Monday, August 30, 2010

Chicago Triathlon redux

Hey, quick results from the Chicago Triathlon. But first, follow the link to Phil Hersh's column about me and the race in Friday's Chicago Tribune. I'm not just being lazy here; it's a great column by one of the truly great sports columnists. This was like having Rembrandt paint my portrait. Seriously.

Okay, now read my stuff.

Bottom line:

Supersprint: 6th of 76 in men's 40-49 @ 38:36
Sprint: 7th of 114 in men's 45-49 @ 1:21:30
Olympic: 66th (!) of 248 in men's 45-49 @ 2:50:43 (!!!)

Yeah. Everything seemed to go well and according to plan until that little part in the last leg of the last race where you run in 92-degree heat without any shelter. They won't have the Triple Challenge results until Tuesday for some reason, and they don't seem to have splits, which would be worthless anyway given how spread out the race was and how big the 8,500-racer transition zone was (for example, unless I missed a timing mat somewhere, the swim split would include what must have been at least a half-K of running back to the transition zone).

Swims felt like they went fine. In the sprint and Olympic, I got to the start less than a minute before my wave jumped in. Sprint swim appeared to go fine but I felt awful, I think because I had to rush into my wetsuit and it was hung up and tight in the wrong places. Oly swim was fine. Supersprint swim I didn't bother with the wetsuit and felt fine. The whole swim was barely long enough to get wet, so the difference between a good and bad swim wouldn't have been especially huge anyway.

I think I went pretty fast on the bike in all three. My plan quickly became ride fast enough not to get passed without burying myself. I think maybe a half-dozen people passed me over the weekend and I passed all but one of them back. The road was just mayhem, packed all the way across with the full range of competence and speed and decency, and it was enough work dealing with the people in front of me that I didn't want to mess with people passing me as well, so I just kept the speed up. The supersprint course was just 10K -- and it was three laps of an out-and-back course! The Triple Challenge racers were the first wave off in the sprint Sunday morning, so all I had to deal with was a few faster swimmers, but even some of them managed to be a hazard all by themselves across two full lanes of highway. We were one of the final waves to go off in the Oly, and I think I lost most of my voice from screaming "on your right" (the rule was go slow on the left, pass on the right, which didn't help matters) at escalating levels of urgency as doofuses threatened to force me into the cars. Spent the Oly bike leg with a dragging brake, compliments of a mountain biker in the transition zone whose sense of spatial relations was as bad as his timing, but By God he learned you can get there late and fit that thing into the rack if you just push hard enough.

Supersprint and sprint runs felt easy and reasonably fast. The idea was to hold a good pace but not to bury myself in the first two races, then go ahead and let it rip in the Olympic race. But it was pretty clear right away that the heat was going to be a problem. By mile 2 was walking through the aid stations, and by mile 4 I was walking in between them as well. Humiliating, even though I had plenty of company. One of these days I'll learn how far I can push heat-induces wooziness, but that wasn't the place to find out. Ambulances were carting people off the course like taxis at LaGuardia (the results show 261 DNFs and that strikes me as really conservative). Going home on a gurney would have been embarrassing, inconvenient and a criminal waste of emergency-personnel resources. So I didn't finish as high up in the Olympic as I'd have liked, and once I got my core temp back down I wasn't as tired as I'd like to have been after all that. I can be as hard on myself as anyone, and I think I raced a good plan (thanks, Tom!) and was physically well prepared (God knows how), well nourished and well hydrated; I just wasn't ready for the heat. Oh, well. Still not a bad weekend of racing, especially considering all the time spent Friday and Saturday signing stuff at the expo - which, I'll emphasize, was every bit as fun as the racing. Huge thanks to everyone who came out!

So there we go. Bring on Savageman, and we'll hope the temps stay in the 80s!


Kovas Palubinskas said...

It was great to meet you Saturday after the kids' race - my daughter started reading Trizophrenia as soon as we got home!

Ryan said...

Great racing with you all weekend! Thanks for writing this up as I couldn't have said it any better myself - it was all fun and games until the Oly run.... and then I questioned why I do any of this!!! Great job out there!

MattG said...

It was an honor to be in the same race with you, even if you did run TWO tri's before I even got in the water this weekend. Also, glad to hear the heat affected you like it did the rest of us mortals.