Saturday, August 15, 2009

The unexpected PR

My Oly "race" was this morning. It fell on my last peak weekend, where I do the oly today then ride 4.5 hours tomorrow.

Although it was in the back of my mind that it would be nice to PR, my goals were much simpler:

1.) Get my groove back on the swim. The Dip n Dash Crash was a fluke. Go out easy and just finish the swim.

2.) The bike: test out nutrition, try a negative split but don't sacrifice the legs to get it.

3.) The run: run steady and hold it.


I've never been so calm before a race. I had a funny dream right before the alarm went off. In the dream, the race was canceled due to a blizzard. For some reason, I was very calm in the dream, and I woke with the same frame of mind.

I ate more than I normally would for an oly race for breakfast. This turned out to be a good thing because I felt great during the race.

The Swim:
(I don't have official times, so these are taken from my watch and garmin. MY times are likely off).

Slow and steady....just get through it.

The swim went well. I had one incident where a woman crossed in front of me just like during the Dip n Dash, but I forced myself to move over and I kept saying "nice and worries, you're just out for a swim."

I sorta swam extra long taking wider turns and trying to stay out of the crowds, but I think it helped.

When I exited the water, my time was 35 minutes, which is by far my slowest swim time. But I was very happy. I was nice and calm, and I got thru it.....that's all I wanted.

The bike:
I've talked about this course over and over. So, here's the main point. I averaged 17.8 out and about 16 on the return.

I was thrilled with my speeds because: 1.) I didn't feel like I pushed it 2.) I had plenty left for the run.

The bike is also my nemesis when it comes to nutrition. My plan was to have 1 gu every 30 minutes (one being at the start). I was thinking my time might come in around the 1:30 mark. I had an extra one in my pocket when I finished, but I'm positive I had my 3 GU's.

Either way, it worked.

The next part of the bike was knowing the course. For the first time in my "racing" experience, I was passing people. I heard people cussing at the hills and complaining about it, but I knew every single hill. I knew which ones give me trouble and I need to take slow, and I know the ones that look tough but are actually quite easy climbs. This benefited me as person after person would pass me at the bottom of a hill only to have me them pass them and leave them behind on the climb.

Of the entire day, the biggest confidence booster of the day was the bike. I was grinning from ear to ear when I got to transition. In fact, the volunteers were commenting on it.

I felt so good on the bike. 40k and it was over like that.

The bike was about a 10 min PR.....again, I'm not exactly sure.

The run:
As you know, I didn't know what to expect here. My running has pretty much been in maintenance mode.

I just wanted to take it slow and steady and run the whole thing.

The nice part about training for a half iron is the "distance perspective" issue. As I'm running the 10k, I'm thinking to myself "two 5k's, piece of cake".

And it was, it was very slow, and I did not push the pace at all. I think my average pace came in around 11:55. It felt very good.

I brought 2 GU's with me for the run and walked through the aid stations.

In fact, when I finished the run, I asked, "could you do that for 7 more miles?" I'm pretty sure I could, today, without the benefit of the taper.

I pr'd here, but I don't know by how much, I think it was a 6 minute PR.

I think I messed around in transition. I wasn't in any hurry to get out. It was my first race in a year, so I made sure that I had everything that I needed.

I'm pretty sure that I lost some time here.


The funniest part of this race is that this distance is the one that I suck the most at. Hey, we all have our strengths and weaknesses, and well, I'm not afraid to say that I have never gotten above the 50% in my age group in this distance. (I don't even know if I made the top 50% today. The official results are not posted yet).

The best part, though, is that I PR'd so effortlessly. I wasn't even trying. I know my heart rate only got to z3 on the hardest of climbs. The rest of the time, I just kind of plodded along happily talking to people.

There ya have it.
Tomorrow I'm out for my last long ride (4.5 hours), then I'm on to taper.

If nothing else, this race gave me a huge confidence boost. I feel very ready to go all out and try for a PR in September.