Sunday, May 17, 2009

this time it's on my own

Another tri in the books! Today was the Tempe International in Tempe, Arizona. I raced the olympic, and it was my first tri since collegiate nationals. My training has been pretty consistent since nationals, so I'm still in decent racing shape. I was by no means tapered though...still sore from Masters practice on Friday, and finally recovered from a one-day flu-type bug on Tuesday. My expectations were moderate...I wasn't set on any given time--I've realized that time goals are generally a bad idea because you never know what the actual course conditions, course length, weather, crowds, etc. are going to be like. Anyway, I wanted to go for an age-group podium and see how low I could go. Also had some equipment changes this week. I swapped out my HedJet C2 69 combo for a Blackwell Disk and 100. I only had the chance to ride them for a couple short bricks this week, so I wasn't sure exactly what to expect.

Quick race report (these things all seem the same unless something goes spectacularly wrong or right *spoiler* neither of which occurred). Swim was really good! Race-day announcement was no wetsuits (1st indication that a PR wasn't in the forecast)--exactly 79 degrees! For the first time I set myself in front, right in the middle of the pack. Yes, Masters has helped my confidence already. I went out HARD, then went into sustainable pace after a couple hundred meters. Started catching previous waves by the ~700 m buoy. A few of us from my wave were out front, but couldn't manage to put together any decent pack. On the way back in EVERYONE went around the wrong buoy--a sprint buoy that was left out for the earlier race. I knew it, but I wasn't going to be the only one to turn on the wrong buoy. Anyway, out of the water and onto the bike!

I knew that 2-4 people from my wave were out ahead of me, so my goal was to not let more people by than I passed. It worked! I started out moderate, then started going hard about 3 miles in. The new wheel setup felt great, although the sound of brakepads on carbon just isn't a good one! I blew by a ton of people, and was passed by exactly ONE person on the bike. My luck, it was a 28 year-old like 1/4-mile from the end of the bike. Flying dismount, quick T2, and I was out in front of him...for the first 200 yards or so :). He came flying by, and I knew I would bonk if I tried to follow.

For once on the run, I didn't get passed much, and it got my hopes up for a high finish. I failed to think about the people out of the water in front of me though... Anyway, another guy in my AG got me at about mile 4, but a quick look over my shoulder and no one was to be seen. UNTIL about 1/4-mile from the finish... Ryan, a friend from the Tucson Triathlon Club came flying by. I kept on his heels for about 100 m, but didn't have the guts to hold on. I was still pretty confident in a top 3 AG, but the race results don't lie...4th by less than a minute. ahhhh, crap...

Lessons learned? Sure: 1) I need to learn how to run. 2) I need to HTFU on the run. 3) There are always people behind. Don't look back (too much), just go as hard as you possibly can. 4) Bike for show, run for dough. 5) I need to learn how to run.

So, what now? I think I'll go for a run! Tomorrow... I'll keep following the expert advice and training plan of Brian Grasky, and look forward to next weekend. Sahuarita sprint triathlon in Sahuarita (imagine that!).

Oops, that got longer than expected. Anyway, this post was supposed to be about something related to the title (that line at the top). This was my first race in the new kit; my first race post-TriCats; and I traveled without Shannon and the girls. It was so different! So much less stress. I followed my own schedule, ate when and where I wanted, and was checked in and sitting in my hotel bed at 3:30 pm. Did it help my race? Maybe, but I didn't notice. Was it more relaxing? I guess. Was it as fun/rewarding/exciting? Nope.

Being involved with the team was awesome, even if I felt like an old guy. I hope those guys and gals realize how great it is that they're involved on a team. But for me, it's time to move on. I'm now part of the Tucson Triathlon Club, and I look forward to being on a team of a different sort. Meeting other families like ours who know that swim/bike/run is a ton of fun, even if it's hard work. It might not always be fun. We don't always meet our goals of PRs, top-whatever, or even finishing, but the journey is rewarding.

I'm also looking forward to getting to know the employees and athletes. Today I had the chance to meet Sue Meno and chat for a minute with Mike Montoya, whom I believed both found their way to the podium today. Shannon Driscoll and Leo Carillo (other athletes that I know from training in Tucson) also stepped up. Still waiting to hear how the Tucson Triathlon Club did in the Club Championship today, but I'll update when I know.

Anyways, off for a beer and some rest. Hope to see you out there training and at Sahuarita. This time the family should be there!

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