Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tri-Arkansas 2013 the Unknown

This was one race that I planned to race at the beginning of this year.  It is put on by DLT events and is run at Degray Lake in the Spillway area.  Last year, this race was canceled due to heavy thunderstorms, so I was hoping that this year I would get a chance to see my improvement over 2011, 2011 Tri-Arkansas report.

The course is laid out as 1500m swim, 39k bike, and a 10k run.  The bike was supposed to be a 39k OAB, but due to road construction issue at the end of the course, it was going to be a two lap bike. 

I signed up for the race on Thursday not knowing whether I wanted to the sprint or the olympic distance. My training throughout the summer has been good, but kinda of random due to travel for work and personal.  I decided on the Olympic distance because I am now shooting for a great race at the Toad Suck Olympic distance race in Conway, Ar on September 9th.

Race Day!

I awoke around 3:30am.  I had already packed everything the night before, so all I had to do was put the bike on the rack and go.  The drive from my house down there is 1.5, so I was out the door by 4:15 and arrived around 5:50 am for the start of the race which was scheduled for 7:15.  On the drive down, I had a breakfast of a clif bar, banana, some OJ, and coffee.  I usually eat pretty light before a race of this distance or shorter.  I got down there and had everything ready to go by 6:30am.  I like to be setup early that way I can get a warmup swim in and just relax. 

During the pre-race meeting it was announced that the race would start at 7:30 am now, because of the the two lap bike.  There was a mini-sprint starting at 7:00 and they did not want us to be running up on that group. 

I got in the water and did about a 10 minute easy warmup, just to get myself relaxed in the water.

The swim is not my strong point, and because of travel in June and July I've been in the pool for the less than 10 hrs, which is about 1 swim per week.  I had no idea how this would.  My plan was to start off towards the back and just take it easy and relax on the first lap.  The swim was a two lap swim with an in-water turn.  The race starts and I'm off and swimming.  During the first lap, I found myself in probably the middle of the pack.  I was able to relax and get a good rhythm going.  After the first turn, things started to line up a bit and I was swimming well.  The sighting was going well and I was moving along.  As I approached the turn buoy for the second lap, I all of sudden felt someone rip my timing chip off my ankle.  I was able to rescue the chip, however, my problem was now what to do with it.  I first tried treading water and putting it back on my ankle.  That was a no go.  Since, I was right by the swim exit, people on shore thought I might be drowning.  After that failed attempt, I swam towards the ramp, where I could stand, put the chip on and swam off.  I talked to someone after the race and they thought I might be quitting!  No quit in me.  The second lap was uneventful, as I swam aggressively, hoping to make up some lost time.  Up came, the exit and was off towards transition.

2011 - 35:48
2013 - 36:10 38/57 Males

T1 - Uneventful out in 1:26, which about average. 

With the course, now being a two lap bike, I had a feeling that it would make for a fast bike legs.  Knowing, that my swim was slow, I wanted to really hit the bike hard.  The bike course was pretty much uphill with a flatter section towards the top on the out section and downhill back on smooth excellent pavement.  The great thing about a two lap bike was I got to see where I was in relation to everyone and how much time I was making up or needing to make up.  I was feeling great throughout the bike.  I was passing lots of people through about 3/4 of the bike and then all of sudden I was riding by myself.  I knew I was about 2 minutes behind a group of people after making the last turn around, so it would come down to the run to start catching more people.

This turned out to be one of my best bike splits for this distance.  I've been really happy how my bike has come along. I also had the 13th fastest bike time which I'm happy with. 

2011 - 1:13:14 - 19.8 mph - different course
2013 - 1:07:07 - 20.7 mph per my garmin - 13/57 Males

T2 - pretty quick, surprised myself - 53 seconds

It all comes down to the run!  It was hot and humid like it is most of the summer in Arkansas and most of my training runs had been average as of lately.  Sometimes, they went really well, other times not so much.  I didn't know what would happen today.  The run starts off with a hill, so my goal was to take it steady and easy through the first mile, before a short downhill.  I hit the first mile with 8:27 min/mile pace which is not bad with the hill.  After I settled in, and started to pass people about 1.5 into the run.  Miles two and three were at 8:21 and 8:20 min/mile.  I felt the pace was going well and I felt good.  Hitting the 4 mile mark, I had two more people to pass and made the passes quickly.  After, I was again all alone.  I hit the 4th and 5th with a 8:25 and 8:29.  A little slower, but still holding a nice pace.  The great thing about the final 1.2 miles is that it's all downhill!  I made the turn to go downhill looked back and no one was close and up ahead no one to catch unfourtnately.  I hit the last mile with a 7:46 and finished the race strong.

Overall, I was happy with the run.  It was a hot day, I maintained my pace, and was able to finish really well.

2011 - 52:34
2013 - 50:37 - 8:15 min/mile - 11/57 males.

Overall Time
2011 - 2:44:41 - 6/8 AG
2013 - 2:36:24 - 6/11 AG    17/57 Overall Male, tough Age group

I was happy with this race.  Over the next couple weeks, I hope my swim fitness comes along and I can see myself at 2:30:00 hopefully for the Toad Suck Tri.  Last was a 2:34:00. 

I liked the two lap bike, which allowed me to see where everyone was at a couple of times.  The only improvement I see for this race is a better post race atmosphere.  The post race food was hamburgers/hot dogs with some baked beans. Location for the race is great and the course is well run and maintained.

Next up - Toad Triathlon, Conway, AR - September 9th

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