>> Monday, July 11, 2011
Saturday was the Life Time Fitness Minneapolis Triathlon. I decided a week ago (just before registration closed) to sign up for the sprint (0.4 mile swim / 15 mile bike / 3 mile run). I had done the Oly distance at this race 2 times in the past, and I figured I'd be in decent shape to race the sprint, and it'd be fun to try that shorter race.
Saturday morning, Pharmie got Henry all packed up, and the 3 of us headed to Lake Nokomis:
Ryan, me, Anne, and Chels
(Anne was one of the 3 that came over recently for that speed workout in my garage)
Before too long, Anne and I worked our way to the water!! I ran into old friends and new acquaintances (blog or twitter peeps). I got lined up according to my race number near the back of the "30-34 Male" wave, and the line slowly moved forward towards our individual starts.
I took a moment to reflect as I was about 3 minutes from starting. It sounds corny, but I felt pretty blessed to be there. I was racing a triathlon and I have a perfect 4 week old boy (who could be a little better about sleeping at night). I wanted to race HARD, but I also just felt lucky to be where I was. Soon, I was standing at the water's edge, someone took down my number, and shouted "GO!"
SWIM 0.4 MILES:
I had one goal here: keep it EASY while starting out! I didn't want to have to be doing the back-stroke part way into the swim. I also broke a major triathlon rule. You've heard the saying "don't try anything new on race day." Well, I just got new goggles on Thursday, and this was the first time they were under water. My old goggles have been starting to leak HORRIBLY, and I knew I just couldn't wear them on race day. Well, the new goggles (which were the same as my old goggles only with a slightly "smokey" lens) worked PERFECTLY!
The swim was a big triangle. I made it out to the first turn pretty well. Along the back stretch, I ran into a few lifeguards trying to keep the swimmers in a tight formation. (I was swimming wide because I was passing a lot of people who had big side-stroking kicks, and I didn't want to get nailed in the face.) My sighting was a little worse on this back stretch, but it wasn't horrible (well, not for ME at least). I made the final turn for home and I picked up the pace a bit. I bumped into 1 or 2 people on this stretch, but it was nothing bad. I was proud that I swam well into the shallows (after many people were standing up and trudging through chest-deep water) until my hand hit the sandy bottom. The swim was a good distance for my current level of training - I was JUST starting to feel fatigued, but I was able to swim it all pretty strong.
It's a big race, and the transition area is long. Like always, I got a pretty dizzy while standing by my bike getting my shoes and helmet on. I grabbed everything I needed, and I ran out:
A smile for my cheering wife!
I clipped in and I took off. I heard some cheers, and I saw Ryan and Allison cheering to the left. JUST after that, I crashed my bike. Here's what I said in my last post along with the photos I had posted (if you've read this in my last post, skip over this part).
Yes, I had my first crash during a race today at the Life Time Fitness Minneapolis Triathlon. I'd LOVE to say "It's all this other person's fault," but rarely is a crash only one person's fault. I had just started the bike. I was only about 200-300 meters into the ride, when a woman in front of me started drifting to the left. FAR left. As in she was starting to get close to the left curb. It's common bike knowledge (and a USAT rule) to ride to the right and pass on the left. I was coming up on her fast, and I was pretty sure I'd make it around her and/or she'd realize she was drifting left and move back to the right. But she just kept moving to the left. I had to make a quick decision: either (1) slam on the brakes 300 meters into the bike, or (2) run into her, or (3) nail the curb. I couldn't convince my body to brake THAT hard THAT soon in the race, and I wasn't about to "take her out," so I went for the curb sideways at 22-23 mph.
"OH CRAP!!!!..... oh good, I got this...... no, wait, NO I DON'T!!..... oh, it's OK, I'm fine...... NO I'M NOT!! I'M CRASHING!!!" (I think that's the internal dialog for anyone who comes close to crashing and thinks they've recovered when they really haven't.)
I felt pain. I got up. I had a few scrapes, but I didn't hit my head. I grabbed my bike, hopped back on, and kept going. When I was done, Pharmie grabbed these photos:
The worst of it (I think from sliding across the curb as I was crashing)
Grass and road rash on my shoulder
Forearm (the "dirty spot" towards my watch is a bunch of scraped skin)
When I got up, I just got back on my bike and started biking hard. My computer stopped working after the crash (I think the sensor just got moved away from the magnet - I still haven't looked at it), so I was now "riding blind." After a few miles, I still hadn't been passed, and I was passing lots of people. I KNEW I was going hard, and I knew I was pushing the pace because of the crash. I wasn't "riding angry" - I wasn't pissed that I had crashed. I was just a little "jacked up" from the adrenaline surge during the crash.
I took a split on my watch when I hit the Franklin Bridge, because I knew that was around half way into the bike. I mapped it out afterwards (using mapmyrun.com) to see how far it was to that point. I calculated that I had a 21.84 mph average at that point, and THAT INCLUDED THE CRASH. Yep, that's fast for me! (Especially considering that I would have lost some time crashing and getting back up to speed.)
I could tell I was slowing up a bit on the way back towards transition, but I still felt OK about my ride. I had been passed by only 1 person, and I think I passed him back a few miles later. I was happy with my bike effort.
Nothing fancy here. Just a slightly awkward dismount in front of some people cheering for me at the Gear West Bike and Tri tent (glad you guys could see that - sheesh). I racked my bike, threw on my running shoes, grabbed a sip of Gu Brew from my transition bottle, and hit the run. Oh, and I noticed that there were HARDLY ANY bikes back in my area of transition (my AG), so I started thinking I MIGHT be able to place in my AG! I knew I had to run strong!
RUN 3 MILES:
The run course was PACKED! There were Oly athletes starting their second lap around the lake, and there were lots of sprint athletes heading out of transition with me. I was doing a lot of passing, and I had to jump off the trail to make many passes. There were also a lot of cheers for me: from spectators I DIDN'T know who just shouted "sweet shorts," to spectators shouting for "Steve in a Speedo," to other athletes saying "I know those shorts - go Steve!" It was great!
I trudged through the first mile in 6:14 - that wasn't too bad. I picked up the pace knowing that I could make up some time in the middle mile if I could only "hold on." I ran mile 2 in 5:55 - nice! I felt like I was upping the pace, and I was passing HUNDREDS of people! (Maybe not actually "hundreds," but I had to have passed around 200 people over those 3 miles - that'd be around 10 people / minute.) And I wasn't passed by anyone on the run.
I came up near one of the final turns, and I heard my name in the distance. It was Pharmie and one of her teammates cheering me to the finish!
You can see a little of my road rash on my lower leg
This late into a race, I consider THIS a "smile." :)
Oh, and you can see "crud" on my yellow shorts (to the right) from the crash.
Bib #: 3749
Race Category: Short Course Age Group - Men 30 to 34
Swim .4 mile
Pace: 1:58 /100m
Category Place: 12
Overall Place: 113
Category Place: 11
Overall Place: 95
Bike 15 miles
Pace: 20.9 MPH
Category Place: 9
Overall Place: 64
Category Place: 7
Overall Place: 58
Run 3 mile
Category Place: 1
Overall Place: 3
Finish Time: 1:17:30.3
Category Place: 5 out of 49 Men 30 to 34 finishers
Overall Place: 22 out of 820 Short Course finishers
Well, I didn't place in my AG, but I can't complain about the 3rd fastest run out of 820 athletes! Or the 64th fastest bike! I'll take it! It was a good race considering my slightly "slowed down" training schedule.
We got home after the race, and Pharmie grabbed a photo of her 2 men:
p.s. Here's my Examiner write-up about the race, which includes a number of pro photos.