Monday, June 06, 2011

First True Test

This past Sat. was the first true test of my training for the 2011 season. seems late I know!
and yes, I have done threshold testing for this and that and yes my "feelings" and pace at a given PE is different than last year and I do feel I am running faster swimming faster and even riding a bit better too. But,
until you lay it on the line, put it all together, in a race, with everyone else doing the same, you don't truly know how or where you have improved.

now, for some this is a bit much. One of our athletes did her first duathlon this weekend. was she concerned about the others racers? no. her placing in here A/G or over all? no. but showing up on race day is different than going hard in training and PR'ing when ever you happen to feel good one day. even for the newbies performing "their" best on race day is still important.

Michelle, did great by the way. running a bit faster than planned in the first run. her bike felt strong and steady, and even on the 2nd run dealing with a hot day and some calf cramping due to her lack of riding (big run focus for the Boulder Boulder) she finished strong not slowing down to much on the sec. 5k run.
For me this "training race" became much more important that originally planned. the summer open sprint had to cancel the swim last min. and we raced a duathlon. while I did better there than I thought I might, I was a bit disappointed with my running pace. The distance was a format I have never done but still I felt I should have run faster.

This past Sat. was an Oly. distance race. having a strong swim/bike combination its a good distance for me. The Boulder Sunrise tri is a smaller race and doesn't draw a huge fast guy field but I wanted to see what my body could do when I put all 3 sports together and realy emptied the tank.

The swim was lack luster. After having to back stroke a bit to get my breathing under control I started sighting off the wrong buoy. In the end not to much time was lost and I was able to get on the feet of the first group coming out on the water. I think I was 4-5th out of the water. so, not bad. makes me wonder what a GOOD swim would have produced.

lessons learned: if everyone else going left, then EVERYONE is likely correct.
I am never wearing a long sleeve wet suit, ever. regardless of how cold the water is.

The bike felt good. I waited a bit long to get up to my wattage range, but, then again maybe that's why I felt so good? Norm power was only 281 but for many of the steady riding sections I was sitting on 300 pretty well.
This felt much beter than last year and the summer open sprint a few weeks ago. Not forced at all. tiring in the last 5-10 miles? yes, for sure, but in control.

Things Learned: same one as always, being patient and not rushing to your goal power always pays off. Always.

Now the run. At this point I was told one guy was still in front of me with about 3 minutes. "OK so racing for second it is." who ever Drew Scott is he only 20 and crushed me by 5 minutes!! national team coaches, someone call this kid! I had a chance to chat with him a bit. very nice humble guy.
I found a rhythm faster than normal and was running sub 6:30's. perfect. what I wanted. The first 3 miles went well. my gap on 3rd looked good. I posted 1 or 2 6:40+ miles but got back to a 6:20 pace or so for the last of the 6.2 mile course and ended up with a 2nd place over all, running a 6:31 avg. pace per mile.

Lessons learned: be nice to your wife/significant other in the few days leading up to race! (see last comment of this post)
no mater how good the first few miles feel be carful. it always gets harder.

I was pretty pleased with this. having botched my last threshold running test I didn't have any hard data as to what I could really run. In my race execution planning I thought "if i can run 6:30/mile that will be great." so task achieved I guess! the run training has worked pretty well so far. with a 6:31 pace off the bike in an Oly dis. race that is going to put my threshold around 6:20 or better. training objectives for the run are all very close to being achieved.
"But Ek what about the longer running distances?"
good Q. can you correlate my run threshold pace to IM pace 100%.
No. but the race does tell us 2 things for certain about my running

1. My Threshold is faster than 6:30/mile.
2. I am running well off the bike. as I am pretty sure running a 6:10 pace would be unattainable. which means I am losing less than 4% or so off the bike. This is great.

Congrats to all the first timers who got out there and the race organizers for doing a great job. The race was much bigger than last year and I feel it has a great place in the CO race calendar.
Also, a big thanks to my wife who after getting up at 5am to come watch turned around half way there per my phone call on me forgetting my garmin running watch. despite getting there after the race started she found my stuff in transition, and got the watch placed in my running shoes. no clue how she did this as transition is closed to non racers.... humm....

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