Monday, June 27, 2011

Pretty Ugly

Holliston Triathlon Race Report

Let's start where it ended - with a disqualification.

That would be on the swim. I did not panic. I did not get hit. Even with the wetsuit on, I wasn't cold. I think I was simply freaked out at how slow I was going and gave up not 50 yards into it. Now I'm getting to the point where I think I need a shrink. I know I can swim 1/4 mile because I can swim non-stop in a pool for 40 minutes. More experience with lake swimming is all that's needed now because the swim would have been fine if I could have just kept my head in the game.

On the bright side, the race director asked me if I wanted to get on course and just do the bike and run for times. I didn't really want to do the run but I wanted to ride the bike course and so I said, "Yes."

I think Rachelle Berry over at Donut Daze said it best last week when she said there is no such thing as a flat course in New England. Anyone from the Midwest knows what a flat course is supposed to be. New Englanders built roads from paths that were probably established in the 1800's and trust me, these are NOT flat. If you were to look at the course profile, you'd see a nondescript, rather "lumpy" course with no distinct climbs - usually termed flat or rolling. What happens in real life is what I call the double and triple driveway effect. You climb a hill that always seems to be turning, you're still climbing, you think you're fini -no, not yet... NOW. Then you turn another corner and repeat. These climbs are too short to categorize and too steep to ignore. I didn't have to walk any of them but I sure felt them. I had some fun on the descents though. I love bombing down hills and I hit a cute 35mph on my bike computer before I had to slow down for a turn. That was my fun for the day.

I am just getting started on hill repeats in my training so the course was not a good  fit for me and my time of 42:46 reflected that. It was pretty interesting to watch as I had pretty much been given a 10 minute head start on most of the crowd that they were still passing me on the bike. Amazingly enough, I didn't even finish last on the bike... close but no DFL on the bike. Those three guys must have crashed or had flat tires or something.

Did I mention this was a fast crowd? This is one of those races that has a lot of club representation and they race against each other all season. Most were definitely "in it to win it," and with only 127 entrants, even before the swim I was in way over my head, especially when it came to my infamous shuffle/jog. They were very nice though - patting me on the back with words of encouragement as they trotted past me. Everyone cheers on the underdog as long as that dawg don't beat 'em.

While I had every intention of training for the run, the "life" thing pushed my training down to one session where I ran for half a mile, got tired, stopped, ran/walked the rest of the mile and then walked home. Take that, Brian MacKenzie.

In the end it wouldn't have mattered. As usual, my run/walk, at 44:13, was longer than my 10 mile bike ride but I don't think training would have made one bit of difference in the standings as the first person that didn't break a 30 minute 5K (with a 32:32 mark) finished the run 122nd overall. Even when I've trained seriously for running, I've only recorded 2 "unofficial" 5Ks under 40 minutes. Sometimes, you just gotta wave the white flag.

I know getting lighter and leaner would have improved my times but I seriously doubt it would have done much to affect my standings.

I have to give a shout-out here to a racer who came back out on course after she had finished her race to run with me so I didn't have to be out there alone for a little over the last half-mile. That's more than my so-called friends that are athletically inclined have done for me in the past 6 years since I started this odyssey. She told me her first name is "Tracy" and the only racer in the group named Tracy is Tracy Capone. Props to you girl. May karma bless you big time.

Today, I got in a 17 mile pseudo recovery ride... except for that near-crash thing... but that's another pretty ugly adventure.