2015 0517 – Hickory Grove Sprint Triathlon

Executive Summary:

Race Priority:        C
Race Execution:   C-

.                             2013           2015
.               Dist       Time           Time       Stats      Notes
Swim      500y       0:07:27       0:08:13   Link      Mediocre swim at best.
T1                         0:00:49       0:00:49                 Good transition
Bike        15.5mi   0:40:22       0:41:55   Link        Poor ride for me.
T2                         0:00:34       0:00:47                 Poor transition.
Run         3.1mi    0:23:29        0:25:27  Link        Decent run, given my knee situation.
Total                     1:12:40       1:17:13

* The swim time includes about a 1/10 mile run uphill to transition.

Nutrition:

  • 1 Scoop of CarboPro in my water bottle, 100 cals.
  • Kind bar 3 hours before the race, three GU Roctane’s with caffeine spread out between 3 hours to 30 minutes prior to the race.

Overall:

  • What went well:  It’s fun to be racing again… my first real triathlon since IM AZ in 2013.  It was great to get an age group win in my new division.  My knee didn’t implode on the run and my run pacing was “decent” given my limited running during the past year.
  • What could have gone better:  I was a bit too conservative on the swim (meaning slow), my bike power output (and speed) was disappointingly low and I managed to bungle up T2.
Race Report Commentary:
     It felt great to be doing a triathlon again.  I was essentially out of commission last year after having a meniscus repair and micro-fracture surgery on my right knee.  I did do an indoor triathlon earlier this year, but it’s just not the same as racing outdoors.  I originally didn’t have HG on my agenda this year, but added it a few weeks ago just for fun.  It’s where I did my first triathlon so it’s hard for me to pass up from a sentimental standpoint.
     My training hasn’t not been ideal this year, as my return to running has been challenging and I’ve had several setbacks in my training schedule.  Although my last build cycle went well, I was at our cabin for the week prior to the race with limited training and missed 4 days the week prior with work / travel conflicts.  I believe this came back to haunt me a bit with a bit of de-training occurring prior to the race.
My Performance Management Chart.  Too many setbacks this year with a big drop prior to HG.

My Performance Management Chart. Too many setbacks this year with a big drop prior to HG.

     On race morning the weather cooperated by transitioning from storms and rain overnight to just being overcast and windy.  The temperature at race start was 64 degrees with wind from the South at 14 mph and gusts over 20 mph.  With the a forecast of high winds and a lot of passing on this particular course, I opted to not use my rear wheel cover for this race as I didn’t want to battle my bike in crosswinds.
TriRacers getting ready to race... photo by Devin Miller

TriRacers getting ready to race… photo by Devin Miller

     Overall my swim was mediocre.  I struggle at times going out too hard, so I tried to hold back a bit going to the first buoy.  I picked up the pace a bit going to the second buoy and then pushed harder going back to shore.  In retrospect, I probably should have just pushed harder as I feel like I didn’t swim up to my potential.
Always relieved to be exiting the swim... Photo by Devin Miller

Always relieved to be exiting the swim…
Photo by Devin Miller

     T1 went well with no issues getting my wetsuit off.  Spraying the outside of my wetsuit from mid-shin down seemed to help get my feet out quickly.  Since Hickory Grove uses the same area for bike in/out, I had selected a spot in the second rack that gave me a very short distance to push my bike to get out of transition.
Coming into T1.

Coming into T1.

     Overall, I was disappointed with my ride this year.  I fell well short of my targeted power goal of around 260w NP, with an actual output of 233 AP / 243 N.  I traditionally find HG to be challenging course to hit FTP values (due to all the corners), so a 260 NP target was reasonably conservative overall and below my output from last year (where I did the team duathlon).  I suspect the primary cause was the de-training, although I will look at my bike fit again as I’ve gone to a pretty aggressive aero position which may be limited my power to a degree as well.  Overall I did quite a bit of passing during the ride.  The only small issues I had were that there were way too many people riding along on the left side of the road causing me to slow at times and I ended up near a guy around my speed trading positions that trapped me at times to avoid being in his draft zones.  The bright spots on the ride were getting on and off my bike… I used my “sliding” mount (modified old man flying mount) and then did a flying dismount… with no problems.
Photo by Devin Miller

The guy I kept trading positions with behind me at this point… Photo by Devin Miller

     T2 didn’t go well.  I racked my bike, fumbled with my strap and when I pulled off my helmet my glasses fell and bounced back by the rear tire of my bike.  I then struggled with my left shoe the tongue getting twisted… it all added up to a slow transition.  In retrospect I should have practiced this transition a couple of times rather than purely practicing my bike mount / dismount.  I also need to get in the habit of unsnapping my helmet on the run back to the rack so I’m not trying to get it off while I’m standing stationary at my bike.
Coming out of T2 with a smile.

Coming out of T2 with a smile.

     I was on the fence earlier this year as to whether I’d do triathlons again due to ongoing knee issues.  It really wasn’t until March where I felt I got to the point where I could run with manageable rather than excessive pain.  I focused purely on long slow runs to build up endurance while giving my ligaments a chance to adjust to running again and particularly to my modified running form (I’ve had to simply adapt to my missing cartilage by simply not fully extending my right leg).  I started out running 10+ minute miles and have gradually gotten down to paces below 9 minutes a mile.  I estimated that based on my HR relative to past threshold HR values, I could probably run sub 8 minute paces, in an ideal situation.
     I was a bit concerned about the off-road run course as the uneven terrain creates a lot of opportunity for me to stumble and wrench knee.  Most of the cross country running went fine, although I did jam my knee a bit on one of the downhill sections.  The first mile ticked off on my Garmin at 8:21, and I knew I had to pick up the pace.  I managed to run the next two with my Garmin showing me 7:57 for both, and with a peak HR of 175 at the finish… well above my 170 threshold HR.  Overall it was a decent run for me, given my lack of running fitness and knee concerns.
Finishing with my ugly running form... but finishing anyway.  :)  Photo by Devin Miller

Finishing with my ugly running form… but finishing anyway. 🙂 Photo by Devin Miller

Putting everything together I finished 24/121 overall and 1/8 in my age group.  Although not my best performance, it was an enjoyable race and it was great to get the age group win. As always, I really enjoyed the company of the local triathlon community as well as our TriRacer group… and had my first ever post-race Bloody Mary.  The TriRacers had a fantastic showing at Hickory Grove, winning many of the top three age group spots.

Happy to get a little hardware.  :)

Happy to get a little hardware… still holding my Bloody Mary cup… 🙂

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