Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Allatoona Triathlon + Peachtree Road Race

Swim - 9:27
Bike - 47:23
Run - 22:24
Finish Time - 1:20:36
Placement: 3rd W30-34

Pre-Race:  Racing a sprint-distance event may seem a bit odd given my focus on long-course racing this season, but the combination of being close to home and sponsored and managed by PT Solutions made this a natural choice for an otherwise quiet June race calendar.  Plus, "Two Dudes and a Chick" were reunited as a relay triathlon team, so it became a family affair.  I dragged home late on Friday night after work with a massive sleep deficit and wanting nothing more than to sleep.  Fortunately, I was a much happier person after a great night's sleep, and even happier after having my new set of Flo Cycling racing wheels installed on my Felt B12.  Smoking hot if I say so myself!

Swim - I've been spoiled with early swim starts this season thanks to an elite wave, but with this local race the women started after a few hundred men.  There were a few women who got out to a faster start than I, but I settled into clean water and had a fairly uneventful swim.  Just to add some fun, there was the joys of staring into the sun after making the first turn and swimming into men from earlier waves doing the doggy paddle.  The distance felt long, and I was less than pleased with a 9:27 swim split, yet I can't say it felt like a slow swim.  (1:54/100m)

T1:  It was a very short run from the water and into transition.  I elected to skip socks since the run was so short, which helped to speed my transition.  (0:47)

Bike: As soon as I started riding, I immediately noticed a high-pitched noise coming from what I thought was my rear wheel.  At first I was thinking it was simply the sound from the new aero wheels, but I quickly came to realize something wasn't right.  I finally stopped at the 2 mile marked and got off my bike, only to discover that rather than my rear wheel, it was the front brake pad that was rubbing.  I have no idea how much time I lost due to the added resistance and stop, but I was definitely frustrated and felt like I had instantly lost any chance of an overall podium.  Oh, and my water bottle popped out within the first mile, so no water on the bike.  I targeted my anger and focused on a strong and consistent bike and a course with rolling hills.  I have nothing but great things to say about my Flo 60/80 wheel combination and certainly loved their smooth and fast ride.   (20.3 mph)

T2: Another quick run - in and out fairly efficiently.  (0:37)

Run:  Here's where sleep deprivation and leg fatigue began to set in.  Exiting transition, you run a loop with a fairly steep uphill climb followed by a downhill section.  Running hills has never been my strength, but I struggled more than usual today.  The entire 3.1 miles was essentially rolling hills and I wanted nothing more than to be done running.  As I entered the finishing shoot, I was reminded of just how much pain "a short little triathlon" can inflict.  (7:13/mi)

Post-Race:  Racing at home with friends and family alongside makes for a great day regardless of a slightly disappointing personal race.  For what I thought was going to be a small local race, a field of 500+ and some really fast ladies brought a challenge.  "Two Dudes and a Chick" had a strong race and took 3rd place among the relay teams and I was 3rd age-group.  After a lengthy walk from the finish back to transition and packing up our gear, we gathered for a quick massage and awards prior to calling it a day.

Placement: 249 / 28692 women
                    1683 / 57170 overall

Fourth of July in our family is defined by the Peachtree Road Race.  This was our 10th year in a row participating in the 6.2 mile party on Peachtree Street (although I missed a couple years due to work and injuries).   We have our pre-race strategy down to a science, with a parking space near the Marta station at the finish, a short ride on Marta to the start, and just enough time to relax prior to herding into our respective corrals.  The weather was absolutely perfect - clear blue skies and temperatures in the upper 60s.  Corral A seemed to be less crowded than in years past and just a short time after the official start I was crossing the start line.  

In years past, I've been conservative in the first three miles, saving energy for the much more challenging second half.  However, year after year I am consistently disappointed with my result.  This year I changed my plan and went out hard from the start.  My legs were feeling good the first 5k and I was pleased with my splits - 7:02, 6:42, 6:45.  Then the hills of Peachtree began and my heart rate was already in the 180s.  The hills hurt just the same as they always do, but I tried to focus on my stride and running form rather than distance or pace.  My pace dropped over the second 5k - 7:36, 7:35, 7:30, but I was able to rally for a strong finish (6:25 pace for the final quarter mile).

My goal was sub-45 (a Peachtree PR), so in that respect, I was pleased.  Unfortunately, I have still yet to break into the top 1000 runners and obtain that coveted award.  After a stroll through Piedmont Park, I took a recovery jog back towards the start to catch up with my parents, who had started in Corral L.  I found them near mile 3 and proceeded to run/walk with them for their final miles.  Royce finished with a PR of 50 minutes, and Erin had a great race as well.  We refueled with fresh peaches, Mellow Mushroom pizza, and our annual 9am 4th of July ice cream sandwich, prior to making the trek towards the car.  In total, I accumulated just shy of 13 miles for the day, and later found myself to be ridiculously sore.

If you live in the Atlanta area, or even if you don't, I'd encourage you to sign up for the Peachtree Road Race lottery and join us for this fantastic event in July 2015.  The Perkins Family will certainly be there!

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