Wednesday, July 13, 2011

San Francisco Triathlon at Treasure Island

After a fun-but-slow day at Monroe, it didn’t take much effort for Andrew and Lauren to convince me to jump into this past Saturday’s ITU race in San Francisco. I’ve raced there five or six times before and I <3 Tri-California.

I was a bit disappointed to swim in the back group at Monroe, so I actually swam five times in the two weeks between races – two hard swims with Dave in Lake Sammamish and three easy pool swims in three different cities/states – w Rusty & Lauren at the Bellevue Club, alone at Highland Park pool in Pittsburgh, then w Kenny, Andrew and Lauren at the Cal Berkeley pool before the race. Still not a lot of volume, by any means, but more than I’d been doing!

I didn’t get any real biking in as I spent much of the two-week interlude traveling to see my sister in Pittsburgh. I did ride around town a bit on an old road bike that I borrowed, and I went for two easy runs. Mellow training.

So, on to How It Went Down:nice muscle tone, eh?

Swim: Before the race I told myself that I should still be a mid-pack swimmer. I was correct. I swam relaxed/fluid/strong most of the way and exited the water 31st out of 50, in a group of about 15. There were twenty athletes ahead of our group and 15 behind our group, so it is safe to say I was in the middle. I was happy to see Manny Huerta next to me as we exited the water, as he’s had solid World Cup swims before and I hoped that his presence meant that we were in a decent position.

T1 was uneventful, except for running about 10 meters past my bike and having to double-back for it.

Once onto the bike, Manny and I easily got into a group of 8 or 10 riders that was forming ahead of us. After negotiating the first few corners, I went to put my left shoe on and disaster struck. I got my foot about halfway into the shoe and then accidentally unclipped the shoe from the pedal. Now I had the shoe half-on my foot but not firmly attached to anything. It is hard to fix such an issue while riding! Somehow I managed to get the shoe back onto my foot, but I lost my group. I dug deep and caught up to a smaller group of riders, only to have issues getting my other shoe on, too. The little things… so I lost another group and tried to ride smart/steady/relaxed as I knew there were still plenty of riders behind me.

I rode with a few different groups over the last 5 laps, and found that I didn’t have much margin for error out there – likely a sign of low bike fitness. If a guy ahead of me hit a traffic cone and flipped it up in the air, I lost the group. If we caught a sketchier rider and he disrupted our cornering and rotation, I lost the group. Lame. It was almost like I was looking for excuses out there. Gotta work on that.

T2 was interesting again, as I apparently threw my helmet into the wrong bin. The official tried to help me and yelled after me, but I had a hard time figuring out what I’d done wrong in the heat of the moment.

this felt about like it looks I was happy to not have debilitating leg cramps on the run (yay! better nutritional prep this week!!) but I was disappointed to have a bit of stomach discomfort for the first 6-7km. I just couldn’t push the pace that I wanted. This was actually a rather familiar feeling, and this tells me that I have something very specific to work on during my preparation for future races. Who cares what kind of open 10K you are capable of running right now if your angry stomach or crampy legs won’t let you run. If I make it out to Myrtle Beach in October or to the mythical South American Double in January (Vina del Mar and La Paz) then I should do a bit more analysis into what drinks, concentrations and timing are causing such issues. I went with a rather straightforward approach at TI, but it looks like I need to tweak that approach.

After the race, we had a fun evening in Berkeley with some of the athletes and friends. I left SFO with a bit more inspiration to increase the priority of triathlon training within my busy life, and to put on a more impressive showing at one of the fall or winter races. We’ll see what life brings!

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