Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The beatings will continue until morale improves (last tri 2014)

I'm going to try a different kind of format for this race report. If you feel this or the old way was better let me know.

So Sunday was the Anchor Splash sprint, the final race in the Fleet Feet Sprint Series. I went into the race in a tenuous lead, about 7 points up from the nearest threat. Being the last race, this one counted for double points, so I still wasn't a lock, but a solid finish should have been enough. Cue the ominous music.

I'll be honest with you guys... I'm tired, both physically and mentally. That's not to put an excuse out there (and it isn't, I think despite some setbacks I actually had a pretty good race Sunday) it's just the truth. Things have been very hit or miss this season, and although I've stayed healthy, I've not done the kind of "growing" as an athlete that I had hoped for. Some disappointing races (specifically Rev3 Knoxville and AG Nationals Olympic) along with the whole fiasco after Cedar Point took their toll on me, more than even I had realized.  Don't fret too much, I'm taking this week off to veg out, heal up some nagging injuries, and catch up on my house cleaning... along with a much needed trip out of town this weekend (going to cheer at Chattanooga! If you're going to be there I'll be in my Cobb Mobb shirt, say hi.) and I'm sure by the time I'm back I'll be going crazy not training... but as of today... I'm glad to be sitting on my butt getting fat. Anyways, back to the report.

The Anchor Splash is basically just the "old" Trideltathon course (this year Trideltathon was a little different, being a retro/reverse tri.) with a shorter swim.  Jenny and myself arrived pretty early and I get body marked, have a chat with Lloyd and Terry, and head over to transition to set up. Despite arriving while it was still dark outside, I am still relegated to second row middle of the rack. Not the optimal spot, but what can you do. I get a good mile or so run in, and then ride the course with Nick. After that it's back to transition for the final check over things and over to the pool to get started.

I'm given a choice at this point, either get in the water and warm up swimming, or stay on the deck until start time. The problem with swimming is that you have to be out of the water for the National Anthem / announcements, and it's still fairly chill. I decide not to shiver it out, and forego the swim warmup. After all the loudspeaking is done, it's time to get the show on the road.

walking to the start area
I hop in (feet first... no diving) and take off towards the first wall. I still don't have my new stroke "on demand" especially in a race scenario, so I know I ended up falling into bad habits. Eventually I get passed by the guy behind me (sigh) and follow his feet the rest of the way. My Castelli Stealth top turned out a bit tighter in the chest/back than I accounted for... glad I tried it out in a short race first. I come out of the water in 4:47 and make the long run to transition.

In transition I try not to waste any time, get the Kask on, grab the bike and head for bike mount. As I put weight down on my right pedal my foot slides off of the shoe and I catch myself right on the top tube...with...well, you can probably guess what I catch myself with. I take a breath, calm down and finish my mediocre (and rather painful) t1 in 1:16

post slip... let's try again...

Once I'm out on the bike and into my shoes I try to get down to business. While not a long course, the bike ride is rather challenging, with a downhill ending in a 90° right turn and a set of train tracks being what nearly spoils my season.  I overshoot setting up the turn and realize I'm on track to hit the median... I brake, but when I hit the tracks I know I've lost control. My front tire touches down and I skid, and with all the bike handling skills and/or luck I've got stored up, I manage not to wreck. Nonetheless, it shakes me up a bit and certainly kept my speed in check on the second lap. I come back into t2 with a 16:55 bike split. Good for the most part, but pretty poor for me on this course.

After hopping off at the dismount line I pay for my crappy transition spot by having to duck under the rack and mess with getting the bike settled. I throw on my shoes (and gravel!) grab my cap and belt, and run for the exit, clocking :38.

Going out of t2

With a 3 mile moderately hilly run ahead of me I settle into my pace pretty fast. I haven't been running much in the past few weeks so I knew it was going to hurt here. Mile 1 goes by pretty fast and I grab some much needed water at the first aid station, soaking my hat with it. I end up running the next mile with another guy and we pick off a few people in front of us until we are smoked by Ashley (who crushed... and finished 6th overall men and women!) and we hit the second aid station. I drop my cup of water but at this point have to keep going without it. We pass one more guy who tries to match with us at the last couple of hundred, but we manage to put him back pretty easily. I get out sprinted to the line, but still manage an acceptable 20:33. Not a stellar run, but not a heartbreaker either.

Getting outsprinted... it's basically what I do.

So in the end I managed a 44:07, good enough for 5th overall and 2nd in my age group. David, who finished in 4th overall got his payback on me from our duel at Storm the Fort where a narrowly outsprinted him at the line. He convincingly outran me Sunday.

I've got smirks every day, but no smiles today.

With Nick finishing second overall and points counting double, I ended up losing my grip on the lead of the points competition by a single point, and Nick got the overall at 48 to my 47 points. He did an excellent job staying consistent and finishing high up in the races that mattered most.

As far as the rest of the year... I think I'm about done. Some running races are definitely in the future, but I have decided to definitely NOT start at Rev3 Anderson. For those of you with races left this season, good luck and keep the rubber down.

And so, I'll leave you with a good old quote.

"It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get back up."

Christopher Morelock

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