Sunday, April 22, 2012

2012 Angels Race Triathlon

   2012 Angels Race Sprint Triathlon
     Two races in two days was not something I ever looked forward to doing. First, its just not enough time for me to recalibrate my intensity to maximize a high caliber performance and second, its just to much family time being focused all at once on me. Ultimately, I decided to do the Angels Race Triathlon on the day after the Blue Ridge Half Marathon for a few reasons, chief among them being that 2012 is the year that I intend to complete 5 pool swim triathlons and I need to do the five closest ones to home for financial reasons.

     Also, the 2011 Angels Race was my introduction to triathlons, so making it an annual event carries a significant weight in a nostalgic kinda reverent sort of way. Last, but not least, and perhaps even most importantly is just the spirit of the event. The Angels Race is intended to be an outlet for remembrance of individuals that have inspired us triathlete types and I personally believe that remembrance is a better coping mechanism than trying to forget. Part of the culture of the event is to have an inspiring persons name (usually deceased, but thats not mandatory) written on your arm and then completing the event in that persons honor.

     This year I raced in remembrance of an athletic young lady who grew up in the same neighborhood as me. We didn't talk much, but I still recognized her as being a good and decent person and just an incredible and dedicated athlete. I was saddened to learn she had passed away at a young age shortly after high school graduation. She was the only athletic female I ever saw running the neighborhood streets, so in my mind she was the face of female athleticism...period.

     Realistic expectations for this race are difficult to establish since I will be operating with a recovery deficit from having competed in the Blue Ridge Half the day before, but all I understand on race day is PR's, so I'll be looking for improvements in all 3 disciplines and both transitions. Last year gave me a S1-7:50, T1-4:46, B1-49:42, T2-2:18, and R1-22:38, personally I have a good feeling about everything except the bike. Last years ride was remarkable for me so I'm not certain that there is a lot of room for improvement without buying a lighter bike. I'm not willing to do that so the cycling will just have to be what it is.

The Event
     Waking up on the morning after the Blue Ridge Half my calves and quads were screaming "Bloody Murder! What hast thou done to us!". It was as bad a lactic acid build up as I had ever had. "Angels Race?" I thought. "Ah hell, lets do it anyway. My upper body is good to go and maybe a solid bike ride will loosen me up so I can get through the measly 5k with something short of an embarrassing pace." Thoughts of a PR were off the table. I didn't even look up last years time so as to know what time to beat.

     I'll skip much of the play by play and get right to the performance, but I do have to say a special word of thanks to my lovely wife and daughter, Denise and Faith, who took time out of their schedule to support me in todays event. Waking up at 5am and spending most of the next 8 hours transporting me, encouraging me, cheering for me, and just generally waiting on me...all in a frequent to steady just an awesome show of love and I am incredibly blessed.

Waiting my turn...1h 27m 45s wait this year.
     S1: 300m: Went much smoother than last year. I'm guessing 7 minutes flat (update: 7:28) including the jog to the timing mat. I got passed probably 3 times and I believe I passed 1 person. I did get thrown out off my rhythm once and ended up drinking a small quantity of the pool with 25 yds to go, but I recovered without creating a noticeable delay and got out of the pool feeling good.
Video above is a good portion of my swim. At video start I am already in the pool (not yet swimming, in the corner) and my countdown is starting. An old lady at the gym once watched me swim and as I got out of the water she said "You look like your swattin' at flies out there." I still laugh, cause I know she's right!
Heading to transition.
     T1: (update: 3:05): I know I took it easy, probably just under 5 minutes like last year. At this point I still didn't feel much like racing, so I was just trying to get re-oriented to triathlons after a 9 month hiatus.

Starting my bike leg
     B1: 25k: After about a mile on the bike I started feeling good enough to push the paces a little bit. I passed about 8-12 people and even though my calves were still feeling rebellious they did what I asked them to and I was gaining some confidence that I might surprise myself with the final result. Official splits aren't available yet, but I'm estimating 50 minutes (update: 50:40), about the same as last year.

     T2: No reason to think my transitions have improved, so I'll guess last years time of 2:18 (update: 2:49)  is close enough.

A few steps into my run and I knew it just wasn't meant to be, but I did what I could with it.
     R1: 5k: One step and I knew I had left any significant run game still on the BRHM course. Both calves, both quads, and my left gluteus maximus were actively rebelling against further use. I had no choice but to just find a comfortable, but not too comfortable, pace and just go with it and hope I could convince my body to cooperate without cramping up, or worse, causing an injury. I even walked up a steep hill so as to not provoke an over use injury. My guess...25 minutes (update: 25:08)...much slower than last year.

Finished! Glad its over. Serious rest gonna be happening for a week or so!
     Finally finished in 1:29:09, just under 2 minutes slower than last year. No PR, I had thought "maybe" at one point, but ultimately the tank was running on fumes. I'm incredibly happy to have had a great time, a great finish time in light of the circumstances, and to have been there to offer support to Lydia, Ray and the rest of the athletic community. I hope to continue to do both the BRHM and the Angels Sprint Tri in future years, but I really hope they don't continue to fall on the same weekend.
Race Swag: Water bottle and a nice quality jacket.

     Final Results:  2012 Angels Race Sprint Triathlon  (300m/25k/5k)2012 Time-01:29:09, (S-7:28, T1-3:05, B-50:40, T2-2:49, R-25:08), Place-79/190 Men,  9/22 Men 40-44


  1. Sure was nice to share that event with you and our families. Thanks to Denise for making the day for Lydia with advice and my day as well for help with the kids!

  2. Absolutely. Hope to see yall at future tri's.