Monday, March 28, 2011
Miami International Triathlon
Last weekend I competed in the Miami International Triathlon which marked the beginning of my 2011 triathlon season. It was also the first race of the new 5150 series race and therefore an important race to start earning points in order to qualify for the Championship race at Hy-Vee in September. This year my focus will be on Hy-Vee and the 70.3 World Championships in Las Vegas also in September.
This was the first time that I have competed at MIT and I was very excited to get my first race of the season underway against a very strong field. The first race of the year has an added unknown element to it in the fact that you aren't exactly sure how your training will pay off in a race. I have put in a lot of time and hard work this winter to make some improvement as a triathlete with the goal of being more competitive overall in races. I was happy to see that although I have much to improve upon throughout the course of the year; the work that I have done over the past few months did translate into being a better athlete.
Now for some race details...
The start of the swim for this race was a deep water start; which I typically prefer. However, there weren't any start buoys to keep us contained in a certain area so by the time the gun went off the field was stretched about 50 meters across which actually resulted in a very enjoyable calm start to the race for me. Because the field was so spread out I had time to move to the front of the pack without having to jostle for position and by the time we hit the first turn buoy I was sitting comfortable in the top 5. I was comfortable sitting in the front and I was able to see that I was in good company and was right next to fellow Blue 70 athletes Cameron Dye and Ben Collins. I figured that if the 3 of us were together it was unlikely that I would have to worry about anyone else being up ahead. (After talking to Cam after the race it was a surprise to both of us then that John Kenny was actually about 20 seconds ahead of us the whole time and we had no idea).
I survived the run to transition and after getting through transition (a little faster than usual I might add without having to put on sunglasses with my new helmet visor from Davis Wheelworks) I was in the front of the race. However, I now have a new project for Wheelworks because 1km in the bike segment I lost my water bottle which left me without any nutrition for the entire race. (Need to figure out a solution to that before Oceanside). The bike course was flat and fast except for hitting a pretty solid headwind going across the one causeway. I stayed at the front of the bike and was working hard in the beginning to try to string out the field and eventually somehow managed to get away for a little while. However, at about 30k into the bike I started to feel the lack of nutrition/water and wasn't able to maintain the same intensity. At about this point Cameron Dye went by me and about 5km from the finish of the bike Chris Lieto came flying by. I figured since it took Chris that long to catch me that there was a good chance I would have a slight lead over the majority of the field going into the run.
Now if you have been reading any of my blogs throughout the winter you will know that for the first time in my career I have put a huge emphasis on my run. So the run for this race was truly the first test to see where my run fitness was...especially after a hard bike. I did gain a lot of confidence in my run throughout the winter but I will admit I was still had the same fears/expectations that I would immediately get caught after completing the bike. I haven't many other experiences other than that in my short pro career to expect anything other than that.
Back to the race...I exited transition probably 30 seconds behind Lieto and Dye and even with Collins. Collins bridged up to Lieto and Dye almost immediately and I was content to stay with my pace. I still wasn't sure how the lack of nutrition was going to effect me and I also figured that the 3 guys ahead of me weren't going to maintain their current pace. I thought I might be able to bring them back over the course of the whole 10k as long as I didn't blow myself up in the first 2k. I fell into a good sustainable rhythm over the first half of the race and 5k in I was running in 5th. (Matt Charbot, the overall winner, had passed me at this point). I was feeling good with my pace but not with my overall position and I wanted to bridge up to the original 3 guys that were leading the run as they were still running in a group. I dropped my pace down and started to bring them back over the course of the next two miles. I got within striking distance of the group but the effort that it took to bring the time back on the group took its toll on me and I actually ended up loosing time over the last mile.
I finished the race in 6th place overall. The last money spot but more importantly I scored a decent amount of points for Hy-Vee qualification. I will need to improve upon that finish to qualify for the race but overall I was very happy with my first race of the season. With the help of Trent Richardson ( coachtrent.blogspot.com ) I have been able to get my swim back and felt comfortable in the front pack of the swim. Although my bike training took a hit this winter with my run focus I was very pleased to see that I could still hammer out a 40k and be competitive. I ran a 1ok PR of 32:55 and although the run is still a big weakness of mine it is improving.
I also want to thank Cobi and Hector at IRun Company ( http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/IRunCompany/177105198966712 ) ( http://www.yelp.com/biz/irun-running-and-walking-specialist-store-miami-2 ) for taking care of me while I was in Miami. They are great guys, have a fantastic running store, and are very knowledgeable about tri and running apparel.
On Saturday I will be doing my first 70.3 race of the year in Oceanside, CA. I am extremely excited to race here again after having such a great time in my first half ironman here last year.