Sunday, August 3, 2014

Jack's Generic Tri Race Report

Today was my fourth Jack's Generic Triathlon, the second since the venue was moved and an intermediate distance (1000m swim/26-mile bike/6-mile run) was added. Overall I was 4.5 minutes slower than last year for a time of 2:34:46. The swim was different this year but otherwise the course was the same. I'm pretty sure the slowdown is because I went 3 minutes quicker on the bike, leading me to be almost 7 minutes slower on the run.

Having biked 50+ miles the day before probably didn't do much to help my race either. I was actually going to bike for longer on Saturday as training for my next Ironman (this race being halfway between IM Coeur d'Alene and IM Wisconsin), but decided to cut it short to save my legs for this race.
For no particular reason, I was awake too late Saturday night. Due to a gross miscalculation, I woke up late Sunday morning (I woke up when my alarm went off, but should have set it for earlier). I wound up getting to Lake Pflugerville at 6:45, 15 minutes before transition was set to close. I was stressed about that, then I had trouble airing up my tire (I still have not mastered the "crack pipe" for filling a disc wheel). I gave up and took my bike to one of the fine Jack and Adam's mechanics who got me filled and ready to go. Then it was body marking and trying to find a spot on a rack. The racks were all pretty full since it was so late. I found one legal spot only to realize it was on the wrong rack. With a little shoving, I got myself a spot on an appropriate rack. As I was setting up they were already making announcements that transition was about to close. This did not help my stress level. I got set up and was one of the last to leave the transition area. Next was to wait in line for the port-o-johns. Business taken care of, I had one minute to drop my backpack at the team tent and head to the beach. I could have used a practice swim, since I was using a brand new pair of goggles that I hadn't even adjusted to my head (I was also wearing a new pair of tri shorts). They are the same make and model as my retired pair, so I wasn't worried about the "don't do anything new on raceday" adage. It was only a few minutes from the time I got on the beach to when the open wave went off at 7:30. There was a 2-minute gap before they started letting my "wave" through, time-trial style, one person every 2 seconds.
As I mentioned, the swim course was different this year. Instead of being a triangle, it was straight out and back along a single line of buoys. This made the beach run between laps really short, but it confused the heck out of me. Going out was fine, but coming back to shore the sun was right in my eyes. I had some fogging in my goggles on the first lap, compounding the visibility problem. Sighting was also more mentally difficult for me with this course; for me it was harder to be sure I was going the correct direction and the buoy I was looking at was, in fact, the proper target. My swim pace of 2:22 per 100m was my slowest this year.
The new course made for a longer beach run to get to the bike. A friend and some other guy near my bike were having a discussion of the swim, particularly the aggressive weeds. To me it felt like I'd gotten rope burn from the hydrilla. I strapped on my helmet and ran for the mount line. The bike course starts with a downhill into a left turn, which made it a bit perilous to get my feet into my shoes. I didn't have them fully strapped up until after making the turn. Unfortunately something's wrong with my power meter and it's been eating batteries, so I didn't have any power or cadence data. At this point I have a pretty good idea of both, but I still like numbers. I don't know if that had anything to my riding too hard or it was more a case of starting too hard and not wanting to back down. The first loop of the bike was fine, the second loop was much more crowded with the sprint-distance folks on the road. Let's just say it was pretty clear they were less experienced than the people in the intermediate race. I made it back to transition with no real incidents, no water, and only a few potential citations for riding on the wrong side of the road.
T2 went smoothly and for once my hamstrings weren't killing me (I think I got that out of the way on the previous day's ride). I started the run too fast. My plan was to shoot for an 8:30 pace but I started more like 8-minute or less. I was in pain by the time I got to the first water station, just before the 1-mile marker. It took a second to realize my right quads were cramping up. I walked through the station and gave the legs another try. The pain was too much, I had to walk and try to calm my quads. I took two salt tablets (I would have taken one on the bike if my dispenser had been loaded) and an ibuprofen, since it was in the same baggie, just before the second water stop. After a long walk I eased back into running through the rest of the first lap. The second lap didn't go much better. When I was running it was kind of a slow pace, plus walking the three aid stations. I pushed through the last mile; while I didn't sprint to the finish line, I think I ended solidly.
I had pizza and soda, chatted with some of my many friends in attendance, and hit the road to get home to make my afternoon plans. I did make one stop on the way, however. I don't eat many hamburgers, but I decided to have one today.

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