Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Race Result: 2011 Sartell Apple Duathlon

Event: 29th Annual Sartell Apple Duathlon
Date: Saturday, May 28, 2011
Location: Sartell, MN
Hotel: Home, sweet home
Weather: 54F; sunny; wind from SSW at 8-10MPH
Official Results: Overall results

Personal Results
Official Time: 1:40.46
Overall: 36th overall (226 total); 27th in AG Males (146 total); 1st in 50-54 AG* (12 total)
* - Tri-geek God Charlie Roach won the AG, but since he won the Masters divisions was relegated from the AG awards

I woke up at 4AM Saturday morning to the sound of rain. But that soon cleared and the day turned out to be perfect for this edition of the Apple Du. The feared wind never really materialized so it did not factor in. The weather was there for people to blow away some fast times.

Dan Hedgecock, of St. Paul, did just that. Sporting his Gear West race kit, Dan won by nearly four minutes over Brooks Grossinger. With a opening 5K of 15:47, a 20.5 mi bike that averaged 25.6 MPH, and a closing 5K of 16:50 one can immediately see the domination. Dan probably will be favored heading into the Pigman Sprint event next weekend in Iowa.

Just as impressive was Suzie Finger winning on the ladies side. Suzie's margin of victory over Julie Hull was a little less than one minute using splits of 19:57 (5K), 22.1 avg on the bike, and 21:47 for the final 5K.

The performance of the day amongst us mortal age groupers easily fell to Charlie Roach (54) who took 10th overall and won the men's 50-54 age bracket by eight minutes over some also-ran named Brian Maas. OK, we know I'm not an also-ran which makes his performance that much more impressive. Roach opened with a 17:40 5K (5:42 pace), averaged 22.7 MPH on the bike, and closed with a 18:48 5K. Congrats to Charlie and it was great to see and speak with you again!

Time for the personal report.

On race day I was a full 12-weeks removed from the pelvic stress fracture. I had run a total of 19 miles in the 10-days leading up to this event. All smallish stuff of 2-3 miles. The most it seemed I could coax out of the body was 7:30 per mile pace. I was not too confident heading into this event. I decided to attempt it anyway, and just take it easy and use it as a speed workout and just use the event as a building block to late summer/early fall events.

I got to the event early and set up next to Chris Hawes. Chris is another multi-sport blogger and also fellow Gear West dude. It helps to calm ones nerves if you can chat with some people before the gun goes off. So, thanks Chris for allowing me to chat!

I don't know what it is, but when it gets close to gun-time the old mind kicks into another mode. Sort of Neanderthalish. I get focused, the adrenaline starts to pump and then no matter the condition of the body I am somehow able to coax out a better than expected performance most of the time. I suppose I've been doing this for so long that the bodies 'remembers' the race speed and the mind says to the body, "Hey, I've got this."

1st Run - 5K

Goal: 22:28 (7:15 per mile)
Official Time: 19:27 (6:16 per mile); 2nd in AG

What can I say? I lined up with Charlie and we just 'went'. The interesting thing about Apple is that there is a HUGE hill you have to climb right away. Probably 1/2-mile long. As I watch Charlie sail away, I'm glancing at my watch and its reading 5:15 and I'm freaking out. No way I can maintain that so I step into an easy glide and glance at my watch and its reading 5:45. And we're still climbing.

There are no mile markers at Apple so I believe I went thru the first mile under 6 minutes. After that it seemed that I was hovering around 6:07 to 6:20 pace the rest of the way in. I really eased up about a half-mile before T1 as I know I'm not in the sort of conditioning yet to maintain this sort of pace.

For the first run I used my new Mizuno Wave Universe 3's. All 3.7 ounces of them. I have practiced in them a few times now but this was my first race in them. They worked super. I felt like I was running barefoot.

The downside is that two days removed from the du and my legs still feel beat up. Especially in the lower calf areas. This could be to the fact that the shoes are so minimal. On the other hand, it is not like I've been doing any intervals or speed work. My legs feel like I've just begun running again. All the same aches in all the same places when a person just starts to ramp up their miles and then has a hard race.

I think I will eventually come to like love the shoes. I'm not sure I would use them in any event over a 10K, though.


Goal: 0:50
Official Time: 01:09

I've not done this event since 1991 and its changed a lot since then. So I was simply guessing on my T1 time. I was really thirsty so I took a few seconds to take a good swig from the bike bottle before I grabbed the bike. As I exited, I heard Jerry MacNeil of MN Tri News explaining to the crowd that I was coming back from a fracture. That was a little incentive for me to have a good race after that.

Bike - 20.5 miles

Goal: 54:40 (22.5 MPH)
Official Time: 56:38 (21:7 MPH); 3rd in AG

Again, I was going into this event blind as I wasn't sure of what the course looked like. I did review the course video at the race website but one can't really get a feel for the hills from a video. Let me tell you, this course has some elevation:

Apple Complete Course Elevation
For me to take on a hilly course and be only 1 MPH average behind a person like Charlie Roach, I'll take that any day. A-n-y day. Because we all know how much I hate climbing. Maybe I'm getting better at it?

I felt really good through 12 miles and then the familiar calf twinges started in which was my signal to expect some calf related cramping. Sure enough, a few miles later and one calf locked up harder than granite. I had to back way off my pace, get it under control, and get the speed back up. Then the other seized up. So for about four to five miles I was dealing with this issue. A couple of minutes basically coasting along on the bike, trying to knead out these cramps followed by intervals of spinning like crazy to get caught up. Shampoo, rinse, repeat. But I expected this. Being out from running for 12-weeks, biking for 6 weeks, and then asking the body to perform as if nothing happened is too much to ask. That's why I'm trying to fit in more June/July events...to get back into racing fitness.

Had it not been for the cramps, I'm pretty sure I could have gotten it over 22 MPH average for the day. But I'm not crying over it. And despite the hills and multiple tight-tight turns, I did enjoy the course.


Goal: 0:50
Official Time: 01:31

This was bad. Right before I got to T2 the left calf cramped up again. I struggled to get off my bike and then hobbled to the rack. Immediately the left calf cramped up even more as if to say, "Listen Homey. I'm done and I ain't gonna run that second 5K." I was yelling the pain was so bad. More than one head turned my way. I managed to get the shoes on and started to hobble out with Jerry saying something about, "Brian is a walking pharmacy today."

Note - Dr. John Post recently wrote a nice blog entry on calf strains.

Run - 5K

Goal: 24:01 (7:45 pace)
Official Time: 22:03 (7:06 pace); 2nd in AG

Usually, I hate it whenever my pace exceeds 7 minutes per mile in any race. Today I would have taken 9 minutes per mile. But as I'm climbing that damn hill leading out of T2 on the second 5K I glance at my watch. I am expecting to see something like 8:45 per mile as I'm really hurting. I've dressed too warm (went with long sleeved Under Armor under my kit) and I'm overheating. My legs are cramping up. And I'm feeling like I will end up walking.

The watch is saying 7:03. Christ.

I crest the hill and just relax and get into a rhythm of picking people off. My mind is simply saying, "Relax, relax, relax" over and over. I think about stopping at the last aid station for some water but I brush it off, not wanting to lose any valuable seconds. I know Charlie is in front of me. I don't recall anyone in my AG passing me at any point (ages were marked on our legs) but I don't want to have to sprint for a podium spot. To even be thinking about a podium is blowing my mind. I've worked too hard this race to lose out last minute.

For the second run, I had brought along the ol' reliable Luna's. As mentioned earlier, I had opened with the Mizuno's and now my legs were hash. So I grabbed the Luna's and put them on for the second run and hoped that the ripped sides would hold for yet another 5K.

The super thin sides of the Luna's showing their age after nearly 300 race mile.

With about 400-yards to go the body is shutting down. I am sure I look like shit as I approach the finish line. I appreciated the 17-year old telling me to, "C'mon, finish strong" as he passes me. But then he doesn't realize I also just beat him by seven minutes as the race had wave starts. Jerry is saying something about, "And he has every right to look beat up today."

And it is over.

Garmin Course Review

Afterwards, I sought out a massage for the calves. I'd like to thank the folks at Williams Integracare for kneading out those legs. They felt so much better afterwards.

Apple gives away some ├╝ber cool awards. These awards are made from granite, are really heavy, and will look nice on the mantel.

1st place AG award from Apple Du
Acquaintances Renewed

Always good to see familiar faces at the events. Just as much fun as the race itself. Those not already mentioned:
  • Bill Nevala - Rochester native, former race director and fellow tri-geek.
Acquaintances Made
  • Joe and Ann Moyer - Rochester natives and elite tri-geeks. 'Super' Mario Minelli had told me that Joe suffered a stress fracture in his femur. So Joe was on crutches at this event to cheer on his wife. In talking with Joe after the event, he will have a 12-18 week recovery time.
  • Wendy Nevala - Wife of Bill, Wendy had a great bike ride. She had the 5th overall fastest bike split of the day amongst 68 non-elite females. In fact, her bike split bettered three of the elite girls!
Next Event:

If I can recover in time (body feeling beat up day after Apple), I'll be at the Pigman Sprint Triathlon near Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Sunday (June 5). A 0.5K swim, 25K bike, 5K run triathlon which will be my first USAT sanctioned event of 2011. I have zero hopes of a podium finish here. The top four people in the 50-54 AG all return from 2010 and they are all fast. Plus, there are currently 41 people signed up within this AG so you know there will be plenty of additional fast people in there. I would be happy with a top 10, to be honest. I should know if I will be able to make the trip by Thursday evening/Friday morning. Just have to coax the legs into a speedy recovery. This is going to be a two massage week with my personal masseuse at Massage Envy with massages on Monday and Thursday scheduled.

And what does one do when they are sore and doubtful of recovery in time for the next race? Sign up for more races! I just added the Manitou Sprint Triathlon (White Bear Lake, MN) and Lake Waconia Triathlon (Waconia, MN) to my 2011 calendar (all my 2011 results, races, and tentative calendar can be seen on the right navigation area). My next few weeks look busy:

Sunday, Jun 5 (signed up) - Pigman Sprint Triathlon; Cedar Rapids, IA (USAT) - Swim .5K, Bike 25K, Run 5K

Sunday, Jun 12 (signed up) - 22nd Manitou Sprint 0.5mi Swim, 13.5mi Bike, 3mi Run

Saturday, Jun 18 - Bismarck Sprint Triathlon 500m Swim, 20k Bike, 5k Run. Bismarck is currently under severe flooding so whether this event takes place or not is up in the air.

Sunday, Jun 26 (signed up) - Lake Waconia Tri (USAT) 0.5mi swim, 20mi bike, 4mi run

Saturday, Jul 2 (signed up) - Minneman Triathlon; Oak Grove, MN (USAT) - 0.3 Mile Swim, 13mi bike, 3 mi run


Mario said...

Excellent job at the APPLE! Gotta feel good with a top AG finish in your return-to-the-game race.

Christopher Hawes said...

Congratulations and great job. Good luck at Pigman and Manitou. Enjoy them both. Good to see you back in action.

Adam Beston said...

That is a badass trophy. If I ever become a teacher that race becomes my A-race (and I plan on being a teacher someday)

bwheat said...

Awesome job! Looks like you have recovered well!