Playing the Hunter and the Hunted-Westchester Triathlon Race Report

Pre Race: I originally was supposed to go out to Oklahoma to do the Long Course National Championships but I had been doing a lot of travel the last few weeks and I was really wiped so I decided at the beginning of the month to cancel my flight and hotel and stay local.   My training since Pumpkinman has been minimal and I had not been having really good training sessions when I did get out there.  I didn't feel like I would be able to race up until the Saturday before and at that point it was still questionable  but I was still going to show up and see what happens.  Adding to that I put on about 6 lbs since nationals and I was going into this race weighing the most I have all year at 184!

No Pre Race Jitters Here!

Swim (.9)   (GPS 1.05)   25:46/Mile average pace 27:02 4/70 Age Group and 76/1009 overall

I started off in the fourth wave and besides the pros and physically challenged there were women 40-64 and M55-59 and Clydesdale ahead of me.  Knowing this going in my strategy pre race to get in front of as many of them as possible.  The gun went off and I stayed back for the first few seconds and let everyone fight it out before I got going.  When I finally got swimming and into my rythym I looked up and I could only see one person ahead of me in my age group.  I thought for sure that that would have to change but I didn't think anything of it.  The way out was hard to sight as we were swimming directly into the sun but next thing I know I'm swimming into the thick of the wave that started 3 minutes ahead of me.  I felt really good ans was surprised at how well I was moving.

As I came into the meat of the wave ahead  I picked my path which I thought would cost me the least energy and kept going.  I felt like I swam through the whole wave by the time I hit the first left turn buoy! As swam across to the other turn buoy and finally out of the sun I could see the pack of pink caps of the w40-64 and I thought to myself, could this really be happening?  Am I really that far out in front already? By the time I hit the last buoy before the shore I swam  through the majority of them and ended up from what I could tell at the very pointy end of the field and what I thought was leading my AG.  As I hit the beach I was almost in shock as the clock read 27:00!  I immediately knew the swim would be clocked long since theres no way I would have swam that slow and still been able to pick up in some cases up to 6 minutes on a majority of the Womens wave.

T1: 2:16

As I came up out of the water I was sure I was in the top 5 and I saw one guy who must have just beat me out of the water leaving as I was getting to my bike and getting ready to take off.

Bike 24.5 Mile (GPS 24.5mi)  1:06:01 22.3mph 273 avg watts (292 Normalized)

1st/70 Age Group.    11/1109 Overall

As I came out of T1 for some reason my chain came off as I mounted.  I had tested everything before I left for the swim start so I'm really not sure what happened here.  I managed to work it back on without getting off the bike, but it was still a little stressful trying to fix a chain issue when your heart rate is cranking at 170bpm.  I quickly got into my rythym and picked off 2 guys in my age group within the first 2 miles of the bike.  After that though it was hard to stay in a constant rythym as there are a ton of turns.  The first 10 miles of the course is mostly uphill and to add to that we had to deal with a headwind for most of it.  It was really slow going out as I barely cracked 20mph for the first 5 miles  and I didnt even break 20 mph for the second 5.  Although I wasnt moving very fast in this section I passed a good chunk of athletes.

About 13 miles in there is the final hill climb which is usually timed called Claires climb,  by the time I had hit the top of the climb I was told I was in 6th overall.  I thought to myself great then at this point I must be leading my age group.   Within the next mile or so I ended up passing the guy who was actually leading the age group which kind of took my by surprise.  I passed him and another guy and was hoping I would be able to put enough cushion in case the wheels fell off during the run.  The second part of the course is mostly flat to downhill so I was able to use my weight to my advantage and I was able to put about 1:30 on him in the last 10 miles of the bike before we hit T2.  I wasnt sure what I was going to have left coming off the bike but I initially felt great.

SplitTimeDistanceAvg SpeedSummary1:06:00.924.5022.3114:49.75.0020.2215:23.65.0019.5313:25.45.0022.3411:23.35.0026.3510:58.84.5024.6

t2 0:45

I took a final swig of my bottle and headed out on the run.  I didn't know what I had left, but I promised myself before the race I was going to go for it and give it everything I had before I took my annual training break.

Run 6.2 Mi (GPS 6.31) 6:40/Mi Pace3/70 Age Group 36/1109 Overall

Easing in to a 6:00 pace

I didn't expect to be so far up front given the last few weeks so when I came out of T2 and I was told I was the 4th place male(at the time) and 1st in my age group, I wanted to hold my place!  I came out and I was so far ahead that the volunteers were hardly ready for me!  As I ran down the boardwalk I was definitely pushing hard  as I hit mile 1 my watch clicked off  a 6:02 mile.  Well I said I was going to try and empty the tank, so lets try and hold this.  Running to the first turnaround I got to see some of the guys that were closely behind me and I didn't see the guy I had passed on the bike so I felt like I might be able to hold him off.  There were a few hills on mile 2 so I expected my pace to slow which it did.  A nice rolling/downhill relief had brought me back to a 6:26 for mile 3 which is right where I thought I would be after 3mi right around a 6:20-6:25 pace.

The volunteers at the aid stations were great! They would go crazy every time someone would be coming past their area.  Unfortunately for me I could tell I was being closed in on because every time I would pass an aid station I could hear them cheering for the guys behind me as well.  Mile 4-5 included the biggest sustained climb of the course and my pace had slowed to a 6:55  As I approached the last turnaround which was close to mile 5 it happened the cheering that kept getting shorter and shorter turned into footsteps.  As I made the turn I could see not one, but two guys right behind me.  As the first one passed me I recognized his kit, and I knew he was the guy I had passed on the bike.  I did my best to stay on his shoulder for as long as I could and that last about 10 seconds, as soon as I fell back from his pace another guy passed me.  At quick glance at his calf he had a 33 and I really was not expecting that.  So now I went from leading my age group to 3rd place in a matter of :20-:30 seconds and I had absolutely nothing left to give.   I was no longer the hunted, I was now back being the hunter and it looked like I wasn't going to be able to eat today!

Apparently the other guy who passed me was right on my heels all day, coming out of the water just :30 seconds behind me and basically matching my bike split,  until then I had no idea there was more than one guy that close!  From miles 5-6 my pace slowed further and my pace was now over 7:00! I could see on the out and back there was at least one other guy chasing me down and he looked pretty strong and I'm pretty sure I looked like crap.  I managed to drop my pace down for the last .31 miles and nobody else had passed me on the run.  The guys who did pass me managed to put 1:30 into me in the last 1.3 miles or so.  I managed to hold on to 3rd in the M30-34 age group and ended up 20th overall in a very large field of 1109!

finishing out the season with an empty tank

SplitTimeDistanceAvg PaceSummary42:05.46.316:4016:02.71.006:0326:39.71.006:4036:26.71.006:2746:47.51.006:4856:55.11.006:5567:05.81.007:0672:07.90.316:48

Post Race:  

I have had a long, but gratifying season.  I ended up finishing it the same way I started it, by getting passed by 2 people on the run!  Even so I managed to meet or exceed most of my goals for the year and I couldn't be happier.   Thanks to my sponsors Pacific Swim Bike Run and Endurance Films your support has been tremendous in helping me achieve my goals this season.  And a special thanks to Erica for dealing with my craziness and traveling with me all season, I know how much you love the  4am wake-ups!  I'm going to take a few days off completely now that I have no impending races on the schedule I'll know when its time to get back into it, but for now I'm not putting a date on it.  I have some lofty goals for 2013, but for now I need a physical and mental break.

Closing the Season With a a Podium Finish