Perpetual motion

Can't stop learning…

Chin up, cheer up

I signed up for the Kinetic Half a little over a month ago, thinking it would be a decent test of my early season fitness and a good way to end the first half of my season before going on a break for a week of golf. The last month of training had been somewhat up and down: a 10 mile run where I battled very tired legs and some side stitches (hadn’t had those in years) followed by a 26W increase in FTP. But the overriding, overarching feeling from at least the past month was that there was very little pop in my legs. I should have said something, should have taken some time off (more than a day or two) to recover. But being who I am, knowing how easily I can give up when something gets hard, I didn’t. I went into the race thinking right around 5h would be probably best case, but more likely was a 5:15-5:20 time.

The drive down to Lake Anna from the DC area, on a Friday afternoon, is hellish. It took me a little more than 2 hours to go the first 30 miles. Once I got that far, it took me just under an hour to go the next 50 miles. Checked in with just minutes to spare, got my campsite, set up my tent, and headed to dinner with a couple of athletes from Williamsburg who had kindly invited me along. Got back and slept fitfully for the night: got a bit of rain, but the tent kept the rain and wind out.

Woke up at 4:00AM, started getting ready, and made one of the stupider decisions on the day. I decided to go with a new tri suit, and decided that I wasn’t sure how see-through it was, so threw on some jammers underneath. That in itself, I guess, is ok, except that I had a pair of tri shorts that I knew worked well and a backup jersey as well. I should have just used that, but didn’t.

Got to transition, and got set up pretty early on. A USAT official came over, made a comment about the goat sticker on my aero helmet, and then asked to see the certification. I was fine with that, as my helmet is CPSC certified and hasn’t lost the sticker yet. Then another official (I think the head official) came over and asked to see the sticker as well. Turns out some Euro pros had been stamping their non-compliant helmets with forged stickers (or stickers taken off of legal helmets) to get them past the officials. Didn’t bother me, as I had a backup helmet in case something weird made my helmet non-compliant (like the goat sticker). About 15 minutes before the race started, I felt the call of nature, and headed to the bathroom, where there were only 3 stalls and a line of 12 guys. Turns out one of the stalls was also out of TP. Got my business done, put on my wetsuit and got to the start. Not really nervous, but not really psyched either. I wasn’t feeling it.

The swim was not really pleasant for me. I never really got a groove, or a draft. Didn’t sight well, and got my arm got in one of the bouys at the turn on the first lap. On the run between laps, my chest felt very tight. Got into the second lap, and again it was very uneventful, just with severe difficulty in sighting. Time, I think, to get new goggles that aren’t as dark. Time: 32:07 (1:31/100y) – pretty much on pace with my relaxed 2K TTs.

T1 was pretty quick, except running down the wrong bike aisle. Fortunately, I was located on the opposite end of the bike rows from the swim entrance so the total added running was maybe 20 feet. Got my bike, my helmet, turned on my Garmin and PT, and headed to the mount line. Time: 2:35.

The bike. Oh. The bike. This is where I knew things were going horribly awry. Started off feeling pretty good, spinning up the hill in my compact ring. For about the first 30 minutes, I felt great, but then I felt both glutes tightening up. I can’t tell you how many times I though about getting off my bike, going into the woods, taking off my suit, my jammers, and then putting the suit back on. But I didn’t. Anyhow, I would look at my average power and just saw it start to decline. Instead of being able to sustain 200W (about .78IF), I wasn’t even able to sustain 190W. I just tried to stay as aero as possible and take advantage of any free speed I had built into my fit. Other than the glutes, I think this was the longest I’ve felt comfortable in the aero position. Just pissed that the clothing choice affected my mind so much. I’m not even sure if that caused all the physical problems I had today, but it sure as hell took my mind out of the game. And that’s a huge deal. By the last part of the second and final lap, I was thinking there was no way I could run the entire run. Bike time: 2:47.47

T2: Total uneventful. Time: 1:35. Oh, I should say it was uneventful bit for the fact that my bike no long fit under the rack so I had to tilt it sideways.

The run (if I can call it that): The run actually started off pretty well, but already my mind was out of it, already making deals with myself like: it’s not ok to walk until the 5th mile. When my mind starts negotiating with itself, I’m screwed. I suppose it’s also a downfall of not seeing the course – I knew there was a big big hill at the start of the run (and every lap thereafter), but beyond that I just didn’t know what the course had in store. So I got through the first two miles, running well, and then there’s a decent enough climb after two miles to make me think there’s just no way I can hold on as the day goes by (I know how much a half mary usually tends to hurt, and I wasn’t looking forward to it). The run is pretty flat until the last half mile of the lap (including a rather disastrous/brain fart stop in teh bathroom), when it’s a steep downhill to the lap/start/finish line. Got into lap 2 (mile 5) and started noticing that my back was starting to tighten up. Not so much my lower back or upper back, but more like my lats. Started walking and running, and noticed that every time I walked, my back tightened up more and started making running more and more painful. Kept trying to run, but I was just in a lot of pain. Talked myself out of quitting after the second lap, and run/walked my way around the course for the third lap.
Total run time: 2:07 and change.

Total time: 5:31:45 9/19 AG, 82/283 Men

To say I was disappointed with the race is pretty accurate. It may seem odd to complain about a 5:30 time when this I could consider myself fortunate for being able to compete, happy to be alive, etc. Obviously, it was not my day, but I know I could have done better, should have performed better. I made a bunch of stupid decisions that really didn’t help my race out, but I think I’ve learned from those experiences. I’m still curious as to why my legs felt so run down, but I’m guessing I could do a better job with regards to nutrition during training (real shocker there).

Next race is June 21. An Oly in DC. Nice to race near home. Should hopefully be able to turn in a good time (sub-2:20).

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