Saturday, September 24, 2011

Race Report: Fishers Area Sprint Triathlon 2011

I ran my race, had fun, felt great, and qualified for the 2012 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championship race. 

Race Snap Shot
Swim:   0:11:20
T1:       0:01:34
Bike:    0:28:33 (21.9mph avg)
T2:       0:01:02
Run:     0:20:14 (6:45/mi avg)
Total   1:02:43

Finished 3rd in age group and 35th (out of 418) overall.  Missed second place by 13 seconds and was 1 min and 15 second behind 1st place.  Close race!

My biggest goal for this race and my race on Oct 2nd was to finish in the top 10% in my age group.  If I did that then I would qualify for the 2012 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championship race.  I qualified for the 2011 race but did so too late and couldn't plan accordingly.  Plus the 2011 sold out in record time.  If I qualified with a fall race I would have more time to plan a possible trip to Burlington, VT in 2012. 

Mission accomplished....I qualified.  I am extremely excited about this opportunity, but we'll wait until USAT puts out the dates for the race and determine if I can go or not.  Stayed tuned to a future blog about this.

On with the race report:

On Sunday September 18th I participated in the Fishers Area Sprint Triathlon (F.A.S.T) in Fishers, Indiana.  This was a well ran event by Tuxedo Brothers and Fishers High School was a nice venue.

The day before the race I stayed at my older brother's house.  It was great to see my two brothers, their families, and my mom and dad.  An added bonus was that his house was only 15 minutes from the race site.

Every race day starts early, and this race was no exception, up and out of bed at 5am.  It's weird that the only time I get up with the first alarm in on my swimming days and race days.  I headed out of the house a little before 6am and arrived at the race site at 6:15.  I was probably one of the first 30 or so participants there.  I found my transition rack (assigned based on race number) and began to setup my transition area.

I started to sprinkle rain at this time.  I was hoping it wouldn't rain because my race in June was in the rain and it was terrible.  I happen to glance up into the western sky and noticed a double rainbow.  It was pretty cool, and thought, well this is going to be a good day after all.

Once setup I began to do my normal pre-race warm up routine.  There would be a brief rain shower every so often so I decided to go back to transition and put my running shoes in a plastic bag and cover my helmet and bike shoes with a small towel.

Everything was ready to go and now it was just hurry up and wait.  I headed inside the high school where they were staging the participants to be taken to the pool in groups of 50.  Your race number was the order you started.  The race numbers were based on your estimated 100M swim time when you registered.

As with all other triathlons I have been in all of the athlete are supportive of each other.  Case in point at this race when each group of 50 was sent to the pool the remaining racers began cheering and hollering.

Finally my number was called and I headed off to the pool.  As you walk into the pool area you walk in front of the stands where spectators where sitting.  It was fun to look up and see my family there.  As I scanned the pool I could tell there was a lot of congestion and realized this was going to be a "touchy feely" kinda swim.

It's a time trial start and athletes are sent off every five seconds.

"Good luck today you can go"!

The Swim (500M - 0:11:20)

The swim was 500M in the 50M indoor pool at the high school.  I swam the 500M in 11:20 which was a little slower than I have been swimming in practice.  Congestion was  somewhat of an issue on some of the laps.  There was a couple of times where there were 3 to 4 people at the end of the lane trying to get under the lane line.

I came into this swim with the intention of not letting anyone slow me down.  If that meant swimming over people or going 3 wide in the lane then that was going to be the way to do it.

The first 100M was pretty well spaced out and was able to pass a few people.  From that point on it got congested.  I did a couple of passes where I shot right between the two people in front of me.  Towards the end I did get passed a few times but it was no big deal because the swim portion is my weakest of the three disciplines so I kinda expected it.

With all of the congestion involved in passing, and being passed, this indoor swim felt like an open water swim.  I have never been touched, poked, elbowed, kicked that much in a pool swim.

Overall, I was happy with my swim.

At the end of the swim I climbed out of the pool and exited the pool area through the door leading to the outside.  The transition area was about 20 yards from the pool building.

Transition #1 (0:01:34)

Transition # 1 was pretty uneventful.  Since the distance from the pool to my bike was relatively short I was a little "lost" in finding my bike.  Thankfully my brother was out there yelling at me on where to go.

Got my feet dried off quickly and put my cycling shoes on.  Grabbed my bike a ran out of transition.

This was the first race where I decided to go sockless.  In past races I have had issues, and lost precious seconds, while fumbling with putting socks on semi wet feet.

I have been doing my training rides and runs with no socks. 

The only bothersome in this transition was the guy sitting on the curb right next to my stuff.  Thankfully he scooted over and let me have my space.

Bike-10 miles (0:28:33 - 21.9 mph avg)

My favorite part of the triathlon.  Once across the timing mat I mounted the bike with no issues and got up to speed good. 

The conditions were good.  It was a little wet from the rain earlier but that did not effect me at all.  The wind was generally light and the course was flat with a few gentle rollers. 

Once I got up to speed I settled into my aero bars and hammered on.  My goal was to average 22mph and I came close (21.9mph).
The course was setup in a way that a mile from the school there was a 4 mile loop you did twice then headed back to the school to get the 10 mile distance.  This course really fit my style and was just like my training rides on the country roads back home. 

I never got passed and I did a lot of passing.

Once back at the school I had a good dismount heading into transition for the run.  Ah the run, the wild card in my races.  My run times after the bike have jumped up and down all summer.  Let's see what happens today.

Transition #2 (0:01:02)

T2 was good.  The "sockless" game plan worked to perfection.

When I got back most of the other bikes on my rack were gone so I got my bike racked pretty well.  Helmet off, bike shoes off, running shoes on, grabbed water more leg left.

Run - 3 miles (0:20:14 -6:45/mi avg)

I had a different game plan with this race on the run.  I was going to do a ladder pace.  This is where each mile I would increase my pace.  This would allow me to get my legs back in the first mile while getting settled in.  My run splits were:

Mile 1 - 6:55
Mile 2 - 6:45
Mile 3 - 6:35

As you can see I increased my pace 10 seconds every mile.  My problem in previous races has been I start my run doing a 6:35 or faster pace then can't finish strong.  This time around my approach worked really well as I felt in control and fresh the entire run.

The run route was relatively flat.  The first mile was on the sidewalk (run/walk path) and it had a steady incline most of the way.  The second mile winded through a subdivision that was pretty flat.  Then the third mile was in the subdivision then around and behind the high school. 

I carried my own water bottle but there were two water stations.  One right out of transition and the other about halfway through the course.

I was very pleased with my run and hopefully I got this race pace technique figured out and it's not a one time fluke.


This race was well ran and organized.  The results were posted near the finish line (not in the gym like I was waiting around for) in a timely manner with the awards ceremony done in a timely fashion.

The post race food had a wide variety of hot and cold foods and they were all good.

The volunteers did a wonderful job in directing the athletes on all corners of the bike and run routes and were energetic and supportive.

If I had any recommendations it would be:

-For the swim....give more time before sending off each swimmer maybe 10 or 15 seconds instead of 5 seconds.  With over 400 participants that may not be ideal as it would add quite a bit of time from the 1st and last swimmer.
- Pre Race Meeting - use the microphone system that was used in the awards ceremony.  The bull horn that was used in the pre race meeting was hard to understand.

Great event, great race!  Yes, I would do this again.

One more triathlon left for this season.  It's been a great season and hope to finish strong.


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