Issaquah Triathlon 2008 - 1/4 swim, 15 mile bike, 2.8 mile run
May 31st, 2008

The alarm clock went off at 4:45 and I had everything loaded up and headed out to pick up Kevin by 5:55am. We couldn’t have asked for 2539070441_0ecc0ab4c8better weather… no rain and no clouds… it was a bit cold for the end of May, but overall it was warm enough that weather wouldn’t be a factor. I decided to do things a bit differently this  time.. no Starbuck's to wake me up.. and keep breakfast simple.. very simple. On Coach Jill’s suggestion I turned to PopTarts for my source of nutrition. I honestly think this was the first time I have ever had a PopTart!.. they are actually quite tasty! Kevin and I arrived at 5:30am, unloaded and headed to transition. I arrived early enough to secure the end position on my assigned rack. I set up my transition area and then found Jill and a few other JFT2’ers, dumped my transition bag at the team tent and then went for a short warm up run. Just before 7 am I threw on my wetsuit and went for a quick warm up swim. Everything was feeling good and it was time to put all that off season training to work!

The Elite wave kicked off at 7am and I had to wait till 7:18 for my M30-34 wave… again, something new. In my previous races my wave was immediately after the elite wave and therefore I never had to worry about “traffic” on the course from previous waves.

I made a bit of a mistake by lining up in the front of the swim pack… in all previous races I started in the very baissytri6ck. I didn’t want to be in the middle but I know I was fast enough that the back wouldn't work. READY, SET, GO and my 2008 Triathlon season was underway. The beg inning of the swim was very shallow but I decided I would rather swim verses run in the water… being in the front of the pack was complete chaos! People were running, diving swimming, pulling, kicking and few guys looked like they were dancing. The sprint to the first buoy had me fighting with other guys for position and trying to avoid a kick in the head. I was beginning to rethink my decision to start in the front of the pack, but once we turned the first buoy things calmed down and most of the guys that sprinted in front of me in the first 30 seconds faded as they learned that you have to swim your fastest 440 yards… no 50 yards. I never really hit my groove on the swim… I think the chaos of the start and overtaking swimmers from the previous wave had me a bit frazzled… I was spotting way too often and I wasn’t getting my head down in the water (wanted to keep my eyes forward.) I calmly turned the final buoy, but still not really hitting my groove. The last 80 yards were directly into the sun and I had caught a large group from the previous wave… I just headed towards the splashing and sunshine and hoping it was the exit. I swam until knee depth and then jumped up and run into T1. My time was a bit slower than the day before but a huge improvement over last year (when I didn’t even know how to swim!)

Swim - 7:20.2

I ran into T1 and went down the wrong aisle.. opps.. might have cost me a few seconds but nothing major. I arrived at my transition area and went through my checklist.. Sunglasses: on, Helmet: on, shoes: oh wait!.. I still have my wetsuit on! During transition practice I didn’t’ have my wetsuit and I was about ready to shove my shoes on without fully removing my suit. I ripped the wetsuit off but it got caught up my timing chip… grrrr. I had to reach down and pry it free, finally got my shoes on, then I was off. I was sure all my little mistakes added up but somehow they didn’t have much effect on my time… couldn’t be happier with the T1 time… practice and having a plan clearly pays off!

T1 – 1:15.1

I headed out for T1 on my shiny new QR, tightened the issytri1straps on my shoes and started to pick up some speed. Quick check of the HR… 171… too high so I just took it easy as I exited the park and tried to bring my HR back to 165. As I hit the main road I brought the speed up a bit more, went aero, and put my plan to work. Legs felt great, HR was on target, and the bike performed like an exotic sports car. I was in traffic from the previous waves the entire race and I probably passed 60+ riders over the 15 mile course. My speed on the flats was around 22-23 which was on target for my plan. I was able to crest both hills under full power and enjoy the quick descents on the other side. The bike seemed like a blur and I was back in the park headed towards T2. I was issytri2happy with my ride and I learned the value of having a plan, practicing that plan, then racing to that plan. Hopefully I can train and bring the speed up a bit more later this season.

BIKE – 41:30.3     21.7mph

I wish I had my T2 dismount on video! As I approached the dismount line I put a foot down and unloaded the bike while holding the front brake. The rear tire flipped up and basically launched me over the aerobars YIKES! Somehow I managed to land of my feet still holding my bike and I just kept running... it might have looked like some highly practiced stunt to save a few seconds but in reality it was the result of too much excitement and I thought both the bike and I were going to end up on the ground. Hmmm… maybe I should practice this stunt a few more times… seemed to work the first time! Bike racked, shoes off, shoes on, run run run!

T2 – 1:06.0

I run out of T2 and something didn’t feel right… I realized that I must have made a huge mistake and in all the excitement I must have grabbed someone else’s shoes! No wait… maybe I just forgot to grab my feet… I don’t know what I forgot, but I forgot something because it felt like I was running with cement blocks on my feet! My feet were numb from the bike and I really couldn’t feel anything for the first mile or so… I just kept running and waiting to get through mile #1. Running is my weakest link in a tri and I am still learning how to best attack these 5K sprints. Half way through the course I was greeted with a muddy trail and a nice big sprinkler attacking me as I ran by… it served as some good humor and I found myself laughing which was good. HR was right on target and I was finally starting to feel my legs under me.. oh look.. I really do have on my shoes. I started to feel good and picked up the pace a bit only issytri7to find out that my practice of “running without socks” didn’t quite prepare my feet for “running without socks”. I could feel the blisters start to form on the arches of both feet and with each step it felt like little jagged saw blades cutting into my feet. Two choices.. slow down (and I am not sure what that would have accomplished but it sounded like a good idea at the time) or just ignore it and push forward… I came to race and so I decided to just keep racing. My pace was still slow, but I wasn’t being passed by people at the rate I am use to from my races last year which I took as a good sign. At my “start sprinting here” spot I picked it up a bit, but never really hit a full sprint… I didn’t have anyone around and the pain in my feet kept me from going all out… had there been someone to race at the end I am sure I would have just pushed through the pain. Overall I was very happy with my run… still lots of room for improvement. Last year I was running 10min/miles in my Sprint tri’s so my sub 8 min/mile effort this time around has put me a lot closer to being competitive.

RUN: 22:01.0      7:30+ish min/mile (still waiting on the exact course distance)

This was a great start to my 2008 season and I am very happy with my training and progress... HUGE improvement over last yeIMG_0741ar when the challenge was to simply find the finish line! Lake Steven's Half Ironman is a month away!... and I can't wait!

TOTAL TIME: 1:13.12

  • 19th AG (out of 72),
  • 95th Overall (out of 635)

Lessons learned:

  • Find a solution for blisters on the run… either give up a few seconds and put on some socks (and run faster to make up for it!) or use more lube!
  • A race plan can really pay off!
  • Starting at the front of the swim pack can be brutal… start to the side or back and when everyone fades then make a move.
  • Unloading the bike while grabbing the front brake is a quick way to dismount, but not recommended!
  • More lube needed for the wetsuit around my ankles
  • PopTarts really are a great pre-race breakfast!

“Firsts” for me!

  • No gurgling stomach or burps due to a much better breakfast!... POP TARTS!
  • I didn’t have to go pee the entire race!!! A first! (much better hydration plan this time around!)
  • Passing competitors from an earlier wave was a new challenge
  • New spiffy bike = new spiffy speed


RawTriGirl said…
Great race report Greg! You had me laughing out loud when reading about your dismount! Wish I could have seen it!
Jess Pollak said…
Great job Greg!!
Jodi Defenbaugh said…
Great job Greg! I saw you pass me on the bike but you flew by so quick I didn't have time to cheer you on! :) Nice race.
Curtis said…
Awesome race, Greg! Sub 8 min miles sounds plenty fast to me! Then again, I've been training for distance. =P

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