Last Monday I raced the Town Lake Triathlon (Olympic Distance) for the first time. This was a great race because it was close to home. I had several team mates racing and Aimee and the boys were able to come and cheer. The course layout is decent from a spectator standpoint. You can’t really watch the swim unless you want to cross the active race course and that’s never a good idea with a stroller and 3 kids. The bike and run course are next to each other for a stretch and have a nice little stretch were you can see the start of the first and second lap of the bike as well as the end of the first run lap and the last stretch to the finish line. It’s a very hot race and it takes its toll on the run but I would still recommend this race to anyone. The course is well laid out. You couldn’t make a wrong turn if you wanted to (seriously each turn on the bike was it’s on little protected shoot) making it a very fast course.

Race Prep:

As usual and now a must do before each race I laid out all my gear on the garage floor with the exception of a few small items and took a picture of it for social media. This is the triathlon version of a pre-race selfie.

Other than that the only planned nutrition was one single serving packet of tail wind in 36 oz water bottle for the aero bars. This turned out to be adequate even though I ran out less than halfway through the second lap of the bike course. If I did it again I don’t think I would put an extra bottle because of the time lost during the fill-up. The heat was bad but it didn’t really effect me until the run.

I did do one thing different in preparation for this race since my plan was to push hard throughout. I did what I’ve been told is the Aussie carb load. I usually only do this for races such as half and full marathons but I thought I would give it a try since I wasn’t planning on having much for nutrition during a 2+ hour race.

“…researchers hypothesized that following such a workout with heavy carbohydrate intake could result in a high level of glycogen supercompensation without a lot of fuss. In an experiment, the researchers asked athletes to perform a short-duration, high-intensity workout consisting of two and a half minutes at 130 percent of VO2max (about one-mile race pace) followed by a 30-second sprint. During the next 24 hours, the athletes consumed 12 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of lean muscle mass. This resulted in a 90 percent increase in muscle glycogen storage.”

http://running.competitor.com/2014/04/nutrition/the-evolving-art-of-carbo-loading_22908

Race day:tly16dss6609

As usual I planned to be up early get dressed for the race and have time to enjoy my Cliff bar breakfast.

I like to arrive for the opening of parking at transition because I get a great parking space for after the race and I get to take my time making sure my tires are have the proper pressure, my nutrition is correct and have no line to wait in for body marking etc… I like to get my transition area setup and then do a little visualization as I walk through both T1 and T2. This give me a nice mental picture of where need to run to so that I don’t get lost going down the wrong row.

Swim:

This race was well-organized and the start was a beach start which I’ve always seen on all the YouTube videos but have never experienced in a race. The lake course had a slight dogleg to the right and the last buoy off to the left when looking from the beach. After the pro’s and the 16-25 age wave started it was time for my wave to line up for the 26-34 age groups. This means I was the old man in the group.

For this race I lined cup on the left which would be the outside of the dogleg but the inside of the swim course. This should have worked well and it did got the fist 50 yards when I was able to get out in front. The water temperature was what I would call comfortable. It wasn’t so warm that you felt like you were breaking a sweat while you swam but also not so cool that you had that cold water shock when you jumped in. After the first 50 yards I started sighting and could see several people from my wave pulling ahead of me. This is where your training and drills become important and in this case I had a good swim but blew it on swim pace. The best I can figure is that I started great and the. My nice long stroke that I’m so proud of got short and choppy between rushing, sighting and other swimmers.

tly16dss6938Just after the fist buoy I found the first set of guys from the wave ahead. I didn’t just see them is swam into them. I swam a little breast stroke to get my bearings and redirect then started up again with free style. After the third buoy I was headed for the final turn at the 4th buoy. Along this stretch I got too close to shore ant touched bottom going around another group of swimmers. After the last buoy headed for the shore I touched bottom again and had to redirect to dealer water so it didn’t become a running race. Even with this I believe I was able to lengthen back out on the second half and my swim pace back. At the finish of the swim I was 2nd in my age group and 4th or 5th in my wave with an average split time that was about 14 seconds/100yd slower than my half IRONMAN pace.

T1 was uneventful. This is a good thing. It means I didn’t get lost. I put on my helmet, glasses and race number then took of with my bike which I carried part way to keep mud off my wheels.

Bike:

Bayou City Triathlon Series 2016 Towne Lake Triathlon

As usual I forgo to do something during my morning setup. In this case it wasn’t harmful. I forgot to turn on my bike computer which I had also set so that it would not auto sleep. I turned this on as soon as I realized since this is what I now use for my speed and cadence read back and not my watch. I also got to see Aimee and the boys at the first turn.

The beginning of the bike course was through Long Star College campus and you couldn’t get a lot of speed built up because of the turns. Once I was off campus I was able to really buckle down and start pushing the pace. I averaged 23.2 mph and with a 36 oz aero bottle with tail wind mixed in I ran out of fluids about 2/3 of the way through the bike leg. This just goes to show how hot it was. Normally 24 oz last me a 20 mile morning training ride with some left over. The bike course was 2 loops with six 90 degree turns that required really slowing down.

I finished 4th in my age Group on the bike

T2 was also very unexciting. I was the first one on my rack so it was wide open. I wiped my feet with a towel to clear off some of the mud from the bike in and then slipped my shoes on with no socks and put on my visor before heading out.

Run:

tly16lrr9570The run was a 2 loop run and started out great. In the third mile I was getting passed by a constant stream of people so in my mildly delirious state I believed these were all the people I passed on the bike catching up but then as I approached the scone lap everyone was turning off to the finish and my brain panicked. What are you kidding me these were all the people who were still ahead of me and there all finishing.

This is when I heard the announcer mention that the sprinters were really moving and the first Olympic distance racer just made the last turn to the finish. That really lifted my spirits. I was less than 3 miles behind fist place who had at least a 10 minuet or more head start.

That relief was short-lived as the head really set it on the last two miles. It felt hotter than Ironman and I walked a water station to put ice down my shirt, dump water on me and drink 2 cups. I was really starting to drop off as I came up on the finish line turn off where I saw several team mates cheering and then I was into the last straight away. I picked it up for what I thought was everything I had left. Heard a few more team mates yelling something about run harder make it hurt. I high-fived my kids off to the right with Aimee cheering and suddenly found a second wind for the sprint. I must have finished with a pace well under 7 min for that last sprint. On the run leg I finished 12th in my age group. I need to get faster this is obviously where people catch up to me.

I finished 6 in the 30-35 age group and 20th overall. It was a new PR for me even with the funky swim. I was happy and worked hard. You can’t ask for more than that in a race.

Finish time 2:21:14

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