I wasted no time kicking off the 2012 Season with the Independence Sprint Triathlon in the first official training week. It was actually smaller than the typical sprint distance with a .25 mile swim, 10 mile bike, and a 2 mile run. It was a free race for me since Piranha cancelled the bike leg of the Patriot Sprint last year and eventually sent out coupons for another race this year. This was the only one I could really fit in that was close by. I thought it would be a good indicator of my off-season fitness levels and determine if the speed work I had done was paying off. In addition to this I hoped to build some confidence for the coming season. I think it succeeded in doing so.
My wife dropped me off closest barricade to the transition area and I made my way down to the packet pick-up line. Line seemed long, but moved pretty quickly. Had to get in another line for timing chip, but that one had settled out by the time I got there. Piranha has the BEST technical shirts! They are very smooth and soft, and great for running. I would do one of their events just for another one. The body marking line and the line into transition was kind of long since they only had one person at each. They really could have used a couple there. Once in transition, I had sufficient room to put all my stuff. They stagger the sides which works nicely. I wasn’t sure what the water temp was, so I just put my wetsuit on anyway. Eventually they announced it as 74 deg F, which if I heard that before I may not have worn it.
I left transition and met up with Denise(#1 Fan) and Yuki(super-fan #2) to head down to the water. I could just barely hear the National Anthem playing back at the packet pick-up line and stopped for that. No one else heard though so everyone just went on about their business. They need to fix that. While waiting for the start I ran into Bob who swims at the pool with me. He started swimming the same time I did, so we have suffered through those trials and tribulations at the same time. It was cool to be able to chat with him before the race and get my mind off of being anxious. I really felt the most relaxed I ever have for this race, which I think means I am developing some confidence in my racing ability. There wasn’t any warm-up swim for this race which was strange, so it was right out of the gates.
There were 4 waves and I was in the last one, which was over 40 and physically challenged. Hmmm…think they are trying to tell us something? That’s ok, the overall winner was in my age group, so we aren’t that challenged I guess. I lined up in the front row but in the middle, to the left of the buoys. It was a clockwise rectangle swim. I got off to a good start and maintained a good pace to the first turn. The first turn was crazy as usual and I managed to fend off a few punches. After the second turn back to shore I seemed to have a large area to myself which was nice. Seems people were veering off to the left. Before I knew it I was exiting. Denise was pretty surprised how fast I was out. I completed the 1/4 mile swim in 6:23 min which is a 1:27min/100yds pace and ranked 68th overall. 1:27 is pretty close to my max in the pool, so I am skeptical of the accuracy of the distance. Regardless, it was a good swim leg.
T1 went pretty smoothly, until the very end. I did not check my gears before the race and it was slightly uphill in the mounting area. Mounting the bike missed the pedal and my shoe went around and got stuck between the ground and the pedal. Then the other one got stuck and fell off. Eventually I got on, but lost probably a minute here. Need to work that bike mount out, since I had the same problem and Ironman Miami 70.3 last season. T1 time was 0:53, which ranked me 8th overall. Not bad for wearing a wetsuit too.
I spun my way out the entrance of Nockamixon to Route 563 after finally getting on the bike. I moved my Garmin 910xt from the watchband to the handlebar mount and in doing so accidentally hit the lap button. This forced the AutoSport function to skip to T2, which totally messes up the data recording. So now I had to lap through the rest of the sports and hear the little tune it plays when you finish. Then I could reset it again. I did this before and it keeps happening. It never happens when I do it in training! The other issue with the Garmin 910xt was that it kept AutoPausing on the bike. It isn’t that obstructed on this course either, so I was wondering if the water had some effect on it. Next time I need to turn AutoPause off. Atleast I could still see my cadence and heart rate, which is all that I care about. My new Shimano DuraAce compact crankset worked great and it was so nice to spin up the hills. I think this made a difference on the run. Bike leg too 31:58 min/10 miles which translates to around 18.8 MPH pace and ranked 48th overall. Not too bad, but could have been 19+ if not for the bike mount issues.
T2 took longer than T1 due to fumbling with my laces. Bike dismount was clean and calm. I need to install Yankz on my Newtown’s which should alleviate that. I didn’t wear socks for this run, despite having some wearspots behind my big toes after testing that out a few days before. I will need to do this more often to develop callouses there. Don’t plan to go sockless for half Ironman, but may for Olympic in Aug. T2 time was 1:03 and ranked me 134th :(. Room for improvement here too.
The run went great. I had the usual concrete legs at the start, but not that bad. Girl from work happened to be there watching her brother and yelled to me as I went by. Always cool to have people you know watching to push you a little more. I settled into a pretty nice cadence and pace and carried it through to the end. At the turnaround, I really felt good and let it rip. Turned it up for the last 1/4 mile too and finished strong. Gotta take advantage of that for a 2 mile run. Ripped the run with a 14:19/2 miles which is a 7:09min/mi pace(rank 68th overall). That is probably the fastest pace I have ever run in a race!
Overall the race was a huge confidence builder for the start of the season. Despite that there are still many race-related things I still need to work on which I can do during the season. I ended finishing 46th (out of 299) overall and 4th(5th technically) in my age group. I just missed a podium third place in my age group since the overall winner of the race was in my AG, so he doesn’t count. A good day and a very well run race by Piranha. My faith has been restored in them again.