May 22, 2016
– Jeff Allen
Swim – 500 yards
Bike – 16.1 miles
Run – 3.1 miles
Temperature was perfect at the starting line and the water was cool (wetsuit legal). There was a wind blowing into the cove that left a swelling chop coming directly at the start line.
I remain an infant at triathlon – my second race.
My personal life is crazy and the week leading up to the race left little time to prepare. Then Friday happened. A blown tire led to a barefoot walk on warm asphalt (with molten holes of tar). I realized when I reached home that I created a quarter-sized blister in the middle of BOTH forefeet.
The time leading up to the race was then filled with moleskin and athletic tape. Followed by feet propped up to heal. Of course, this didn’t happen – a banquet, packet pickup, groceries, etc. kept on me on sore wrapped feet. There was nothing to make the best of the bad situation. I walked to markup on sore feet and doubted my capability to finish the race. The way that the week developed it’s also little surprise that my morning nutrition was not my normal pre-race meal. A DNF on my second race?
SWIM: The beach start was chaotic and the predicted chop was actually swells with chop on top. This isn’t what I imagined for my first open water race. I got a rhythm and started sighting on the top of every second swell. I swam hard with the pack and took Ben’s advise on stroke turnover and churned against the swells. My only thought – get to the first turn and all will be good. Except it wasn’t exactly – I was toasted. I flipped my belly to the sky after clearing the first buoy and took a ten count (with a strong kick) to calm myself. This made all the difference in the world to my swim.
I couldn’t believe how tired I was after 250 yards. Turning the second buoy was a gift and it was downwind from that point. I hit the beach after 500 yards tuckered out – and, yes, on sore feet. I didn’t know at the time that I hit a 1:41 pace on the swim (big win). The recent open water practice made all the difference in my mind.
On to the strippers!
T1: Meant sitting in front of my bike (an understandable sin). But two precut moleskins were applied to damp, sandy feet and high-quality socks were added on top. A little bit of time was lost and it seems to take more than the true 30 seconds of application. After the race they were still to be perfectly positioned around the blisters. A stroke of luck! How did this happen with the sand, water?
BIKE: This is when my pre-race lack of nutrition planning hurt me. My speed was fine at 19.1, but my gut didn’t like my nutrition and fluid choices – live and learn. Much of this was left in the grass at mile 6 with one foot off the bike. It was worth the break. But, I was fearful of was putting anything else in my system. Since it was a sprint, I chalked it up as a lesson and went on about my race. Getting passed by a 14 yo badass girl was great – there’s work to do! I admire her fitness. Good stuff.
T2: An easy transition filled with trepidation – I could stop with no fear of ridicule. To run or not to run. TO RUN! HTFU and get on the race course.
RUN: I had to run. My new Altras demanded a race. I started off too fast, but quickly settled into a pace I could keep for the course. The beginning of the run felt awkwardly, slow, and off while I experimented to get some relief from my self-created blisters – this wasn’t going to get the job done. I dug deeper and determined that there was no way to run around the blisters. I sank into my normal run cadence and simply ran on the blisters. By the one-mile mark the blister pain was set to the back of my head and and I had a normal-ish race ahead of me. My pace wasn’t the point today: 31 seconds off of my last race. This run was a mental win. Thanks team mates and coaches!
- Mental is important: This was a short sprint but there was a lot involved. The blisters put me into a different place on the run and made me work on a different aspect of my game. Past experience in other venues transferred to the race and provided me an opportunity to manage my race
- Nutrition: Need to dial this in more and remember that pre-race is just as important as the race itself. This isn’t the first time that this issue has raised it’s head.
- Race the day: The race is the race. The day is the day. The wind and weather will do whatever wind and weather do. Everyone has a different race.
- Building my base: Summer is coming and I have the opportunity to again concentrate on my base fitness. Game on.