Thursday, May 22, 2008

Four States Race Report

A small group of Tri-OKCers went down to do the Regional Sprint Championship in Texarkana this weekend: Clint Honnoll, Bob and Jen Atkins, Travis Newton, and myself. Desiree Margagliano was the official for the race. To sum it up succinctly: I GOT SMOKED. The lack of training really came around to bite really showed out there. To top it off, this was one of the fastest "front of the pack" races I've participated in. Just some ultra-fast guys at this one. Several guys ranked as SMW Elites didn't even crack the top 10, and a few pros were there.

The 650 yards swim was a clockwise triangle (my favorite layout). The chop wasn't too terribly bad, but the water certainly wasn't smooth. Distance seemed right on. We ended up going in 3 waves because of the # of participants, but even at that, I was jostled around more on this swim than I have at any of the other open water swim races I've done so far. Not enough to make me feel panicky, but more contact than I'd prefer. One great thing though is that I've been working on something to keep my core a little more rigid, and I've been swimming a lot straighter in the I don't even have to sight anymore in open water!! It was such a cool feeling. I just put my head down, and swam. For the first leg, I would glance up periodically just to make sure. But since I was dead-on with the buoy each time I just started trusting it. Not having to sight made the swim much more enjoyable. Swim time wasn't good, but I went pretty easy and was out of shape, so that was expected. Ranked 53 on the swim out of 153...not very good.

I wore my wetsuit since the water temp was 73, and I was worried about having a slow T1, but actually did pretty good: 15th out of 153. Out of T1 and onto the bike. Desiree and I drove the course on Sat. and found a broken beer bottle on the dam. We told the organizers about it and they cleaned it up. Unfortunately, by race time the next morning, there was another broken beer bottle at a different section of the dam. A final check and sweep through immediately before race time would have been nice. Both Travis and I went through it but came out lucky, but I heard through the grapevine that at least 2 guys flatted there. That sucks to have your regional championship ruined by something that could have been prevented. The bike course is about as flat as you can imagine, and a good section of it is on a lake dam. Wind was moderate, but nothing that we're not used to in Oklahoma. It was just a little stiffer wind than I would have liked. I was hoping to go in and drop a good bike split, pushing myself to the point of nearly blowing up, but I just couldn't seem to get it clicking on the day. My wattage output was pretty low...roughly the same as I put out for a 30 mile ride last week, but this was only 13 miles...still not sure what went wrong. Bike split was 15th out of 153 at 23.8 mph, which may sound good, but I have really high expectations on the bike this year. So I wasn't very thrilled with it. Had a good T2, 21st out of 153, then off to the run.

The run course was great. It's not flat, but there are no hills. It goes on a twisty-turny road through thick pine trees. It was mostly shaded, very scenic, and closed course so you could run tangents. My Polar HR monitor crapped out so I couldn't keep track of pace or split time, so just tried to keep up with some people. I saw my friend, Travis, with about 1.5 miles left. He was so far ahead of me that I lost a lot of motivation and pretty much put it on cruise control for the rest of the race. A pretty mediocre effort in my opinion, but my mind thought I could do one thing and my legs said another. Oh well. Ranked 46th out of 153, which is way lower than I normally am on the run.

Post race spread was incredible. All the pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers, cookies, fruit, etc. you can imagine. Several kegs of beer (3 I think, which were all floating by the end), lots of Gatorade and water. And all the food was available to athletes and family/fans, which was very cool. There's also a really neat park for the kids to play on, so it would be a great race to bring the family. The announcer at the finish line was funny and entertaining. Many, many great things about this race. Ranks as one of the favorites I've done so far, just behind Rivercities.

My friend, and [used to be] close rival (he's now way faster than I), Travis, had a great race. He put together a phenomenal race despite the fact he had a swollen knee that had to have fluid drained off of it the week of the race. He couldn't even walk without limping, but despite not being 100%, he won the 30-34 AG and posted the 3rd fastest bike split OA. He added a very fast swim and a breakthrough run split to go along with that. He beat me by a good 4 minutes, whereas at March in Okarche he beat me by 4 seconds. He's getting a lot faster and I'm getting slower. I hope to catch back up to him later in the season as I start training again.

I ended up 29th out of 153 OA, and 4th out of 19 in AG with a time of 1:06:22. I wasn't thrilled with my splits or time, but I suppose it's all I could have done at my current fitness level, which has been sacrificed for the last month and a half due to career stuff. And I couldn't quite get my breathing under control for the race...I think it was the thicker air I wasn't used to. Despite my disappontment, I still had fun and overall was a great race.

Next up is Rt. 66 Sprint, which is the OK State Championship. I'm hoping to have a much better showing, but there isn't a whole lot you can improve with your fitness in just 2 weeks. I'll give it a good try, though.

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