Is There Shame in Sixth?
With this being the only triathlon of the weekend in the area and the fact that they only offered a sprint race vs. sprint and olympic distance, the competition was tough. You can normally gauge that by the average price of the bikes--there were some crazy expensive bikes and riders out there, but to get fast, you have to race with the fastest.
Here's my five things that went right, and five things that went wrong with my sprint triathlon. I'll get the ugly out of the way first.
|Test swim the week of the race|
Five things that went wrong
1) The swim "leg" of the race was 800 meters (1/2 mile.) For a sprint distance, this is on the longer end of the distance I normally race...some as little as 500+ meters. This would be my fifth (?) open water swim in a race. I've had less than that in training and it showed. If I had GPS in the water, it would have been the equivalent of a half-blind three legged dog...in other words, not straight. This "killed me" on the water leg with a embarrassing 19:44 time in the water even though we all thought it looked much longer than 800 meters. I clearly need to work on this. In the tranquility of a pool, I swam the same distance two days earlier around 14:20.
|Fresh new bike decals|
3) Rest. Out of my control, I had travel the week leading up to my race down to Mexico City for work of all places. I prefer not to travel at all unless it's traveling to the race. I did well as far as getting as much rest as possible, but Petron Silver after ten PM in Mexico City is not a good idea during race week. Once I got home, we went up the night before to stay at a nearby hotel (race was in Windsor, CO,) but there were three of us in the room. One of us snored. Horrible night of sleep the night before, but as I read another race blogger state, this is normally the case (poor sleep the night before,) so it's no excuse for what happens on race day.
4) Run leg. This could probably go in either category. My 5K PR roughly two months ago was sub-twenty minutes. My 5K race leg was 21:29. Second fastest in my age group, but far from my best. I used the Asics DS Racer which has been my "go to" shoe for sprint triathlons. I know I can do better here.
5) Podium streak ends. With run racing and triathlons, I have been "on a roll." Sometimes you need to get knocked down a notch to evaluate what you need to work on. Sixth in my age group. Respectable, but that swim leg killed me. I'm perhaps too hard on myself, but it was hard not to feel disappointed.
Five things that went right
|My son and I post-race celebration; fifth and sixth in our age groups|
2) Bike mount. While I didn't practice getting out of the wetsuit, I did practice mounting the bike that morning with my shoes already clipped to my bike (with rubber bands.) It was probably not the most graceful of bike mounts, but successful. Without this, my T1 time would have been more of a disaster.
|Previous match-up on Dad vs. Son rivalry|
4) Scouting the course. As I've done in the past, my son and I drove the course the night before. Even though it was largely a rectangle layout, understanding where the hills were and what the turns looked like helped quite a bit. The last half mile had some pretty hairy turns on a bike path leading into transition, and this would have been tough to navigate for the first time in a race.
5) Racing with my son. My son turns sixteen later this year and this was our third race we both competed in. We've had fun joking about how the "old man" is still faster than the teenager, but I know his fastest times are ahead and I'm at the age where in theory mine are behind me. I refuse to cave to conventional wisdom, and refuse to hand over the "fastest" title easily. I know once he passes me, I will always be looking at the back of his jersey. This was not the day it was going to happen as I came in a mere two spots ahead of him, but it's a long summer ahead with time for him to catch the old man.
All this begs the question; if you're used to hitting the podium or expected to in a race, how do you view that race? Experience, disappointment, things to work on, or quit your bitchin' and train harder?