August 2, 2010

Musselman Half iron race report

Seems like I am always way behind on writing these race reports and this one is no different. The only thing that I like to do is get the last race up before I compete in another race so that I don't fall behind on multiple reports. Really since these reports are only for me to look back on in years to come, I suppose it's not a big deal, but as anal as I am, I guess I have to have a system.

Musselman was to be my "A-Race" of the year and the one that I was focusing on all season. Since I wasn't signed up for an ironman this year, this was my longest race and subsequently my triathlon focus for 2010. I made a few snafu's in the prep for this race and they came back to bite me in the rear on race day. Apparently, I need to look back on prior races and actually LEARN from the mistakes of competitions past. But that will all be explained a little later...

On to the report! Race morning came and I was pretty amped. I was secretly hoping to break into the top 5 overall and get a chance to stand on the giant podium at the awards ceremony, but spoiler alert, today was not going to be my day... our wave got corralled off and we were waiting for the gun and I was joking with the folks in my wave. Pat Wheeler was there and using this as a ramp up for Kona in October and I knew he was going to be solid competition and was actually looking forward to it.

The gun went off and I was swimming like a man possessed. Somehow I always have this happen that I go out to hard and just struggle to hold on for dear life during races (not always just the swim leg) But this time, I was leading around the first buoy and there was a small chase pack behind me. I got passed by the 5 guys shortly after and just couldn't match the pace they were setting. I watched them maintain about 30 seconds on me and sit there. Sighting the last bouy before entering the "canal" I was kind of blinded by the rising sun and forced to just hope that I was going the right direction. The canalway was about 20 degrees warmer than Seneca Lake and I had visions dancing thru my head about how when I would be peeling off my wetsuit, there would be steam coming out because I was so hot inside... At that moment, a swimmer with an orange-ish cap blew by me on my right and straight down the center of the canal. Since we were the lead wave and in green caps, I knew he had made up the 4 minute defecit on waves and must've been FLYING. I tried to jump on his feet, but it was no avail. I hit the dock in about 28 minutes and that was good for the fastest HIM time I've ever done in the water and a solid start to the day.
I ran into transition and geared up quickly for the ride. I was hoping to be around a 2:30-2:35 today and that was going to take a lot of effort. I was pushing for what I thought was the entire bike leg, the pace for me never really let off and I think I dug myself into a nice hole with that effort. I haven't done too many bike workouts this year and I think my mono-pace rides made this effort feel super uncomfortable and set me up for a hard run.

The course is really beautiful down in Geneva and I was so focused on trying to push the pace to hit the mph and times that I wanted to that I didn't take a minute to "look around and smell the roses" like I normally do during races. Somehow this puts me at ease a bit and allows me to regain that comfort zone that I need. I made the same mistake at Ironman Wisconsin in 2008 when I did it and apparently didn't really learn from it. I pushed the pace too early on the bike, created a huge defecit and more or less, imploded on the run. (Amongst other problems at IMoo - ie. losing nutrition on the bike, etc.) I biked well beyond my ability for the day and didn't come up with a contingency plan, so it was difficult to push the pace I wanted to in the last half of the ride. Regardless, I still managed to bike a 2:36 which was solid enough to hang on to a 21.5mph average split forthe 56 miles. Not my best HIM bike time, but as far as I was concerned during the race, I was still on pace for the day to hit my goal of a sub 4:35 half iron.I hit the dismount line and heard my parents, sister and everyone else cheering super loud for me and that was fantastic (my mother rarely comes to triathlons so it was freaking awesome to have that support and see them there) I made my way out on the run course after a speedy 61 second transition and watched the guy in front of me double back and run back to the T-zone apparently forgetting his race #. Bummer for him I thought and I began my run.

That's him behind me in the above photo (he caught me shortly after this on the steep hill with the steps up to main street) I blasted out of transition and the only thing going thru my head was that I wanted to maintain the consistency that I had kept up all season with every race being on roads no matter the distance, I was able to hold sub 6:00 pace. I knew that I probably wouldn't do that here, but I was secretly hoping for sub 6:25 or sub 6:30's. I blasted out of transition and hit the 2 mile marker in 12:05 and knew I needed to slow this soon-to-be train wreck down. It must've been too little, too late.

Mile 4 was about my breaking point. I was running down Main Street before then and the stomach was starting to reject anything that I tried to force down it. It was sloshing a lot and I was not feeling well. I fully expected, given my race at the Buffalo Half marathon this year of a 1:17, that I was going to be able to swing a 1:24 run split for this race. Unfortunately even with the best laid plans of mice and men, things don't turn out as planned. It was the first time I actually tried to hit the"reset button" in the middle of the race. (You know that button that hangs in the back of your father refers to it as the BCC) I tried three times about mile 4 of the run to extricate the contents of my stomach, but it wasn't working so theonly thing I could do was keep going. My pace was slowing and I kind of felt okay around mile 8, but couldn't really turn it around well enough to hit the time goal I wanted. The heat on the run didn't help any either.

I hit the line in 4:42 and that was good for 17th overall and 4th in my age group. Just off of the podium (for AG) I was exhausted and well off my goal of around a 4:30 HIM. Being that I was 12 minutes slower than I anticipated for run alone, that would give the discrepancy. The other reason that I might have been a little slower in the run portion of this race was that the weekend prior was 4th of July weekend and I had gone with several friends on a hiking trip up in the ADK's and we crossed 4 of the high peaks off the list by tackling the entire Seward Range over two days (one 11 hour day and one 8 hour day back to back) and I got ribbed by my parents for my preparation stupidity with saying things like, "I guess hiking in the Adirondacks isn't the best way to prep for a half ironman!" But in their defense, I kind of deserved it :o)

So that was it for the Musselman Race report. Not the most ideal race and not the race that I was hoping for, but I'll take it. It WAS still a 4:42 that I did, so I can't be too hard on myself for that. I did get a chance to go up and spectate for IM Lake Placid this year and sign up for 2011, but that might have to be another post. On to marathon training, but not without a fun race beforehand. Summer Sizzler Formula One triathlon this weekend in Grand Island. Should be good fast speedy and fun times. So until then friends, see you on the roads and trails! Cheers.

1 comment:

Cusetri said...

Travis-great race!

Tough when they don't turn out as we expect, but you have a great attitude about it!

We NEED to through down some sessions as we prepare for LP.....the 4:00 AM long rides Curbeau and I do WILL make you stronger on the bike....

just make me stronger on the run...:)

also, I heard the conditions at mussle were pretty brutal; so way to gut it out...