Saturday, December 3, 2011

... and that's the way it was

I like race days. It's new and familiar at every start line. It's new because I get to see where my progress takes me and it's familiar because every start feels about the same for me. What is that feeling? Nervous tension or potential energy converted into a burst of freedom giving kinetic energy.

The 400m swim went pretty well. I was not at my fastest due to traffic in the pool ... but I was at my most comfortable ever at the end of a 400m pool melee. 8:55. That is a 2:13 per 100m pace which is my second fastest 100m average time to date. The thing is, I felt so strong in the water I actually wanted to swim more. Not today Bryonman. Save it for later. It is time to get on the bike.

The bike. It was cold to start. On the first lap I think I was struggling to get my breathing under control. The 55 degree misty weather felt good except on my knees and hips. I did the first 5 mile loop in about 12:30. On the second lap, things started firing. Okay, here we go. I did the second lap in about 11:55. I was showing 24:25 on my bike computer for the 10.25 miles. I have more in the tank. Lap three was even faster. On the tiny little hill that there is on the course I was RIPPING up the incline at nearly 20mph, I passed 4 cyclists just before a 90 degree right turn and started down the 33-35mph section of the course. POW! - What was that? Oh nothing just keep ... crap. I felt the WHOLE road - every little pebble because I was riding on the rim on the back tire. Well - that's it for the day. I pull off and practice a frantic but controlled tube change. A few minutes later I was back on the road. I was only about 3 miles from the run transition. I hoped my quick repair would hold. It was cool enough today that my CO2 containers were not flowing very freely so I did not get much air out of the canister. I flew down the back stretch well over 30 mph - passing the bulk of the cyclists in the area because I was no longer at the front of the pack with the faster riders. Then I start feeling shaky and unstable on the bike with each pedal stroke. It can't be! A flat on the front too ... and in a turn? Really? I slide outside the cones and into the car lane. I managed to unclip and keep the bike from going down completely. I figured I did not have another spare tube. I was wrong! I had packed two tubes for my recent assault on the Tour of Tucson and they were still in my pack! The front was a lot quicker change because I had just changed a flat - oh about 2 and a half minutes ago. I mount the bike again and pass a ton of bikes to finish up hard. 44:27 ... so I believe my two flats cost me at least 8 minutes and maybe more. Seriously, I was flying today. I felt good on the bike. I started thinking during transition how I was going to blog about this. Then I remembered that I still had to finish the race.

The run was not the best but not the worst either. The truth is that the course has quite a sustained and annoying uphill at about the midway point that lasts almost to the finish. The run was 23:23 (You are welcome Michael Jordan). That is a 7:32 pace. I admit that I did not go 100% because I knew it was a better decision to run this 5K in preparation for my next few weeks of training ... sustaining a pace at a lower heart rate.

My total time: 1:16:45. 5th place in my age group. I firmly believe I would have won the age group today and that my final time would have been down around my goal of 1:05.

I am proud of this race. I am not all that peeved about the result. I learned a ton about my ability to focus under less than ideal circumstances. I also put it in perspective ... even during the race. "Hey, Bryonman you held it together and escaped the race without injury", I said to myself on the 5K. I passed four runners that were 15 years younger than me right at the end of the race on a dead sprint.

Big training weeks ahead. The focus is now on longer distances and more controlled heart rates. I am sharpening my swords. I am ready to work.

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