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Richard B. Russell Olympic 2015 Tri Race Report

Created: Saturday, 15 August 2015
 

Transition area is all set upTransition area is all set upThis was my third Olympic distance race, and honestly, it sucked for me!  But I survived to race another day. The swim was two (2) 750 meter loops, 22 mile bike, then the run was two (2) 3.1 mi loops.  Despite the bad swim, I will take the lessons learned and build from it as head into my main race this year, Ironman 70.3 Augusta.

 

Pre-Race

Fueled by HammerFueled by HammerI was not enthusiastic about this race at all.  There was nothing about it that excited me. My other Olympics were out of state, and run by big names in the industry.  This one was in the middle of nowhere between Athens and Augusta. I never liked the thought of passing a finish line to complete a second loop, and this race had 2 loops.  The weather has been extremely hot and humid. And my training has been focused on the half Ironman, no longer an Olympic distance. Since I made the decision to race, there was no point in complaining, just get out there and race.

 

The drive down was uneventful. Despite waking at 2:30 in the morning, I felt rested for the race.  I arrived an hour before the start, plenty of time to pick up my race packet and set up my transition area. I was very relaxed, the pre-race prep seemed routine now. I pre-fueled with Hammer Heed, Endurolytes, Anti-Fatigue Capsules, and ate two Hammer energy bars. Water bottles were also filled with Hammer Heed. I switched up, and raced in Zoot Ali'i shoes with the Boa system for fast transitions. I usually run in my Zoot Race Ultra 4.0, but switched due to the mixed terrain on the run.  I ran through the transition area a couple times so that I can find my bike during race, then headed down to the lake for a warm up swim.  I thought the swim was clockwise, but learned in the pre-race meeting that we are actually swimming counter-clockwise. That reset my game plan, but I stayed calm. Seeing familiar faces in the race definitely helped. It's now time to race.

 

Swim

There were only 4 waves, and I was in the second one with the other 40 and up men.  I got in position, and started off with a steady and relaxed stroke rate.  There were a few bumps from the other swimmers, but it eventually settled out. At one point, I knew I had a clear swim lane then somehow I was on someone's back!!  Most depressing photoMost depressing photoEither his sighting was horrible and he entered my path, or it was me. It wasn't me.  I stopped so I wouldn't keep swimming on top of him, then started swimming again.  That really slowed my down, and all of the men in my swim wave swam away from me. 

Now the women caught up to me, and quickly passed by.  At one point, I got pinched by two swimmers, and got really rattled.  I didn't want to deal with chaos, and I started to get real excited. I didn't want to go into full panic mode, so I swam to the closest boat who threw me a life preserver.  After I composed myself and slowed down my heartrate, I continued on through my 1st loop.  Towards the end, I get caught by fast swimmers completing their second loop.  Worse swim everWorse swim ever Someone kicked my hand hard!!  I looked at my wrist, and my new Garmin 920 was missing. ARGGHH!!!  I looked down to see if I could catch it or retrieve it, but the lake was too dark. It was gone.  I was devastated!!! I wouldn't be surprised if some tears dripped in my goggles.  I wanted to quit.  I finished the first loop, and I was beyond aggravated.  I stood up on the beach, and saw folks leaving after completing their second lap. The temptation to follow them was great.  But I'm not quitter, so back in the water I went to complete my second lap. 

Mentally, I was done. Through. Game Over. I knew the race was no longer competitive, and I wanted to be in the mix.  It was a long, and slow lap.  I rested one more time at a kayak to gather myself. Eventually, I was done.  There was no one left on the beach except for a couple volunteers. I looked back, there was no one left in the lake. I was the last swimmer... again.  UGHH!!!! 

 

1500m Swim: 1:05:34.1

Pace: 4:22/100yd

 

T1

There was no problem finding my bike. It was the only one left. There were 11 others in my age group, and I was 4th fastest. So I'm pleased with my time.

 

T1  1:05.6

 

Bike

The chaseThe chaseNow I'm on my favorite part of the race. I recently modified my bike to add aerobars, rear bottle cages, new bike fit, and wore new triathlon shoes.  I was excited to see how I raced. I passed a few women when I got on the road, but I was looking men. Particular those in my age group. My excitement quickly turned to frustration as I realized there was no one in my age group to catch, and I didn't have my Garmin to let me know if I was pushing too hard or going too slow. I kept rolling, although my motivation was weak with no one chasing me and no one in sight to target. 22 miles later, it was over.  I felt real good. There were a couple of steep hills, but nothing noteworthy.  When I looked back at my time, I was the 9th fastest in my age group.  It is what it is,  but I know I would have pushed harder if I was cycling among some competitors and had some clue on what my speed was during throughout the ride. 

 

22 mi Bike:  1:16:19.1 Pace 17.4 mph

 

T2

I had practiced a flying dismount the day before. It did not end pretty.  So stayed safe, and stuck with my standard dismount. The Boa system on my Zoot Ali'i shoes allowed me to put on my shoes quickly with a tight and secure fit. I saw lots of folks also just beginning their run, so my motivation spiked.  I had the 5th fastest T2 time.

 

T2  0:01:06.0

 

Run

Sprinting to the finishSprinting to the finishThis was my first race with a two loop run. The first half mile was through a wooded trail filled with loose gravel. My legs felt stiff from being on the bike, but I knew they would eventually loosen up as they have done in previous races.  There was a 31 y/o runner that was pacing off of me. No matter my pace, no matter which line I took, he was right on my shoulder.  I figured I'll make it painful for him.  At the 1st water stop, he slowed down, then caught up to me.  So at the second water stop, I picked it up.  He struggled to keep Finishing StrongFinishing Strongpace.  Like clockwork, my legs loosened up after the 3rd mile, and it was the beginning of the second loop, so I cranked it up again.  My nutrition was on point, my hydration was too. I cranked it up again with 2 miles left, then sprinted the last mile. I finished the race strong, and was very pleased with my run performance.  I'm glad I switched from my typical Zoot Race Ultra shoes and opted to race in my Zoot Ali'i instead.  The grip allowed me run secure on varying terrain, and no one passed me on the run. I was the 6th fastest in my age group.

 

Run  0:55:33.0 Pace: 8:57/mile

 

After a horrible swim,  I had a strong bike and run, with fast transition times.  I should be pleased, but I'm mostly disappointed. I ended up last in my age group with 11 racers. I hoped to be more competitive. I was only behind by 46 seconds, so it's nice to know I wasn't far from my competitors after falling back a half hour from the swim. Overall, I finished in 126th place out of 152 racers.  I passed 26 on the bike and run, so I'll enjoy that stat.

 

Overall  3:19:37.8

 

I see that I need to find a way to stay calm during the swim, and I will work on that as I head into my final tri. Bring on Augusta 70.3!

Crossing the finish line strong!Crossing the finish line strong!

Post racePost race
 
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