Race Report - 70.3 VinemanWell, I did it. I completed a triathlon (and yes, it was four weeks ago). I know a lot of you guys were probably thinking I wouldn't be able to do it, but I did. It was pretty difficult. I cried a couple times. And I'll be honest, the only thing that really kept me in it was the idea of writing a race report again. That and the free snow cones I heard they were passing out at the finish line. But turns out those were only for the top 12 finishers, so I missed out on that deal. Nobody wants a snow cone at like 10:45 in the morning anyway. Figured I might as well salvage the race report though. So here goes!
But before jumping in, a quick backstory, in case you missed my post this spring (and you really don't know what you're missing). I'll summarize briefly: med school has been ruining my triathlon life lately. The "med" part of the tri-med equation has unleashed a real beat down on the "tri" part, for like... the past 18 months or so. It's also been ruining my social life, my financial life, my artistic life, and my literary life too. Kidding, read my last post. Lots of good stuff in there. Med school is awesome. But it's true that it has been harder to find time to train as intensely as I'd like. There was a brief glimmer of hope at Wildflower last year, but that was the last time I raced. Until now...
So read on, but cut me some slack. That's the point.
|Good to be back.|
-Swim- I Have to Admit it's Getting Better
Swimming is probably the only discipline I've been able to stick to with any consistency over the past year. That and some recent changes in my technique have made me a little quicker in the pool lately, so I was anxious to see how'd I'd fare when I waded back into the big leagues. The plan was to focus on my stroke and just swim my own little personal race in the Russian River, hopefully find some feet, but not get too worried about what the other guys were doing. I showed up at transition on race day and quickly realized: holy $hi#, there are a lot of really fast swimmers here. Whatever, it didn't phase me. I sorted some things out in the port-a-potty. I had someone remind me how to put my wetsuit on. I got in the river, took some strokes. We lined up, waited for the horn, and then we were off.
|Wasn't thrilled to see these guys at the starting line, making a scene...|
Kidding - I got thrashed. Gobbled up, chewed for a short time, and spit out the back of the front pack before I had even started my watch. Oh well. But for being a bit rusty, I was pleased with how I came off the line. About 200 meters in I Iooked around to see how things had shaken out. It was all good. There were a few guys near me, they seemed to be going my speed. I settled in and soon found this really comfortable rhythm. The river was the perfect temperature, I could see the brush on the banks slipping by, I felt long and smooth in the water, and I was cruising right along, on the hip of this guy who was steering a decent course.
The four of us hit the turn around, I did some dolphin diving to reconnoiter - and because it was so shallow (just like last time). I didn't see anyone in the immediate vicinity in the river ahead of us. So rather than attack by myself, I decided to settle back in and stay comfortable. I kept riding the hip, and before I knew it the swim was over.
What I would discover when looking at the results later is that I swam decently well. My little four-man pod came in just under 27 minutes, a full minute faster than my 2013 effort on this course. But what was most encouraging was that is it felt suuuuuper comfy. At no point did I really suffer, that much. And usually I suffer in a major way during the swim. Looking at the results, all the big names hung together in the lead group, which came out in 23'. Then there were a handful of guys who swam by themselves sprinkled behind them, and four minutes later at 27' there was us. I am pretty confident if I had found the right feet, I could have been down in the 25-26' range. 2-3' behind the lead group - with swimmers like Craig Alexander and Matt Reed - that's not bad. If there had been a second pack I think I might have made it. Maybe that's overly optimistic, but it's clear that my swimming has improved significantly, so I'm pumped.
-Bike- A Hard Day's Night (in other words, I rode like a soft, softman)
While I was quite satisfied with my swimming, the opposite is true for my showing on the bike. When I compare this year with 2013, I was a full two and a half minutes slower. And that on a faster bike, with better wheels. There is no mystery here: I need to ride my bike more.
|You like that?|
My heart rate and effort was dialed in, which is to say, I worked just as hard as I did two years ago. I just went a lot slower. If I had power data, I could actually quantify for you how much worse I did, and get all analytical with it. But fortunately I don't have to do that now. I'll focus on the positive: it was a beautiful course, with beautiful weather, and beautiful people everywhere. Also, for the drive down from Portland - with the help of VH1 - I put together a playlist I named "Product of the 90s." So during the race my mental soundtrack cycled through "Mo Money Mo Problems," "Building a Mystery," "Living La Vida Loca" and "Fly" before ultimately settling on an Abba song (not on my playlist). But despite the music, my riding was uninspired. There isn't a lot more to say about it.
Actually, there is one more thing to say. I felt pretty weak on the bike, like there was just no power in these skinny little legs of mine. For a few days after, I honestly wondered if I am just doomed to be a softman forever. But then two days later I saw this clip of Chris Froome attacking Nairo Quintana on the 10th stage of the Tour. His legs are arguably skinnier than mine, so I do have hope. I just need to ride more.
The guy is an animal.
-Run- The Long and Winding Road
(the run felt pretty good, in actuality, just needed to keep with the Beatles theme)
Fortunately, I have been doing a *slightly* better job of staying in touch with running the past year. So when I finally hit the dismount line and got off my bike (and ran about a half mile to get to T2, ha, not a joke, it was soooo far away) I was looking forward to the run. In 2013 I had sort of a breakthrough run here, where my nutrition, training, taper, and race plan all came together and I finally ran to my potential. This year I was minute slower, but that's sort of what I expected. It's just where my fitness is right now.
I passed four or five dudes on the run, which was fun. Another highlight was seeing Craig Alexander charging hard in the opposite direction on the out-and-back section. My first time seeing him in action, and he still looks every part the world champion at age 42. In the end I hit the tape in 13th position, behind names like Craig, Tim O'Donnell, Kevin Collington, TJ Tollakson, Chris McDonald, and Matt Reed. First race in over a year, I'll take it.
Between the bike and run I was a combined three and a half minutes off my 2013 performance. Add to it some absurdly long transitions, subtract from it that minute I saved on the swim, and in total I was 4:45 slower. Sounds about right.
-Thank You- With a Little Help from my Friends
Definitely need to thank Athlete's Lounge and Rolf Prima for the bike support. Was my first race on the Cervelo P2, which is a quick bike. I mean, if it's good enough for Chrissie Wellington to win Kona (twice) it's definitely good enough for me. The problem isn't with the car; it's just that the engine is a little weak these days. And those wheels are dope. Couldn't be happier to be racing on Rolfs.
And of course, thank you to all you readers who continue to follow along. There was a long hiatus there, but "Andrew Langfield Struggles" is officially in it's fourth season. Next up is an awesome little local event called the Rolf Prima Tri at the Grove (which has actually already happened at this point, it was a blast, I rocked a speedo and got my ass whooped by Guy Crawford) and then back to Penticton at the end of August. Thanks for reading.