F and Yes

I’ll speak more about the experience of Portland (which was an awesome experience and a great time), but I want to get the race report out of the way. Because holy shit, it was a really good day.

Woke up at 5:30. Put on my kit, tattoos, and game face. Had some coffee, wheat thins, and gatorade.

We (Alisa, Justin, Alex, Heidi, Kristen and I) left for the race site at 6:15. Got there and set up transition. This time I had my Garmins charged and with me, I had a race belt, it wasn’t raining, and my mind was in a really good place. I was kicking my get psyched/HTFU playlist (for those interested/worried, the dj, Sean English, did play Call Me Maybe). Despite the olympic race going off at 8:30, we had to clear transition at 7:45 as the pros were going off at 8. So I grabbed my camera, BlueSeventy wetsuit, TriSlide and Endurance Shield and headed out with Erin and Alisa to wait. And wait. Finally, it was my turn to get ready to swim, so I quickly put on my wesuit, cap and goggles, and gave Erin the rest of my gear. Wished my Rev3 teammate Josh good luck and we were off.

(wet)Suit up!

The Swim
Not my strongest swim ever. With a relatively small olympic distance field, I wanted to get some distance between myself and the others, so I sprinted out to the first turn buoy. I might have actually been first to the buoy, but in doing so I burned a lot of matches. The turn put us straight into the sun and I had a hard time sighting. Got passed by a number of other green caps, and realized that I needed to swim at a comfortable pace and not puke up the wheat thins (which seemed like a distinct possibility). My gut feeling is that the swim was long, as the pros had slow times for the 1.2 mile swim and the times for the olympic swim seemed slow as well.
Time: 27:21

A quick shout out to the volunteers. I got into T1 and was told that I was in 9th place (it was actually 12th, but I’m ok with that), and how much of a time gap there was to other racers. I had a bit of a struggle getting out of my wetsuit (practice), but other than that, it was ok. Got out to the bike and I had passed 2 other athletes and was now in 10th place.
Time: 2:18

I had pre-ridden part of the bike course the day before and knew that it was really flat and fast, and that the return leg of the out-and-back was downwind. From the get-go, I knew I had to peg the bike… but to do so inside of myself. If someone passed me, I couldn’t go chasing after them. I could maybe catch them on the run, but that would be it. Made it to the first turn around (there were 2) and caught a couple of people, including Justin (not expecting him there, I didn’t shout any words of encouragement). From there on out, I kept looking up the road to see if I could see the next athlete in front of me. Complicating this was the fact that there were non-racing cyclists out there on the course. I would see someone up the road and think I was moving up a spot, and realize it was someone on a mountain bike. As we got near PDX (the airport), the road was under repair so so you can see how the pace dropped off slightly, but given that it was an out-and-back, I could see how far ahead/behind people were behind me: there was quite a gap to the top 3-4 people, but I could see 5-7 and thought there was a chance to move up. I eventually caught 7th place not far from T2.

Perhaps the coolest part of the bike is that the return to transition was heading East right towards Mt. Hood and the day was a bit hazy, so it loomed at the horizon as a majestic snow covered apparition.
Time: 1:03:31
Watts: 225W AP/NP


Not your typical barefoot running

I almost ran past my rack in T2. Quickly realized my error and threw my bike on the rack. The volunteer told me I was in 7th. Alex told me to hurry up as 8th was coming in right behind me. I grabbed my garmin, threw on my Pearl Izumi’s, pulled on my race belt and was out of there.
Time: 0:56

The Run
In a day filled with highlights, this was it. My Garmin was a bit slow finding satellites, so I was a bit concerned that I was burning too many matches right at the start. I was also concerned that I had gone too hard on the bike. But I was in 7th, and if 4-6 were in my AG, I would be the groomsman, again. To which I said, fuck that noise. A volunteer told me that 6th place was 45 seconds up on me. 45 seconds didn’t seem like much, and I could tell that I was reeling him in. Every so often, I would take take a time check on him using a landmark. Soon it was 22 seconds. Then 10. I would look down at my watch and see 6:15 pace staring back at me, and think, “There’s no way you can keep this pace up for the 6.2 miles, but 6th place is right there, and 5th isn’t far in front”. And as we got to the turn-around, 6th and 5th were running shoulder to shoulder and I was within seconds of them. Channeling the competitor in me I decided I would push the pace as I passed them, but the nice guy in me wouldn’t let me go by without complimenting their run. Having passed them, I couldn’t see any competitors up the road so I started high-fiving everyone: volunteers, spectators, and runners on the outbound leg. And I was still running at PR pace. I wasn’t going to look behind me to see if someone was catching me: there was nothing I could do if they did. Came back towards the park, into the finishing tunnel and was done! 5th place. HolisticGuru sat down next to me at the finish and congratulated me on the race, and laughed when I said I was pretty sure I had PRed the run.
Turns out I had the second fastest run of the day!
Time: 38:01 (1.5 minute 10K PR)

Don’t forget to stop your watch.

Total time: 2:12:08 (almost 10 minute PR)

Notes and thanks:

  • I needed this race to go well. While I hadn’t been training as I’d like, I just felt I wasn’t even close to racing as well as I could yet. And this race… yes. This is not to say that the work is done. I’m still not where I want to be triathlon-wise. I’ll get faster. If you want something badly enough, you don’t quit just because it is hard work and the reward doesn’t always seem like it’s coming. There will be plateaus. You’ll fail. Get back up. Stop paying things lip service and just fucking do it.
  • A huge thank you to my family and friends. I know I’ve been a bit difficult this spring and summer (and many other times). And you have supported me, carried me, and stood with me the entire way. From the depths of my heart, thank you a million times over. I cannot repay your kindness, but that won’t stop me from trying.
  • To my coach, you’re awesome. Shorter email from the day before the race: “Don’t be an idiot. Learn from the past. Have a great race!” Now the work continues
  • Thanks to my sponsors (right hand side) and my teammates. Having a family like you guys at a race on the opposite coast was a first for me, and it was fantastic

Email from my coach, which makes me think that the day was even more special:
First off: awesome looking files from the race. The ride looks great and you ran threshold pace on the run. That’s something I virtually never see…which makes me think that maybe your numbers are a little low. You know what that means? Testing!
Hurty times ahead.