Race Report: Verona Triterium
Whew. Three triathlons in 3 weeks, and I'm exhausted. As much as I love racing, I'm ready for a break to focus on the Spirit of Racine Half Ironman and Ironman Wisconsin. These triathlons were a lot of fun and were great training, but now I need to focus on volume. I still have some races coming up, but they're really just training events such as the Aquathons, a 5K in Janesville Saturday, and I think I might do the Open Water Challenge in Pleasant Prairie on the 28th. Otherwise it's all about the Spirit of Racine right now, and then my focus will switch to the Ironman for the rest of the summer.
Yesterday I ran the Verona Triterium Olympic Triathlon at Fireman's Park in Verona - only 5 minutes from my house. It was raining in the morning with a chance of thunderstorms all day so I thought it was going to be a crappy day for racing, but a little while before the race started the skies cleared up and the sun came out for the rest of the day. It turned out to be a good day, except the transition area was pretty muddy from the rain last week. But considering the weather we've been having, I can't complain.
The Swim: Mark wanted me to attack the swim and focus solely on the swim since this was a "C" race for me and I was going into it tired and really just using it for training. The quarry at Fireman's Park is pretty small so the Olympic swim is a 3 lap swim - a little different, but kind of fun.
I didn't do as well as I'd hoped, but I definitely approached the swim a little different and it went much better so I made progress. In most triathlons, I just try to get back to the beach so I can get on the bike. This time I focused on the swim and tried to vary my pace throughout the race rather swim one pace the whole time. I tried to be more aware of what was going on in the water - who was where, who was fast, who was slow, who was fading... I searched for feet to draft off and drafted a lot more than usual - although I don't know how much it helped since I kept picking guys that couldn't hold a line.
I was hoping for a better time, so I'm a little disappointed but I'm also happy that I swam faster than last week (by about 2 minutes) and felt like I raced the swim more than survived it. Rather than focus on not setting as fast a time as I would've liked, I'm going to look at this as a step in the right direction, a confidence builder. I raced the swim for the first time and it felt good. Thursday is the second aquathon (assuming they open the beaches by then) and I'm going to attack the swim with everything I have, even if that means I'm so friggin tired I have to walk the run. I think that will be good training for the Spirit of Racine.
Coming out of the water...I didn't try to trap my goggles in the sleeve of my wetsuit this time. I've had enough of that trick.
Speaking of wetsuits, I called QR and found out why mine is tearing...it's me. I've been putting it on by pulling on the outside of the suit rather than the inside and I've been tearing it. I patched it and took it easy when I put it on Sunday and no tears. So if you have a wetsuit, learn from my mistake. Pull from the inside and take your time putting it on.
Swim Time: 27:07
Bike: The bike course followed a little bit of the Ironman route and then did a loop I used as Horribly Hilly training last year, except the triathlon did the loop the opposite way so it was a little easier but still plenty hilly. I felt like I ran out of gas a little on the run last week so I mixed up some perpeteum (which Cheri says tastes like waffle mix) for the bike so I could get some calories in before the run.
There were some spectators on the bike route this time which was great. It helps a lot when there are a few small groups of people in the corners cheering you on. Plus the dude playing the bagpipes on the top of Observatory was cool.
Bike Time: 1:16:24
Coming into T2...
The run: The run was a 3 lap route that came back by the transition area each lap. I wasn't sure if I would like doing laps, but it was great. It gives spectators a chance to see the racers more, and it's definitely encouraging to see Cheri cheering me on a few times during the run. I'd like to see more triathlons go to a format like that. You could do the same for the bike so family members could see how you're doing in the middle of the bike.
The run wasn't as painful as it was last week and I think drinking the perpeteum on the bike helped a lot, although there was a short, steep hill at the beginning of each loop that was brutal. Overall I feel pretty good about the run. I wish I could have had the energy to attack the course more rather than just hold on, but that will come with more run training. It takes a long time to become a good runner.
Run Time: 44;54
Overall: 2:30:48 (23rd overall, 5th age group)
Here's a picture of a friend of our's. He finished in 2:55 and took 2nd in the 55-59 age group. Bob's an animal.
Here's another picture of a friend of ours, Jason. This was only his second triathlon, and he opted for the Olympic distance rather than the sprint. He did really well and finished in 3:17. He's doing another Olympic tri in 2 weeks...that's a tough start to a tri career, but I'm confident he'll do well.
Luckily, this is a recovery week so I get to take it easy and relax a bit before getting in a few weeks of tough training for the Spirit of Racine Half Ironman.