Tuesday, July 22, 2008

2008 Boulder Peak Race Report

The alarm went off at 4:15 am and I was ready. I got to bed early last night and I was exhausted. Most experienced triathletes would tell you to race like you train and not try new things on race, but I like to keep it interesting and try new things. I started with breakfast, eating a bagel with almond peanut butter, banana and 32 oz of lemon lime Gatorade. Normally I eat oatmeal and a can of diet Dr Pepper before the race, but the last few races I've felt a bit sluggish, so why not change it up on race day? Overall, I felt good about the change, most competitors aren't drinking soda before the race! I rode over to the reservoir with my neighbors Craig and Chris at 5 am.

There are two ways into the reservoir, the main way and the back way. I was contemplating being a back seat driver and recommend the back way, but I didn't. Big mistake. When we got near the reservoir, the line was a mile or two long, but it went quick. When we finally got to the reservoir and parked we were faced with at least a half mile line of triathletes waiting to get into transition and marked. Craig and I walked past everyone and entered the transition area from the rear figuring we could get marked and our timing chips after setup, porta potty and warm-up. It worked, but I'm sure there were some choice comments for us from those that waited in line. At any rate, the delays with parking and transition entry resulted in a 15 min delay to the start of the race. Feeling good.

I headed down to the water to check out the course and get in a quick warm-up. As opposed to yesterday, I felt really fast, which was a good sign. I was really getting pumped and excited for the race, a feeling I didn't have for the 5430 Sprint for some reason. I was in the second wave today, which I was happy about. I'm always worried about being the last one on the course, which is a lonely feeling. I worked my way near the front of my wave for the start hoping to find the perfect position. The gun sounded and I was off. The first section of the swim is directly in the sun, so sighting was interesting. I immediately wanted to go faster than my wave would let me, so I tried to work to the inside to the left of the pack and found a lot of open swimming. I felt great, no wetsuit terror or general fear like some of the other races, just pedal to the medal. Generally I like to swim on the outside of the pack, but that usually leaves me swimming extra, so I made an adjustment in race and decided to swim on the inside, closest to the buoys. It was a great decision and feel like I swam the perfect race, minimizing the distance I paul taylorneeded to swim staying close to the buoys. I could see the pack on my right, which seemed to be taking a much longer path to the first buoys, which I couldn't figure out, but I suspect most were just following the leader. I felt great the whole time and definitely felt a good time coming. I approached the beach, went to stand up and ahhhhh hamstring cramp...yikes, I hate that. I pulled back and it went away as quickly as it appeared. I exited the water, looked at my watch, 25 minutes! Whoa, that's awesome! I was targeting less than 30 and hoping for 28, off to a good start. After the run up the beach into transition, I entered T1 at 27:09 which was good for top 20% swim, which I felt great about. I took my time transitioning to the tune of 3+ minutes. Now the fun part starts.

As I mentioned before, why not try new things on race day, I decided that today I would wear a cycling jersey during the bike and switch to a running shirt for the run. Makes sense, but not something I normally do on race day. I also decided that I'd only carry a half full water bottle on the bike so as to not carry extra weight up Old Stage (mind you, I'm 200+ lbs, a water bottle probably isn't going to make much of a difference), where I'd re-supply at the first aid station. Great plan, poor execution. I got a drink upon exiting transition and promptly dropped my one and only water bottle less than a mile from transition. I was dreading the ride up old stage with no water and I was right, I could have used some water. The ride out to Old Stage was uneventful, but I was in granny gear much sooner than expected. To make the ride a bit morepaul taylor exciting, a fire truck and ambulance passed me on my ride up Old Stage on the 15% grade. Luckily it was not race related, but something was going on at one of the homes along Old Stage. As I reached the Fire District sign, which marks the end of the steepest point, I saw the devil. A friend of mine was dressed as the devil, running up and down the hill encouraging everyone to push it. I was ready to make a deal with the devil at this point, but when I saw him I had a burst of energy. It's really great to see people you know out there cheering you on! Thanks Mike. After Old Stage, the ride was fairly uneventful. My lower back and between my shoulder blades started to tighten up around mile 15, so it was a bit uncomfortable heading back to T2. I finished in 1:35 or so, which was slower than I wanted to go, still on pace for my goal time of 3:21. T2 went smoothly, I took my time taking in fluids and a gel prior to the run.

paul taylorThe run started out ok, I kept to my water station to water station game plan for the 1st two miles, but then mile three happened. Mile 3 was like 10 miles. I think not being able to see the water station at Mile 3 was the killer. I walked a lot during mile three. I struggle with the run and today was no different. As opposed to the Bolder Boulder 10k, I was chasing Kim and Rebecca and I didn't want to let them get away from me. With the Peak, I'm not tied to anyone and I just didn't have the will to keep going and consequently I walked more than I wanted to. I ended up with 1:17 10k, which leaves a lot of room for improvement. Looking back on it now, I don't know why I didn't keep running, just didn't have the mental toughness again.

As I approached the finish line I was invigorated by the crowd and cheering. Since I started early, there were still a lot of people watching and cheering at the finish. For the Sprint, Kim and the boys were waiting about 50 yards from the finish and we all ran in together & it was a great feeling/memory. When I saw Kim and the boys today, they were about 100+ yards from the finish. We hadn't talked about it before hand, so I ran by thinking that it was to far. Turns out the boys were looking forward to it and hurt their feelings a bit. Looking back, I wish I had stopped and walked with them if necessary. It was a great feeling to finish the Olympic distance race, but it would have been better to share it with the boys at the finish. Next time.

I missed my goal by 6 minutes, but I'm overall happy that I finished what I'd consider my greatest athletic achievement. I exercised at a relatively high level for over 3 hours, where a year and half ago I couldn't exercise for 30 minutes without wanting to pass out. The good news is I've got a lot of room for improvement. Within a couple of hours of finishing, I'm already thinking of what I need to do between now and the 2009 Boulder Peak to improve my time. My tentative goal for 2009 will be under 3 hours. That's aggressive, but there's no reason that I can't get my bike down to 1:25, run down to 1 hour and transition within 5 minutes total. If I can do that, I can get under 3 hours. I plan to be doing a lot of cycling and running this off season. I'll be looking to my cycling experts (Craig and Ben), running experts (Jason G) and strength & conditioning expert (Jason B) to help me reach those goals next year.

The next scheduled race for me is the Oktoberfest Sprint at Union Reservoir in Longmont where I'm planning to do a team event with a couple guys from work.

Thanks again to everyone that helped make this a great triathlon season!

(I'll add pictures later (Done 8/22).)

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Jason G said...

So what does it feel like to leave the water with people behind you?? I have never felt that sensation. I either am looking at people's backs or an empty transition area. No bikes, no peeps, just Kelly lieing to me telling me how great I swam. I love your CSC bike shirt, but now that you are skinny you don't need to buy the husky sized shirts. I still make that mistake too, but tighter is faster. Your run will come, you just have to pound the roads day in and day out with different goals for each day. For example do a tempo run (70% of max heart rate for duration), then the next day do a speed play or fartlek run where you vary your speed throughout. Then obviously you through in some hills and some track and you are there. I understand your pain though because everything you feel about running, I feel about swimming. Great job and we'll see you in a couple of weeks hopefully. FYI bring your bike, running shoes, and feel free to leave your bathing suit home. Jay

Paul Taylor said...

Whoa, slow down, you're talking a foreign language there tempo, speed play, fartwho.... I just run...slow. I'll be looking for some coaching at Sodus.

knopfler said...

I'll have to add you now to my list of friends that swim much faster than me. [sigh]

nice work! good to accomplish that goal, time for a new one.