Monday, September 3, 2012

Race Result: 2012 Hy-Vee Iron Kids National Championship

Event: 2012 Hy-Vee Iron Kids National Championship (USAT)
Date: Saturday, September 1, 2012
Location: Des Moines, IA
Weather: 74F, overcast. humid
Official Results: Male 12 years old Overall Results
Podium Boy's Personal Results Actual: 55:00 for 300 yd swim, 8 mile bike, 2 mile run
Overall: 29th in 12 yo AG (51 total)

Podium Boy the morning of against the back drop of Ntls
And another summer ends. A bad one for me, as I could not race due to the tibial stress fracture. A great one for Podium Boy in doing very well in his first full season of the sport, culminating with earning a trip to Iron Kids Nationals.

Only, he had a bad race by his standards. We'll dwell on this a bit during the race post mortem, but then we are just tossing it away. Lesson learned, stiff upper lip, everyone has a bad race now and then.

Podium Boy was really having great work outs leading into the event. Since we were on vacation the week prior, he and I spent the days tapering and getting in speed. His bikes were in the upper 17 MPH range with out putting forth a race effort. He was running sub 7 minute miles in his XC meets. And he was obliterating me in the pool.

Lining up for the swim

Mentally for him, I backed off on making this a very important race for him. Instead I pitched a 'just enjoy it, learn from it, and we'll do even better next year as you'll know the course' mantra. If he was nervous, he didn't show it. We worked on the things to do in each of the five (swim, T1, bike, T2, run) elements as we have all year. I was pretty sure he was going to have his best race of the year.

Almost Go Time
So, lets get into the breakdown.

Swim - 300 yards (lake swim)

Official Time - 4:57 (water temp was 78.8 F); 18th in AG (51 total)

I can sum it up thusly: Best open water swim he has ever had. He nailed it. I wanted sub 5 minutes and he delivered. He stayed right on the buoys and did not stray too far wide. He sighted superbly. When he exited the water I thought he was really going to have a great day.

In the video link above, you will see Podium Boy turn the yellow buoy at 0:45 mark. Those who know his stroke will easily pick him up. At 1:24, you will notice a women in pink. That is 8 time Kona winner Paula Newby-Fraser who was chipping the swimmers all morning. How awesome was that!?!?

Exiting the water at Nationals

Official Time - 2:01; 32 in AG (51 total)

One of the bad things about this event was lack of viewing space for the parents. Granted there were over 1000 athletes so well over 2000 parents watching. For safety sake, they really restricted where you could go. Basically we saw the swim...then nothing as we could not view in transition because of the layout....then watch them leave on the bike and wait for them to return and head into T2 then wait for them to finish.

So, I have no clue how well he did in T1. His time suggest he may have struggled with shoes or helmet or even finding his bike in the sea of bikes. His transitions are better than mine so I have no worries here.

Bike - 8 miles
Official Time - 31:24; 36th in AG (51 total); a butt ugly 15.3 MPH average
From what I can gather, the course was fairly flat. It was a bit windy and they had the wind at their backs going out and then into it on the return. Podium Boy raced at 17.3 MPH in his previous event the week before. And was easily approaching an avg of 18 MPH in the week leading up. He was even starting to make me work on the bike! So what the hell happened? I think two things.

One, he witnessed a crash about half-way out. I believe it is the same spot as a leading contender for AG Elite Nationals crashed at the very next day. I think this shook him up a bit having not witnessed a person taking a hard crash on the bike before.

Two, this was not some back-yard event where wannabes were amongst the top dogs. This was a field of very good athletes. Based on some conversation, he could not believe the speed of some of the bikers. And after getting passed and passed and passed had his mental game affected.

Going in, I had been thinking he should go under 28 minutes pretty easily, so when the watch showed 30 minutes expired on the bike I was just hoping he had not crashed or had a flat. But he did come in eventually.


Official Time - 1:02; 23rd in AG (51 total)

Again, have no idea as I could not see him in T2 or exiting to the run.

Run - 2 miles
Official Time - 15:39- 7:49 per mile pace; 27th in AG (51 total)

This from a kid who ran 13:20 for 2-miles the week before. Yes, each course is different and one can be short or long but he has been running consistently in the 6:40-:45pace per mile range all summer. I learned afterwards that he had developed a bad side stitch on the right side and he was unable to work it out. He has had a history of these and I thought we had worked it out by doing side stretches and a set of fast striders prior to each race. Or maybe he knew he was slow off the bike and worked himself into a lather and stressed himself out. We'll never know. In the video below, I could already tell he was way off pace when I saw him approach.

Watch him bust his next XC race.

The Finish

It is so cool how they treat Iron Kids just like the adults. They really do the finish in style and it is certainly something the kids will remember. In the video below, you will see him holding his right side as he crosses the line. So I know the side ache was real.

I was able to greet him afterwards. He was already sort of near tears but kept it in check. I asked about the race, learned about the side ache and we just left it there. I'm not the kind of Dad who will gush about a great performance if the performance was not what he and I had talked about, trained at, and hoped for. I don't believe in the whole concept of an award for just showing up and that "no one is a loser". That is not real life. So, if I seem harsh, it is because I'm doing my job to set him up for the cold hard reality of the dog-eat-dog world he will face once he is on his own.

He and I had a great summer training together. Yeah, I had to bike with him when he ran but it was a great Dad-son and Coach-Athlete relationship. He learned a lot and he made significant strides. I know he listened because of his results and how he conducted himself.

What's next for Podium Boy? A full season of boys cross country (Wayzata team) followed by a winter of swim team (Lifetime Bears). During Christmas break, I'll be setting up his bike on the trainer and start him on a indoor cycling program to get ready for some early spring events such as a du or two. I'm pretty sure I will be throwing him into a few, small, big boy races next year which will also help him in his Iron Kids events.


1 comment:

Mario said...

Great Experience all the same!