Monday, August 27, 2012

Rochester Triathlon 2012: Loop De Loop

Ready for a race recap?  LET'S DO IT!
Rochester Triathlon 2012
As you know, this was the first time either the hubs or I did this race-we approached it, in tune with our season, as a "funsies" race.  I wanted to go under 3 hours if I could (somehow, that's my "litmus" for an Olympic), but had no illusions of breaking my 2:50 PR). 
We set our alarms for 5am the day of, down pancakes (him) and peanut butter toast and fruit (her) and made the 30 minute trek to Durand Eastman Park (god bless local races!).  Upon unloading the car, we realized we forgot our bike pump (packing fail #1).  Luckily, Matt Kellman owns everything in the world, including the hubs special bike attachment for tire pumping, so we were saved.  As I unpacked my transition and set up, I realized I forgot my foam inserts for my aquacell (packing fail #2) and my orthotics (packing fail #3).  Ugh, lame.  I electrical taped my straws in my hydration system and shrugged my shoulders on the shoe fail....whatcha gonna do.  Said hello to a bunch of friendly faces (turns out local pro Jennie Hansen was racing, along with super fast Karin Kellman and Kathleen on!  Just kidding.  I have no prayer of touching any of these women :-P)  At 7:15, we left transition, connected with our dads, and headed out to the water to warm up. 
The RD gave an awesome pre-race talk, the national anthem was sung (and signed) and we lined up to go!  I was in wave #2 of 6 waves, with all the Olympic women.  All 23 of us.  Wow. 
Swim:  35:27....not 1500 meters :-P
Since there were two races, the swim and bike were divided into loops.  The swim was either one loop (sprint) or two loops (olympic).  The water was 73 degrees, calm, and beautiful.  Which may be why the RD thought a nice long course would be good :-P  I exited out of loop 1 at 17:15, freaked out, then dolphin doved into loop 2 (there was a pretty wicked sandbar, but short of dredging the lake, what can you do about that? No biggie).  The swim was pretty uneventful.  I swam alone for 99% of it...the men went off before we did and the next wave was 20 minutes back.  I'm not fast, I'm not slow (in the scheme of the women) so I swam alone.  I exited the water in 35:27, and with a short run uphill into T1, entered into T1 at 36:xx.  I know it's pretty standard to call a course "long" in terms of why you were "slow", but the guy that came in 2nd place OA had his garmin and it clocked 1800 out of the swim.  And I would think he was a pretty good sighter, so I'm gonna go with a course that was 250ish long.  That seems about right, usually I swim an Oly at about 30 minutes.

Bike: 1:23:12, 25.2 miles, 18.1 mph
The bike was 2 loops (sprint) and 4 loops (olympic).  The 10k loop was half closed to traffic, and had one significant hill right in the beginning.  This wasn't too bad (except on loops 3 and 4 :-P)  Once you got to about 5k and turned the 2nd turn, you flew.  It was a bit turny and technical, but this was easily my favorite part of the course.  I only got passed by one women (the winner!) and passed a decent amount of people doing the Olympic race.  The only problem with the bike course was that loops 2 and 3 were super congested when the sprinters were out...quite a few were new racers (which is awesome!) but they lacked the knowledge of the USAT rules as a whole.  There was quite alot of blocking, drafting, and wobbly riding.  I'm not the strongest rider out there, but you did have to be aware.  Another unfortunate side effect of the loops was that....I'm pretty sure there were a few people that opted not to do all the loops.  But I suppose you get that in any race, so what can you really do about it.  All you can control is you :-)  It wasn't my fastest bike, but it was pretty legit for me-much better than that mess that is the Keuka bike course!   Off the bike at 2:01:xx and ready to run!

Run: 58:33, 6.25 miles, 9:21 pace
Did I say I was ready?  Oh, just kidding.  Now normally I can pull my $hit together on this disclipline and save a bad race.  After exiting T2 in 2:03:xx, I knew I had to pull a 8:15 pace for a sub 2:55, and a 9 minute pace (ish) for a sub 3.  I pretty much knew that my A goal wasn't happening, and that was okay with me.  So I set out to do what I could.  My foot started giving me hell about 5 minutes in, but I kept a pretty decent 5 minute, 30 second walk strategy. Saw my awesome friend Stephanie, looking strong on her relay run leg (yay!) and a bunch of my "big contenders" (lol).
Strike #1:  no mile markers.  There were km markers every 2 km, but in my addled brain, I couldn't really remember how far a km was.  The course was rolling, no big up or downhills....until we passed the 5k turn around...and the curve in the trail revealed....a really big hill.  With no end in sight.  Seriously, this sucker started before 3km and ended at almost the 4km mark so.....more than a half mile of significant uphill.  This killed my pace and....shot my confidence (damned mental skills).  After the uphill, we curved right into a residential neighborhood, did two out and backs (one with a major hill up and back) curved around, got to go down the hill from hell, and brought it in.  The run course was beautiful, but Placid tough.  I'm not sure they could change it, I just underestimated it!  The volunteers were great for this part in particular, encouraging us and cracking jokes.  The only downfalls that I would change:  mile amrkers, and one more water station (there
were water stations at 2km, 4km and 8km, but the 4kms without one in the 90 degree heat were pretty brutal).  Needless to say, I did NOT make my run goal, but gave it all I had and finished just over 3:01, good for an AG win and 5th overall.  I'll take it, considering #1 went to Jennie (who chicked all the boys for an OA win, you go girl!) and #2 went to a local that wins Sodus every year :-P)  The times were a bit slower than normal, which made me feel pretty legit, even if I missed my goals.

Overall Impressions
I would really recommend this race.  The thoughtful touches were everywhere....we each got a pint glass for finishing, the awards were cool, they had people serving fresh fruit post race-awesome.  Support was great, the volunteers rocked, and the race announcer was energetic and fun (yeah, I know all these people, but they rock regardless :-)).  The price was righ ($65 for Olympic).  It's not a race to PR in (why can't I seem to find my perfect race ??)  The swim would be better if it was the correct length, and you can push it on the bike, but the Olympic run was pretty unforgiving (and I'm a runner!)  I think I could have pushed it about 5 minutes harder overall, mostly on the run, but my foot, heat, and (okay, I'll admit it) fight were just not where they needed to be to do that.  And that happens.
A big shout out to all the RAT's for a great event-we'll be back next year!

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