Have you ever set your alarm clock really early and then stared at it for a minute the next morning trying to figure out why your alarm clock is going off so early? That was how my day started, and had I known it was a sign of things to come I may have turned off the alarm and gone back to sleep.
I was in a deep, deep sleep when it went off and it probably took about a minute for me to realize that it was race day: the Tri-ing for Children triathlon. I was signed up for the sprint race. If you remember a few posts ago I said the Door County Half Iron was my last race before Ironman, which was true at the time, but I decided to do the sprint race because it was a Gear Grinder sponsored event and there was a team competition. I thought the sprint race would be fun, I could use it as speed work, and I would recover quick enough that it wouldn't affect my training. Plus, I've turned in some good results in sprint races this year so I thought I might be able to help Gear Grinder do well in the team competition.
Courtney and I are getting pretty good at this. We were out the door and on our way 30 minutes after the alarm went off....and I only forgot one thing: my race belt. I asked a couple of friends at the race but no one had a spare so I pinned my number to the front of my tri top. I admit, I kind of liked it. I never noticed it actually, and then I didn't have to remember it in transition.
This was where I got my first glimpse of things to come - course crossing. The olympic waves went first, and they did a two loop swim. I was in the first wave of the sprint race and we swam to the halfway point of their loop, cut over, and swam back in. I saw some olympic swimmers turn for loop 2 right before we were supposed to go and I figured they'd hold back the start a bit, but no. They sent us.
My plan was to start right behind my teammate, Robbie Greco. He kills me on the swim every time so I wanted to see how long I could hang with him. I gave it everything I had when the gun sounded, but he pulled a gap instantly. So much for that plan. From that point on I swam hard and kept pushing myself. Before making it to our first buoy, we ran into the olympic race and more or less swam right over the top of a swimmer. I hope we didn't ruin his race. I tried to avoid him, but it was really tough. Our group was swimming at a very different pace.
I came out of the water in 6:24 which was good enough for the 7th fastest swim of the day so I was really happy to see that at the end of the day. Here's some video of me coming out of the water. I'm the one with the full sleeves on my wetsuit...
This race was a C race all the way. It was a last minute decision and because of that - and with ironman so close - I couldn't afford to make the day before an easy day. I swam 6500 yards late morning and biked 50 miles that evening. Coming into the race tired, I was looking forward to seeing how my legs responded to doing a sprint race on tired legs. Surprisingly, I felt pretty good on the bike. My sprint tri power is 280-290. I knew that would be too much so I kept it in the 265-270 range. The course was flat and fast so that worked out because my average speed was still good.
Toward the end of the bike, I saw the super sprint race on the bike course. They were riding toward me and turning left (my right). The course volunteer told me to turn right, which made sense because I figured they must be finishing up their bike and we'll come in to transition together. It will be crowded, but no big deal. Plus, crossing that line of bikes to go straight would have been suicide and there was no way they would have bike routes cross, right?
Wrong. I needed to go straight. Turning right was the start of loop 2 for the olympic racers. I knew the olympic course did 2 loops so I started thinking I was on the wrong course when I got close to 16 miles (the sprint bike was 15). I slowed up and asked a couple of super sprinters what mile they were on. They didn't know...despite having computers on their bike. I caught another group and asked the same thing...no one knew. Then I stopped and asked a volunteer about the course. She got out her map and we could see I was on the olympic course. At this point, turning around would have put me close to 20 miles overall so I opted to finish out the olympic bike.
Bike time: 1:01. My slowest sprint tri bike split ever. That's a PR. Sure, it's a PR in the wrong direction, but a PR is a PR so I'm pretty pumped about that.
Needless to say, I was pretty unmotivated at this point so I cruised through the run to finish off the race. I wasn't in the mood to hammer out a hard 5K and I opted not to do the olympic run even though I considered it.
It was just a race for fun so I'm not beating myself up over this, but I admit I'm pretty frustrated with the organization of this event. Based on my average speed on the bike and what I've run in the past I estimate I would have finished in 1:04 ish which would have put me in second overall and first in my age group. And that also would have put Gear Grinder in first in the team competition for the sprint race rather than second. That's the frustrating part. We should have won. We did win the olympic competition so it's not all bad.
Aside from my race going bad, I did have a good time at the event. I met some teammates I haven't met yet and it was really fun doing a Gear Grinder event because GGers were everywhere. It was really cool.
I know what you're thinking: last race before Ironman, right?. Not really, although this next one isn't really a race to me. It's a training day.
I'm racing the state time trial championships on August 7. My original plan was a hard, flat 100 mile ride. I was going to time trial it, more or less, and ride it as hard as possilble. Why flat? Because the flats take a lot more out of people than they think. Hills mean downhills and an opportunity to rest. Flats are relentless. No rest, no breaks, just constant hammering. People think flat is easy but that's no necessarily the case. A really flat century means a lot of time pedaling and holding a very steady power. That's not an easy thing to do. Great ironman training.
So now my plan is to do a good warm up, do the time trial so I can test my threshold power and then I'll rest a few minutes (5-15 minutes I'm figuring), fuel up and head out to finish off my century. I'm hoping to do the final 75 miles at 10+ watts above ironman goal power. Not sure I can do it, but that's the goal. Hopefully I can find a flat course to ride out there. I'll do more loops on the TT course if I have to, but I'd rather not.
Basically, my goal for the day is to ride above IM power, have a very low variable intensity and end with a training stress score equal to or above an ironman TSS on a ride that's shorter than ironman (shorter in terms of total distance and time so I'll really need to hammer it out to finish with a TSS above 300).
It's going to be a killer day on the bike, for sure. The drive home may be a little rough.