Friday, July 8, 2011

Monroe Pan American Cup

This past Saturday I had the privilege of racing in front of friends and family at the ITU Monroe Pan American Cup. Thanks to everybody who came out to watch the race – dad, mom, Bob, Katie, Andrew, Aaron, Zach, Vaibhav, Dave, Dave, Jen, Tracey, Kalpita, Peter, and anybody else who I’m not thinking of right now!! It was awesome for my friends and family to finally get to see one of these races in person.

I knew going in that my fitness might not be quite what it has been in past years. I’ve intentionally de-prioiritized spending time on triathlon training as I’ve focused more on my work at Microsoft and on getting GeekFit off the ground and on being there a it more for my friends and family. That said, I knew that my combination of high-intensity work at GeekFit, lower stress about training, more recovery time, more sleep, occasional hard efforts in all three disciplines and the “home crowd” could allow me to have one of my best races yet.

So how did it go down?

Swim: I got out well, but then faded rather quickly and settled onto some comfortable feet. I tried to “swim smart” and only made one bridging attempt, when the guy ahead of me lost the guy ahead of him. I was slightly disappointed to have exited the water in the last group, but I didn’t know that at the time. All I knew was that there were guys near me to ride with!

Bike: my hamstrings were *immediately* a mess on the bike. I struggled to get my first shoe on and gave up trying to get the second. I bridged to the three guys ahead of me and finally caught them 2-3km into the race. Then I tried to let my legs recover enough to allow me to hold my right leg in the 12 o’clock position and get my shoe on without inducing a hamstring cramp. Our group of four became five and then seven and eventually eleven. We worked well together at times and not-so-well at other times. My legs came back a little and I was able to surge when needed, but I never really felt “strong” on the bike. With a lap to go I started thinking about making my usual “1km to go” move to set up a good T2, but I blew it. Another guy went first and I thought about following but just ended up on the front of the group. Then I slipped to the back as I tried to get out of the wind. So I entered T2 last in my group. Fail.

t2-exitRun: I knew that my run fitness was very good coming into this race. I PR’ed in the 5k back in March and I’ve had some strong track workouts. I immediately started passing guys from my bike group and was feeling good until about the 1km mark. Then my quads started twitching a bit and I knew that I could be in trouble. I tried to drink as much water as I could at each aid station, but my gait was getting roughed up by the cramps and I lost a bit of speed. I loosened up around 3km and was ecstatic. It was time to show off my running legs! I resumed reeling in the guys ahead of me… for about 500m… then my race might as well have been over. My quads locked up so badly that my “run” was now more of a shuffle. It wasn’t pretty. At one point I even tried to walk. I was almost resigned to DNF-ing… but then I shuffled a bit longer and my legs sort of loosened up. I tried to just cruise the last 5k in order to not lock up again, but I was very disappointed to see how many guys I coulda/woulda/shoulda been able to run down with even a halfway decent run split. In fact, I probably could have snuck into the top twenty and the top half of the race, which would have been very encouraging.

All of this told me that I still have enough fitness to be worth a trip to San Francisco for the San Francisco Triathlon at Treasure Island. It took me awhile to get this entry posted so I’m actually on the porch at my homestay right now. Kenny Rakestraw and his roommates were gracious enough to put up me, Andrew Lockton and Lauren Goss all at the same time. We’re gonna rock it on the island tomorrow! Whoop whoop!!

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