So on Sunday I raced. It was unexpected, I did not decide to race until Friday late. I figured worst case I would get to have a great brick workout since I have been working on speed lately.
I did not know what to expect from my body at the race. I have been just getting back into doing speed work after a 6 months hiatus because of Ironman training which is almost exclusively long endurance. I need to do a post about my new training philosophy soon but for now here is a race report for the Pflugerville Tri:
This race is an awesome beginner course. It was my second time doing this race. I did it a few years ago as my second ever triathlon and found it to be a great venue. This time I decided to race the Open wave instead of vie for an Age Group win. I like racing with the fast guys and the pros when I can because they push me faster than I normally would go.
The swim was perfect. It is only 500M so I can go all out the entire time. The open wave was small, kind of disappointing, but also less traffic. I quickly found a rhythm and fell into place behind a local triathlete named Todde with Richard, another pro, not far behind. I knew from previous races that I could swim with these guys any day of the week so I was able to draft Todde the entire swim. There were a couple of times that I lost site of his feet and panicked thinking that he had pulled ahead but I would lift my head up to site and realize that I had just drifted off line. Exiting the water the three of us were within milliseconds of each other. I exited the water 2nd and left transition 3rd. The other athletes in the wave were not even in contention with us so it would be a three man race all the way.
Once on the bike the three of us stayed close for about 2 or 3 miles, but Richard quickly opened a gap that neither I nor Todde could match and that was the last I would see of Richard until the run. I decided to test my legs in this race even if it meant disaster. The bike leg is only 14 miles so it is a perfect distance to go all out.
I have hired a coach recently and one of the things that we are working on is my muscle endurance so I figured by hammering it on the bike I would test the leg endurance to identify any weaknesses. After analyzing some previous races we determined that I am fast at short distances but have trouble keeping that fast pace for long periods. Some of this comes with time but can be trained specifically too. Anyway, I stayed close to Todde for a good 8 miles before he started to pull away (there is that muscle endurance limiter). Todde ended up with a bike leg only about 1 minute faster than me though. On the bike It took me about 8 miles to get my heart rate down to a manageable level. I think a lot of that was nerves. Usually on the bike there is someone that is a speed demon that catches me but this day it felt good to come off the bike in 3rd place uncontested. All I had to worry about was catching the guys in front of me.
Off on the run I went out pretty fast and ended up with wind cramps. I was redlining my heart rate within the first half mile. I eventually settled in, got my heart rate down, and just tried to chip away at the leaders. The run is a loop around the lake we swam in so you can see exactly where you are compared to the other competitors. I saw that Todde over took Richard in the first 1.5 miles and I checked my pacing figuring I was about 2 minutes back from Todde. I knew I would not catch him because at this distance he can easily run a sub 6 minute mile. I worked hard on the run to close the gap on Richard but ran out of real estate. I think if I had another mile I could have caught him though. I came across the line in third place just over 2 minutes behind the leader, which is an eternity in a sprint like this one, and 1:30 behind Richard.
In the end there were 3 other age groupers that finished faster than me. They started 3 minutes behind in another wave but overall time was faster. So overall I was 6th. Not too shabby of a performance. A great confidence booster and I learned that I need more muscular endurance on the bike so that on the run I have more energy and can run a little faster at the end.