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September
16
2009
The Nation's Tri in Our Nation's Capital
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Race Reports - Triathlon Race Reports

Active ImageSo here was my first chance to do a triathlon outside the NYC Metro area. Until now, every race has been in the five boros or on LI. I went down feeling OK outside of some spasms in my lower back and traps that I had been slowly working out. The wife and I drove down Saturday, although we left 2+ hours later than planned, no worries though. Check in wasn't too bad, except not all the signs as to which room to go were all that clear. We also got our ears blasted out by Team In Training's welcome cheering, which included a few whistles (a ref's, not with lips), cowbells, yelling, and more. It was a bit much in an enclosed space, and I saw a LOT of athletes covering their ears and wincing. I respect the cause, but my ears didn't need to ring for the next half hour.  A nice tech shirt from Craft in the bag, which still trumps NYC's cotton shirt (although this year's was actually brushed cotton). By the way - driving in DC stinks - bring a GPS. We got to transition, you can not leave gear there, only your bike. Here was the problem, a bunch of racks were short - real short - I couldn't even fit my aerobars underneath them. If my bike was a 56 or 58, it probably wouldn't have fit at all, so I had to rack backwards. Weird thing is - I saw extra regular height racks! We stayed in Pentagon City, which made for an easy commute, although I recommend staying in DC proper so you can walk over in the morning easily.


Race morning, my wife slept in the car while I stretched and what not. So in we go for the swim, all 100+ of us, into a surprisingly low salt, clean Potomac. I'm too used to the dirty, high salinity of LI & NYC waters. I got out OK as we swam in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial, however, as I passed under Arlington Memorial Bridge, I hit a dam (as opposed to a wall), and my pace didn't pick up until I crossed back under the bridge, but the damage had been done. My 34 minute pace had increased (time, not pace) significantly. People deciding to swim over me didn't help either. I still don't understand that, how hard is it to swim 2' to the left or right, after you either see them or feel their foot or leg. The steel ramp out was very narrow, only about 6 people wide (when standing still), floated above the riverbed, and had no small pad at the end of it. My shin has the black & blue mark to prove it. Into transition, where a nice touch, they had little supertough, but soft paper towels being handed out. Meanwhile, the shower to rinse off wasn't set up until later waves, I still don't understand that one. As I ran into transition, I turned a corner, only to run smack into a volunteer in the middle of an aisle chatting and not looking.

 

I ran the bike out of T1, down the curb (not even a plywood ramp to run down) onto the pavement and began to mount the bike, only to suddenly be told to mount after some blue line that we weren't ever told about - everyone was unhappy about that one. The bike went great though - I turned out a 20mph ride on a beautiful flat straight course, although I was starting to show signs of wear as my form started to break as I slid forward in the saddle off of my sitbones a little. Again with the curbs, up, down and up again, still no ramps, that you had to run across with your bike. Into T2. Got out of it well, feeling OK, and the first mile clocked in a 7:30, mile 2 7:40. I figured I would settle in at about 7:45 for my 3rd and 4th miles, and then coming back down towards 8:00 minutes (total, not pace) for the final 1.2 miles. My brain and my body forgot to converse though, as I closed on the end of mile 3, I started to feel some cramps in the lower quads, from my great bike ride.  I figured I could run through them, as I did last year at Mighty Hamptons. I was wrong, after the 4th mile went through at 8:30, at 4 1/2 the quads were shutting down, and I actually had to stop running to stretch them out. My hamstrings yelled in opposition. After no more than 2 minutes of stretching, I built back up to a run. and turned out 9 minutes for the final 1.2 miles, still finishing in 2:54:38

 

It was a beautiful course, and potentially a fast one.  The event needs a little bit better planning with regards to making sure it's a safe (up and down curbs in bike shoes?) , and equal race for everyone (same racks for everyone, being able to rinse off). Thank god for the massage tent afterwards, as my legs and back were shot. Thank god for my wife being with me, driving 75% of the way home, as I was sore & tired. I also learned that I am just a tad short of conditioning to turn out a 30 minute swim (sans current), a 1:15 bike, and 45 minute run. 2:30 is within reach, but not quite yet. At least the week following the race has been good so far, as my wife is now 3 months along with our first child, and all is good according to the doctor, and I got promoted at work.