Monday, September 22, 2014

Princeton 71.8

At the beginning of this year, I wrote down a few goals. I did not achieve all of them, but that is ok. Many of them were for the future, not specifically this year. One goal pertinent to this year (and really every year) was not to DNF any races unless I absolutely could't move anymore. This half ironman in Princeton was an example of a race I wanted to DNF, but I remembered my goal and soldiered through a really rough day.

                                               Here is an apt description of how I felt today.

Anyway, to the race. There were definitely some positive parts and good take aways from the day.

Swim: 24:09- 3rd out of the water behind super swimmer David Kahn and Drew Scott. I had the intentions of swimming lead pack, and I was very happy to be comfortably swimming in the front group sitting on Drew's feet. We took a bit of a wide line on the bouy line coming home, but I saw we had a decent gap behind us, so figured I would stay in the pack and get ready for the bike.
At this point, I made a few rookies long course mistakes. I did not take a gel immediately out of the water and figured I would take one in the first few miles. The first few miles (read: 10) were super bumpy and I delayed the gel until 28 minutes in. I was riding with Swen Sundberg at a legal distance but then he slowed pretty down around 35K so I passed him and was solo for awhile. Came through 48.4 miles in 2:00, and I was happy to see I was still 24.2 mph and had not been caught by many on the bike. At this point, I was 8th and if the run started here, I would have had a positive outlook. The next 9.5 miles (1.5 mile long course) were really tough. I started bonking pretty badly. I took in 4 gels and two bottles of power bar drink mix, but apparently this was not enough. My last 7.5 miles were an abysmal 20 mph and I was caught by three riders going into T2 and legs were feeling like junk. 2:26 total time- 23.6 mph.

On the run, I kept thinking, I have to finish no matter how slowly I go. I started competing with Swen again and ran my 3rd mile in 5:35 and was hopeful this trend would continue. However, I was then led off course accidentally by a volunteer and lost 2-3 minutes. While I was not running fast, this hurt a good bit. Got to half was in 41:30 and started cramping in my hamstrings and quads. Just walked/ran to the finish. I was sad to see if I had run how my training had indicated (1:12-1:!3 range) I would have contended even with a poor bike split, but there are too many 'ifs' in that statement.

This race leaves quite a bitter taste in my mouth to end an otherwise successful season. Outside of this race and a few ITU races where I was not as high up as I would have liked, I felt like I grew a good bit as a pro triathlete this year. Racing 1:53 in Philly felt like I was on a new level from the 1:56 range I had been doing for olympics. I also made a huge swim improvement from the spring until August when I was able to exit the water near John Kenny and September, where I swam lead pack at 71.8 Princeton. Up now is a break from training for a bit to tidy up some parts of my masters degree before a winter of hard training.

Thanks for reading!