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Marquee Triathlon (April 15, 2012)

April 17, 2012

Part of the fun of doing a triathlon, or any race, is being able to race on race day, not just survive on race day.  For that reason, I’ve mostly limited my triathlons to sprint distance (750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run) races.  For the past couple of months, I’ve had the magical combination of being uninjured in running, and, well, it doesn’t really matter what the rest of the combination is, because just running injury-free is magical enough by itself.  So, having some solid running days in March and April, I decided it was time to move up to the olympic distance (1500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run) race.  I haven’t had as much specific bike training as I’d like in the past month, but throw in a perfect weather forecast for race day, and it was clear that I had to take advantage of the opportunity to challenge myself with the new distance.

As a solid swimmer, it seems the water portion of the race is never long enough.  On the other hand, starting the race with a strong swim certainly helps with confidence and optimism, so I won’t complain about that.  And that’s how the day began.  The start horn went off, and I worked my way ahead of the swim pack, or at least enough ahead to avoid the majority of swinging arms and kicking feet.  As compared to the sprint races, the nearly one mile swim was a welcome change.  My swim time of 24:52 tells me that although I swam fast, I didn’t really swim that straight, but somehow, I was still near the front.

Exiting the water, it was very exciting to see good-looking female strippers waiting for me.  Okay, not the kind of strippers you find in a club, but wetsuit strippers, who had me down to my tri suit in about 3 seconds.  Through transition, on with my pointy aerodynamic helmet, and I was off on my bike.  The wooshing of a disc wheel is a really cool sound, except when it’s on a bike that’s passing you.  And because I swim faster than I bike, I got to see quite a few of these disc wheels pass me.  Well, at least there’s still a run coming up, which usually helps my position.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the run, so I started off at a comfortable pace.  After getting a time split at mile 2, I was happy to hear that my comfortable pace was around a 7-minute mile.  For me, that’s pretty good considering I just swam and rode pretty hard.  By mile 4 of the run, I was confident that my body was going to hold out without cramping, so I got to enjoy meeting up with some of the disc wheelers that passed me on the bike.  I didn’t have much of a kick at the end of the run, but I had run well enough to get myself to 29th out of 222 males overall (http://results.active.com/pages/searchform.jsp?posted_p=t&numPerPage=100&rsID=125685&queryType=division).

With more consistent cycling workouts, I could probably move up a few positions in the results, but cutting more than a few minutes off my time may require some different genetics, which I haven’t quite found a solution for yet.  The whole atmosphere of race day at a triathlon is kind of intoxicating, so that’s probably one of my biggest motivators to keep doing this sort of thing.  There’s also the body markings on my shoulders and calves for my race number and age.  Those are always a good conversation topic on Monday mornings.

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