Friday, September 5, 2008

Not the typical race report

It has been 4 days since the Austin Tri and I was actually able to get away from work for a few days because of a conference in Dallas. This means that I had a lot of time to think back on my race.

I will begin by saying I met my goal. I wanted to drop 10 minutes of my time from the Cap Tex Tri and I did that with no problem. All three disciplines were PRs. This was a great sign that my training has been paying off. I also finally broke onto the awards podium, placing third in my age group. This is exciting, it gives me just that much more confidence in my training and my talents (however big or small). The two negatives were that my bike leg was only 2 minutes faster than at the Cap Tex Tri and T1 was horrible (about 3:30) I thought that I was faster on the bike but ended up about the same as 3 months ago. Maybe this is good because my run leg was the fastest I have ever done in a race of any kind. If I went out faster on the bike I might have been dead on the run. That is something to play with.

Anyway, the reason that I entitled this entry " Not your typical race report" was because as I thought about the race, I thought about what I think about during a race. Below are my observations.

Swim: During the swim I think about several things. I start out trying to control my breathing and not allowing myself to go out too fast. I don't want to waste any energy trying to beat everyone in the first 500M. A friend of mine told me once, remember that you can't win a triathlon during the swim. My goal is to stay close to the front but winning the swim is not a big deal. After the first 500M or so my thoughts turn to stroke efficiency. I concentrate on a good pull and steady breathing. After that I try to sight in on someone in my wave that is close to me and either pass them or or at least stay close. This has worked out well so far. I always come out of the water in the top 10 of my age group.

Bike: During the bike I try to maximize my average speed without killing my legs too early. I also pick up my race at this stage by sighting someone in front of me, typically about 1/4 mile ahead, and try to pass them before going on to the next person. In the back of my mind all the time though I am always real nervous about getting a penalty for drafting so I try to keep conscious of this rule the entire time on the bike. During the bike I race a lot against others and really try to pass as many people as I can. Something I have not figured out is how to pace myself on the bike so that I don't kill myself on the run. I have a feeling that I am holding back on the bike and my body could take it if I went faster.

Run: The run is a different animal all together. The run for me has two different parts. For the first few miles it is all about finding my legs and passing as many people as possible. Then as I settle into a nice pace my mind wanders. I start thinking about work, or my "honey do" list. Periodically I will check my watch and see if I am on pace for whatever goal I have set for the race. Sometimes I tend to look around and take in the sights. As the race draws to a close ( maybe the last 1-2 miles) I will zero in on my pace and pick up my speed. I will then pick out someone in front of me, usually several hundred yards, and pass them. Then if time allows I will do it again. The final 200 yards is usually an all out sprint.

I don't think that I have figured out how to manage my races yet so that I can develop a winning strategy instead of a survival strategy. I think in the off season I should do a few duathlons and play with managing the run and bike portions.

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