Monday, September 8, 2014

Multisport Adventures

In the wake of the long and arduous training cycle that went into qualifying and participating in the 2014 Duathlon Age Group World Championship I decided to try to squeeze in some late summer and fall triathlons.  The first race I entered was the NationTri held September 7, 2014 in Washington, DC (Olympic Distance).  To get ready for an olympic distance Tri I decided to race a sprint  Tri.  I chose the General Smallwood Sprint Tri  on August 17, 2014.  I am also considering racing a half-Ironman Tri (70.3 mi.) but have not yet made a decision just yet.  If I do race the half-IM it will be the Waterman's Half on October 4, 2014 in Rock Hall, MD.

General Smallwood Sprint Tri

One of the reasons I chose this race was because I did last year's race and that race went really well.  The weather was hot but I a good performance finishing in 1:37:30 and ending up 7th in my age group.  Unfortunately, last year my swimming was coming to the point where I would consider it to be almost respectable.  I was still slow but faster than I have ever been.  Then I qualified for DU World's and didn't swim much at all from August 2013 until June 2014.  It felt like I was a beginner swimmer when I got back in the water in June.  Yes, that John Lennon tune comes to mind "Just Like Starting Over."  So this year the weather was much cooler and how did I fare?  Well, my time was 1:46:13, almost nine minutes slower than last year.  The swim accounted for more than four minutes.  I was just less than three minutes slower on the bike and about 25 seconds slower on the run.  Transitions were also longer too but I attribute that to the fact that the transition area was one field farther away.  Granted, I wasn't pushing hard this year like I was last year but nine minutes slower seems like a lot of time.  Anybody have a towel I can cry into?

Nations Tri

Olympic distance for triathlon is 1500 meter swim, 40K bike 10 K run.  The setting for this race was downtown Washington, DC.  The swim was to start in the Potomac River just below Memorial Bridge.  Swimming upstream, near the shore, under Memorial Bridge, then take a turn toward the middle of the river back under the bridge with the current to the temporary dock.  I used the past tense before because, much to my delight, the swim was cancelled due to unsafe conditions from a sewer overflow during a rain storm the previous day.  So the race was now was they call a "dry Tri" or just bike/run.  Now the Nation's Tri attracts a National crowd and there were more than 4000 participants.  2343 in the Olympic race so this is a very strong field.  Transition area was on the National Mall along Ohio Drive just south of the Lincoln Memorial.  Without the swim, race officials decided to start the race as if we had just gotten out of the water so they hosed us down as we stood in the starting corrals.  Just kidding, but they did make us dress as if we had done the swim so no shoes were allowed and we had nothing on our heads.  So we ran into transition, got into our biking gear and hit the roads in groups of nine 20 seconds apart.  Let me tell you, the bike course was crowded.  Without the swim to provide separation it was just a packed course.  It was actually a fast course too, mostly flat with only one "hill".  I probably pushed too hard in the beginning because I started hurting toward the end but I rode the 25 miles in 1:09:37 for a 21.4 mph average.  I had a good transition and started the 10K run feeling pretty good.  I started getting a cramp (side stitch) just before mile marker two so I slowed a little and ate a gel.  The stitch started going away before mile marker three and was gone soon after so I was able to pick up my pace again.  I would finish my run in 48:15 (7:47 pace).  With transitions added my total time was 2:01:42 which was good enough for 23/149 in my age group and 365/2343 overall.  I was extremely happy with my race.  I definitely benefited from the cancellation of the swim.  Where can I find more dry Tri's?  O yeah, its called duathlon silly!