Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hagg Lake Race Report - 3rd Place in Age Group

Overall, not a bad race for me: http://racecenter.com/results/2009/res_2t09.htm . I won 3rd in Age Group (30-34) & did a fair swim, bike, and run on this very hilly and challenging course. My time was 2:18:53 - an improvement from last year's result which was 2:23:13. An improvement of about 4 minutes which is on-track with my goal of improving my Olympic distance time of 3 minutes per year. If anything I would have liked to go a bit faster on the bike -- but after putting in 22 hours the previous week at a Bend training camp -- I decided to be pleased. Technically (transitions, etc) this race was perfect. No major mistakes including "nutrition" this time.. Although my race at Blue Lake was flawless, my pre-race nutrition plan had killed my A race of the year. Oh Well.

I went with the 900 calorie "liquid breakfast" this time. Can't say it was the most delicious breakfast I have ever had. I also did not feel "satiated" and maybe a little nausea even -- from not having any real food to counteract the coffee.
 
1) Swim (25:53): I was not "really feeling motivated" on the swim. I swam about a minute slower than my time at Blue Lake. Almost felt like I was asleep. Mentally I was in a daze from training a lot. Found some feet about 10 mins into the swim (for a draft) after being bumped around by side-ways swimming "weekend warriors", then eased into the swim. Used some techniques from the open water camp (wide pull on outside of feet when I got very close). I figured the guy I was drafting was an OK swimmer because he was not wearing a wet-suit. Sure enough he went straight as an arrow at an even pace. My heart rate was in control coming into T1 from getting a good draft and not working very hard.. Even had a chance to look around and smile at some on-lookers who where cheering for me. Clearly this was not my A race and I was pretty relaxed (although I felt like I needed a nap constantly on the swim and bike). I was still pretty dizzy from the swim so I did identify those cheering for me (however you were, thanks!).
 
2) Bike (1:08:31): Again, not feeling very motivated on the bike. I have been low on energy and have had trouble getting up in the mornings. Got on the bike and felt like I needed a nap. Definitely in a training "hole". No one passing me and making me push harder for most of the race, so it felt somewhat like a scenic ride although I am pretty sure my body was working at a decent pace..but it felt sort of "dream like".. With about 15 minutes to go...two weekend warriors passed me on road bikes -- (one drafting within 3cm of the other guy's wheel). They looked like wrestlers..built like trucks. Anyway. That woke me up a little and I said to myself; "hey, I wonder if I can bike at that pace".. Sure enough, I put it in high-gear and managed to pick it up significantly and keep in contact with them for the remainder of the bike portion (about 100yds behind). They were really moving. I think I improved my time by about 30 seconds (to what it would have been if they did not pass). So I probably ended up averaging another 1-2 mph for the last 15 mins.
How Roger Thompson bikes this extremely hilly course in under 1 hour, I am not sure..
 
3) Run (0:41:18): Got on the run, left T2 and legs felt OK for the first time on this course. Besides having a stomach cramp, it felt like I could accelerate out of T2. The cramp kept me from completely accelerating however. Nice to know the legs were there. Again, not really feeling that motivated. As per usual, I had a slight/moderate annoying stitch on my right side (from drinking on the bike). After about 15 minutes I had burped 3 or 4 times (big burps) and tried to relax and take deep breaths like coach Scott showed me. By the time I got to the turn-around the "stitch" was totally cleared up and I could put it in high-gear. Now I felt motivated to go fast, and I went into the pain cave and put out a decent run for me on this course (41:18). If I would not have had the stitch it would have been about 20-30 seconds faster I think. I managed to push through the pain (stomach cramp/stitch) and not lose too much time. Being in an aero position after drinking doesn't do my stomach much good. I drank about half a small bottle on the bike. It was not hot, but I really do not want to drink much less than that -- because I sweat like a pig on the run. I didn't take in any liquid or nutrition on the run as usual.

.....The limiter for the last 10 mins on the run was 1) Quads on the verge of cramping-up and locking up.. I just would back-off a bit each time I felt them spasm and start to lock-up..I know once they do "lock up" that I have to start walking..so I did not want to push it 2) General fitness

Final thoughts:
1) Realizing you can get a decent time going easy on the swim if you find the right feet. Even though I was not motivated, I banged out a decent swim time (for me).
2) I have started thinking about a new strategy for swimming. If you go pretty hard the first 800 Meters or so, then ease off a little.. It might be somewhat easier to latch onto the good swimmers as they start to pass you. I find it is extremely difficult to really find the good "feet" at the start. So many take off extremely fast (who swim in my range) the first 10 mins... and these "weekend warriors" are not good at sighting or pacing themselves. What do you all think of this strategy? Go harder than you can sustain, then hope to find some feet to ease you into the last half?
3) Taking it a bit easier on the swim and bike helped me PR a run on this course. Although I am a decent runner, I am not good at running up hills so this was a good run for me.
4) Having said that.. I would ideally like to bike 2 mins faster on this course and still run well.Going a minute faster on the swim should be possible as well. Those will be my goals on this course for next year or later this season perhaps.
 
Recap:
Essentially, I am pleased with Swim and Run under circumstances. If I could have an area to target -- it would have been the bike (go 1:30~2:00 faster). I feel that that time would be the "easiest" to gain. Also, I was not able to get into Threshold HR on the bike (which is unusual for this course). I was able to get my HR up on the last half of the run though. My body (& mind) is pretty tired.
 
Best, Sam
 

1 comment:

Meggie said...

I believe that swim is slightly uphill, so don't feel too bad. ;)