Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Age Group Nationals- Race Report

This past weekend was very tough on me...more mentally than physically. I entered this double race weekend with the approach that these were "B" priority races that would help me prep for Kona. I didn't really taper into the weekend at all. I did a long bike and a 22 mile run the weekend before and did a high intensity S/B/R on Tuesday and Wednesday. I took it a little easier on Thursday and Friday but it was in no way a full taper. I wanted to race hard both races, but leading into the week I was feeling October was more important. I had not done a Olympic distance race in over three years. Every time I have signed up for one it has been shortened due to weather or cold water. I didn't know how I could do, and I didn't have the confidence in my bike strength to be successful at this short distance. After the fact, I am a bit torn.

AG Nats was a great experience overall. I learned a lot. I learned a lot about myself and of course I gained another race full of experience. I am happy to have an Olympic under my belt and to have a baseline time now for the race.

Swim- 20:56 - 29 AG, 163rd Overall
T1-1:56 - 45th AG- 217 Overall
Bike- 58:16 - 17th AG, 53rd Overall
T2- 1:00 - 14th AG, 49th Overall
Run- 33:38 - 1st AG, 3rd Overall

Overall- 1:55:44 - 3rd in AG; 12th overall

Race Morning
I woke up around 4:30 and packed up my stuff, ate (drank) a quick breakfast, and left my the friend's house I was staying at. My wife and I didn't know how traffic would be or how hard it would be to park. We actually had no trouble getting to the race or getting parked. I took about a 30 minute nap in the car before heading to transition. I jogged over and got my gear set up then decided to head back to the car and took another 30 minute nap. The 25-29 wave wasn't scheduled to push off until 9:08, so I had nothing but time. I walked down to the race start with my wife around 8 and hung out until it was time to get in the water. The weather was about perfect. Very light breeze and about 75 degrees.

I got in the water as soon as I could so I could get a warm up in. I got about 10 minutes of swimming in so I was feeling pretty good when it came time to line up. The wave wasn't terribly large so I hung out in the middle with the straightest shot to the first turn I could find. I got off to a pretty good start without much contact. The front pack quickly separated and I was hanging on to the train well. We ran into the wave before us right where the course bottle necks to go under a bridge. It took a bit of maneuvering to get around the pack, but I was able to hang on to the front pack through the bridge. I lost focus for about 15 seconds shortly after when I ran into another AG wave and I got kicked out of the train. I put in a few quick spurts to try to catch back up but I just couldn't find them. I finished really in no man's land. Drafting in the water is definitely something I need to work on.

I slipped trying to run up the ramp to get out of the water but got into transition pretty quickly overall. For some reason, I couldn't get out of my wetsuit. It had been a while since i did a race that didn't have wetsuit strippers to help you out. Another thing I need to practice in the future. Having 245 people go through T1 just isn't going to cut it.

I had been working on mounting on the bike on the move. I was able to get on the bike and get moving without a problem. There were two quick turns, so I waited until after the second turn to put my feet in the shoes. I passed a lot of people who were trying to put their feet in before the turns. I think I made the right choice overall. I just didn't feel like I could get my legs going at the start of the ride. My PM was showing around 250 Watts and I wanted to be well over 300 average. I tried not to worry and just rode. About 20 minutes into the ride, the PM stopped working all together. I am not sure if I didn't feel like I was able to get rolling because the PM was showing false numbers or what was going on. As soon as the PM stopped working, I felt like I was able to just flush everything and just ride hard. The road surface was really bumpy. I launched my only water bottle early on and luckily caught it right as it was falling down the side of my bike! Another place I was completely airborne. I was a bit disappointed that a National Championship was being held on such cruddy roads. I know it is hard to find better roads in the Midwest but they were just not good. Overall, I was happy to be under an hour on the bike and felt strong heading into T2.

T2 went much better than the first but I still need to figure out how to be faster here. I struggled to get my shoes on a bit, but nothing major. I was out the gates without losing too much time and knew I had some work to do.

The run went really well. The course was pancake flat and really helped me keep my speed. I was really consistent in my mile splits. I didn't take any food or drink in at all during the run. I felt great and knew I got enough calories on the bike with the bottle of Gu Roctane that I downed. The bike course was also lined with spectators pretty well so there was a lot of energy on the course. I was happy with my overall run split even though two people put up a faster time.

My wife would have killed me if she missed this pic!

This was a great learning experience. I am left wondering a bit what I could have done if I would have had a full taper. I needed to remind myself that I was using this as a training weekend. When I keep that in perspective, that makes it even more rewarding to find the podium at my first crack at AG Nats.

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