Holding On For Dear Life: The Garden City Triathlon Race Report 2013

Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 9.22.48 PM

Just a few weeks ago, I thought my triathlon season had come to an end with the Mike Spence Triathlon in Kalispell. So much so that I sort of gave up on riding and swimming reliably in favor of marathon training. Then I found out I was going to be in the Missoula area for a test (FYI: for those considering becoming a doctor, the standardized exams never cease) the same weekend as the Garden City Triathlon, an olympic race I haven’t done since 2010. 75 dollars later, my triathlon season rebooted for once more unto the breach. So let’s kick off what turned out to be an epic weekend of riding.

Pre Race

Ok, so I was actually in Helena for my exam the day before the race. For some reason that escapes me, I thought that Missoula was only like 45 minutes away from Helena. It wasn’t until about 10:00 p.m. on Friday night that I finally Googled the directions and realized it would take me 2 hours to get to Frenchtown for the race. WHOOPS.

To add to the pre-race problems, due to a combination of vacation and marathon training, I had not been on the road with the bike for a whopping 6 weeks. Even better, I had chalked up an impressively Spartan 4000 yards in the pool over the last 3 weeks. To overcome my normal riding jitters, I got in a measly 7 mile ride (thanks to mother nature) the evening before that would make one of those quarter driven kids rides in the mall seem exhilarating.

So much for that pre race ride from Spring Meadow Park....

So much for that pre race ride from Spring Meadow Park….

After tossing and turning for the night (I actually had a nightmare that the race got cancelled), I woke up at 4:30 a.m. for the two-hour drive to the race. After suffering terrible cramps in my last Olympic, I skipped any concept of “hydrating” and just grabbed a coffee and a scone from Starbucks as breakfast.

After getting checked in to the race and to the bathroom, I decided to put in another six-mile ride to loosen up. This was a great way to calm the nerves and just enjoy the rising sun. Into to the skin tight body bag I went, and it was time for that third swim in three weeks….

Swim: 1500y, 25:20, 33/82 OA

The water was like a perfect cup of coffee: refreshing, not too warm, not too cold, dark, and made me want to pee. As soon as we start, I get clobbered and my goggles get displaced. I roll with that and adjust them while on my side. Then I settle behind some legs quickly. I knew that I wasn’t going to be fast today, so I just concentrated on staying calm and smooth. The swim course is one of the most difficult I have known because you end up swimming straight into the sun for a large portion of the two loops. Sighting for the buoys was like finding an orange candle flame 20 feet from the surface of the sun. More than a few times I stopped completely to gather my bearings. Fortunately, someone else could see, so I just followed the feet and splashing all the way around the course.

In true Coeur d’Alene fashion, the course features a short little run along the beach before starting the second lap. I was pacing myself slow enough that I actually walked this part. Back in I went. Rinse and repeat.

Last time I did this, I swam 25:07. So I’m pretty pleased with 25:20 with all the stopping and sighting difficulties. And that whole lack of training thing.

T1: 1:30, 22/82

Not the fastest but not the slowest. Again, I wasn’t trying to push it today. No more bike cleats in the pedals running start thinga ma bob. I found it to be slower than just putting my shoes on in transition.

Bike: 24 miles, 1:01:15, 7/82 OA

In fear but still smiling.

In fear but still smiling.

The course is a beautiful and artistic expression of the term flat. For an Oympic course, it is one of my favorites. It would have been even better if I wasn’t trying to hold on for dear life the entire time. I certainly held back the intensity at times because I was dancing around on the front Zipp 808 like an Asian kid born and raised in a small country town. Aka, BADLY. There wasn’t even a real wind to blame. It was all me being nervous. Still, I ate up a lot of people on the bike, especially at the beginning. And while my knuckles may remain white for a few more days, it was a beautiful sun drenched ride.

Considering that I beat my prior time by nearly seven minutes with minimal good training, I’m pleased.  Next year, it will be time for sub 60 minutes I think. You know. If I grow some actual testicles or something.

Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 10.24.09 PM

T2: 0:54 26/82 OA

Not my fastest transitions today.

Run: 6.43 miles (per Garmin), 50:37, 23/82 OA    

Yep, I have been running a lot more than usual. I think I am up to like 35-40 miles a week. Caveat: All my running has been mainly at 7:45-8:15 pace. I new going into the run I was not going to be red lining it, so I decided to aim for a nice comfortable work level at right below marathon pace.

For the first three miles, things went exactly as planned. Breathing under control. Form right on. Pace right on. About this time, I got passed by some guys, but I focused on racing my own race and kept my pace. Oddly enough, after passing me, said runners started to slow a little and I caught up for a pass of my own. This was the match to the gas an, and I decided to see if I could push it a little. WHOOPS.

It only took about a minute of faster churning legs and arms for the cramps to start up in my gut. That quickly put a cork in my speed and it was back to my usual “lets just survive this damn thing and keep running” experience. After slowing some, I was able to even the pace back out to right where I wanted to be. You could see the story play out in the numbers.

Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 10.27.49 PM

I wanted to run just under my marathon pace. 7:51 pace is pretty much about perfect, so I’m pleased, even though it was two minutes slower than last time. Per the Garmin, the course distance was a little long this year.

Synopsis: 2:19:36, ~ 4 min PR

Ranking old school.

Ranking old school.

Overall, it was nearly a perfect day. I met pretty much every personal goal I had. It was also educational in that my idea of surging during a race may not be in my best interest. I will certainly take note of that for the upcoming marathon. To top things off, I also go 3rd AG and won a bottle of HEED. Nothing like free nutrition!

Pancakes and beer? Now that is a great end to a race!

Pancakes and beer? Now that is a great end to a race!

About Ironvan

From couch potato to Ironman triathlete in 2 years.

Posted on September 11, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: