Monday, June 11, 2012

Tri Latta Race Report 2012

Charlotte, NC

June 9, 2012
750m swim, 17 mile bike, 5K run

SWIM: 14:04 (1:52/100m)

T1: 2:17
BIKE:  48:46 (20.9mph)
T2: 1:46
RUN: 22:04 (7:07/mi)

FINISH: 1:28:55

PRE-RACE:  I can't believe this is my first triathlon in almost a year.  My last race was Westpoint Lake on June 23, 2011.  I expected a slight decrease in my training and racing volume with the start of residency, but I definitely didn't expect to take a year off.  Training has continued during this roller-coaster of a year, but the quantity and intensity has been highly variable.  I registered for this race about 2 weeks ago when I learned that I had finally been granted a requested day off.  Leading up to Saturday, I had worked three nights with only a few hours of sleep each day followed by a transition back to three long day shifts.  It's funny to consider how particular I've been with pre-race prep (nutrition, sleep, training) in the past, yet how completely unscripted this week has been.  Regardless of the chaos, I was filled with nervous energy on Saturday morning - extremely excited to be back on the starting line yet questioning if I had the ability to compete at the level I expected of myself.

SWIM:  Let me just start by saying that staring at a 750m swim course is so much nicer than 1500m or 1.2mi.  The course was an out and back lake swim with waves leaving every four minutes.  Water temp was 79 degrees.  Aside from the time-trial starts that I prefer, this was one of my better swim starts.  I found clean water pretty quickly and settled into a rhythm.  There was congestion at the turn around point that lasted for 150 meters or so, but then it was clear to the finish.  I was expecting to exit the water at roughly 12 minutes, so I was surprised to see 14 minutes on my watch.  Even the fastest times of the day were slower than expected, so I'm guessing the course was long.  Regardless, we all swam the same course, so distance doesn't matter.  My time of 14:04 was 14/183.

T1: Nothing too exciting here except a long uphill run into transition.  I was in and out pretty quickly without any hiccups.  2:17, 16/183

BIKE:  Leaving and returning from the park we were on a narrow single lane road that was 1.5 miles long, scattered with speed bumps, and in bad need of a new layer of asphalt.  Once we were out onto the main road I was able to settle into a rhythm and focused on keeping my HR up with an appropriate effort for short course racing.  95% of my bike training happens on the trainer at 4am or 8pm, so it felt good to get back out on the road.  Things were going well until I turned back onto the park road and found myself faced with packs of bikers spread four wide across a single lane all trying to dodge speed bumps and pass each other.  After that little joy ride we were back into transition.  48:46, 18/183

T2:  Since the run was only 5K, I opted to go without socks, which saved me a few seconds.  1:46, 13/183

RUN:  The course was advertised as packed gravel and dirt trails with rolling hills. I'm not sure who came up with the definition of "packed" gravel, but the more accurate description would be boulders.  Let's just say racing flats + tired legs + giant rocks make for an interesting combination.  I stayed upright, which is more than I can say about several people around me, but it wasn't pretty at times.  Once I found my running legs, my pace picked up and I negative split each mile, running the last in 6:26.  22:04, 12/183

Overall: 9th OA (5th amateur), 2nd AG

Recovering with an afternoon siesta in the sun and Mix1
I can't begin to say how happy I am to be back in my element and racing again.  This past year has been a crazy mix of ups and downs. In a lot of ways, my commitment to training has been my source of stress relief and aided in keeping a smile on my face.  My conditioning and fitness isn't near where it was one year ago, but I'm happy to have had a respectable race and look forward to what the rest of the season has to offer!

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