Monday, April 30, 2007

2007 Tri The Parks, John Tanner State Park Race Report

Tri the Parks, John Tanner State Park
600 M Swim, 11.2 mi Bike, 3.1 mi Run


As most of you know, I am employed both with Regions Bank and Wolfgang Puck Express in Atlanta. This has caused havoc on my season thus far this year, but you have to place priorities in life. This year triathlon has not been near the top. And again this past weekend, it was close, but not quite there.

I was scheduled for both jobs on Friday, and my boss at Wolfgang had the genius idea to schedule me to come in immediately after I finished my first job. So 8am-11:45pm on Friday, and then home to pack my transition bag, etc... Did not get to bed until about 2am.

4:30am came, and I thought I woke up late. 5 min later I laughed at myself due to freaking out when I woke up. I got ready and called Jackie to make sure she was on time to come and pick me up. Got there at 5:29am (there is a reason that I put that exact time, I told her to be there between 5 and 5:30, so she technically was...). I racked my bike left my extra water bottle on the back of the Jeep (it was still on the street when I got back home), and off we were.

I wanted some snackage and coffee on the way, so first we stopped at Starbucks (closed, not open till 6am on Sat), then the McDonald's in Austell (closed, not open till 6am on Sat). MISERABLE.

Finally we were about 15-20min away from the park via I-20, and we stopped at a McDonald's there. Southern Style Chicken biscuit (forgot the coffee). Back on the Freeway, we passed two construction LED signs that said something about local traffic right, all other traffic left... We ignored it, much to our surmise.

The split then came, we both freaked out (exit 11 was in about a mile or so) and we went left since we were already in the left lane. BIG MISTAKE!!! The left lane went across the median to the other side of the divided freeway, and we were stuck there for the next 12 miles (passed our exit) until we got to Alabama to turn around and come back.

Once we finally got all the way back to our exit (this is why you should ALWAYS leave early for your event if you are traveling the morning of), we got off and headed to the park. There was a line at the gate, and we both looked at each other and said, "WTF???" They were CHARGING athletes for ENTRY!!! Now normally I do not have a problem with paying an entry fee for a park, but that should have been included in our entry fee so that when we got there on race day, all I would have to do is show my number and then drive through. I have no problem with non-race vehicles having to pay. This happened at Emerald Pointe last year and all you had to do was show your race number, and you were in (funny it was the same entry fee too!).

Parked and then took my stuff to transition. YES!!!! I got an end spot on the rack! I love those because you can spread out a bit more. Got labeled, and then went to the bathroom. Jackie and I then went down to the beach where I stretched a bit, and then checked out the water. MMMmmmm 70 degrees. But wait, the air temp was like 54 degrees. I quickly calculated that this would be miserable in T1 and the first five minutes on the bike. Our local USAT ref was there giving us instructions on the course (the bike was an open course this time) and then we were ready to go.

Swim: 600M, 17:01.1

It was miserable. Let me preface by stating if you read the first paragraph in the prelude you can probably assume I have not spent enough time in the pool, and there is NO where around me for open water swimming. (Any of you local bloggers who know about any local open water swims in Atlanta or Georgia in general, please let me know. I would probably go out of my way to do these if I have the time.) I think I need new goggles, or I need to tighten them because after about 200 yards, my right goggle began leaking water. I made it through the first 200 alright, although I was breathing every two strokes rather than three (the cold took the air right out of my lungs.). I turned on my back to fix the problem and when I rolled back over someone kicked about a gallon of water into my lungs. Almost lost all the water plus my McDonald's at that point. I breast stroked at that point for another 150 M until I was somewhat composed again and tried to freestyle the rest. Probably my worst swim ever!!!

T1: 1:54.8

The distance to get from water to my station to the bike exit was kinda long. I was still not feeling right from the swim and the water still in my lungs (had trouble breathing) so I sat down while I put my socks and cleats on. Other than that, not too much to say about T1.

Bike: 11.2 mi, 37:27.0, 17.9mph

I got on the bike and tried to get my breathing under control. There were a few small uphill rollers on the way out, and there were some people that did not want to push hard, so to avoid drafting penalties, I just stayed behind them until we got clear of that area, then I passed them. I did not want to blow my wad in the first mile of the bike. There were no serious elevation changes again until after about 4 miles. I did gear down, but not as much as I normally do. There were a bunch of people who "granny geared" most of the uphill elevation, and I was suprised. From mile 6 to about mile 9, I passed a bunch of people just staying in 1-2 higher gears than what I normally would do. And of course, I used the big ring as much as I could on the rest of the course. The last mile to 1.5 miles, I picked up the pace and was averaging 22-23 mph. As I was coming into T2, there was a guy who was picking up his bike perpendicular to the flow of the bike traffic I almost ran into. Turns out he pulled the perfect endo trying to avoid something/someone as he was attempting to dismount.

T2: 1:13.2

Again, you had to run a good distance to get from bike entry to run exit. I could have been down in the 50's or better, but i was really in an, "I don't care" mood at this point. Needed to have a better positive mental attitude, but did not.

Run: 3.1 mi, 27:24.9, 8:50 min/mi

The first mile or so of the run looped around the lake we swam in at the park and then went off on some driving trails out the back of the park to the road. around 1.75 miles I had a mini bonk going up a hill, and was jogging slow enough that it appeard to be at a speed walk. Luckily there were just as many down hills as there were up hills (that may sound stupid, but if you have done as many point to point road races as I have, then you will know that this situation is not always the case). There was a guy about 100M away from the finish that I came next to, and we looked at each other and gave each other the "look." Then we sprinted. I won. Small victory for me!!!

16/20 in Age group (M 25-29)
(Company did not have overall times broken down)

Post race stuff and thoughts...

This is my first race of the year. Despite all that I have gone through since November, I feel that I did ok. I know that my aerobic and physical indurance has improved, since I know I was not in top form and I was within one minute of my very first race time that I trained for and busted my butt (exhausted) to finish.

I think that Tri the Parks series could do some things different, and I will send an email of constructive criticism to hopefully help them improve future races.

I did get to eat Oreos, oranges, and bluberry bagels post race, they were good.

In the last mile of the run, I had an epiphany, and it will be the topic of my next post, which will be a very big announcement. I am waiting on an email for final confirmation before I say/post anything to my blog.

I began working on the rest of my season as far as training and races go. I did not get too far, but got started and that is what really matters. I am also working on a schedule as well.

GARMIN was awsome! I did not hit the split times right due to how their timing mats were set up really weird, but the end times came up the exact same as my overall time posted by the race officials. And that is what matters. Garmin also loves sprint distance water. But don't expect it to tell you how far you swam since it does not track under water.

Pictures for the race will be coming soon, both from Jackie and from the picture company for the race.

More to come from my announcement later...



Wes said...

Nicely done, Andy! With your busy and hectic schedule, its good to get a l'il ole sprint out of the way to let you know where you stand. I admire you for gritting that one out, even after all the hardships of getting there and getting setup an all. By sharing your experiences, you are making things a lot easier on us noobs.

As far as the open water swims go... Ahemmmm... You can hook up with me anytime. We can either drive a couple of miles to the beach on Lake Allatoona, or if that's too fancy for you, we can walk through the woods behind my neighborhood and come out on the lake shore and take off from there. I'd be open to setting something up with you anytime.

You didn't mention a wet suit. I take it you didn't wear one? I rented one for my tri. I'm kinda weak like that when it comes to cold water ;-) Trying to get my wife watch me in the lake for a practice swim Wednesday. We'll see how it goes.

Great job!!

Steven said...

Excellent job on your race, Andy!
You should be happy with that performance!

Allez said...

The open water swim would freak me out! It sounds like you did really well.

Mallie said...

Good job. If you ever feel like coming down for some lake swimming, I'm sure some of us in the Maconga would be happy to accomodate you.