Sunday, September 16, 2012

2012 Richmond Tri Club Sprint Triathlon

2012 Richmond Tri Club Sprint Triathlon
Shirt front with visor and race bib
     Traveling out of town for a race requires that certain precautions and considerations be taken in order to assure the best possible race experience. Bike, helmet, running shoes, goggles and oh, I don't know...maybe even a spouses luggage. Not 5 miles outside of Richmond my wife asks if I placed her luggage in the Blazer and I had to admit that in fact I had not. An unplanned shopping trip immediately was tacked on to our agenda and while a large unscheduled fiscal expenditure might have been in order, I some how managed to escape the consequences of my folly with only a slight ding in the weekly budget. Marrying a rational woman with a good sense has consistently been a huge blessing in my life!

     My expectation for the race itself was largely just to maintain middle-of-the-pack statistics, with the added twist that since I am now technically 4 weeks into a training plan for a 1/2 marathon in November, that I should be able to lay out a high end run statistic with a Tri 5k PR being a strong likelihood especially with the flat nature of the course.

Setting up my transition area at 0 dark :30
     The swim starts were 15 seconds apart. Many pool swims start participants at 10 second intervals and I do like the way 10 sec interval starts get everyone through the process quicker, but I like the 15 sec interval starts for the way it decreases congestion in the swim lanes. I wasn't having a horrible swim, but I couldn't find my high end pace at all. Fortunately, with the 15 sec interval start, only one person had to get past me and I accommodated the effort by stopping at the end of the lane for about 3 seconds so they could speed on past. A second person was on my heels as I was getting out of the pool, so I was relieved to have only lost one spot.

     The path to the transition area was quite long. I look for my transitions to be under 2 minutes and I remembered thinking "Not this time". Sure enough, I came up a little shy with a 2:23. I had made some minor T1 transition errors in my last 2 triathlons, so I was very methodical about this one and nailed it to the best of my current expectation.

Few good photo ops at this event, but here is one of me in transition.
     The bike leg went relatively smoothly. Arriving in Richmond too late to familiarize myself with the route, I had to rely on road markings, signs, and people in front to follow. I passed a good handful of people and usually had someone in eyesight that I was working on passing. This course was very flat and I didn't have to work hard to feel like I was getting plenty of speed for my effort.
Bike route as recorded by Garmin

     The 2nd transition was typical. Park bike, remove helmet, change shoes, pick up water bottle and go. Time was typical too with a 1:31 consistent with my current expectation.

     Laying the run course out along sidewalks was a new one on me and I had some reservations concerning the amount of passing that would be going on in a much narrower space. I was relieved to see that runners were using the road without penalty, so I used the road in a few spots where the sidewalk was too crowded to maintain my pace. I didn't look at my Garmin till about 1/2 mile in and I saw I was holding a sub 7 pace. Perfect. A sub 7 pace gets me to the finish line in under 22 minutes which is my BIG race goal. Mile 1 gets knocked out in 6:47 and the elevation changes are all very slight and subtle. I never felt like I was running downhill, but apparently I had been because when I turned around at the half way point I could feel the increase in effort to maintain my pace. Fortunately, my running economy is starting to kick in from my speed work training and I only lost a few seconds off my pace with the 2nd mile and just a few more on the 3rd. I'm not going to dig through all my prior race stats, but if my memory serves, then usually I lose about a 1/2 minute off my pace per mile during a tri sprint run leg, so holding my pace as close as I did to the pace of the 1st mile was a huge win for me and finishing in 21:46 gives me a big shot of confidence with regards to the 1/2 marathon plan I'm using to train for the Star City 1/2 in November.

Just out of the T2 transition and ready to run!
     Finishing with a final time of 1h10m46s represented a good middle-of-the-pack effort and a back-of-the-middle-of-the-pack effort within my age group. I interpret this to mean that the 40-44 age group was just particularly strong today, but the numbers are what they are and anyone is free to interpret them as they see fit. Being so highly invested in my run game right now I just attach significance to the run stat which yielded me a 2nd in my Age Group of 16 and 27th of 133 overall. I can be happy with that. Special shout out to Neil B representing the old school very well today with a Top 3! Way to go Viking! And to Team USA member Kim A., who won her age group! You guys owned it today!
Kim A., who went on to an Age Group Win!

Neil B., rounded out the top 3 for the 40-44 Age Group!

     This race concludes the 5 race mandate that I needed to qualify for the VTS series award. What do I get? A shirt. Did I do it all for a shirt? Hell, naw. This stuff is fun. I like having events to focus my training on. Its the difference between "training as a fact of life" and "just training when I feel like it". Would I recommend it? Sure. Come on out and give it a tri !

Richmond Tri Club Sprint Triathlon (300m/20k/5k)
2012 Time 01:10:46 (S-7:46, T1-2:23, B-37:22, T2-1:31, R-21:46), Place-63/133 Men, 11/16 Men 40-44
  Garmin data:    RUN     BIKE  


  1. Congrats!

    As far as forgetting the clothes go, I would have been finding a Kohl's coupon and heading straight toward the clearance section! Or Goodwill.

    1. We got out of Target for around $50, lesson learned. Make a list and check it twice :)