Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Better DFL then DNF

Oh – it’s been too long since I’ve posted – and I want to post about my last race. I did not finish last!

The triathlon took place in one of the most beautiful lakes I’ve ever seen. Green Lakes State Park has two meromictic lakes – one of which the swim portion of the triathlon took place in. A meromictic lake is a lake that does not turn over in spring or fall – therefore the upper and lower layers do not mix. As a result, the two lakes are a beautiful turquoise green. There are only 7 of these types of lakes in the United States – of which 6 are naturally occurring.

There were 20 competitors in the Empire State Senior Games and I placed 17th with a time of 2 hours 12 minutes 21 seconds. We were the last heat in the swim (we were tagged onto the end of the Syracuse YMCA Triathlon). I spent a few minutes getting used to the water and getting comfortable with front crawl breathing before the gun went off.

I have to say – the swim part of this race was a bit tough. It was early in the year so I didn’t get much lake swim time in the weeks prior to the race. While I had no problem with the distance in a pool – I found it tough in the lake this time. My arms got tired and I had to side kick more than I’d have liked to simply due to fatigue. It is tough to get lake swim time in CNY before June 20th – many of the lakes nearby are simply too cold even for a wetsuit. However, I still had a reasonably well swim time – and was happy to come in 16th at 19 minutes 11 seconds.

Here I am coming out of the water and taking off my cap.

I was ready for the bike part – had spent time both in spinning class developing strength and time on the road getting better at shifting gears and doing hills. This course had a lot of up and down hills. There were two very long up-hill sections where participants were getting off of their bikes and walking them up the hill. I was determined not to do this – and there were times when I was biking slower than some were walking. Now that I know what to expect from this part of the course I will be better prepared to deal with short, steep up and down hill climbs. I did the bike in 1 hour 7 minutes 59 seconds – putting me at 19th out of 20 for this portion.

Starting out on the bike.

I may look casual here – but in reality I was frantically looking for the start of the bike race!

The run was still tough for me. I have to start doing some interval and pace training to improve my speed here. I was also tired at this point. My time for the 5K was 37 minutes and 18 seconds – placing me at 17th in this category. There was this one unbelievably steep hill in the run – with three wonderful cheerleaders at the top who cheered and encouraged me all the way to the top!

I just crack up at this picture of me running! I really look like I’m dragging my butt to the finish line here! Yes I was tired – but my posture wasn’t quite that bad at the finish. Something about that angle and the color blocks on my shirt make me look like I’m really hunched over!

I think I can knock about 25 minutes off my time for next year – which might actually enable me to place in my age bracket! I need to strengthen my arms for the lake swim, work on a quicker swim to run transition, and run more prior to the race next year. A racing bike would also give me a tremendous improvement in my biking time.

Here’s Coach John trying to look tough as he delivers the “Go get ‘em” speech!


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