Monday, April 19, 2010

New Orleans 70.3 Race Report (shorter than usual!)

Going into this race I was extremely excited for several reasons.

a) the 2009 edition of this race was my first triathlon and I had a mixed experience: very excited but also a little disappointed because I expected to be a little faster (4:49); don't ask why, it might just be my inherent sense of entitlement.
b) given how much I progressed last year, I had high hopes to set a big PR considering how much I (thought I) had improved since my last half (May 09: 4:34). This would be my 3rd Half IM
c) the weather looked favorable
d) I love to race
e) there were TONS of legit hottie-thread qualifiers at the race last year so I was hoping for more of the same this year!
f) it's a trip home to the family

Swim: 30:30
As everyone who has done the race knows, the swim was a mess. Watching the pro men as I was standing around waiting it was amusing to see them dolphin dive, swim for a bit and then realize that the water was not deep. So they got up and kept running for about 30 yards before truly beginning the swim. As the day wore on, the chop noticeably increased until there were white caps within 30-50 yards of the shore due to the wind from the NE. That meant that the first and last parts of the swim were the 'worst.' I put on my wetsuit a little earlier than I would have normally because the wind was a little chilly and considering that I had been sitting still for the last hour my body wasn't doing too much heating on its own. I suppose that's a good thing as it meant I was conserving energy. That thought didn't make me feel any warmer, however. My AG wave gradually made our way to the front of the line and then the 'go' was yelled and we ran off into the slightly chilly Lake P. As soon as the swim started I realized it was going to be an interesting one; I pretty much relegated myself to sighting every single stroke and that's what I did the whole swim. I swam over some people (sorry) (but not really), drank a lot of water, and generally made my way in the right direction towards the finish. Having seen how badly some people got off course in the last 2-300 meters I made sure to sight as much as possible to make sure I didn't err in my directions. Dolphin dived the last 15 meters and ran up the beach feeling pretty good about that swim. It's a 3+ minute PR at that race on a much tougher day (although many would argue that last year's swim was long).

T1: 1:55
Nothing to report. MUCH faster and more efficient transitions than last year. Literally 100x better. I guess that's something to report

Bike: 2:15:57
I knew I was in good bike shape leading up to this race but I remembered the course last year being especially difficult due to the wind. So I had essentially resigned myself to a pretty miserable 56 miles in which I took the first 10-15 pretty easy and then tried to save the hammerfest for the last 20 miles when everyone else would be slowing. For the most part, that's what I did. Given that I was in the second to last wave, there was a LONG, REALLY LONG, line of people in front of me. Unfortunately, for rather obvious reasons, I could not 'slipstream' very much. I had almost counted on that in my pre-race visualizations. Fortunately for me, it didn't seem to matter. For the most part, this course is pretty boring. The only "interesting" part is when you get on the road where the 2nd (of 3) turnaround is; that's typical rural Louisiana (as I understand it). Rural may not really be the right word, but the feel of that area is something I always find pretty funny. Don't ask me why. Maybe I'm just an elitist city-bred New Orleanian. Oh wait, I am.

The bike continued on rather uneventfully until I finally encountered someone in my AG right before the annoying little out and back on the frontage road. I assumed he was in my AG based on his number but like a total d*** he wasn't body marked. What annoyed me even more was that he seemed to be sitting rather close behind me each time we turned around. I got a little annoyed at that so when we got back onto the main road I put the hammer down. At one point there were cars in the left land (racers in the right lane) and I was going as fast as they were. My inner bike computer told me that I was going between 29-31 mph (I did not race with anything other than a HR monitor...) and I actually ended up holding that effort level almost the rest of the way in. Needless to say, I was very satisfied with that bike split.

On a side note, my only complaint with the bike course would have been fixing the km splits. It seemed like they were WAY off. Maybe I'm wrong.

T2: 1:12

Run: 1:32:17
The run was very warm. About 75-80% of it was unshaded. Luckily it wasn't as humid as last year but that was small consolation at the time. My run started off going well but miles 6-7 I was paying for a fast bike split. The guy in my AG that I passed on the bike re-payed the favor at about mile 8-9 of the run and that's when my elastic really did break. I tried (and failed totally) to stick to his pace. It was a valiant effort. Not really. The run down Esplanade was a struggle and the turn onto Decatur was a nice thing to look forward to and FINALLY experience. Crossed the finish line and was extremely pleased with my effort level and performance.

Total: 4:21:51

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