Friday, April 17, 2009

Race Preview

Sunday morning I'm running the Triangle Orthopaedic Sprint Triathlon in Raleigh, NC. It has a 750 meter open water swim, 10.5 miles on the bike, and a 5k run. My goal time for the whole race is 90 minutes. It starts on the Centennial camput of NC State university, which is only maybe 10 blocks south of Kelley's dad's house. Couldn't ask for a better location.

The swim is the only part that scares me, because I haven't been in the pool for a month. I rented a wetsuit from, and it came in last night. I waited too long to place the order, they typcically ship 2 weeks before the event. This will be the longest single swim I've ever attempted, my first open water swim, first time using a wetsuit. The water temp is 65 degrees. It's a mat start from a dock, so you step on the mat to start your timing, and dive into the water and start swimming. They are sending one swimmer out every 5 seconds, so there won't be any fighting for position or problems like that. We swim out around a buoy and back to the bank. I'm starting 123'd out of 217 racers, so i'm right in the middle of the pack. Goal time for the swim/into T1 is 18 minutes.

Then we run barefoot up a sandy bank and maybe 100 yards down a street into transition area, strip off the wetsuit and throw on the bike stuff. This includes bike shoes, bike shorts, a shirt and the camelbak (preloaded).

It's a single loop bike course on some good roads with our lane blocked off from traffic. A lot of the course is through the college campus, and it goes up Avant Ferry Rd and Western Blvd then back into campus and transition. Raleigh is east enough in NC not to have very many hills. So I expect to be able to keep Jenny in the big chainring the whole time, and just power through this bike course. I would LOVE to see a sub-30 minute bike time here, but I don't really know the terrain. Official goal time on the bike is 40 minutes.

T2 is in the same transition area as T1, so rerack the bike, reload the camelbak, throw on the running shoes instead of the bike shoes. I want to keep total transition time below 5 minutes, but I have no idea how long it will take to strip off the wetsuit. It came off pretty easy when I was trying it on last night, but race day could be a different story.

The run course is 5k, and starts out on a greenway, so it looks offroad. It's a single loop course, with mostly roads and sidewalks. It looks like it stays on campus most of the time. It's been a long time since I've run a 5k, but the time goal is to break 30 minutes. All of my training runs have been longer and faster than that, but you never know how much gas will be left in the tank after the swim & bike. But with a single loop, easy flat & fast course, it should be ok. The finish line is right across the street from the TA

18 minute swim + 40 minute bike + 30 minute run + 5 minute transition = 93 minutes total. The winners will be able to break 50 minutes on this course. This is only my second triathlon ever, the first was last august. I ran it in 2:02:30, but it had a 400 m swim (10mins) and a 15 mile bike (1:10), but I didn't know how to change gears on the bike then. I would love to break an hour and a half here, it would show so much improvement over last time. And I know I've made tons of improvement since then.

I remember before the Greenville Sprint last august, my main focus was on endurance, and I wasn't sure I could actually cover the distance. I knew I had made it when I did a brick at the gym of 15 miles on the bike and 3.2 miles on the treadmill. I felt on top of the world after that workout, like I could do anything (and metabolize anything I wanted to eat that night). Now, I call that workout "thursday" and increase the distances. But the proof is in the race report.

This marks the first of 5 triathlons this year, and intro's "tri season". I am absolutely thrilled to get back out there and show my mettle again. People who run one marathon and never want to run another one say that they "ran a marathon", but people who completed two or more and look forward to the next one say they "are marathoners". So for a long time now I've been looking forward to changing my conversational banter from "I ran a triathlon" to "I am a triathlete". Even if it's just a couple of sprints, it's a mental shift that I am looking forward to. What do you think the criteria is to go from "a triathlon" to "triathlete"? or from "a marathon" to "marathoner"?

Raleigh is a good 4.5 hour drive from here. we're leaving after I finish work today. Kelley's dad also works from home in his basement, he's a structural engineer. Since the girls don't travel well, I predict we will stay in Raleigh for a few extra days. I can work from his basement just as easily as I can work from mine, it's one of the beautiful things about having a phone built into the laptop and doing everything online. For the kids, 4.5 hours in the car on friday means that the 4.5 hours in the car on sunday would include at least 3 hours of screaming unpleasantries. If we wait until next wednesday to make that drive it would only be 1 hour of screaming. And I think Kelley has a few things she wants to do with the kids while we're there.

Have a great weekend! I am hopeful this will be a good one for me too. Jenny had to go back to the bike shop yesterday. I noticed after travelling back from the beach my rear derailleur was bent in towards the wheel really bad. It screwed up the chain tension, and rubs the spokes when in the Glaven gear (the weakest, or granny gear). the bike shop folks tell me it will have to be replaced eventually, but they got it stabilized enough to get me through the race this weekend. Also yesterday I woke up with a bad sore throat. Took some NyQuil last night and woke up with huge sinus problems this morning. and a headache the whole time. Why do I get sick before races? Kelley thinks it a mental block. I still feel good enough to run this tri sunday but I will be on my best behavior until then.


Wes said...

Let's talk about your wet suit. Body glide your arms, legs, and neck. yes, I mean all of it. Buy an extra stick if you have to :-)

swim in your wet suit before the race. Do not wait until the race start to get acclimated to the water temperature.

I can't believe they are making you swim 750 meters for a sprint. Especially if its an out and back. 4 or 500 meters would be more appropriate.

Give yourself a chance to catch your breath. Negative splitting a swim is not hard and absolutely the way to go!!

Good luck, bro! Safe travels!! and... you already are a triathlete. Just sayin... ;-)

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Good luck with your tri this weekend!

It doesn't matter how many tris you do, Cletus. To me, you'll always just be "That Redneck Who Teabags Copying Machines".

Wait. You've done THAT enough times to have earned the Title "Redneck Teabagger" instead of the insulting "That Redneck Who Teabags ..." etc. THAT would be for a redneck who only teabagged a xerox machine ONCE.


P.S. Please tell me your Mom doesn't read this blog anymore.

Amber said...

Sounds like a great race! Can't wait to hear how it goes! An open water swim at that temperature is crazzy. I'm a swimmer, but I've NEVER done an open water swim race, and certainly not at that temperature!


Amanda said...

Have fun and good luck! I hope you guys have a great trip, and that you kick ass in your race!!

Nick said...

Couple of tips for you …

Wear whatever you will race in (shorts, shirt) under the wetsuit. Don’t change is transition … it’s not an ironman!

Lose the camelback. If you hydrate reasonably before the event you shouldn’t need to drink anything. Leave a bike bottle in transition just in case you want a swig after the swim or before the run. If you really are tied to having some hydration on the bike, just put a bottle in your cage. No refilling of anything during the race unless it is can do it while riding (like an aerobottle)!

I think those two things should make your transition time well under the estimated 5 minutes which would move you up several places in your division.

Good luck and go all out … it’s a Sprint!

Amanda said...

I actually thought when I posted that, I bet Carolina John may be my only reader that will actually enjoy this book:)

tfh said...

Good luck! Reading your description of the tri I definitely thought "wow, my goal would be just to get through that." You know you can do it, you're setting time goals-- I don't know if that's what makes someone a marathoner or a triathlete, but you definitely sound like a triathlete to me. Anyway hope your whole family enjoys the trip and that you meet your goal and have fun.

Sun Runner said...

Good luck, kick some ass!

Missy said...

I'm weird like that too...I don't really call myself a triathlete, I'm not sure when I get to graduate? Been doing them for years but??? It's strange.

Yes for all of Nick's good tips. A quick change out of wet suit, get the helmet on and GOOOO! In a sprint, you should be puking by the end. Leave NOTHING in the tank.

joyRuN said...

Good luck on Sunday! I like how that swim is set up - I hate open water though. I panic like crazy.

My sinuses have been similarly terrible - I've had to take my allergy meds to breathe normally.

hebba said...

Oh, I have to move south. Its still so cold here; I decided against the first sprint I was going to do (May 11) and decided to wait until June. (gonna do a half marathon in May instead)
Am I crazy,or are there other people out there who LOVE open water swims?

Havs said...

Good luck man! I've got a bit over a week till I head down your way, Charleston SC, riding up the DC.

Jess said...

Hope your race went well!