Friday, May 15, 2009

Gulf Coast Triathlon 2009

Gulf Coast this year was one of those races that serves as a giant lesson learned, and not much else. I went into this race feeling as good as I ever have, and came out the other end feeling as bad as I ever have, Ironman included.

As I stood on the beach watching the waves crash in, I knew the swim was going to be a challenge, and it was. Holy Crap it was. I came out of the water feeling like I’d gone 10 rounds with Iron Mike, and felt a bit sea sick. 38:54.
I made my way up to and through T1 in 4:46.
Heading out on the bike I started feeling a bit better and soon felt like a supa star as I looked down and saw 25+mph on my computer. All was good until I had to turn around into the wind that’d been pushing me along. The next 20 miles kicked my butt. Worst headwind I’ve ever raced in. As I got close to town, I knew the run was gonna suck.
I finished the bike with not much left in the tank 2:54:15 (19.0avg)
I hit T1 and made it through in 2:45. Once out on the run course, the heat and humidity felt like stepping into a sauna. By a ¼ mile in, I knew this was going to be a “just make it to the finish line” kind of run. I walked the aid stations, took in cola, Gatorade and water, and dumped ice everywhere I could get it - - under my hat, down my shirt, in my shorts.
I managed to keep moving and finally made it to the finish in 2:28:14 (11:19) for a total time of 6:11:53.

I was ruined at the finish. I honestly have never felt worse at the end of a race. It would have been easier to tolerate if I had set a new PR (which I thought I could going in), but I almost set a new slowest time (only missed it by 3 minutes). I went 5:45 in 2007, and felt great afterwards.

Looking back, objectively, it’s easy to see the mistakes.
I went into this race as unfit as I ever have. I suppose I thought I could somehow overcome the lack of fitness since I “felt” so good. Dooooh! Being sick early in the year caused me to miss 6+ weeks of crucial training. I failed to take that into account when setting my goals. I’d only done one 50+ mile ride and one 10+ mile run, all year.
My swim fitness was the one area that was on track. But, when faced with the rough seas, instead of backing off, I went hard to try to make up time. Not too smart.
When planning my race, I’d planned to go hard early on the bike and try to chip a little extra time off that PR. Even after the rough swim, I hammered early when I should have backed off (way off) and let my heart rate settle. Later when I faced the headwinds and should have backed off, I just hammered harder to try to make up for the slowing speed. Totally lost my good judgment “in the moment” and made one bad decision after another. By the time I made it to the run, my day was over. I had nothing left and was in survival mode. Not a good place to be with 13.1 miles left to go.

Lessons learned. Hopefully I’ll be able to make better decisions next time around.
I’ll get another shot in September at Augusta. Hope to catch up with some of you there.

Happy Training.


Blogger Wes said...

Those are all good lessons to get out of the way this early in the year! Way to tough it out...

8:25 PM  
Blogger ShirleyPerly said...

Yes, better to make mistakes on a half than a full iron and learn from them. That GCT course is much tougher than it looks. Good job getting to the finish line.

7:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone fastens where there is gain.........................................

6:24 AM  

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