Toad Suck Olympic Triathlon 2012

2012 Toad Suck Olympic Tri StartI have been training, training and training.  So you can imagine my excitement when it finally came to race the Toad Suck Olympic Triathlon this past Sunday.  I signed up for the race to gauge my fitness before Redman and hopefully build confidence.  I wasn’t really sure how I would finish because I have just been training in my heart rate (aka slow) at longer distances and I haven’t raced since the Spillway Tri at the end of June.  So, when AIM was having a “Guess Your Finish Time”, I was just hoping for under 3 hrs, so I put down 2:58.

Fast forward to race day.  Thankfully, the weather had drastically cooled down to the mid 60′s on Sunday morning.  We (Phil, Duncan and I) arrived at Lake Beaverfork (near Conway, about 45 min. from Little Rock) around 6 am and I unloaded my bike and the rest of my gear.  I picked up my packet and immediately headed over to transition to set everything up.  This is the first year that I have done the Toad Suck Olympic, but the previous two years I have I have done the CATS Sprint (2011, 2010) which were both held on the same weekend at the same location, but on opposite days.  This year, the race director decided to host both events on the same day.  Therefore, this made for a bustling transition area, but it also meant that the transition area closed 45 minutes before the start of my race.  So, after I setup my transition area I had some time to kill.  I hit up the bathroom, chatted and did some last minute gear check and such.

Unusual for DLT Events, the Sprint starts (who were starting first) were running a little behind, which then put the start for the Olympic a little behind.  When it was time for the Olympic start, we all lined up in one big wave (see picture above).  I lined up with some friends of mine in the back, but looking back I wish I would have gotten to the outside more because the start was crazy.  The lake doesn’t get deep very quick so people were walking for a long time, but I started swimming.  Everyone was on top of each other and I couldn’t get into a rhythm with my breathing.  This swim was going horribly, I had to do something.  So, I hung a right and got to the outside of the pack.  I had to swim over a few people, but I figured they’d get over it.  Once I got out by myself it was much better.  I got a little off course, but it was still better than swimming in the pack.  I’m happy I chose to get to the outside because the rest of the swim went well and I managed to finish in 27:35.

2012 Toad Suck Olympic Tri: Exiting the swimComing out of the water and into transition I got to my bike, put on my sunglasses and helmet, grabbed my bike and started off before I remembered that I needed to put my watch onto my bike and change modes.  This was the first triathlon that I have done with my new watch so it was a little bumpy, but it was so helpful during the event.  I was in and out in 1:26.

I had clipped my shoes onto my peddles to save a little time in transition and also so I don’t have to run in my cycling shoes.  When I mounted my bike and started to put on my shoes I stepped right onto the front chain ring with my right heel.  It hurt, but I just had to keep going.  I was just hoping I wasn’t filling my shoe with blood.  When I got going on the bike I just focused on my heart rate and cadence.  The course isn’t flat by any means, but it is nice rolling hills.  I really enjoyed it because it was technical enough that it kept me on my toes without getting exhausted.  I also really liked the Speedfil because I didn’t have to get out of my tri bars and slow down.  I ended up pushing it with my heart rate, probably +10bpm, than what I had been training at, but for the shorter distance it would be fine.  I felt really good and I felt like I was keeping a good pace.  A little before the end of the bike I popped a Gu and finished the 40k bike in 1:22:06 (an average of 18.5 mph).

I had already gotten my feet out of my shoes before the dismount line, but it doesn’t really ever seem to help because I always seem to have a lot to do in T2, but I got it done and was out in 1:56.  Not horrible.

Off onto the run I go!  Again, since this event was mainly a test before Redman, I made sure to pay close attention to my heart rate.  I still pushed it a little since it was a shorter distance, but I tried to keep it reasonable.  I was really surprised at my pace.  The cooler temperatures, heart rate training and tri bike were really paying off.  My calves were tightening up in the first mile, but eventually they subsided.  It was getting a little warm at this point, so I had the volunteers at the aid stations splash me with water which would give me a little energy boost, probably mostly mental, but hey, it works.  There was a steep down hill just before the turnaround at mile 3 and I groaned when I saw it, because I knew I was just going to have to go right back up it.  To my surprise, it actually wasn’t that bad going back up it though.  The second half of the run was more downhill which felt nice and allowed me to keep pushing.  I finished the 6.2 mile run in 54:02 (an average of 8:43 min./mi.)

2012 Toad Suck Olympic Tri: Coming into the finish

2012 Toad Suck Olympic Tri: Podium F 25-29My overall finish time was 2:47:07, which is great!  This is a PR (Personal Record) for me at the Olympic distance which is exciting because it was a hilly course and it means that my training is paying off.  Unfortunately this means I probably won’t win the “Guess Your Finish Time”, but I’d much rather get a PR.  This time also got me 2nd in my age group and only 4:37 out of first.  It really was a great day with great weather, great competition and great friends.  I can’t wait until Redman!

By the way, my foot is OK.  No blood in the shoe and just two small puncture wounds. I think I’ll be a little more careful  from now on.

 

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