Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Return to Racing - Huntington Tri Race Report

So having signed up for the Huntington Tri I needed to do some preparation.....mostly mental. My training once I completed rehab was short runs and big bikes. Swimming was spotty at best.

So I was preparing myself for the suffer-fest which is a sprint tri.

I had to travel for work Thursday - Saturday and Friday night was only 5 hours of sleep. But my Saturday night was a solid 7 hours.

Waking up race morning, the temperature was already 70 degrees with the dew point just a little below that.

Aimee and I headed to the event so we could get our transition areas set and mingle with all of our friends. That is one problem with this race. Everyone comes out for it so I get talking with people. I turn around and there is someone else I need to talk with. Walk five feet and talk with someone else. I enjoy seeing everyone but I had to force myself to get my act together.

With the day being so warm I decided to not wear my wetsuit. The swim is so short and I didn't want to deal with the suit in transition. I would put my running singlet on in transition.

I got to the beach and did a quick warmup before wishing all of my SBR teammates good luck. Well, at least the ones I could find. We had 13 people racing today.

I lined up for our wave which consisted of guys 40 - 54. The horn went off and we ran in to the water. I took two dolphin dives and started swimming. I was surrounded by some swimmers but that didn't last long as I started to pull away from the masses.

After the first turn buoy I was in the lead pack of approximately 5 guys. I was breathing every stroke since this was a sprint and I was pushing the pace. I was expecting this race from beginning to end. Half way through the swim my upper chest and shoulders were screaming at me but I just kept pushing forward. I wouldn't need my arms once I got on the bike.

As we hit the beach I believe four of us from the wave were together. I heard my dad, brother and some friends cheering for me. I pushed hard to the transition area which is about 200 meters from the beach.

All of my splits are from the watch since I don't have the official splits, those will come later.

My swim, beach to beach (1/4 mile swim), was 8:20. The run to transition, partly uphill, was 2:33. This is the funny stuff from my watch. I must have hit the button accidentally...... seconds...


I did manage to hit the button after mounting my bike. I pulled my singlet down the rest of the way on the bike and settled in for the 12 mile ride. I was riding well and catching people in front of me. But I was also watching guys in my age group pass me. I stayed strong and just tried to keep them close. At mile 6 I took a Power Gel and kept taking my water with Nuun.

In those final miles I could feel my stomach becoming upset with the effort. The feeling in my stomach was the slight hint of puking. Upset enough to think about sending the contents back up but nothing that wasn't controllable.

I evaluated how I was feeling and decided it was exactly where I wanted to be. On the verge of exploding but keeping it together.

Approaching transition I started to take my feet out of my shoes ready to dismount. As I hit the timing mat I could hear some of my friends cheering for me.

Bike time was 32:46 with an average of 22MPH.

I don't have a transition split but I was out ahead of my main competition. All I had to grab were my shoes, race belt and visor.

There was definitely something about transition that got my adrenaline pumping. All of the people watching...excitement to get running...being in the heat of competition.

I roared out of transition and hit the immediate downhill. Of course there was an immediate uphill on the other side and that is where I needed to settle down a bit.

I did some self assessment to see how the body was doing, especially the knee. The point where I had my surgery done was not bothering me at all. I was a little sore over the top of my knee. It wasn't painful so I would reassess further down the road.

After half a mile my legs started to come around. At the one mile mark I needed to start picking up the pace and I found my target. A guy who had passed me on the bike was within striking distance. I started pushing forward to reel him in.

I finally caught him at one of the corners of the course and moved past. I could hear him trying to stay with me but I wasn't going to let that happen. I saw some more targets in front of me but I wasn't sure if I would catch them. So I pretended the guy behind me was still my target in front.

I was on the final straight before the downhill/uphill return to the finish line and all I wanted to do was hang on and finish as best I could.

I managed to pass quite a few people in front of me as I continued to pick up my pace. On the final uphill I drove my knees high and pumped my arms and came sprinting over the top to the finish line. I let the volunteers take my bib tag and timing chip since I really couldn't move. I grabbed some water and continued to grab my knees and get my breath back.

I completed the 3 mile run in 22:55 and my finish time was 1:07:47.

My finish put me third in the age group and 24th overall....something I am very happy about for my first tri of the season.

It was a great day for Snakebite Racing. We had 10 awards with 3 of them being overall awards.

So what race will I do next?


Trisaratops said...

Great pic of the team! Great to see everyone yesterday!

I'll say that was a pretty freaking awesome debut race after your surgery. You are BACK! Way to push hard yesterday!

And thanks for the pump, too :)

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Congrats on your return and making the poduim!!

Is this your first Pukie?

allanjel said...

Your race report sounds very similar to another undertrained triathlete I know!! Crazy how fast you still are with very minimal training :)

FastKenny said...

Great report and great race effort, Eric! It is great to have you back on the racing circuit!