Sunday, June 21, 2009


6 AM Sunday morning - Father's Day. Yesterday was kind of a crazy day. I raced, had to stick around for the awards, when I got home the kids went to separate birthday parties so A and I went out for lunch, then a nap, then dinner at a friend's house for MS's birthday. But, here are the race highlights - 1:14:58 - 3rd in age group (40-44), 35th overall out of 457, 33rd male out of 260. Now for some details.

I am very surprised by my results. First of all, this is my second triathlon season (although it feels like I have been doing it much longer) and my fourth triathlon ever. We have a pretty good triathlon community in the Twin Cities metro area (read: competitive and fast) so I would never think I would be that competitive especially in my age group, which seems to have a lot of good racers. 

OK so here is how it went down. I woke up way too early. I always do the morning of a race. I had packed all my stuff the night before and mixed up all my little potions and drinks so I had very little to do. The race started at 7:30, I had to pick up MS at 5:30 and it would take about half an hour to get to the race after packing up. As I sat in my dark house, eating my breakfast, I kept thinking I was forgetting something, but I didn't (who doesn't think that, right?)

I picked up MS right on time and we got to transition without any trouble - found a close parking spot - all was right with the world. Transition was wide open so we had a good choice of spots. I laid out all my stuff - nothing missing, thank goodness. (Let me stop for a minute, I must sound completely OCD, like I have to keep checking to make sure I have my helmet, did I forget my helmet, I have to touch my helmet 12 times and then my running shoes, but if I accidently touch my running shoes before my helmet for the 12th time I have to start over and I have to touch the right running shoe before the left and only the toe, not the laces, did I forget my helmet - how many times had I touched my helmet - damn, now I have to go back home and start all over. That is not me! Missing stuff is not debilitating for me, I don't know why I keep mentioning it. 9, 10, 11, 12 - whew done!)

Here is where the fun starts. I put my shoes on my pedals and then rubber banded them in place. I have never raced in these bike shoes and I have never rubber banded my shoes in place. MS thought it was a good idea so she did the same. Everything in its place, check, check and quadruple check. Time to get dressed. I again struggled with my shirt. Some guy actually cheered for me when I finally got it on.

I milled around anxiously and finally decided to go for my warm up swim. (Someone's got to be first, right?) I had forgotten about our open water swim the Thursday before so this would be the first time in my wetsuit since last season. (I did actually forget about the swim - it was after the kid's soccer games and there was some drama and a DQ run and all of the sudden it was an hour after swim time - sorry.) The water was not nearly as cold as I thought it would be and a wetsuit wasn't even necessary, but they were legal and I would be a fool to decline free flotation. The warm up went well, I swam to the first buoy and back, and got all the kinks worked out. Let's just jump to the start.

The swim went great - I was in the third wave behind the elite wave and the relay and "youngster?" wave. We went off in 5 minute intervals. I lined up way to the left so I could avoid a scrum and have a good angle to the first buoy. The sprint to that first buoy was me and one other guy. He was heading straight and I could see us converging. He got to the turn just ahead of me and I hopped on his feet. We ran into some traffic from the previous waves and I lost him, but I was kicking butt. It felt great. I was maybe a little long as I didn't swim the straightest line, but nothing major. We caught the previous wave and actually some of the elite wave. I may have been a little off course because I kept sighting on orange swim caps rather than the HUGE orange buoys. I's not real brite.

Half mile swim in 10:24 (I think that is about 1:11 100's, but DO NOT trust my math on any of this.) I certainly feel like I could have maintained this pace - that will be good for the upcoming Olympic and HIM.

Trotted into T1 and found my bike no problem - wetsuit off with no drama - helmet, sunglasses on and we're off. 1:38 - not bad - I was admittedly a little lackadaisical in my run in and out.

Although what is about to happen is considered a transition error (understatement of the century) I am reporting about it here because it affected my bike time and not my transition time.

Rubber banded shoes = fail. Broke cardinal rule #1 - never try something new on race day. I guess they were OK, but they certainly did not help that much. (Would someone do me a favor and send me a video or crayon drawing of how to do this? Thanks.) I stopped and threw my leg over my bike, slipped my right foot in my shoe and started peddling. I did a couple of revolutions with my foot on top of my left shoe and then when I went put it in my shoe I pushed too hard and pushed all the way through - I pulled the damn strap completely out of the buckle. Bike start = HUGE fail. I had to stop, unclip, get all contorted and with my left hand, fish the strap back through. Now I am starting from a dead stop, on a hill, a little rattled and I have probably wasted a couple of minutes being stupid. Nothing motivates you like a handful of mountain bikes flying by you as you fiddle with your fancy shoes.

Once I got going, I hammered. The course was a little hilly. They probably would not have seemed that bad on a longer course, but wanting to grind a huge gear and then having to back off on the hills felt almost like going backward. (Note to self - more biking and more hills.) I also must point out that I was riding this course blind. I never previewed it so I had no idea what was coming. The course is an out and back so I had some idea what was coming on the second half. I felt like I was fast and I cranked it all the way down on the downhills (top speed - 35 MPH.) I came flying into town and up to T2. Too fast - I forgot to unstrap my shoes and pull my feet out before having to dismount. I had to run in my bike shoes, unstrapped. Time: 41:14 - about 21 MPH average. Really happy with that time considering all the BS at the very beginning which means my actual average speed was probably faster.

In, out and on my way - 1:00. I'll take that.

I need to do more bricks. My legs felt, well, like bricks. I just could not get them turning over. They didn't feel "normal" until right before the turn around and even after that, I just could not get them to fire. Coming into the final straightaway I saw MS going out on the run. She yelled some encouragement and I was going to give her a big "clap, point and holler," but I missed my own hands when I tried to clap. (How hard is it to clap? Just once! I am such a spaz.) I thought MS was going to wet herself she was laughing so hard at me. My watch said I was running 7:05's but I wanted to run faster. Turns out I may have been running faster. Final time 20:43 or about 6:55 pace. 

After milling around and getting something to drink, watching MS come in and having a banana or two, someone suggested we check out the results. I have no idea where I stand in a race. I certainly never expect to place particularly high and usually am more interested in my time then anything. If I am in the top 25% or on the first page of results I am happy. 

I was kind of surprised to see my name in the middle of the first page and then to see a "3/49." "I may have just gotten third in my age group," I thought to myself, but these are just preliminary results. I called home and let them know I had to stay until the awards to see if I actually came in third. 

Award Time

I came in third in my age group! Holy crap! F would be beside himself that I won a trophy. (He was excited that I got a trophy and he was concerned that I would not have enough room on my dresser so he asked if he could keep it for me. Of course he can. It is now safely on his dresser - I can visit when ever I want.)

Now What?
Here is what I have taken away from my race: 
  • Practice the fricking bike transition - jeeze! 
  • More bricks. (Another favor - does anyone have a rule-of-thumb for the minimum amount of time on a bike before a run? Does that make sense?)
  • More biking - duh!
  • Open water swims - not that I had any problems, but it will be good to practice maintaining a higher turnover for a longer distance and get my sighting down again.
My next race is the Lifetime Fitness Olympic Distance Tri here in Minneapolis. It is a huge race with lots of big name pros. It was fun last year and should be again this year. That is three weeks away. Then the weekend immediately after that is my HIM in Door County, Wisconsin. I am super excited for this one again this year. I really have to focus in on that run as there are a couple of killer hills. Next two or two and a half weeks is dedicated to improving my weak areas and maintaining my strengths. This last race was a great way to start season two.


Court said...

Great job Todd! Tell F, he better clear some more space on his dresser! Congrats again - can't wait to finally do some races together.

Mary said...

Way to go T-odd! Nice start to a GREAT season.

Glad I could be there for the photo shoot.

Angie Eats Peace said...

I am glad I found your blog, so inspiring.
Congrats on your time and placing.

D said...

Dude, you got chicked.

t-odd said...

D - thanks for pointing that out. You are a mean person. (Don't change.)

Charisa said...

AWESOME!! Congrats!! I think you will need to clear off the dresser for more :)