USAT Nationals 2003
The race was held in Shreveport, LA. The course was pretty straight forward with a triangle swim in a pond that was 5 feet deep at any point and with about 4 feet of muck as well. The bike was a serpentine course with 4 out and back sections. The run was through some neighborhoods with lots of turns. Not a hill on this course – at least I didn’t think so.
I was feeling pretty good coming into the race, my numbers have all been real good as of late. My swim times have been spot on: about 1:17-1:20 per 100. My stroke has been fundamentally sound as well. My bike wattage has improved this summer evidenced by my wattage on the Compu Trainer week after week. My run has been the weak link all year. After my marathon month of April (where I loaded up my volume) my run was pretty solid. After my marathon in May, I rested a bit and started running pretty well in mid-June right before my three week break. The second half of the season was loaded with high octane workouts and my run never improved; it plateaued at 6:30 pace off the bike. Hmm – maybe this rest and taper will do the trick.
Race morning was the usual: rack the bike, get body marked, stretch, etc. My wave went off at 8:03AM – I seeded myself in the 2nd row – I started out fast and was soon being pummeled from my right. This one dude actually grabbed the back of my wetsuit and tried to dunk me. I just stopped in my tracks. I got going again, but had lost the pack. I swam real hard, passing people as I went and looking to catch the pack of three in front of me. I never did catch those guys, but I felt as though I swam well and strong; my best all year.
I stood up and saw 25:00 on my clock. I was 47th out of 85 out of the water. This wasn’t how I wanted to start out, but there was nothing I could do about the swim time, so I hustled into T1 and got ready to ride. My wetsuit was off in a jiff, I threw on my helmet and I was off. I did a perfect flying dismount and I was gone. My T1 was 10th in my AG.
Once I was up to speed, I slipped my feet into my shoes and then I entered the parkway. I hammered the bike as best I could, only slowing up when a pack would pass me and then cut me off, leaving me to sit up so I could fall out of the draft zone. There was a lot of drafting. I couldn’t drop the pack and it was tough to keep slowing down and speeding up to pass the group. There were a lot of marshals out on the course doing a great job of policing the event. The bike was pretty uneventful and I came off the bike at 1:03:31 – a little off what I wanted (59:00) but still I had a good attitude and I was with some pretty good bikers so I knew that I biked ok. I dismounted cleanly and had another perfect transition. My bike split was 33rd in my AG and T2 was 9th in my AG.
I hit the run and I decided to take it out easy – my original plan was to take it out at 6:15 pace, but when I started the run I knew I had to back that off. So, I pulled it back to what I thought was 6:30 pace. Sure enough I went through mile 1 in 6:28. The major issue I was having was cramping in my quads – not sure what caused this. My first guess is that I sat too far forward on my bike and pushed too hard, but I doubt that was it. My second thought was the Phos Fuel I took in the days before the race, I have had it for years; maybe it had expired and caused the cramping? I’m not really sure but I do know I was on the edge of cramping the whole time. I physically couldn’t push much faster then the 6:25 pace although my lungs may have been able to handle a little more. I went through 4 miles in 26:00 and pushed real hard to catch some more folks at the end of the race. I ended up running about 6:22 the last two miles and my final run time was 40:01. I had the 30th fastest run split and I ended up 32nd in my Age Group.
I think the course is fast, it has very little wind and there is a good chance to go under 2:00 on this course. I think it would take a 22:00 swim, 58:00 bike, and a 37:00 run to qualify for Team USA. Add in 3 minutes of transitions and you are right at 2:00. In a few days I’ll write a synopsis of all the things I did right this year and all the things I can improve on. For the most part I am happy with my improvement in the swim (at least in the pool) and my improvement on the bike. The run has me a little baffled but for the most part I think it’s a matter of getting back to the basics of just simply running. Usually, when my run is clicking, everything else follows.
That is it from Boulder, Thanks for the support everyone!