Saturday, July 14, 2012

Race Report: Decatur Triathlon

On July 8th I raced in the 2012 Rodney T. Miller Decatur Triathlon.  A great event that honored a guy who put his life on the line everyday protecting citizens.

This triathlon is a 1200 meter open water swim, 19 mile bike, and a 4.5 mile run.  I have done many triathlons, but this race would be my longest one so far.  I was a little nervous because I didn't know how the race would go and I didn't know how I would pace myself in a longer race.  The reason I signed up for this race was because it was a step up from the sprint triathlons and would be a good learning race as I get closer to competing in Olympic distance triathlons and half Ironman. The field was stacked with some fast racers.  In the end, I learned a lot about doing a longer distance triathlon and had fun at the same time.
Race Summary

Swim:                 29:37
Transition 1:          0:55
Bike:                   55:22 (20.6mph avg)
Transition 2:          0:51
Run:                    34:28 (7:40/mi avg)
Total Time:    2:01:14

Overall Place: 27/112
Age Group:      7/14

The Swim

It was another open water swim.  My open water swims to date have not been that stellar.  The furthest I have swam in open water thus far was 500 meters.  So doing 1200 meters looked intimidating as the swim course looked huge from the shore.  Before we started my goal was to swim this longer distance at a steady pace and practice my sighting.  I projected my swim time based on what I have done in previous open water swims and I finished the swim within my target range of time.  My swim time including the long run from the lake to transition.  I was not real excited about my time but was happy I didn't completely suck on the swim.  I know I can swim a lot faster, but between getting punched in the face, my goggles leaking, and going slightly off course once, I learned a few things about open water swimming.

Transition #1

Once out of the lake you run about 100 yards or so to transition.  I found my bike with ease and was on my way out of transition and onto the bike course.

The Bike

The bike course was generally flat with a few hills and lots of turns.  Right out of transition you have to climb a pretty decent hill, but after that it was a lot of up and down hills and turns.  The course eventually straightened out but we had a headwind all the way to the turnaround.  After the turnaround the ride bike to transition was fast and exiting.

Volunteers and police did an excellent job with directing racers and also blocking traffic.  The streets and the corners were very clean.  

It was a really nice bike course that had enough hills to keep everyone honest.  I was pleased with my bike time because once off the bike I knew I was within reach of getting my goal race time of less than 2 hours.

Transition #2

When you come back to transition from the bike you come down a big hill.  You have a lot of speed and have to get your bike under control.  I did pretty well dismounting and finding my bike.

The Run

The run was hot.  The 2 weeks prior leading up to this race temperatures were close to 100 degrees everyday.  I did not have my normal run routine in these two weeks.  Race day was a little cooler but it did not feel like it on the run.  The course was generally flat but there were a few little hills along the way that made it a challenge.  Since this was my longest run in a triathlon I wanted to come out of the gate with a steady pace and pick it up the last two miles.  Sounded like a good plan at the time.  I was consistently slow the entire run.  I tried to go faster, but I just could maintain a fast pace.  The lack of running in the weeks prior coupled with the heat are the main reasons for a slow run.  A lot of mental battles were won on this run.  There were a few times I just wanted to stop, but I kept going.  About halfway through the run I knew I wouldn't reach my goal time, but I had to stay focused.  Thankfully there were some other competitors to chase.

I wasn't real happy with my run and lost a few age group positions because of the run.  However, I know what I need to do to get back to my sub 7min/mi pace.     


This race was well organized and competitive.  The volunteers were excellent and encouraging.  For my first longer distance triathlon I believe it was a success.  Though I didn't place in my age group it was a beneficial race as a lot of lessons were learned in doing longer events.

The 2013 schedule may not permit me to do this race next year as I plan to do Muncie Half Ironman, but I look forward to doing this race again in the future.

Train.  Race.  Repeat.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Race Report: Lytle Park Triathlon (and 5k)

On July 1, 2012 I participated in the Lytle Park Triathlon in Mattoon, IL.  I also participated in the free 5k race just before the triathlon.

It was a very good day as I finished 1st in my age group in both the 5k and the triathlon.

I knew there was going to be a free 5k, but I did not have any intention of racing in that race.  However, when I got down to the race site my competitiveness took over.  I hesitated doing the 5k but then I talked myself into it by rationalizing my decision with the fact that I usually run a 1-2 mile warm up before triathlons anyway. I knew I wouldn't race it hard, but race at a nice steady pace and see where it shakes out.


Time: 22:15
Age Group Place: 1st/12
Overall Place: 11th/108

This was my fun 5k.  No PR attempt, no give it everything I had, just a nice steady warm-up pace.  The course was flat and took you through town.  The weather was very hot and the humidity was suffocating.

I held my pace the entire distance and finished drenched in sweat, but refreshed.

Once I finished the 5k I barely had time to check the results before heading over to the pool for the triathlon.  I checked the results and realized I got first in my age group.  I was pretty excited about that so I headed over to the triathlon start already pumped up with getting at least one 1st place medal.


Swim     5:05
T1         0:56
Bike     34:50 (21.5mph avg)
T2         0:44
Run     21:19 (7:06 avg)
Total  1:02:54
Age Group Place: 1st/4
Overall Place: 8th/63

The Swim

The swim took place in the Lytle Park pool.  It is a unique pool swim as it is a lot like an open water swim with having to maneuver around buoys.  Basically, you swim in a "M" shape.

My swim went better than expected and felt really good coming out of the water.  Once out of the pool you run about 50 yards to the timing mat at transition.

Transition #1

I am still trying to get faster in T1 and it will come with more experience and practice.  I always lose a few seconds messing around with my watch.  Overall it was an average transition.

The Bike

The 12.5 mile bike route takes you out of the park, through town, and straight north of town.  At mile 6.25 you turn around and head back.  The roads were in good shape.  I also felt really good on the bike.  On the way out we had a slight tailwind which was nice to get the average up a bit.  Coming back against the headwind was really that bad and was able to hammer through it. 

I think I got passed 3 times, but I wasn't disappointed with that as I was giving it all I had.  Since this is a non USAT race with no race officials, there were some participants drafting each other that ticked me off a little because these events are not draft legal.

The volunteers did a great job stopping traffic at all intersections. 

Transition 2

I was able to dismount very quickly and run into transition #2.  I racked my bike, threw my helmet off, switched shoes, and headed out for the run.

The Run

The 3 mile run was similar to the 5k that took you through town on flat roads.  About a half mile into the run the humidity was really thick which made it hard to get a good breathing pattern, but I kept trucking.  At that same time I passed the two pansies drafting on the bike course.  It was a good motivator and mentally helped me refocus.  About 1 mile into the run I was all by myself with no one in front or behind me.  Being chased or chasing down someone always gives me that extra boost of energy, but I didn't have that until around mile 1.5 when I noticed a competitor in front of me.  I did my best to catch him, but finished about 15 yards behind him.

Overall the run was mediocre.  I wanted to be below a 7 minute average, but given the weather conditions I was happy with my time.

After I was finished I stuck around the finish line to cheer on other competitors and especially the ones that I knew.  Once they finished I headed back to the pool.  This time to cool off.


Overall it was a fun triathlon.  I did this race last year but it was a duathlon because the pool was closed.  So it was nice to do the swim portion this year and it was a much better experience. 

This year's race was a little better organized.  There was plenty of post race water, drinks, and food.  The awards ceremony was done in a timely manner. 

It was a good race day.  Anytime you can sweep your age group in two different races on the same day is pretty good.

Train.  Race.  Repeat.