Saturday, July 18, 2009

Whoa, Al Fails At Internets. Also, two race reports. Small races rule!

So I moved to Wyoming not so long ago, and everyone thinks I've decided to go into hiding because I haven't been blogging or IMing or Facebooking very much (I've heard there's this thing called "Twitter" that all the kids use... I haven't been doing that either). So after finishing my first triathlon today I thought I should blog it. Yeah! I am not dead to the world!

But before the triathlon, my 10k. Yeah, it happened two weeks ago on July 4, the Cody Runners' Stampede. Stampede? Well, Cody is a big rodeo town. Rodeo Capital of the World (self-proclaimed), in fact! The race was a split 5k/10k, starting at the Rec Center downtown. About 200 runners showed up, and the race organizers seemed pretty happy with that. There were no mile markers on the course and I didn't have my watch with me, so I can't give any numbers on pacing. The altitude here in Cody is just about 5,000 feet even, which doesn't bother me at all unless I'm going fast; my track workouts have all been brutal, but my long runs and bike rides have been pretty good. No race website, but I made a map.

The split occurred at the first turn, so all those speedy 5k guys were out of our hair early. I was in second place after the first turn to a dude in a red and white jersey. He led most of the way up to the turn-around on Skyline Road. I took the lead shortly before the turn, on a climb, and he took it after the turn on the way back down the hill. We turned right off the road onto a dirt trail along a creek. On this trail we were running the opposite direction of the 5k runners, which would be fine if everyone just kept right. They didn't, and there were no other 10k runners near us, so we had to dodge through the crowd. I picked up some ground in this section, and I felt like I did a better job picking smooth routes through the congestion (something I had to do a lot in Chicago). Coming out of that section there was a short, steep climb and descent. I took the lead over the hill, but then on the long flat section around the lakes on the east side of town he overtook me and built a significant lead. I couldn't make up any ground on the way back into town and wound up in second place by 20 seconds, 36:57 to 37:17. The winner was under 20, so I did finish first in my age group and win a spiffy green camping chair!

Comments on this race: it was a nice course, too bad for all those pesky 5k runners we had to dodge. I'm pretty happy with my time considering the altitude. I would have been in second basically wire to wire had I not taken the lead twice because of hills (I'm a really strong climber and not so great on downhills) and traffic. Considering the altitude I'm pretty happy with the time. 2 minutes off my PR, but I may have to use a different set of PRs for high-altitude races. I don't think the altitude is worth two minutes, though; I'm in nowhere near the shape I was in when I ran 35:18 (maybe) in Golden Gate Park.


Today was the Cody Summer Tri, a sprint-distance triathlon. 500 yard pool swim, 13-mile bike, 3-mile run (they called it a 5k but the course was really only 3 miles). We started, finished, and transitioned at the rec center; there wasn't a big time clock or people keeping track of splits, so I don't have those exactly. I think there were about 40 entrants total, and at most 16 men.

The swim was pretty uneventful... or, if it wasn't I wouldn't have noticed anything, being under water and not having my glasses on. I've only been swimming for a few months, and with no instruction other than YouTube videos; in training I got just under 10 minutes for 500y, but I don't think I swam quite that well today... it's hard to say just why, but I didn't feel good in the water. Hopefully I have a lot of improvement ahead of me in this leg of the tri. I pulled out of the water at the same time as one other guy, and about 3 of the other 8 in my heat were already gone... maybe. Again, I couldn't really see much without my glasses on. The guy that finished with me got through the transition a lot faster than me; he probably had Real Bikey Shoes With Clips And Stuff that he could pull on faster than I could get my running shoes on. He probably also had an easier time seeing which bike was his. I put on my glasses and comically large sunglasses and jogged my bike out of the transition area.

I was a little unhappy with the start-of-race bike directions; coming out of the parking lot we had to make an uncontrolled left onto a fairly large (but, at this time of the morning, not heavily-trafficked) street, and then a right onto the major highway east out of town. They wanted us to ride the left shoulder of the first road, and then make the right at the light like some horrible vehicle-pedestrian hybrid, which is against every principle of safe and effective cycling. It's amazing how many people don't understand that you're most visible and predictable when acting like a vehicle on the road.

Anyway, I came out onto the highway chasing my swim buddy, who was now maybe 50m in front of me, but I quickly realized that I was losing ground and stopped worrying about him. We had a and slight tailwind and a few rolling hills with an overall slight incline on the way out, the opposite on the way back. I managed to get through my whole bottle of Gatorade and about half my bottle of water -- these things are necessary if I'm going to have a fast run left in my legs, so I tried to get lots of liquids down on climbs and other times when speed and wind resistance was relatively low. A nice guy that I was talking to before the race passed me on the way back and I managed to stay within 20-30m of him. We got stuck at a red light just before the finish of the ride... oh well. I didn't race very hard after the stop light, doing some stand-up riding and stretching to get my legs ready for the run. I came into the transition area several seconds after him but left well before, since I didn't have to change shoes. I just dropped the bike off, took off my helmet and ridiculous shades, and started running, just 30m or so behind my swim buddy. I did start my watch at the start of the bike, and checked my time at the exit of T2: 42:56.

Now supposedly triathlons are all about the bike, but I really made my big move in the run. After my quick T2 took back the place I lost on the bike I was in 4th in my heat. My form didn't feel very smooth, especially in my upper body, which was tight from riding, but I was at least able to at least get my stride length nice and long and force myself to turn over quickly. It only took me a couple minutes to catch 3rd (my swim buddy again), and then I was running alone until about halfway through, when I realized I was about 200m behind 2nd. It took me around a half-mile to make up the distance, and then for the last mile I was alone again. I felt like I finished pretty strong, and came in with a 3-mile run time of 17:49. I didn't see the first finisher until after it was over; he said he and the 3rd finisher were out of the pool around 8:30, and it sounded like the 3rd finisher really wore out his legs trying to keep up on the bike. The 1st finisher had a final time of 1:10:thirtysomething, and I was 1:12:07.

Most of the top competitors were in my heat, but one guy who registered late destroyed the field from the next heat, finishing under 1:02. So I think I came in third overall. I'll have to go check the final results later and verify all that, but I'm pretty sure it's right. I feel pretty good for a first-timer.

So here's what I can make of my splits:
500y swim + T1 (no idea what T1 was): 11:22
13mi bike + T2 (T2 couldn't have been more than 30 seconds): 42:56
3mi run: 17:49
Total: 1:12:07

Apparently there's a triathlon in August in Worland, so I might take my second dip then!


Danielle said...

Al! You can't move to Wyoming! Gees, you would have fucked us up on the Flatlander criterion if you were able to run with us! Well buddy, no more WWR for you!

In all seriousness, congrats on your first tri!

And again, what the heck are you doing in Wyoming? Please tell me you are building a little Libertarian stronghold that is completely self-sufficient and has geothermal heat and solar panels and a nice garden and maybe some goats so that when the revolution and/or zombie apocalypse comes, you will probably be okay. If so when the time comes, I'm booking it to Wyoming and I volunteer to be one of your wives. I'll learn how to shoot a gun.

Audrey said...

Hey triathlete: Can I be in charge of health stuff in the community you're building?

Al Dimond said...

I am in Wyoming because Jessica (who just finished her Library Science) degree got a job here, and it was an opportunity that meant a lot more to her than my job in Chicago meant to me. It's kind of weird... I actually am unemployed at the moment, playing a lot of music and training a lot.

I am not building a libertarian stronghold, and as I am not Warren Jeffs, you can not be "one of" my wives... Jessica probably has dibs on that one.

What I'm building is an anarchist stronghold. So, Audrey, you can't really be in charge of anything, but you're free to, you know, offer health advise and services until you're run out of town by a pitchfork-carrying mob.

Al Dimond said...

Haha, oops, parenthesis fail in my comment. And spelling fail in the last sentence.

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