winds. The decision to cancel the swim was expected at 6:00AM. The busses arrived and were ready to load up the triathletes. I walked down to transition to hang out with my friends. Then we could see the busses pulling away across the marsh. Problem was, no one was on the busses. We already knew the swim was cancelled. The RD made the official announcement minutes later. It was out of his hands. The Coast Guard made the call. Weather is never in anyones control. There was also an aquabike and duathlon scheduled. So the aquabike became a 40k time trial. The triathlon athletes pretty much joined the duathletes for one big DU, 5k run/40k bike/10k run.

Most people were pretty upbeat about the change. I didn't care. I was bummed that I wasn't going to be able to jump off a boat into Lake Erie but maybe next year. I was a little concerned about two things.

First, my right knee has been slow to heal from Ironman. The ITB has always broken down pretty hard after my big races and takes a while to heal. My run last weekend was on the trails in our local park system and I saved the hills for the second half of my run, but the hills is where I would feel the knee the most.

Second, the winds that kicked up the waves on the lake were coming ashore and would make the bike interesting. Would I be able to maintain a good pace for the entire 40k?

The run course is along the beach and trails of the park. Most of the run would be on hard packed sand, especially at the water line. I love running on varying surfaces like this. Because everything was a duathlon the start was a time trial format sending people off in groups. So you are in a group of people that may not be in your age group, that makes it tough to know how to race. A true race against the clock, only I didn't have a clock to race against. I decided to go low tech at this race. No watch or HRM. No bike computer either. I was going to race on pure feeling. Coach Angela told me that I should be "uncomfortable" the entire time. Not blasting myself, but exerting myself. And I can saw that I was succesful.

The first 5k run I was trying to hold off the people behind me without loosing ground to the ones in front. I went 21:41 for the 5k...that's a 7:00 min/mile pace and I felt good going into T1 for my bike. I slipped on my bike shoes and ran for the mount line. In typical fashion there were two guys stopped right at the line getting clipped into their pedals. I ran past them and did a running mount onto my bike. After the race, Aimee said that TriFrog's wife commented how well I jump on my bike. I have to get video of that.

On the bike it was windy. No matter which way you were riding there was a wind to contend with. On rare occasion I felt "fast". I was pretty much alone the entire ride. I would come up on an aquabike rider or be passed by some young stud. That was fine because I was "uncomfortable" according to my race plan. I came into T2 tired but knowing I was going to have a good second run. My 40k bike was 1:09:07 with an average speed of 21.5 MPH.

I slipped on my running shoes, grabbed my fuel belt and hat, then exited transition. See Bolder, I even wore my belt for a 10k run....I think I was the only one who did but I didn't care. I had two water bottles and a flask of HammerGel. I used it too, especially the gel. I held my position, tried to reel some people in and hold off others. The worst part of the 10k was mile 5. About half of the mile was in soft sand. It was hard to run in but I pulled close to the guy in front of me. Of course someone passed me as well. I wasn't too upset about the "kid" who passed me because he is from the Cleveland Tri Club. Once I left the beach the rest of the course is hard ground so I turned on the afterburners and took it in to the finish. My 10k time was 44:51 with a 7:15 pace.

I was very happy with my splits. The 7 and 7:14 pace is awesome considering I was LSD all summer. I have had very little speed work. I was 19th overall male and 5th in my AG.

Time to put this post to bed as well as myself. I've been watching IM MOO on my laptop and it's almost midnight at home, but only 11PM in Madison. I saw qcmier and TriSaraTops finish which is huge. I'm so proud of each of them. I'm proud of each and every person who toed the line this morning for Ironman. I love this sport.

GAME ON!!!!!!


Beth said...

Congrats on a great race! I also did this race yesterday and was interested in hearing someone else's perspective. Hope you aren't as sore as I am from all that sand running. :)

Jodi said...

You did awesome yesterday! Your splits are phenomenal. The run was apparently brutal on my knees, as I'm having problems walking today. For you to hold 7:15 for the 10K is crazy. Congrats, and it was great seeing you out there!

Papa Louie said...

Congratulations on completing a tough duathlon. I remember that race from last year and thought with the winds and the sand run made for a tough but fun race. Great race recap.

Tryingtotri said...

Busting out a 7:15 pace across the sand...that is amazing. Your 'fun run' pace is me going all out!

Bolder said...

you wore your fuel belt for a 10K?

that makes you my hero for the day.

awesome run/bike/run splits.

you are undoubtedly an OHIO stud!

trifrog said...

Fuel belt rules! I stopped wearing mine in favor of carrying gels and stopping at water tables. But aid stations are never where you need them - if at all in some races!

I'm inspired to go back to wearing the belt.

Great job yesterday - nurse those legs and get a good healing rest before beginning off season training.

E-Speed said...

great job! Beach running can be rough! Sounds like everyone made a good day out of what they were dealt.

Lana said...

Wow! You are so FAST! Nice race. And I have got to see a video of you running bike mount...can you teach me?!?!?

TriSaraTops said...

I always wear my fuel belt's my security blanket...glad I'm not the only one! ha ha

Damn, Bro, you are FAST. I was hoping some of that would rub off on me with your arm warmers, but no such luck. :) Way to kick some ass in tough conditions!

qcmier said...

Nice job. Can't wait to see what you can do in Baltimore.

DaisyDuc said...

You had a fantastic race out there.

It was awesome to finally get the chance to meet you!!!

That was one heck of a windy bike!