Monday, April 28, 2008

St. Anthony's 2008 "race" report.

Everything about St. Anthony's Olympic Triathlon this year was awesome. With very low expectations going into the race, it was nice and laid back, low key, and non-stressful from check-in to the post-race Coronas. SA really does a good job with everything...this year was no exception.

Luke and I headed over on Saturday morning to check our bikes in (that's Luke standing next to the Bigun - he's the "normal" sized triathlete). Just prior to that...I have to finally give props...I took my bike over to the LBS...the DREADED LBS...for a brake lever plug. The owner was a one-man-show in there, and I waited, patiently, for all his customers to leave before I hit him up for some help with the plug. He got right on it! He crafted a plug that worked, and then I told him I probably needed a new rear derailleur hanger, thinking mine was bent, and could he order one? He put it up on the rack, did a couple of adjustments, and it worked fine. All for no charge. My faith hath been restorethed!

So we only saw Matt Reed getting out of the water as we were going in for a warm-up swim. Man, that guy is nothing but skin, muscle and bone! We didn't spend any time at the expo - ogling stuff you can't afford is getting less and less fun for either of us, so we probably missed our chance to see any other famous triathletes. On our wetsuit-less 400 meter swim, we both left the water sweating - the local water buoy said it was 79 degrees - so we made the decision to bag the wetsuits. There were spots of cooler water and spots of really warm water - I had a feeling it would be wetsuit-legal, but I'd done the 78 degree wetsuit thing before and I know I just hate it.

Sure enough...almost everyone was wearing their wetsuits. The wind had picked up a little from the day before, so I'm sure the RD was taking no chances as the SA swim is notoriously hard (due to waves). My first 500 meters went surprisingly well - I was right on track, with a pack of swimmers and staying in line with the buoys. Making the first turn, I think I forgot how ocean swim currents effect you - and before I knew it, a kayaker inside of the buoys was shooing me back out. I tried to sight a couple of times but every time I'd look up, a wave was blocking my view of the buoys....so I just kept swimming. Not the best plan. I had two major corrections like that until I rounded the final buoy and headed for home. The last leg cuts further back on itself, with the current pushing us away from the buoy line. I'm still clueless about the current, wondering why I keep having to do major corrections and still am not even close to the line of buoys. I finally get to the exit stairs where my college buddy Rob is volunteering to pull us all out of the water (Rob is a fantastic swimmer...I was wondering where he was today). While I swam "strong" the whole 1500m, I had the worst SA time I've ever had - 37:25. I know, I know.

I motored through T1, blissfully unaware of my horrid swim (of course, my lonely bike was a major reality check), in 2:30 and off I went on my bike. As you can imagine, with that swim, I was passing EVERYONE - which I guess was pretty cool. Until, of course, all the really fast 50+ dudes came zooming by, one by one. It was weird; I felt like I had no "top end". I was hammering along at 21 just fine...but I just don't have the 22+ speed I did a year ago. On the flip side, in the last 4 miles of the bike, I kept my pace and felt I still had plenty of pedaling on tap - verses last year where the last 4 miles were a suffer fest and my average MPH dropped from 22.3 to 20.9 - yea, it was bad. So, I averaged 20.9 mph (1:11:17) and was happy not to have crashed, cramped or otherwise did any damage to myself or others.

T2 was also speedy, for me, at 2:08 - but it was there I met with my first challenge; a cramp. Usually I get my cramps in the calves...but this was a side-stitch. Jetpack was running out with me for a quarter mile or so (thanks to the Jet for some of these photos), and in that amount of time I did some deep breathing and hard exhales which worked like a charm - the cramp went away and never came back. I went out very easy on the run - at the 3 mile turnaround I was averaging over 9:30 on the Garmin. I kicked it into gear, hunting down Clydesdales and trying to keep my pace under 9 in the process. That lasted about a mile. I still passed a few Clydes, and coming down the shoot I heard TriSherpaDi and my Dad (along with Luke's wife and young-in) cheering me on to a final pace of 9:26 (58:32) - an Olympic distance PR for me.

My takeaway's from the race -

  1. Just use the damn wetsuit like everyone else. I'm sure part of that 5 minute swim PW was due to swimming nekked.

  2. Remember the effects of tides and currents when in the ocean...be quicker to adjust.

  3. Make sure the front laces on your shoes are at the right tension. I "installed" my quick-laces and while they are great for slipping the shoe on and going, they leave a bit to be desired for constant tension across all the laces. I've got the blisters to show for it.
  4. Get a timing chip ankle "belt". This year SA issued a very new, very hard Velcro strip which did a great job of securing the chip but cut right through the back of my ankle. This is not the first race where the timing chip had a crappy attachment strap. They can't be that expensive, right?
  5. If I want to bike fast, I have to train fast. If I want to run fast, I have to run fast in training too. I've got gobs more training volume on the bike prior to this SA race, with the same bike set up and fairly similar wind and heat conditions, and still rode the same speed - actually, could not ride nearly as fast (albeit for a sorter duration) than last year. Fartleks are the ticket.
With the take-away's, I'm not really complaining about the race. It might have well had been a "C" race, that I raced hard but did not train specifically for. I'm convinced that IM type training totally changes your physique in such a way as to make you (me) slower, but able to go longer and recover quicker. Either that, or I'm just getting old. You can see from the chart above, I had a 4 second PR on the bike, 9 second PR in T2, and 2:19 PR on the run. Not really a bad day after all. Interestingly, the number of 40+ Clydesdales finishing the race is up to 95 - 28 more than when I started doing tri's. And while I'm getting slower, the Top 10 are getting faster - 6:12 faster to get into the Top 10 this year compared to '06. Well, enough about St. Anthony's for one year. One more short sprint race left (and a self-run Half IM sometime in the next couple weeks...) and it's on to CdA...

Oh, and the really insane, crazy thing about this race....look at my race numbers in the last running picture. Click on it so it enlarges for you. YES! The same woman applied all of my numbers. The "4"s and the "5"s are different on either side, but same arm to leg. Maybe Sweet Baboo knows what psychological disorder causes Sybil-like number writing by a Volunteer Body Marker. I'm still a bit shook up over it. Fortunately I didn't even notice until Corona #5 in the hot tub....

27 comments:

Jenny Davidson said...

Funny footnote! Thanks for the race report...

(I think people have aspirational more-pretentious letters and numerals--like putting a European-style slash through the 7--that they adopt but which they do not always hew to. That is a literary rather than a primarily psychological explanation!)

tri-dogmom said...

Great race!!!

Ditto on the Im training = not as much speed ;-)

excel man said...

Mr Old School Triathlon Guy - that wetsuit thing reduces your swim time by about 10%. That's kind of like cheating and it's not the old-school way to do things. Why would you want to wear a wetsuit on a wetsuit legal swim?

Glad you had a good time and didn't get bike-jacked in South St Pete. SA is one of the nicest tris.

Excel "I never leave home without my wetsuit" man

SWTrigal said...

I agree IM training is helping us in the long run but not great for speed races. In spite of that, you had an awesome race!! What I wouldn't give to "average only 20 MPH" on the bike!
Congrats!

Duane said...

Good job! And those numbers are weird!

JohnnyTri said...

you da man!!

you lookn lean and mean!
im scared at Cda! dont beat me too badly.

rockon`...

JohnnyTri said...

PS..
you have never been Fast, what are you talking about!! HA!

rockon`

Fe-lady said...

Great report...
Me thinks you had TWO body markers, and you just don't remember! :-)

bigmike600 said...

Nice job Marc. I can tell from your post that you are a bit disappointed. Just remember that those little skinny guys might be fast but if they ever got thrown into the octagon with you, they're gettin knocked out. Keep smiling and doing those podcasts.

TriSherpa Di aka "Mrs Bigun" said...

what is so funny about the body markings...none of us noticed it until we were pretty schmasted on Coronas!!! lol

SUB6 said...

Great report. Cool pictures. Do you have any time to train in between all the races you do? Can't wait for your Ironman report :)

Shelley said...

Great report, great race. I almost signed up for this one..now I wish I had!!

tri-mama said...

Why don't you just man up and cut the sleeves off your wet suit-then you don't have to worry about over heating?

While listening to the TB an B show I managed to run 12 miles- when are you recording again?

1HappyAthlete said...

Nice Race - I'm looking forward to doing it next year

Supalinds said...

Awesome freakin race. Seriously!! You are a speed demon on the bike, I'll never be able to keep up. We could be pulling each other on the run :) that is if I can keep up on the bike.

I swam a sprint distance last year (which I won, can you believe that) without a wetsuit. I figured who needs a wetsuit for 800 meters??? Well you know what, I DID. I will never do that again. Slowest swim of my life. Luckily I was in a lake, I can't imagine being in the ocean. Geeez.

I race my first olympic distance next weekend. I soon may figure out what you and Tri-dogmom are referring to with IM training and speed.

Good on ya. CDA is so close....AHhhhhh!!!

Brent Buckner said...

Great "C" event!

Yes, you can reclaim your speed after IM training - it comes back!

IronJenny said...

yep - the wetsuit is like free time off on the swim.
I cut the sleeves on my long john. you don't even have to "hem" it afterward. Just snip snip.
Or if you REALLY want to cut your swim time without spending one extra minute in the pool or lake... smoke the transition! Dude, what do you do in there??????
;-)

excel man said...

I saw him eating a sandwich in T1 at the Great Clermont Tri ;^)

ShirleyPerly said...

Tough to be fast when you're focusing on distance but you did great to PR on the bike & run segments at this race. Congrats!

S. Baboo said...

I wonder if your body marking chick is related to the one I had at the Mountain Man who scrawled my number down my shin?

Dude, didn't you know that IM training is all about short, powerful bursts of speed?! You are supposed to be training to rocket from one aid station to the next silly bear.

excel man said...

Sorry about the clyde joke. I was thinking about firing an Immodium AD joke but I probably should have just left my keyboard alone. :^)

TriSherpa Di aka "Mrs Bigun" said...

I thought I was the only one who saw you scarfing down that PB&J with ham sandwich there in transistion. It's okay ExcelMan, you don't have to keep covering for him. really. it's okay.

IronTriTim said...

Great race report bigun, are you sure it was one person marking you? Or was it one too many coronas before the race?
As Trimama says, I've run further listening to your show than any other podcast. "The Tac and Bigun show keeps you going longer than any other podcast." Fact.

moonpie said...

Yeah man - take 3 mins off your swim because you didn't wear a wetsuit and your overall time would have been much better. Silly Bigun - wetsuits rule!

Twas great hanging out after the race buddy!

Bolder said...

great race, great report.

well.done.

Quik-laces are for kids. I mean pros...

big deposit in The Bank of Ironman.

one step closer to your goal!

Tea said...

sorry for the delay in reading your report, but I had tracked you during the day! Does that count?

you are going to tear up CDA....wow!

Jetpack said...

Bigun,

Great job. It was fun tracking you through the whole day. Spectating is freak'n hard man! PS- Can I draft you on the bike at our next race? ;)

-Jet