Monday, April 19, 2010

Report: Los Angeles Triathlon Championship Series #1 2010

Total Time = 1h 34m 12s
Overall Rank = 162/245
Age Group = Clydesdales
Age Group Rank = 6/11

Pre-race routine

Had my traditional Subway sandwich the evening before at 6, with some Ovaltine before bed. Woke up at 4am and downed some Nutella on toast. I had packed the night before so all was set to go. Left the house around 5:2t and arrived at a great time. Got a good parking spot and an aisle spot in transition.

Something different this time was I put some chamois cream in my trisuit. On longer courses, this suit (Garneau) caused some discomfort on the bike so, while I wasn't expecting that on this shorter course, I wanted to try out the cream in a race environment (i.e. with a swim).

Event warmup

Got in the water, got used to the temperature (which took faster than it usually does), and did a bit of swimming. Given my calf problem (see below), I wonder if I should start doing some running beforehand.


Distance = 500 meters
Time = 9:06
Age Group Rank = 7/11

For some reason these OWS really wear me out at the beginning. I think it's the nervous energy of the start of a race plus bumping into people. I really need to get over that. I also need to get over the need to start towards the back of the pack. While I'm not a FOP swimmer, I'm not BOP and I spend too much time passing people during the first hundred yards.

Once I got in the clear, things were okay. It looks like I have tendency to drift to the left so I guess I need to work on swimming with my eyes closed to fix that. Sighting was okay--better than in the past but still needs some work.

One thing that really helped was that I listened to the instructions at the beginning of the race. We were told that the round buoys were what we needed to pay attention to, not the oval ones. During the last leg I was sighting on the round buoy but I noticed that the vast majority of the pack (and by "vast majority" I mean "everybody I could see") was swinging wide around an oval buoy, further off to the right. No lifeguards told me to get back on course and as I was getting out of the water I heard the announcer tell an upcoming wave to use the round buoys (I think I was being used as a positive example). This saved me a bit of time.

I wasn't so happy with my effort (I felt slow and tired) until they posted the results and I saw my time. My timed pace was almost exactly my pace during a practice 500 that I did in a pool earlier in the week. Maybe the course is short but that pace would explain why I was so tired at the end of the swim.

What would I do differently?

I need to place myself more towards the front of the pack to avoid having to pass so many people. I'm handling swimming in traffic just fine (thank you high school water polo!) so I need to work on going out quicker to hang out up front.


Time = 2:32

I was so tired after the swim that I pretty much shuffled up (a hill) into T1. Wetsuit came off fine--only one foot got stuck. Hopped on the bike and went.

One weird thing was that as I was shuffling into T1, I felt a pain in my right calf. Calf pain after the swim? I've felt that pain before and it didn't bode well for the run. I hoped that the bike would warm it up for the run (it did).

What would I do differently?

Run instead of shuffle from the lake. Would have saved some seconds but I just couldn't do it.


Distance = 24 km
Time = 48:41
Age Group Rank = 8/11

I am so glad I previewed the course last weekend. I knew which hills to get out of the saddle for and which to stay seated. No turns surprised me. My gear changes were great. Despite my relatively low placing, I was very pleased with how I rode.

At the end of the ride I downshifted and spun, as well as standing up to flex my calves, so I could prepare for the run. Seems to have helped my run and the aforementioned calf pain.

I flaked in the fluids department, drinking only once. Didn't matter so much for this race but the coming races in this series will be longer and I'll need to drink on the bike because there will be consequences if I don't.

Chamois cream seems to have worked (i.e. survived the swim). We'll see for sure on the longer course.

What would I do differently?

I'm just not a 20 mph cyclist yet but I am 2 mph faster than last year so maybe next year? I'm sure a TT bike would have helped, too. Just gotta work more on the engine.


Time = 1:20

Not bad. I didn't have really good focus here, so that didn't help. I also need to practice getting my Garmin off the bike--I was kind of a mess doing that. I got into my shoes better than usual, though. I'd like to think it was the Body Glide I put on the shoes that morning.

What would I do differently?

Practice more than getting off the bike for T2. I have that part down. I need to do the "grab the belt and Garmin" thing better.


Distance = 5 km
Time = 32:33
Age Group Rank = 9/11

I just sucked here. The spinning and flexing I did on the bike, as well as my brick training runs, seemed to help me get going--I didn't feel exactly great but I didn't feel as awful as I did at UCLA last month. I did my high-cadence thing that I've been working on but I didn't feel all that good until two miles in. By then I had been so slow that it didn't much matter. Probably my worst (not slowest) run ever.

What would I do differently?

The next two races in this series are in the next two months, with bike legs of 40k. Since I don't need to do so much prep for those bike legs, my focus for the next two months is going to be the run. While I'm not going to get fast, I plan on getting faster.

Post race

Warm down

This was an odd one. I had some oranges, drank some fluids, and walked around. The weird thing was that I was a bit light-headed and my pupils appear to have dilated. I looked around and the whites were glowing white. It was weird because I didn't have to squint, so everything wasn't bright like that, but all the white t-shirts and white cars were intensely white. I'm guessing my pupils were dilated because of the exercise but I can't be sure. The light-headedness did go away after a while and I didn't faint (or feel like I was going to) so I guess all was well. Weird.

What limited my ability to perform faster?

The run (as usual).

Event comments

Nice race. Loved the swim in a lake, since I get seasick in the ocean. Challenging bike course (somebody in the clydesdale group cheated and only did one lap). Nice run course (wish I could have enjoyed it). The volunteers were awesome! Screaming teenaged girls! I felt like one of the Jonas brothers.

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