In the past week, I raced in El Reno twice.
Last Tuesday, I competed in a "Splash and Dash," which as the name implies, involves a quick open water swim and a run. It was a 470-480 meter swim (a little short of 500m) and a 2 mile run. I did reasonably well. I finished 4th overall out of 55 people and I had the second fastest run. My transition time killed me. Wetsuit, socks, and tying shoes - it takes a while.
I also ran a 21:04 practice 5K after a day filled with bike commuting and a swim workout on Wednesday. I plan on doing this each Wednesday night. Sub 20 minutes, here I come.
On to today (Sunday). I raced the Route 66 Olympic Triathlon in, again, El Reno. Paula was unable to make it, and I still don't know anybody here, so I was all by my lonesome.
The venue is about 40 minutes away, so I left around 5:30 or so with breakfast in my belly and coffee in my cup. I arrived around 6:10 or so, parked and made my way to transition. After I pumped my tires, I noticed that my front carbon HED wheel was losing air. So, just before transition closed, I grabbed my spare practice wheel and threw it on. I'm anxious to see my pics on the course because my TT bike will look a little silly with mismatched wheels. After a mandatory meeting and potty stop, I waded into the water ready to start the race.
The swim was a two lap 750 meter swim with a triangle buoy set-up. I started on the left and was right up at the front of the crowd. The gun went off and we started. There wasn't too much bumping and thrashing. I had some difficulty sighting, but generally it went well. I kept my pace even and steady, breathing on every stroke. I felt good.
I finished the first lap in around 13:30 or so. I jogged it around and got right back in the water. This time I could hug the buoys and draft off some faster people that sighted better than me. Nothing much happened on this loop. Again, I took it easy.
The water was pleasantly warm and clean tasting (you can't help but inhale / swallow some during a swim). It was very cloudy and I couldn't see past my elbows when I was swimming.
I finished in 26:08 (1:35/100 yds) (fastest yet!)
I rinsed my feet in the kiddy pool and then was stripped by a couple of ladies. Threw my gear on and off I went. I took my time in transition, electing to run in my cycling shoes and clip in after the mount line.
The course involved two loops about 12.5 miles each. It was the flattest course non-sprint course I've done. During the first loop, I hammered a little too much and had my heart rate up pretty high. I traded places with a few dudes. I don't really have much to report on this ride. It was a nice course with some scenic farm views; and some pungent manure smells.
Towards the end of my second loop, I started passing some people on their first loop. I passed this one lady that yelled at me for not announcing I was approaching on her left. That was odd. I passed (and was passed) by a bunch of people and not one of us announced it. This wasn't the trails at Hefner Lake. This was a race. Expect to get passed.
Bike portion finished in 1:10:15 (21.35mph)
I changed socks, couldn't find my rack, and took my sweet time.
It had started getting a little windy at this point. So, running south on the two 3.1mi looped course was a little tougher. I wanted to average about 7:00 min/mi and see what I had at the end. Secretly I knew that if I ran a 50 min 10k, I was on my way to a PR. So, I didn't have a real sense of urgency out there.
I slipped into cruise control after the first 6:45 mile. I was clicking them off around 7:15/7:30. It felt good. After the first loop, I was going to pick it up a bit, but I never really did. Maybe I didn't have anything in the tank. I dunno. Still, I felt solid, if not a little fatigued. I didn't kick or sprint at the end. I kept it smooth and eased on to the finish line.
10k time: 44:41 (7:11min/mi) not too shabby.
Total time: 2:23:54
23rd out of 135 males (there were some seriously fast dudes out there).
Grabbed some water, hot dogs, brownie and sun chips. Then waited for about an hour and a half for the awards. I placed "First" in my age group because (1) the first place 30-34 year old placed first overall; and (2) there aren't a lot of fast 30-34 year olds. The award was a really cool license plate with the race logo and events on it. Too bad I had already gotten one at the earlier Splash and Dash. Oh well. Its nice. But what do I do with two?
Post race thoughts
This was my fourth olympic distance race (College Nationals; Elephant Man; Grady Williams). Because each course is different, its difficult to compare times. Still, this was the fastest race I've had by far. My training is paying off. I feel smoother and faster in the water. The bike is better, but not where it needs to be yet. As for the run, I'm maintaining what I have. There is no way I'll be able to maintain these speeds for longer races.
The race itself was planned and executed very well. The weather was nearly perfect and the organizers had everything in order. Apart from waiting a little too long for awards, it was a real fun race. It doesn't hurt that its so close to Oklahoma City, too.
Next up - Buffalo Springs 70.3