March 23, 2014 was a day of firsts. It was my first race of the season. It was my first race in the 50-54 agegroup. It was my first race post injury. It was the Tucson Triathlon.
The Tucson Triathlon is the first race of the 3 race Tucson Triathlon series. The race takes place on and around the University of Arizona campus. The sprint distance race consists of a 750 meter serpentine swim, a 12 mile 3 loop bike, and a 2 loop 3 mile run.
My day started at 0400 with the sound of the alarm. A quick breakfast of waffles, got dressed and jumped in to my prepacked vehicle. I arrived at the race site at 0500. I racked my bike on an end spot and set up my transition area. After getting body marked I returned to my vehicle and took an hour nap since I was not to start until 4th from the last. Next on the agenda was a quick stop in the restroom. With about 45 minutes until start time I headed out with my coach, Brian Stover (Accelerate3), for a warm up run followed by some swimming.
It was now go time!
On the start command I was off. We started in 15 second intervals. Seven an a half laps of the 50 meter pool. I quickly settled into my pace and was feeling good. I caught my 15 second person at the 650 meter mark. I then enjoyed the draft. Out of the water in 12:25…about average for me. 12th fastest swim of the day and fastest in agegroup. On the short run to T1 I passed 4 people.
T1 was fast and uneventful. Goggles off, helmet on, run to mount line and jump on bike.
Once on the bike I put my shoes on and quickly got up to speed. I felt great on the bike and was passing many of the slower people who started ahead of me. On Euclid, the rough section of road, I stayed out of the aerobars to absorb the shock and keep the power going. As I came around on the third lap I slipped out of my shoes and turned into the transition area. As I hit the dismount line I jumped from my bike and hit the ground running.
I racked my bike, removed my helmet, running shoes on, grabbed my hat, sunglasses and number…run.
T1, bike, T2 time 31:27. 6th fastest for the day and fastest in agegroup.
On the run I put on my glasses, race number and hat. Prior to the race I had told my coach I would be happy to run under 19 minutes, I had taken 15 weeks off of running with a heel stress fracture during the second half of last season. As I went into the first loop of the run, coach Brian was starting his second loop (he started ahead of me). Perfect timing…a rabbit! I stayed with him till the first turn around then dropped back about 10 yards and tried to hang on. The second loop I maintained my pace and pushed hard to the finish line. I crossed the finish with a run split of 18:57…goal met! 7th fastest run of the day and fastest in agegroup.
My overall time, 1:04:49, put me in 5th place overall and 1st in the 50-54 agegroup.
My lead up to the 2013 Tinfoilman Triathlon, the 3rd and final race in the Tucson Triathlon series, was less than ideal. A foot injury had limited my running to deep water running for the previous 6 weeks…zero running on tera firma!
Race morning the alarm awoke me at 0400. After a quick breakfast of waffles I tossed my pre packed race gear in the Vehicross and made the 30 minute drive to the University of Arizonas Hildibrand pool. I racked my bike and set up my gear on a prime realestate end spot in the transition area. I now had plenty of time to hang out, catch up with friends, wait in line for the bathroom and sit back and relax. I would be the 184th person to start…1 hour 48 minutes after the first starter.
The race consists of a 750 meter swim…time trial starts swam in a serpintine fashion, a 3 loop 12 mile bike and a 2 loop 3 mile run through the U of A campus.
As start time approached I jumped in to the warm up pool for a good warm up. There would be no pre race run warm up since the foot was going to be iffy to get through the race.
With the command of the starter I was off. I quickly settled into a solid pace and clicked off the 7 and a half laps. I felt great throughout the swim. I exited the water in 12:57, 22nd fastest swim on the day.
As I started running to the transition area my foot immediately began to hurt. The familiar sharp pain in the heel.
T1 was fast and smooth. Goggles off, helmet on, unrack bike and run to the mount line. I threw my leg over the bike and quickly headed out on to the bike course.
I slipped my feet into my shoes and got up to speed. Each loop is slightly uphill for half and slightly downhill the other half, one pothole infested stretch and on this morning windy. The first time up the rough section my water bottle was jetisoned…no fluids on the bike today. My legs felt great. I was able to power through the uphill sections and fly on the downhills. I weaved my way through slower traffic and on the final lap the course had opened up a bit. As I neared T2 I slipped my feet out of my shoes and prepared to dismount. I rolled into T2, jumped off my bike at the dismount line and painfully ran to my transition spot. Helmet off, running shoes on, grabbed the rest of my gear and began my run.
T1, bike, T2 combined time 30:40, 4th fastest on the day.
As I ran out of T2 I put on my sunglasses, number belt and hat. My foot was in pain but I tried to focus on running as fast as I could and manage the pain. I was moving through the field, passing people who had sterted before me, but had no idea how I was doing compared to the front runners. I pressed on maintaining as fast a pace as the pain allowed and crossed the line with the 9th fastest run on the day…20:53.
Total race time 1:04:32. Far from my fastest but good enough for 6th overall and 2nd in my agegroup.
My time allowed me to hang on to the overall series lead and take home the Tucson Triathlon Series overall championship.
Thanks Accelerate3 for the coaching to make me go fast and TriSports.com for the gear to make me go fast!
Sunday July 7 2013 0330…alarm clock awakes me. That could only mean one thing. It’s race day! The 2013 Firecracker Triathlon. A 750 meter (long course) serpentine swim in the Hildebrand pool, a 3 loop 12 mile bike and a 2 lap 3 mile run through the UofA campus.
After a quick breakfast, car was loaded and I made my way across town to the UofA campus. After arriving I racked my bike, set up my gear and got body marked…#300.
Up next was a bit of volunteering. The youth triathlon was first and I was a bike course marshal. Along with keeping an eye on the kids (bike course is on city streets around the university), it was an opprotunity to check the course for debris and new pot holes. Some of these kids are fast and a few had equipment that rivals the adults.
Next up was a short warm-up run followed by a solid swim warm-up.
0736 and it was my start time. “Ready, GO”! And I was off.
I quickly settled into my pace and was feeling good. As I exited the water, a quick glimpse of my watch showed I had swam a bit slower than usual and definitely slower than I felt I should have been able to do. 12:55…24th male overall out of the water.
T1 went smooth and fast. Ran the short distance from the pool to T1, goggles of, helmet on and run to the mount line. I threw my leg over the bike and missed my pedal. This caused me to swerve a little directly into a cone. Stayed rubber side down and got on my way. Not the smoothest mount but it could have been worse. Once up to pace I slipped into my shoes.
I quickly started catching people who had started before me. I was rolling fast. There was a light cloud cover and the winds were pretty calm…however the Arizona monsoon humidity was a factor. I maintained the same pace for all three laps. My legs felt great. As I was coming to the end of my last lap I slipped my feet out of my shoes in preparation for T2. My computer showed 28:47.
As I hit the dismount line I threw my leg over the bike and hit the ground running. Bike racked, helmet off, running shoes on, run! Sunglasses, hat and number belt on on the run!
T1-bike-T2 30:24…5th fastest male.
On the run my legs felt good. I quickly got into a solid pace. I didn’t know what place I was in so I wanted to just go as hard as I could the whole way. The clouds had started breaking up, the sun was heating up and the humidity was high. The sweat was pouring off of me, but I maintained my pace. I crossed the line with nothing left. 19:19…10th fastest male.
I biked and ran my way up to 8th overall and 2nd 45-49 agegroup missing the AG win by 38 seconds.
I now stand in 2nd overall/1st 45-49 agegroup after 2 of 3 races in the Tucson Triathlon series.
Today I started my 2013 race season off with the Tucson Triathlon. Usually by this time of year I have a A distinctive sound of a tire popping was heard. I helped TriSports.com CEO Seton, who was spectating, replace the tube of this unknown competitor so that their race would not be over before it started.
Time had finally come to warm up. I had a brand new pair of race shoes and what better way to break them in than a little warm up run. Yea, yea, I know! No new equipment on race day. My Brooks Pure Drifts felt great during my warm up…light, great fit and comfortable. After my short run I got in the pool for 15 minutes of swim warm up.
It was now about 9:30 and time to rock! The final wave contains all the fastest men in the race. The horn sounded and we were off. 825 yard, 33 lengths or 16 laps. I swam steady and felt good. I was out of the water in 12:08, about normal for me. My time put me 44th overall out of the water.
Transition was fast, 45 seconds. Goggles off, helmet on, unrack bike and run to mount line. An efficient “flying” mount and I was on my way.
The bike is a 3 loop course covering 12 miles. Slightly uphill on two sides and slightly downhill on the other two with one really rough section that is in severe need of a repave (are you listening city of Tucson). The temperature was starting to rise and a bit of a wind had started to kick up. After slipping my feet into my shoes I quickly got up to speed and began to pick off the speedy fish in front of me. My legs felt good as I powered through the course in 29:00 averaging 23mph. The first two laps had a lot of traffic from the earlier waves, by the third lap the traffic had thinned out. I avoided what could have been an ugly collision when a pedestrian stepped off the curb into our path, oblivious to her surroundings, despite the police officer yelling at her to stop! As I approached the final turn into the transition area I slipped my shoes off in preparation. As I hit the dismount line I swung my leg over the bike and hit the ground running.
T2…rack bike, helmet off, running shoes on…20 seconds. Onto the run course with number belt, hat and sunglasses in hand. I finished “getting dressed” on the run.
The 5k run consisted of an out section, two loops of the UofA mall and then back to the finish. The course is flat and fast! I was feeling great and my new shoes were feeling awesome! My form and leg turnover felt great from the very first step. I continued to pick people off not knowing were I was in the placings. Lots of traffic, passing people from my wave and the previous waves. I hit mile 1 in 6:14, dropped to a 6:12 for the 2nd mile and then a 6:10 for the 3rd mile. As I took the final turn to the finishing straight I had one of the young, fast fish (a member of the Canadian Junior National team) that started in my wave in my sites. I kicked into a 5:47 pace for the final 10th of a mile and made the pass before crossing the finish line. Run time 19:10!
My overall time…1:01:23, once again narrowly missing the magical 1 hour mark.
Good enough for 7th place overall and 1st place in my age group (thanks to Cam Hill being fast enough to finish in the top 3 overall).
Now it’s time to work on a little speed for the rest of the season. I am sure the coach already has that all worked out for me!
This weekend concluded the Tucson Triathlon Series, a 3 race sprint series that takes place at the University of Arizona. The race starts off with a 825 yard swim in the Hillenbrand aquatic center, followed by a 3 loop, 12 mile bike on the surrounding roads and capped off with a 3 mile run of 2 loops of the UofA mall. The course is fairly flat and fast.
I came in to the race sitting comfortably in the lead in my age group and in 2nd overall for the series title. To get the series title was going to require a great race on my part and a not so good race on the leaders part. I could only control half the equation. With my year-end focus race coming the following weekend I came into this race fairly rested.
Saturday was packet pick up at TriSports.com. I squeezed it into my busy Ironman Hawaii viewing schedule.
Sunday morning started with a 4a.m. alarm. After a quick breakfast I was on my way. I arrived around 5 and the transission area was already active. I racked my bike, set up my gear and got body marked. I then returned to my car for a short nap since I had almost 4 hours until my wave start. Short nap complete, I still had plenty of time. I caught up with old friends and watched some of the early waves in action. I went for a quick warm up run, gave my gear one last check and then jumped into the warm up pool for a short swim.
It was now GO time. I jumped into lane 15b and awaited the horn.
At the sound of the horn we were off. 33 lengths of the pool. I felt good and was holding my position with those in the surrounding lanes. Sited the red “lollipop” indicating 1 length to go. As I exited the pool the series leader was 2 steps ahead of me. A quick look at the watch showed a slow swim for me, 12 minutes flat. I was hoping for an 11:30 or better.
I made quick time of T1. Helmet on, grab bike, go! At the mount line, a flying mount, shoes on and get up to speed.
I was making up ground on the bike. Catching and passing the fast swimmers. Mid way through the 1st lap the series leader caught me. I kept him in sight for the remainder of the ride. As I approached the bike finish I slipped my shoes off. as I hit the dismount line I hopped off the bike running. Racked my bike, helmet off, running shoes on. As I ran out of T2 I put on my visor, sunglasses, and number belt.
T1, bike, T2 combined time 30:06
These short runs hurt! I felt good though and quickly got up to pace. Once I got to the mall I could see the series leader ahead. On the second lap his lead had grown slightly. knew I wasn’t going to catch him today but wanted to finish strong. 2 of the young speedsters caught me . I attempted to stay with them but knew their pace would have ended bad for me so I settled back to my pace to the finish.
Run time 19:43
Total time 1:01:49
7th overall, 2nd age group
2nd overall, 1st age group for the series
Next up Soma Half Ironman…my season finale.