Thursday, July 5, 2012

Holiday Race Report

Do we really have to go back to work today?  It feels particularly difficult to stay awake today after the whirlwind that was our Independance day holiday.  It started early with Aquathon #3, the final race in the series.  I had to miss this one last year so I was a bit unsure of how to handle the swim/run/swim format.
Shearon Harris Lake early in the morning

Steaming nuclear power plant makes a great backdrop

Getting my transition setup
I got up about 6:15 am, which is just a bad idea for a holiday.  Left the house about 6:45 and got to the race site 15 minutes before the check-in closed.  Turns out the production company had no chip timing for this one thanks to an equipment upgrade.  So it really was the Old School aquathon.  Race start was 8 am.

We started waist deep in the water with a 400 yard swim keeping the buoys on our right.  This first swim was really interesting.  I went out with the leaders, found some good feet to draft on, and was actually able to match speed and hold a draft until I passed the guy just before the first turn buoy.   Between the first and second buoys I swam over somebody, and I think it's the first time that's happened in open water.  No telling if he was cutting right or I was cutting left, but he was in my way and needed to get out of my way.  So my left hand came down on the middle of his back, then my right hand ended up on his left hand side and I pulled right over his legs.  Kind of freaked me out at the time, but hey it's a fast race.  get out of my way. 

Coming out of the first swim I felt pretty strong.  Quick transition, just throw the running shoes on, no socks, and get out to the run course.  I absolutely hate running in this state park, and every time I swear I'm going to stop racing out there.  But this time I mean it.  We came out of the grassy TA running through a parking lot, onto a road, then turned onto a trail less than half a mile into the run.  Before hitting the trail I had a huge side stitch really killing my speed and motivation.  This run was a solid 3 miles, not the 2.6 mile course we ran in the first aquathon even though it was on the same trail.

This time we hit that turnaround spot from the first race and just kept right on going.  That's about when the trail got a bit more difficult and a second cramp kicked in, on the left side this time.  It felt like I was running incredibly slow already, and that brought me to an absolute crawl.  I was counting the runners coming back in my direction, and lost count at 25.  I hit the turnaround not soon after that, so I wasn't too far behind that 25th person.  That's not really too bad, I was hoping to finish in the top 20.  Then on the way back a third side stitch kicked in pretty hard. 

It's not that I specifically don't like those trails, well, ok, I don't really like those trails.  But if I'm going to go out and have a bad run one day, chances are that day will occur on those trails at Harris Lake state park.  Maybe I don't like them because I consistently turn in poor performances on those trails.  Whatever it was, I was glad to get back in the water for the second swim.

Unfortunately, I also had no energy left for the second swim.  Starting out it felt like I was dragging something behind me. Eventually it did pick up, and I came out of the water and past the finish line in 43:36.  That was good enough for 5th place in my age group out of 9 men, and I don't know the overall placement yet.  Without chip timing, the results were tallied by hand and the age group breakdown is all that has currently made it online.

I was hoping the swims would be around 6 minutes each with a 24 minute run.  So something went a lot slower than I was anticipating.  I passed a lot of people on that second swim, so I think the run was closer to 30 minutes.  And for my expectations, 3 miles of running in 30 minutes is pretty bad.
Happy after the race, mostly because I didn't puke and it was finally over.

I stuck around chatting with people and waiting for the awards, and I was able to collect my age group award from the last race.  So that was pretty neat.

I got home just after 10 am, and I knew Kelley was taking the kids to a movie that morning.  I grabbed a shower, something to eat, and another cup of coffee.  Then I went ahead and did my yoga for the day.  Since nobody else was home and I couldn't get Kaileigh out of bed to go for a driving lesson, I decided to go ahead and hit the gym.  I got the strength training done and put 10 miles on the stationary bike.  Pretty decent day for workouts.

I got home about 12:30 and the whole family was there.  Let the good times roll!  Kelley and I actually ended up spending the entire afternoon in the kitchen together making stuff for a fun dinner.  Played with the kids for a bit too.  It was just over 100* outside so we stayed in and just had fun.  I was also constantly stuffing my face.  And drinking lots of beer. 

Later on a couple of friends came by to visit and drink a bit.  A huge thunderstorm came rolling in about 7 pm so we chose not to try and go out to watch any of the fireworks.  We didn't throw the annual July 4th party because the city of Raleigh moved the fireworks display downtown instead of doing it at the fairgrounds like they have for the last 20+ years.  No fireworks for us means no party.  And as it turns out there was a thunderstorm raging at the same time guests should have been showing up and it was too hot to stay outside anyway, so I'd say it all worked out in the end.

You know what else worked out in the end?  The pretzel salad I made as a dessert.  Quite delish.


Hugh Jass said...

I heard about those bad storms that rolled through. Maybe I should try an aquathon since I can't yet afford a bike. Might be a nice way to ease into tri's.

Wilbur Smith said...

I Like bike riding for journey.

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