I raced the Island Lake Sprint Triathlon as a practice race for the Racing for Recovery Half Ironman. I want to get a good practice open water swim, although swimming in Kent Lake (a small inland lake) and Lake Erie are significantly different. I also wanted to practice my transitions. I had what I would call a good race. I placed 15th out 30 in my age group and 116th out of 232 overall. In my age group I was 16th in the swim, 15th on the bike and 16th on the run. Being that consistent tells me my training has been effective.
My pre-race was not how anyone would plan their pre-race. My pre-race dinner was Coney Dog and French Fries, probably not the best choice. The plan was to leave the house by 5:00 am so I went to bed at 10:00. I then had to take a phone call for work at 1:40 am. I managed to get back to sleep but still woke up before the 3:45 alarm. I was running on adrenaline. I made coffee and ate a clif bar. Then I finished loading up the car and headed off to the Island Lake State Recreation Area. On the way, I picked up my friend Gary, who had intended to race this event, but because of circumstances was able to race. He was able to help me keep my stuff together. We arrived at Island Lake and found the Registration Tent. All was pretty uneventful and I was completely set up in transition with an hour to go before race time. This gave me a chance to people watch and get complete bike envy.
The swim course was a little different that the original race materials stated. It was 400 meters out and around the last bouy and 400 meters back. This set up well for me because the bouys would always be on my right and since I breathe on the right, I would see them when they were in my field of vision. My goal for the swim was to just relax and not burn too much energy. I expected my time to be around 20 minutes and I crossed the timing mat into transition at 19:40. I swam freestyle the entire way and felt really good about my sighting. Only had a few bumps and I may have actually drafted off someone for a short stretch.
I must be a High Maintenance cyclist. My T1 time was 3:29 and it was slower that most. I’m not sure why. I was wearing Tri shorts, and my HRM under the wetsuit, I just had to put on a shirt, helmet, sunglasses, gloves, socks and shoes after I got the wetsuit off. Oh, and I started up my Garmin Forerunner 305 in automatic multisport mode. I suspect the HIM transition will be a bit longer but given my overall time, I am not going to worry too much about transition.
I came out of transition and passed an number of people who were just slow at getting on their bikes after the mount line. I started riding fairly hard knowing that 12.4 miles on the bike is no big deal. The difference with the Island Lake Sprint Triathlon was this course was much more hilly than I train on or will be racing on. I don’t have a power meter, so I tried to focus on keeping my heart rate below threshold because my real goal for this race was to run the 5k in a Personal Record. I have only run 5ks with my daughter and have held back in them so my PR time is a bit slower than it would be otherwise. The last mile was downhill back to transition so I sucked down a gel and started preparing mentally for the run. My bike time was 39:41 for an average speed of 18.7 mph. Not to bad considering I was on a mountain bike with slick tires. My last tri I the bike was a similar distance and I averaged 18.4 mph on a road bike. I will be doing the HIM on my mountain bike as well. I know I will be slower than I would on a road bike, but I will be much more comfortable especially on a course that has no hills.
This was the easy transition, change shoes, put on the number belt and hat and go. My T2 time was 2:11, still slow, but not as bad as T1.
The Run course was an out and back course mostly on the bike/hike path between Island Lake and Kensington Metro Park. Out of transition, it was up a short steep hill and then to the bike path. I was concentrating on running an comfortable pace for the first mile, then I tried to pick up the pace each mile. The first mile was 8:56 and I was feeling really good. I was surprised by my second mile because it didn’t feel that hard, but I ran it in 8:49. I was picking people off through the run, but I was also caught by a few people too. I pushed through the third mile in 8:15 and covered the last tenth in pace of 6:58. This gave me a 5k time of 27:04 which was a minute better than my previous best 5k time of 28:06. The only times I have run a timed 5k, I have been running with my then 10 year old daughter so I was holding back a little.
I am very pleased with my progress and how I was able to push through the 5k. I’m really looking forward to a relaxing week and the Half-Ironman next weekend.