Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Rookie Tri

The first race of the season is under my belt. It wasn't the best race I have ever raced, but it was my first top ten in my age group! The Rookie Tri is a sub-sprint distance race and is the first of the five races that make up the Texas Tri Series.

Padre, a friend from my training group, picked me up insanely early and we headed down to New Braunfels together. We got there just as the parking lot was opening an got a great spot near the front. As we unloaded the our bikes it tried to rain a few times but nothing too bad. After we had our transitions areas setup, we had about and hour and a half before race time. So we sat in his Forerunner for about an hour before going for a brief mile long warmup run. After that, it was time to head to the start.

I dipped my toe in the water and felt that it was actually pretty warm, so I felt comfortable not diving in for a warmup swim and settled for just swinging my arms around to loosen up. Perhaps this was a mistake; I don't know. My swim wave was the second one to go off. After swimming all winter, my swim has become very strong so I was looking to devour this 300 meter swim. The gun went off and I took off hard trying to get in the mix of the lead pack and then just draft my way to the finish line. Apparently I was not the only person to have this idea. After about 100 meters, the pack was still incredibly dense and there was no stride not draft to find. I was out of breathe and couldn't seem to catch it no matter what I tried. I started to panic. After a few attempts at taking a stroke I realized I wasn't going to be able to just shake it off. So I struggled to make it out to the outside of the swimming "lane" and started to side stroke. I was still paniced and could not settle down. Somehow I managed to make the turn around the buoy and finally started to calm down. I decided I would try to get back to freestyle and see if I could bring it in. Outside of going horrifically offcourse, I managed to bring it in fine. After the race I was amazed to see that I did the swim in 7:02 or somethig like that. It felt like 20 minutes.

Transitions always suck for me and this was no different. Nothing bad happened, but just like all aspects of my life; smooth is not something I do. OK, I'm on a bike.

At the suggestion of my coach, Panther, I set out to go as hard as I could on the bike. Of course, my ineptitude in transition is only surpassed by my cycling capability. But off I went. Typically I get passed left and right but this day I only got passed by a few folks. Nothing exciting or eventful happened other than realizing that I am not fast going up hills; something to work on. Finally in right around 35 minutes I came up on the dismount line of the 11.2 mile bike ride. I unclipped without falling (which did go through my mind) and strayed trotting to transition.

Now this transition was by no means speedy, but for me it went pretty well for me. Grabbed some water at the gate and headed out to run.

Running is by far my strongest event, but for whatever reason, I was not feeling quick at all heading out. I had forgotten to look at my watch when I started the run so I didn't really have any idea what my pace was like, but I kept coming up on people and passing them. Finally we made the final turn to go run around the lake for the finish. I gave it all I had and managed to cross the finish line in just under 58 minutes. The run had taken me 12:39 which was good for the 3rd fastest in my age group.

After my poor swim I still managed to come in 9th in my age group. All in all I am very happy with the race. Hopefully I learned a little from the swim and can avoid having anymore panic attacks. Until the next time, run friendly! -Tanner

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