Friday, August 30, 2013

Race Report: Boston Triathlon

Race Report: The Boston Triathlon Sprint

Race morning:
Webb:  The race was scheduled to go off at 8AM. We had a WHOLE two miles to travel from our apartment door to the transition area. O brother! Would we get up in time???

Elle: So. We woke up, got ready, and were out of the apartment on time. A small miracle, really. We biked over to the race site, it was sunny & pleasant. We could tell it was going to be a good day, I mean, we couldn't have asked for better weather. Right on.
We had picked up our race packets the day before and had applied our nifty race number tattoos - plus the age tattoo for your calf - not to be confused with your cattle. I love and hate the race tattoos. They look supercool and make race morning run more smoothly, but they're a bear to get off, at least for me.
Anyhow, let me tell you about my sweet rack location - right at the end of transition near the swim in and bike in. Score! I had a good feeling about the day...
Race morning: it was going to be a good day

Webb: Meanwhile I was tucked in the middle, at the end of my rack. Anyway, we arrived early enough to set up and go for a shake-out run, including some light running drills before squeezing into our wetsuits. We walked the 1/4 mile or so to the swim start to find we were among only five or so swimmers. Not so strange considering it was at least 20 minutes before the mandatory pre-race meeting. We swam out to the first sight buoy and back, stopping a few times to tread water and chat. The water temp was bearable, definitely warmer than our prior races. Still I felt pretty crappy. My shoulders felt tight, my lungs small and I just didn't have much energy. I tried to push away any negative thoughts about not being able to meet my goal of a 1:15:00 finish.

The Swim: 1/2 mile ocean swim:
Webb: My wave was the third to go after the elites and the young ones. Having been a negligent swimmer this year I was wondering how to place myself. I found myself herded into the back and to the left. Any consternation I had from the warm-up was gone as I became preoccupied with the return of the nagging pain in my hip. (I really need to sort that out once and for all.) The announcer then alerted us that we would be off in 30 seconds and the next sound we heard would send us off. True enough, half-a-minute later he shouted "Go! Go! Go! Go! Go!"

And then we walked into the ocean. Walked. There were a bunch of us in my AG and a million more broken shells and razor-like rocks gnashing out at our feet. Once in the water I followed my Escape The Cape strategy: Find feet and swim long and easy. All went splendidly. The warm-up tightness and breathlessness was absent as I moved along trading one pair of feet for the next. My goal was to enter T1 in 15 minutes. I entered the TA at 15:13.

Elle: I had one of the best swims of my life. Perhaps it was all that swim training I had done? I spent a lot more time in the pool working on my swim, and then on race day, I had a good swim. Who knew? I actually felt like I was zooming through the water, a new experience for me. And then, before I knew it, the swim was over and I was speeding through T1. In and out in a whopping 1:14.

T1: Wait? How long did that take you?

Elle: I don't know, man, things were just going right. I have to admit, I was having a good day...

Webb: Seriously? That might be a new Triathletes Journey record. Elsewhere, I took forever in T1. At some point my race number tore off one side of my race belt and I spent too long trying in vain to fix
it.

The Bike: 9 miles

Webb: The course was a double loop. Loops are fast. On this day the loops meant two headwinds and two tailwinds. Once I finally was on the bike I gave it full throttle. I immediately began passing people who were not on tri or aero bikes. It had been awhile since I survived a bike leg without being passed. I cruised into the parking lot at the end of the first loop into a mandatory slow zone. O! It was so maddening! It is necessary for safety reasons, but I was having so much fun hammering away I didn't want to slow down at all. Not far into the second loop I heard the tell-tale whoosh-whoosh of carbon wheels hauling ass behind me. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. Thankfully he was the only one to pass me and he wasn't in my age group. This time the goal was to enter T2 by the 43:00 mark. A quick look at my watch revealed 41 something. Sweet!

Elle: And then it happened...the first snafu of the day: as I rolled out of T1, all confident and smiley, I full on dropped my chain. Arrgghh! Everything had been going so well! So there I was, with a gaggle of on-lookers watching as I clumsily (yet quickly) grabbed my chain and practically threw it back on the ring, with no regards to the massive amount of grease that I now had all over my hands. I could almost hear a collective sigh of relief coming from the crowd that had gotten oddly quiet as they watched my debacle. The experience had caused a massive amount of adrenaline to rush through my whole body, and I bolted down the road on my Trek like a bat out of hell, passing rider after rider. And that feeling stayed with me for the whole (albeit short) bike course. Maybe the dropped chain had been a blessing in disguise? Either way, I now had a nice collection of sweat and grease smeared all over my face now. Sweet.

T2: In and out: Did we do a T2 for this race?

Elle: 59 seconds in T2. I always like to keep it under a minute, so we're all good there.

Webb: I also had a surprisingly good transition at under 50 seconds. No one knows why.

The Run: 4.4 miles
Webb: A flat, out and back. Pretty simple. Two point two miles out; two point two miles back. The strategy was all out, so I was all-in. I ran hard. Probably too hard. My breath was rapid as I focused on my cadence. The younger runners kept falling past me as I pushed up the line. This was an entirely new experience for me. The run is usually where I fall off pace. And then that old, fatigued feeling re-emerged. My pace slackened as I neared the two-mile mark. Trying to keep it together I reminded myself that no one in my age group had passed me. I just needed to keep it up. O how my body resisted. Just before the turnaround I was caught by two guys in my age group. I vowed to myself not to let anyone else catch me. I continued to pass the younger guys while not seeing anyone else in my age group. To be sure some guys did pass me but they were all in their 50s. Then with about a mile and a half to go I was caught again. I was hurting and could not match him. At this point I did not think I could reach him or my 1:15 goal. My one motivating thought was, "Hell, just get this race over with!" I reached deeper into the suitcase of pain and picked up the pace. All of a sudden the race chute was in sight. I popped over the curb onto the grass for the final 100 meters. With about 50 meters to go I saw the last guy in my age group to pass me. He had no idea I was there. I left it all in that chute as I ran past him and collapsed just after the finish line. I ended up beating him by three seconds, finishing in 1:15:00 on the nose.

Third place!
Elle: I was anxious to get out on the run - this was basically my first real attempt at racing a triathlon for the year. Not much to say, really, I just ran my ass off. I'll be honest, it felt good to pass people! Webb had said to me before the race, that I should have a goal of finishing without anything left in the tank, and I thought about that while I was out there, pounding the pavement. As I was nearing the end of the run, I saw a woman up ahead who was in my age group. I decided to put everything I had out on the line to catch her. Which I did. I hung back behind her for awhile, wondering when I should make my move. And then I just did. I kept waiting for a counter-attack, but it never came. I crossed the finish line. And then I fell to the ground. I'm sure if she had known that she was about to lose third place to me, she might have tried harder. But she didn't. I did. And now I have a trophy to show for it. Sweet.
Post-race: Rolling, rolling, rolling... (Thanks MuscleMilk!)


Getting ready for the 'Love Run'
(post-triathlon 5k run run)
Elle: Just a quick note about the post-race. After the awards ceremony, there was a 5k "fun run" hosted by the race director, aimed at connecting active people (singles!) to each other. Obviously Webb and I aren't single, but they are open to having couples run too. The race director, who we've met at other events, convinced us the day before it would be a good cool down run. So we figured, Why not? What's another 3 miles...
The group pretty much stayed together as we all chatted our way through the 5k, with the Atlantic ocean as a back-drop, it was kind of romantic. And sweaty.