Thursday, July 14, 2011

2011 Sunfish–Lessons Learned

I have raced three triathlons this year. They have all been hot and tough. Last weekend was the Sunfish. This was my first triathlon 5 years ago. Let us look back at this race.


A hard effort!

1. PRE-RACE – I ate a quick bowl of oatmeal at 3 in the morning. Drank some coffee. I had a gel about 30 minutes prior to race start. I also got in the water and swam easily. I had zero anxiety regarding the swim. My pre-race routine is pretty smooth.

2. SWIM – I swam easy the entire swim. I never got out of my comfort zone. I stuck to the left of the line of athletes and swam my own race. I passed a whole lot of people and only got passed by a couple – Sam and Judy. Now is the time to start actually pushing the pace on the swim and not just surviving it. I am at a comfort level that will finally allow me to swim fast. My swim was 9:06 swimming comfortable. If I really pushed the pace, I probably could have shaved off maybe 30 seconds. Is it worth it? If I need to gain a minute and a half and I can pick up 30 seconds in swim – well, yeah, it is worth it.

3. BIKE – I pushed the bike hard. My heart rate averaged 174 beats per minute and peaked at 184. This is actually the same average I have seen for my best TT (11.8 miles compared to ~16). This is a hilly challenging course where as the TT is flat. Oh yeah, I don’t have to get off the bike after the TT. Did I push the bike to hard? Well, yeah. However, I have been faster on this course. I wish my speed reflected my effort. On a short race like this I don’t think I can hold back much on the bike. A race like this has to be all out.

4. RUN – All right, let’s get this out of the way. It is only a 5k and … I walked. I was pushing hard and I walked a few seconds after the first water station. Then I walked a few more seconds a quarter of the way around the lake. Then I walked again at the 2-mile mark. That is where Robin yelled at me! I did not walk any more. I think I probably lost a minute total with the walking. A minute is a long time in a sprint race. What was my problem? I was blowing up for the run my heart rate averaged at 180 peaked at 190. This run was slower than I wanted but it was not for lack of effort. I ran a hard race. I just wish I were faster.

5. TRANSITIONS – Big improvements from years past. I can still work on this free speed. This is what is keeping the race close with Robin.

Although I am not very good at math I like to so some stats.  I am not going to show you the super complex spreadsheet (but I do this after almost all races).

I averaged the SMIW / BIKE / RUN / TRANSITIONS and TOTAL time of the top 3 finishers in my age group.  Last year I was behind by 3.17 percent.  This year I closed the gap to 2.66 percent.  There was improvement.  To actually get on the podium, last year I was behind by 2.71 percent.  This year it was only 1.76 percent.  I am inching up!

My swim improved, my bike improved and both of my transitions improved.  The run slipped by 0.27 percent.  However, my run was 15 percent slower than Robin’s.  That was the kicker.


TOP 3 AG -6.26 0.56 -1.13 -1.20 -6.71 -3.17
TO PLACE 3RD           -2.71
TOP 3 AG -5.70 14.97 -0.81 5.76 -6.98 -2.66
TO PLACE 3RD           -1.76
* higher numbers are better
(FYI – a negative 1 is higher than a negative 2)