My first triathlon of the year was today - the 3rd Annual Frisco Runaway Triathlon. Last year I really enjoyed the event and decided that I would again use the event as the start of my triathlon season. It has been a long road trying to get back into form after my shoulder surgery and this would be a good test for me.
After a rough day at work I decided that I would just drive down to Willard, MO (2 hour 40 min drive) in the morning. My legs felt like crap and I really did not want to waste the $$$ on a room and have a crappy showing. Recent results have not given me much confidence.
I awoke @ 3:30 am to pouring rain in KC and a sore back. I almost turned off the alarm and went back to bed, but my legs felt kind of good. On the road by 4:00 am and hoping I made it to the event in time. Luckily I was going solo because if Carolynn coming with me we would have never had made it due to all the bathroom breaks. I arrived about 5 min before the transition closed and all but one spot was taken. I did not get a good transition spot, but at least I got one.
Race began with a 300 yard pool swim. This year lap lanes were added which greatly improved the event. I still remember last years spectacle. I have been swimming some and gaining a lot of flexibility in my shoulder. We were asked to position ourselves based on our estimated time. I thought I could do it in 5:30 with my current fitness and lined up accordingly. My pace was no where near last years 4:38 time, but I almost reached my goal time - one second off. A 5:31 swim time was good enough for 11th overall and also allowed me to keep my heart rate down and to focus on a quick transition. A much better transition this year as I was in/out in 38 seconds. It pays to practice :-) A very tough 12 mile bike leg was up next. I actually like most of the course outside of Willard except for two nasty climbs. I settled into TT position and steadily worked my way toward the front of the field. The goal was to pace myself and not go into the red to much and allow for a good run leg. My legs felt good on the first half of the bike course and I really excelled on the downhills. My rig was rolling very well. I tried a higher pressure (130 psi) in the Kenda Volare tubular tires. Damn that thing rolled well. That was until the the return trip back and that first climb. I soon found myself being passed by several of the guys that I had just gotten by and wishing that i had a larger gear than a 23 (a 27 would have been nice). About midway up the climb I say the hell with this and decided to just give it everything I had. After the past two weeks I really needed a good results and if suffering was needed so be it. Once I got the the top of the climb another nice fast downhill awaited. I really powered down that hill and got by and left all the guys behind me. I could see the lead police car up ahead so I knew I was toward the front of the pack. This mad the suffering a little more tolerable (but not much..) as I tried to bridge up to the leader. The final mile I decided to take it a little easy and spin some to remove all the lactic acid in my legs. Ended up with a 33 min time/21.5 mph average. Good enough for the 2nd fastest bike split of the day and 1 min faster than last years time.
Another good transition in the 30 second range and I was off for a 5 K run down the Frisco Highline Trial . First mile was very good for me. I settled in behind a younger triathlete and felt like I was running well. I was in the top 5 overall and if I had a good run could stay there. I always aim for top 10% overall in a triathlon and of course a podium position in my age-group. Both was in sight. The run felt a little to easy and I soon realized why - heavy objects travel fast downhill. We hit the 1.5 mile marker and turned around and headed back all up hill. Not a steep hill, but just enough to drag you down. My nice 95 rpm leg turnover was reduced to a 75 rpm. A heavy weight settled in and I really struggled. A few guys got by me but I just kept focusing on my run and tried not to let it get me down. Not that this helped much with my run split. A poor 24 min run split (2 min slower than last year) was the end result. However, a solid swim, good transitions and a strong bike earned me 1st place in the Male 45 - 49 division in a time of 1:04:34.
Looks like I have a lot of work to do in the run. Reducing my weight by about 10 lbs (which is my goal) will definitely help. Track work will also. I need to find a local club that has track workouts that I can join. The run has always be my downfall in triathlon and it is about time I focus on it. Overall I am happy to finally be on top of the box again. Hopefully I can get back up on the top step a few more time this year.