Monday, July 18, 2011

Race Result: 2011 Heart of the Lakes Triathlon (aka the Big Heat)

Event: 2011 Heart of the Lakes (non-USAT)
Date: Sunday, July 17, 2011
Location: Annandale, MN. Water temperature was 79F
Hotel: Home, sweet home
Weather: 80F at start but heat index was at 87 rising to 91 during race; sunny & clear; wind from S at 10MPH; jungle like with dew point stuck near 80.
Official Results: Long Course Overall results; Short Course Overall results

Personal Results

Goal: 1:49.50
Official Time: 02:057.311
Overall: 120th overall (383 total); 67th in Males (224 total); 11th in 50-54 AG (37 total)

Wow, was this one just ugly. There is simply no way to put lipstick on this pig.

I signed up for this one solely for the Midwest Multisports Series bonus points. The event is not USAT so there was no par score coming out of it. Add jungle like humidity and heat.....I think you can safely say I was doing this for a speed workout. Except that for the run leg, there was walking and no speed!

Just loading up the bike as I headed out at 5:30 AM was bad. The air was so heavy I could hardly breath. When this massive, tropical heat hit earlier in the week my joints must have swollen up as my lower back was hurting, the knees were hurting, the feet were hurting. OK, let's not turn this into a whine fest as a lot of people handled the heat very well. I just was not one of those.

To the personal report!

Swim - 0.5 miles

Goal: 14:40
Official Time: 15:27; 12th in AG (37 total)

The announced water temp was 79F. The elites would not be allowed to wear a wet suit. I am a crap swimmer so I elected to wear mine. I put it on about 45-mins before and Charlie Roach came over to ask me if I had already been in the water. No Charlie....just sweating from the wet suit!

I warmed up well and basically just kept in the water like I always do. I can't say I had a bad swim. A few people complained of congestion afterwards but I thought it was fine. For the first 3/4's I was sandwiched in between two other swimmers which created some moments for me when passing others as I had to push into one or the other, but it was fairly smooth sailing.

I came out of the water in 15:04 and had a little run to the timing mat.


Goal: 02:30
Official Time: 02:46

Hey Mario, when you said this had a long transition I didn't know it meant to Rochester. Wow, was that a long run. Gave me plenty of time to strip down. I had one issue getting one leg clear but was otherwise fine.

Bike - 21.0 miles

Goal: 56:00 (22.5 MPH)
Official Time: 56:41 (22.2 MPH); 12th in AG (37 total)

The first 10 miles went pretty good. Wind was basically in our favor, and I was not overheated at this point. I was hanging at 23.4 MPH average and trying for more as I knew the southerly wind would scrub speed off and I wanted to cushion so I could stay on my goal.

The next 5 miles saw so rollers and the wind start to work against me. With 5 miles to go, I was sitting at 22.6 MPH average. Legs felt fine, not as good as MinneMan, but no cramps. The other thing I noticed was that it was starting to get really stinkin' hot. I was reaching for my water bottle every other mile. I usually hardly take fluids on the bike, period.

The last 5 miles turned us into the wind. I had a mild bonk, but recovered. But I finished a little out of my goal. But I was only a little over a minute off my goal, and I had been running good all week. So, I went into T2 thinking about doing what it took to go under 1 hour, 50 minutes.


Goal: 01:20
Official Time: 01:52

Again, long run to the rack. First time at this course so plainly misjudged this goal. As I have the past several races, I paused to put on socks. Luckily, my bike rack was in the shade. I took one last swig from my water bottle and was surprised to find it drained. Then the Death March started.

Run - 5.3 miles

Goal: 35:20 (6:40 pace)
Official Time: 48:47 (9:13 pace); 14th in AG (37 total)

The run took its toll on a lot of people today. Prime example, Tony Schiller, who has won the overall title at this event a record ten times, ran 8:51 per mile pace. On the other hand, the run didn't even faze some people such as this years overall champ, Dan Hedgecock who only ran 5:23 per mile pace. Did I mention that Dan raced in Iowa the day before, winning that event by 10-minutes?

I started out fine but within the first 400-yds I was really laboring. I told myself to just relax and take it solidly through mile 1 and reassess, and repeat each mile. As I approached the very first aid station, I grabbed water and sipped, and splashed. I never take water on any run under 13.1 miles. I knew I was in trouble.

This course has little shade. So there we were, out in the open, hot wind at our backs in a heat index that had to of been over 90F and I still had 4.3 miles to go. I hit the back stretch and.....walked. At the next aid station they were handing out wet, cool sponges. It was as if someone had just given me gold. I felt a bit better and started a slow trot.

Along the back stretch, I started to walk/run alternating between telephone poles. I would walk between one set of poles and then trot two. And repeat. I'd hit an aid station and double fist on water. People were passing me left and right and I didn't give a damn. It was funny, as other people had hit on the walk-run cycle as well. So ultimately, they'd pass me and I'd pass 'em back during their walking phase.

I think if I had pushed it, I would have been seeing someone in the ambulance afterwards. At times, I was very lightheaded. Sometimes, I get chilled. But the legs never gave out from under me. I just knew mentally that I could not push any harder or I'd put myself into danger.

It's just hard to accept that this day was not to be for me. But by playing it smart, I at least gave myself the chance to race again and make up for it at another race. And the next multisport race will be the Turtleman Du. I just hope to bring something special to the table that day. One should never gloat on great results or be overly sad on poor ones. Fate has a way of balancing things out.

Next Event:

Jul 30 - Lindenwood 10K; Fargo, NoDak - Age Graded running event! Age grading is a way of putting all race participants on a level playing field, regardless of age or gender. Age-graded scores let you compare your race times to those of different runners, as well as to the standard for your age and gender. An age graded calculator is used to determine an overall score.

Age-graded information allows you to adjust your performance to what it theoretically would have been during your prime running years (your 20's and a portion of your 30's depending on the race distance). Judge your performance, using an achievement percentile, without bias for gender or the aging process (in other words, you are measured against a specific standard for your age and sex). These percentiles can be interpreted as follows:

Over 90% --- World Class
Over 80% --- National Class
Over 70% --- Regional Class
Over 60% --- Local Class

Compare your performances for a specific race distance at various ages to determine which was your "best race". For example, as a 49 year old male my age-graded information for a 5K time of 18:48 came out to 76.666. That equates to a time of 16:55 that the calculator is saying I would have run in my prime. That's a pretty accurate reflection as I ran a 16:30 at the age of 28. The 76.666 equates to Regional Class. Neat, huh? That's about right for me. I would never get National class (80%+), certainly never World Class (90%+). But I've always have been somewhere in the podium mix regionally.

In any event, I wanted to share the calculator and logic with you. You can play with your times and see how you would rank. Then you just have to find an event that is age-graded and you can see how you do.

1 comment:

Christopher Hawes said...

Ugh, I was so glad that I raced on Sat morning and not Sun morning. At least you gave it a go. Somedays it just doesn't work out. See you at Turtleman