Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Trying to break the curse - Trideltathon Race Report

I haven't had the best track record at the Trideltathon. In 2009 (called the Volunteer Sprint) I suffered a fairly painful wreck on the bike course and finished, well... I finished. In 2011 I let my fears of 2009 have a powerful effect on my bike split, and barely managed to skim onto the podium in 3rd. Last year I went on a day and a half bender the weekend of the race and, despite still being half hungover on Race Day, managed to gut out (along with barf up) another 3rd place finish. I was hoping to break my bad juju with this race in 2013.

As this race is non-USAT, they use your current age as opposed to Dec. 31st age, so it would also be my last triathlon in the M25-29 group.


As usual before race days, I got in bed early (as in, like 8ish) and was ready for lights out.
...
....
And then I layed there. And rolled... and tossed... and turned. At 1a.m. I had still not managed to get any sleep despite trying a couple of methods to "help" (get up and read for a few minutes... get some milk...etc) and at 3a.m. I decided that I was fighting a lost cause and sleeping an hour or two would likely just make me more tired...

The picture of a nice and rested triathlete... right?
I put on Anchorman and resign myself to having to make do on Espresso and Sugar. Needless to say, at this point I suspect my bad luck is alive and well.

Around 6 I get everything loaded into the car and head off to the race venue. About a mile and half into the drive, I hear my roll of electrical tape (which I had layed on the top of my car...) blow off and smack the tailgate on it's way to oblivion. D'oh.

Once I get to the venue I air up the tires and give the bike one last check over. At this point I realize I left my Powertap head unit (Joule) in it's cradle at the house. Sigh. Things are indeed going well.  I grab a spot towards the front of transition and get set up. I'm also informed that the swim will start in the outside pool as opposed to the inside one, which is fine I suppose, despite it still being pretty chilly (high 40's low 50's) Like a dummy I get in the pool to "warm up" before the start. I regret it immediately as I have to stand and listen to the National Anthem with my teeth chattering in my head.
Freezing before the start! (In the Beginnertriathlete kit)
My swim goes pretty "meh" as a whole. I never felt "good" and ended up getting passed by two people, which has become fairly unusual the last year. Nonetheless, no disaster so I was out and rolling on before I knew it.

Drowned but not out
Coming into transition I actually started feeling pretty good. The bike is my strength, and I was looking to put some time into the competition. Helmet on and out the gates, I mount up and take off. Despite having the strongest rubber band on earth attached to one shoe (it didn't break for half of the ride) I get up to speed and moving pretty fast.

Earlier in the week I had nailed down my decision to ride the Cannondale with clip on shorty bars as opposed to my tri bike, based on the fact that this course is short, technical and full of hills where being in aero is tough. Nonetheless, up until I was actually on the bike I was hesitant about it. It turned out to be 100% the right choice, and I was able to burn through turns without braking that I would have likely had to slow down into on my tri bike. (These crits I've been doing likely help also)
Back in to T2
I'm in 1st place coming back in on the bike. Unfortunately, I've been in this position many times in the past. Now that the ball is in my park, I have to keep it together and not lose too much time to the "real" runners.

I've certainly come a long way with my run in the last year or two, but I still am no gazelle. I doubt running will ever come "easy" to me, and I watch the other guys at the front bounding gracefully while I look more like a linebacker who's being punished for screwing around.

This is one of the least "offensive" pictures of me running out there.
I start out of the gates with a side stitch. Which is amazing, because I NEVER EVER get side stitches anywhere, any distance, any race, except at the Trideltathon. Literally the last side stitch I had was at this race in 2012, and before it at the race in 2011. I am not sure if it's the cold/hot/cold weather that does it or what, but if I ever figure it out I may be on to something.

Despite running two out of 3 miles in moderate agony, I still manage to hold a respectable place (I have gotten quite a bit "tougher" mentally, a side stitch would used to have had me almost walking, but now I just grit through it) and find myself only being passed by one or two people. As I approach the finish I feel someone behind me and turn on the sprint fuel... it's in vein however as he blows by me in the last 50m. I cross the line and consider purging my breakfast, but decide that is fairly tasteless in the face of all the Delta Delta Delta girls. I settle for some labored breathing and rolling around in grass.

Finally, results are posted. I dropped from 1 to 11 overall with the slowest run in the top 10 by nearly a minute. Sigh. (I blame it on running the Knox 1/2 last weekend... yeah, that's it) Nonetheless, I manage to win my Age Group and go out of the M25-29 AG on a high note.

One more time for old times sake
And so, while I have yet to truly "Break" the curse of this race, I have managed to battle through it. Next year with any luck I will be able to have a fully rested, non-hungover, healthy race. Then we'll see.

Next week I will be on vacation, so there may not be a new post (depending on how much internets I have access to) and likely nothing too long regardless. I'll be racing the White Sands Triathlon in Panama City on Saturday (20th) (vacation...right?) so I hope I have a good report to bring back and write up.

As always, Thank you all so much for reading.

-Christopher Morelock

P.S.
My heart goes out to all of those in Boston and who were affected by this tragedy. Boston is not just an American event, it is a race looked forward to by the entire world. Truly a sad day for everyone, especially for the 3 who lost their lives and hundreds (sorry, reports are still coming in as to numbers) who were injured on what should have been an amazing day. I don't get into the politics of these things, I can only say I hope those responsible are brought to justice soon.

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