Monday, November 22, 2010

After Thoughts

After another week to let the events of November 7th soak in, I'm feeling more pleased with my results. The race was a bear I kid you not, but what really has given me the most satisfaction is the feeling that I really am learning how to do these events. My race plan was executed as well as I could have hoped for with the exception of the poor choice of race nutrition.
So what do I think the keys were. Number one is I really have learned to stay in the moment. Of all the advice I could give to anyone wanting to do triathlon, that would be the single most important piece I could pass on. When you think of what you are planning to put your body through, be it a sprint, olympic, half or full ironman, the distances seem daunting. And I think that is where most people get themselves overwhelmed is in thinking of the total distance. Triathlon is three separate events, and quite possibly 5 if you think of the transitions as another event. Learning to break the race into it's components and focus on one piece at a time is critical to having a satisfying event. If you start thinking about the run as you enter the water, there is probably a high probability you're going to have a long day. However if you are thinking about that first stroke of the swim and how you are going to try and make it as effortless and smooth as possible, chances are you have your head in the right space. Each stroke of the swim, revolution of the pedal on the bike, and stride on the run needs to be done with purpose and in it's own moment. Experience of doing these events is the best way to learn it and I really feel that I finally pulled it all together at Silverman. I never got ahead of myself once, and despite the discomfort at some junctures, was able to enjoy each piece of the day. Now I'm just wondering if I enjoyed it enough to take another run at the Silverman!
Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Race Report

The first thing I said to Angela when I finished the race last Sunday was, "If I tell you in a couple of weeks that this wasn't so bad and I want to do it again, remind me that it was bad!"
Oddly enough, a week later and already I am thinking more about the good things then the bad things. It was a great day all the way around. As tough as anything I have ever done, but with few exceptions, I think I performed the best I have in any race. My time of 13:15:36 doesn't accurately reflect how well I did executed my plan, but for the course and the conditions I couldn't have been happier.
The Swim:
On race day I woke up after a good night's rest feeling more relaxed than I ever have for an event. After a shower and some primping I had a breakfast of a bagel and some gatorade and packed my remaining gear to head to the start. The swim start was only a 5 minute walk from our hotel, so Angela and I headed over at about 6:00 AM.
Once at the venue I went in to get body marked and then took my pump and went down to T1 to inflate my tires and do a few last minute checks. I also dropped off my special needs bags for the bike and run. After getting the last of the T1 preps done I went back to give Angela the pump and say good bye.
Back to the T1 tent and into my wetsuit for the 7:00 am deep water start. I waited until about 6:50 am before I entered the water and was pleased to see the temperature was nice and comfortable (around 20 degrees C) and the water was nice and clean. Air temperature was around 15 C and sunny so it looked like it was going to be a good day.
With only about 300 people in the water it was nice to be able to spread out and not worry about getting kicked and punched. Once the gun went off, I got settled in right away and thoroughly enjoyed the entire swim. I found a good rythm and swam relaxed for the full 2.4 mile distance.
The Bike:
After exiting the water I did a fairly decent transition. It was quite a distance from the exit of the water to the change tent and then again from the tent to the mount line for the bike. By the time I got on the bike the sun was starting to gain some strength so I never felt chilled from being wet. Right from the start of the ride you were on a hill and I should have known from there that it was going to be a long day and quite a challenge. Without going into all the gory details of the bike section, I can just tell you it was ever bit as grueling as they promised. Lots of hills of every description, long, short, steep, sloping and to add to it a head wind for the entire return. The desert scenery was awesome and I really enjoyed it. The toughest climb was just at the turn around as we had a long climb back up and then across three hills, called the three sisters. From there we went across a long section of rolling hills, a fairly good descent and then one long climb onto the Mead Valley Parkway. Once on the parkway I was certain we were through the worst of it, but I was wrong! We turned off the parkway onto a bike path that would bring us back to Henderson. It was here that I encountered some of the most insane climbs of the whole course. It appeared that they saved the best for last and I saw more than one person end up pushing their bike up the hill. Fortunately for me I was in a group of 3 that seemed to be pushing one another through this section of the course.
By the time I was coming up to T2 my legs were really starting to feel trashed, and with a 26.2 mile run yet to go that is never good.
The Run:
Once I dismounted I really was starting to wonder how I would get through the run. However by the time I got into transition and got ready to go, my legs came right back to me. I felt strong and ready to go, unfortunately it was right as I started into the run, that my poor choice of nutrition reared it's ugly head and I had some stomach cramps. After a stop at mile one and again at mile four, the cramping subsided and I was able to get into a decent pace. As with all my Iron Man races I always walk the aid stations to make sure that I am getting fluids and some food into me. When I was leaving T2 I remember some guy saying, "Just remember guys, five five mile runs." That stuck with me and by the time I finished the first loop of the two loop course I was thinking about that I only had two more miles and I would have three of the five done. On the second lap I had to stop one more time for the cramps but otherwise I was feeling strong. With the sun having gone down I was starting to get a little cold and the hills that didn't seem so bad on lap one, seemed to grow on lap two. But in the end I managed to keep putting one foot in front of the other and completed the run feeling fine.
So will I do Silverman again, it's hard to say. I certainly liked everything about the race and the venue was perfect. However it still is without a doubt the toughest thing I have ever done, so I would have to think about it.
Now to figure out what to do next?
Have a great day!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The World's Toughest Triathlon

Well this year's version of the Silverman did not disappoint! Without a doubt this was the most difficult endurance event I have done to date. The course was an absolute bear! The climbs on this course were incredible. But it was extremely scenic.
I would have to say I executed my race plan almost flawlessly with the exception of one small change at the end. Normally for nutrition I mix my carbo pro with crystal lite, but this time I bought pre-mixed stuff. It was thick and tasted like cough syrup. I believe that is what gave me the tummy troubles on the run.
Once I return home I will give a little more detailed race report.
My time was 13:15 which was great given the course and conditions and I managed to finish second in my age group.