Sunday, 4 February 2007

Oh what a beatiful day!

I guess you can tell that I was pretty happy with my race this morning. Well, I'll just share the experience in chronological order...

The night before the race...
I had trouble falling asleep. Could be the hot weather (the maximum was 42 degrees yesterday in Perth), could be the excitement (but then again, I have taken part in so many races before... oh yeah, this is different. Olympic Distance!) I went to bed about 10ish after speaking on the phone with Li-Ann for some good luck. I think I woke up a few times in the middle of the night.

Race morning
Woke up at 5.35am. Had Nutri Grain cereal for breakfast. I normally do stretches at home before heading to race venue, but transition area closes at 6.45am and my race only starts an hour later. So might as well make use of the time to stretch there. Drove to the city, was contemplating riding there (it's only 7kms away) but better save my energy. The weather was forecasted to be maximum of 32 degrees (good, not too hot!) but windy! Well, you win some, you lose some.

Race venue
Race venue was packed with people. Apparently the organizers had a record of 590 participants this year. Unlike back home, I always feel lonely racing here in Perth. Although there are some familiar faces I see, it is hard to warm up against them when they are in their own clicks and I'm by myself.

I had my body marked, checked in my bike. A guy who I've seen a couple of times at UWA gym (from here onwards shall be called UWA guy) checked in next to me. He's one of those who lift bigger weights, run harder lengths at the gym classes. I have not raced him before, but somehow I wanted to beat him today.

For security reasons, transition area would close before the race starts. As I need my glasses for my race and I have left it with my bike (maybe I should start wearing contacts), good thing I brought along my old pair to help me see because I'm 3/4 blind! Did my usual routine... stretch, eat Powerbar, drink lots of water to wash down Powerbar, go toilet to release all the water. The Juniors started first, then followed by the Enticer distance...all short course. About 30 minutes after that was MY race, the Olympic distance...

The swim
The males over 60 years and all females started first... which I found quite weird because normally, the younger age groups would start first, so that there won't be much overtaking involved. Anyway, my age group started last of the 4 groups.

The water was pretty warm... 26 degrees. That is why wetsuits were not allowed. This would give us swimmers (including myself) an advantage, as wetsuits tend to artificially help non swimmers. Water was quite murky, couldn't even see my hands. The beginning was alright, as I stayed in the pack. The usual collision with other swimmers ensued, someone actually kicked me in the face! Luckily no bleeding gums or nose. Further on, as the pack dispersed, I had trouble trying not to swim off-course. The route was quite simple actually. Just swim up and U-turn back. But there were not many float bouys to guide us. I almost swim into oncoming traffic from the earlier groups! Upon reaching the U-turn, I saw something funny... swimmers walking! Yeah, it was THAT shallow! No point swimming because our hands would hit the ground. Some walked, I did dolphin dives... something I learnt from watching live races on television... though I'm not sure whether it helps a lot.

The transition
Up from the swim... officials were helping the swimmers up from the water onto the slippery made-shift ramp. The crowd was cheering (may not be for me, but who cares?). One thing I find about the Aussies, it they sure are a supporting lot.

Ran to my bike, no sign of fatigue yet. Follow the same transition routine that I had visualised... wipe dry with towel, put on race belt, then shoes, glasses and watch (I'm not a fan of wearing my watch during the swim. Always think it might be damaged with all the collision with the other swimmers). As usual, I still need some work on my transition. But it is getting a lot better with my new tri suit.

The ride
5 laps of 8km each. I looked at my watch, it was about 23 minutes since the race start time. Should be on target... as I target 22:30 for the swim. My bike speedometer is always on 'Distance' mode. And I use my watch to track the time.

The new aerobars were great! It made cycling almost effortless! Although on some occasions, I almost lost my balance... First half of the lap was against the wind. Was averaging about 26-27kph. At the 4km U-turn point I looked at my watch... about 8 minutes since I started my ride. The half lap back was wind assisted, averaged about 35-26kph. Upon completing the first lap, I looked at my watch again... 7 minutes since the 1st U-turn! I might actually achieve my almost impossible 30kph average (1 hour 20 minutes for 40k) target!

The 2nd, 3rd and 4th lap were pretty much the same. I drank water from my bike drink cage at the end of each lap. The motivation was fuelling me... based on these lap times, doing the sub 2:30 slowly became a reality.... FOCUS, KEV! You still have the run... don't count your chicks before they hatch!

As usual, being a swimmer, I'm normally the first few ones off from the swim but cyclists tend to overtake me after that. UWA Guy overtook me at the 3rd lap. But I was not concerned, as I'm making good time, I can't go any faster. He may be just a better triathlete.

On my 5th lap, I felt something flapping against my side. My race belt snapped! Maybe sis did tell me something about it snapping easily, I can't remember. But it wasn't detached totally, the buckle was still on, only the strap came out from the clip, so it's just flapping by my side. I slowed down to adjust it. Checked my watch at the U-turns... was happy I was still doing the same time.

The run
Into the transition, out to the run. I don't wear bike shoes, so I'm pretty quick at this transition, not having to change shoes and all.

The usual tired legs kicked in, not too bad though. I think I'm only going slightly slower than my usual morning run pace. 3 laps altogether... the race belt was still loose. I should have stopped to tie a knot. But I thought that would be wasting time. All throughout the run, I was adjusting it... putting the strap through my suit, and it kept falling off.

I overtook UWA Guy! He was bending over, maybe adjusting his shoes. When I made the U-turn, I saw him on the other side, running hard... he may catch me later on...

1st lap 14:26! Wow, another almost impossible target of 45 minutes for the 10km run may actually materialise! On the 2nd lap, I felt tightness around my quads-knee area. Okay, better not over push myself... posting a slow time is not half as bad as not finishing at all! I also felt stitches near my rib cage area. It could be the water that I drank from the drink stations at every half lap. 2nd lap 15:15...

I'm still doing a sub 15 minute average for each lap. I drank from the drink stations when needed, the sun was coming up, so was pretty dehydrated. The stitches were starting to subside too. At the last U-turn, I saw UWA Guy stopping again on the other side. I think he's having some cramps. Well, he can kiss my behind then! (I'm so mean...hahhahah!)

Last lap 15:39... giving total 10k run time of 45:20! And my best 10k run alone (without the swim and bike) before this was 44:15... I'm beginning to think I should stick to Mizuno shoes forever...

Post race
Went straight to the refreshment tables, drank Powerade, took a banana and an apple. Did my stretches and went to collect my bike. 1:19.29 it said... average 30.6 kph! I was doing the maths... with my run time, the only way I wouldn't achieve my 2:30 target was if I went over 25 minutes for the swim+transition. Well, can't tell... as the dolphin dives cum walking on shallow water did slow me down. Will wait until evening, when the results are posted online.

The elite race started at 11am after that. Athens Olympian Simon Thompson and triple World Champion Peter Robertson to name a few. I guess I should be watching them, maybe I could a trick or two. But I queued up for the free massage... hey, had to make full use of my AUD105 entry right?

Word of advice... DO NOT HAVE GO FOR MASSAGE FOR YOUR TIGHT QUADS! I was in agony... but I guess it did help loosen the muscle, and probably better for me in the long run.

I also looked at some tri wear on sale. There was a matching pair of 2XU tri top and tri pants for about AUD 80 each before 25% discount. Red colour too (to match my red bike) and S size too! (I have to wear S size in Australia here, I'm not THAT small...) But decided to wait for winter sale. After all, my tri suit is still new.

12.30pm, prize presentations. No, I'm not bothered about who topped their age groups (although the times posted by these Aussies are really amazing!). I'm looking for the lucky draw prizes! Some really attractive prizes they have, wetsuits, bike shoes, running shoes, sunglasses etc... but today was not my day to win any prize.

Anyway, the results just came out. Hey, I've achieved my target...with 11 minute PB too! Who cares about the lucky draw? 2 hour 30 minutes... you've been demolished!


blacktoes said...

congrats and well done, keep it up

galnexdor said...

haahha black toes ur avid reader wei...:)

good on ya kor!!

-kev- said...

Thank you, thank you all!