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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Festival of Flowers

I had two goals in mind for this race. 1) top 10 overall. 2) take 6 minutes off my time from last year which would be about 2:07:high.

I was hoping for a non-wetsuit legal swim as to separate the sharks from the fish from the minnows, and I got my wish. Also I was anxious to try out the new Xterra Velocity speedsuit. The water felt great during the swim warm-up and I was more relaxed than I have been all year. The buoys were setup in a awkward jagged line going out to the first yellow turn buoy which could barely be seen for the fog. On shore Chris Olson and I plotted our line to yellow turn buoy on the left side of the orange buoys. Here I made my first mistake by picking a target of the canoe on the left of the first orange buoy (a moving target) since I breathe on the left side. The gun went off and the plan was to stay controlled and relaxed until the second orange buoy and then pick it up. Everything went according to plan and there was a little jockeying for position in the beginning. The canoe I was sighting on evidently drew further to the left close to the shore the closer I got to it which pulled me away from the pack and too far left. I had to make my way back to the right to make the left turn around the first yellow buoy. Once here I picked it up a bit and found a really good rhythm. Coming out of the water I looked at my watch and was shocked to see 24:16. Worst case scenario in my mind had me under 24 minutes, I guess I'm not a shark yet ... The upside is that it was 3+ minutes faster than last year.

Running up to transition Jeremey tells me I'm 6th. T1 wasn't that great, for some reason couldn't get the helmet strapped. Racing Open has the advantage of the best rack spots which mitigated this some. I opted not to clip the shoes on the pedals which further slowed down t1.

Off on the bike felt pretty good. I passed position 5 and 4 within the first few miles and could see 3 and 2 up the road. I was very slowly bringing them in some. About mile 10 I get passed by Dan Moss. I knew it was just a matter of time. Around mile 14, here comes Parker just absolutely smacking it!! Of course I can't ride with these guys so I just settled into my rhythm back in the 6th spot. I knew there were guys who would beat my time that started in waves behind mine, but to keep my head in the game I was pretending I was actually 6th. I changed my position around a little last week and had only ridden 12 miles on the changes which had and additional 1 cm of drop. Nearing the end of the ride I could feel my lower back a bit. I kept reeling in the two in front of me but never closed the gap fully and they entered T2 just ahead of me. Ride time was 58:48 for an average speed of 24.5. I was happy to have broken the 1 hr mark.

Mistake number 2 was forgetting to get out of my shoes on the bike. So the once advantageous rack spot was now a hindrance as I had to run the entire length of transition on cleats. I ran out of t2 just behind 5 and 4.

Setting out on the run I saw my family at the top of the first little rise coming out of transition. I slowed down a bit to high five my wife and kids and then proceeded to get about the business of finding a good rhythm. The guy in front of me, bib 139, was running what seemed to be a pretty good pace. I thought I would just run his pace until the mile marker and then reassess and see if I could attack on the first big hill on hwy 702. We hit the first mile marker and I looked at the watch ... not good ... 6:32. By the feel of things I was pretty sure we were running low 6s, but that just wasn't the case. Shortly after mile 1 we both passed position 4. About this time I noticed the audible slapping sound coming from my left foot with each foot strike which didn't do anything for the mood. Also 139 (David Hall) was either picking it up or I was slowing down. Not much going on after passing number 4 until just after mile 4 when some dude (Mark Render) with 44 on his calf comes flying past me and I watch him fly past 139 up the road. Geez, this run has gone from bad to worse! In the end it was a terrible run ... my goal was sub 40 and this wasn't even close (41:40). Still 2+ min faster than last year, but c'mon!!!! My running form just feels so awkward to me right now.

In the end it was 9th place in a time of 2:06:37. So my goals were accomplished and I took 7 minutes off last year's time and finished 10 positions higher. Sitting here today though I'm seething over that run! My suspicions are that my training after getting past the calf injury was just too little too late. 56 miles run in all of April due to the injury and then ramping it up in May but without any threshold work just didn't setup well for a good 10k. Maybe next year ...


Carolina John said...

man, that's nuts nick! i think you rocked it out. you were done with the whole race before i started running. there were some fast dudes out there, 9th place was a fantastic finish. i knew you were stronger than last year, but you really put on a good show.

don't sweat the run too much. you can make up for it with a top 5 finish in the greenville sprint in a few months?

JT said...

I think I remember some posts about consistency and steady training over the long haul for maximum results...doesn't Sergio's blog heading say something about an overnight sucess taking 10 years??

Hoping your comments are just the typical Type A wanting to be perfect every time! (spoken by a true Type A) You laid down a great overall race and met all your goals...congrats on a great day!!! I wish I was there!

You gonna do the Midlands?

Wes said...

Nice job, Nick. 7 minutes and 10 positions is huge!