Tuesday, May 25, 2010

2010 American Triple T Race Report

This was my first race of the year. I learned a lot.

First was the value of aero equipment. I expected the bike section to be harder without it, but I am little disappointed in myself for going non-aero. In doing so, I struggled to pull my weight out there. My teammate, Scott Bowe, may say otherwise, but I felt like I drafted too much. He was riding a 50-disc combo plus the LG aero helmet. I had nothing and didn't even bother shaving the legs.

Second was learning more about side-stitches. Like usual, I managed to have a nagging side-stitch at Triple T this year. This happens every year and I finally think I nailed down why. Personally, sustained efforts at 155-170 bpm require proper training to ward off the stitch. Years ago Ernest Maglischo wrote, in Swimming Fastest, that a side-stitch was the indication of somebody being out-of-shape. With a few years of race experience under my belt now, I believe him. I'll certainly remember to focus on this heart rate area in 2011 and spend somewhere between 4-8-12 weeks making sure my body can handle this activity level in the swim-bike-run. Tabata sprints may be a good substitute. As for racing in the lower to middle zone 2 area, that was a cake walk this year. That was a new feeling, an experience from a much deeper aerobic base. I also felt better when I was recovering between races. Keeping the swim easy helped a lot. I recall having to dig really deep (too deep) to hang with Bowe on the swim back in 2008 and putting myself in a hole for the remainder of the race(s).

Third, to access greater fitness requires a proper executed warmup. The days of no warmup are officially over. Skipping this before race #1 and #2 is part of the reason I got the side-stitches. And doing the "right" stuff in the warmup is important. Just a light jog for a few minutes doesn't cut it. I'll have to do some reading about how ITU/HIM racers warmup to assist me.

Third, I was sorting my way through the race pictures and noticed that my arm swing when running is really bad. I need to drop the arms a lot to have my hand position in right place. I'm holding my elbows really high and having the hands too high. I need to relax the shoulders, swing the elbows back and not around (torquing the chest), and have the hands much lower than the elbows. Driving the thigh has worked wonders for correcting errors on the lower extremities.

Fourth, this was another "coming of age" race for me. Back in 2008 I was in awe of Bruce G and John K. After this year, I said to myself, had I trained specifically for this race (by doing interval work) I could of been in the mix. They're not so scary anymore. Besides, both are friendly guys to talk to.

As for the races themselves, race #1 was really no different than years past, but the run section was a mud bath. My shiny new shoes turned brown for the rest of the weekend. Ugh. Because of high winds, heavy rain, and down trees the bike course for race #2 was changed to the course of race #3. So comparing times from previous years is not applicable. Race #3 and #4 were fun like usual. In the last mile of the race, Scott vowed for us to return next year (with him healed and transformed into a running machine) to take top honors. I'm on the fence about it like usual and I can't put my finger on to why.

In summary, Scott and I continue to be a great fit. Our abilities are nearly even and despite his lack of running from having a screw put in his foot, we ran fast enough to end up second overall in the team division. Outside my own reflections, there were a number of Wisconsinites at the race this year. It was great to see a lot of friendly, familiar faces.

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