Monday, September 9, 2013

White Lake International and Ramblin' Prose

8/26 - 9/1
S - 4500 yards
B - 116.4 miles
R - 52.5 miles
Time - 13.39 hours

9/2 - 9/8
S - 9,300 yards
B - 165.1 miles
R - 24.3 miles
Time - 14.00 hours

Things of note past couple of weeks:

1) On September 1st I flew down to New Orleans to visit with my family for the day (before one brother goes to Edinburgh, Scotland for grad school and the other goes back up to NYC for senior year at NYU) and purchase my dad's 2009 VW Jetta TDI.  The following day I drove back up from New Orleans to Charlotte (11hr drive).  Not great for training, but hopefully great from a life perspective.

2) To break up the drive, I decided to text my friend Jeremy (college bff and Atlanta attorney) to see what he was up to on Labor Day.  He and his gf Kayla were playing frisbee so I invited myself to play with them.  Knowing that my body can't handle hard frisbee playing anymore I intentionally did not try very hard but in spite of this I tweaked my left lower hamstring pretty good.  So good, in fact, that I bailed on my Tuesday AM threshold interval run 1.5 minutes into it.  I'm not normally a particularly "careful" guy when it comes to little stuff so this was big for me.  I tend to grip it and rip it, so to speak.  Luckily it healed relatively quickly and I was confident it would knowing that it was a simple anomaly injury.

On Friday afternoon after a surprisingly busy day at work Jenny, Mr Behme and myself drove to the bustling Bladen County metropolis of White Lake, NC to participate in the White Lake International Triathlon. This was another "bonus point" event in the series and I knew doing well would essentially cement my lead for the rest of the year.  Leading into the end of the week I figured I might have a fairly smooth go of it as some notable names were missing from the start list.  Much to my dismay, Mr Matt Wisthoff signed up late in the week and would be bringing his A game, surely with the goal of exacting revenge for Stumpy Creek.

1.5k - 45k - 10k

Swim - 21:34 (3rd among guys, but 4th OA; thanks Jenny as usual)

I lined up on the left next to a very young guy and with Jenny on my right.  Matt was over to the far left.  As is tradition, the start horn fired and everyone took off at an extremely ambitious pace.  The award for most ambitious goes to the kid next to me, who took off at sub 1:20/100m pace but ended up swimming a 24:24 (whereas the people he started with were 21:34 or better...).  Anyway, the three of us were somewhat sandwiched together and I was the meat.  The kid next to me kept veering over to the right (towards me) and would come into contact with my left side.  This happened, once, twice, then finally he came so far over that I basically ran over him.  I'm a pretty straight swimmer and I was a little annoyed anyway so I didn't try too hard to get out of his way and I was also trying to not impede Jenny's swim.  He backed off to the left and then lost almost a body length on me in 3 strokes.  Keep in mind that we were not even 300m into the swim at this point...

Eventually I lost contact with Jenny and I took a glance off to the right to see someone taking a very inner line and a bit ahead of me so I hoped to get on their feet at the first turn but as the first buoy came and went the mystery man (well, I assumed it was a man) still had a 15-20 yard gap on me that I couldn't close down.  The route to the second buoy was uneventful but with the sun just above the tree line on the left side sighting was fairly difficult.  At the last turn there was some serious confusion as the sight buoy line appeared to be way off to the left of the straightest route which after a decent amount of sighting every stroke I managed to find.  At one point I saw a left arm taking a stroke off the left side of my feet which surprised me as I hadn't felt a single touch on my feet the whole swim (a very courteous usage of the draft I might add!).  As I made my way to the exit dock I saw someone climbing the ladder and after some small amount of time I got to make the climb myself. We had a 40-50 yard run along the dock and on some grass before crossing the timing mat and during that time I lost the guy that had been swimming with me.

T1 - 1:07 (9th)

I had a clean T1, running past Dave Williams as he was getting his bike off the rack.

Bike - 1:04:05 (1st)

I got on the bike with Dave in close sight and Jenny not too far up ahead.  I knew the first part would be flat and fast so put my head into the tuck.engaged position and worked on putting out some watts.  Within the first 10 minutes I had passed Jenny and Dave and moved into second position.  Unfortunately Matt was not in visible sight so I knew he was a good ways ahead as the roads run fairly straight and true in White Lake.  The first 10 miles went by quickly and the sweeping right hand turn spit us out onto a road of slightly lesser quality.  Luckily, however, the vehicular traffic was much lighter so I'll call that one a fair trade.  Time went on, the roads were mostly flat with some slight rollers and a slight left crosswind.

The bike, honestly, was pretty uneventful.  Not much to say. It was boring and fast.  Uninteresting.  Not too hot. Slight wind (tailwind back half). I rolled back into the trailer-town that is on the final 2 miles of the course and two bikers coming the other way said I had a minute to make up on the "guy in front of me." I listened but also mostly disregarded this info as it is very important to not trust anyone you don't know with anything involving your race.  I rolled into T2 quickly, excited at the prospect of a fast run.

T2 - :50 (5th)

I had a pretty quick T2 but could have been a bit cleaner with my shoe installation. Oh the horror.

Run - 34:57 (1st)

I have managed to get several great long runs under my belt over the past month so I was quite excited to see what I could do for a flat 10k.  No excuses, no problems.  Heading out of transition and on to the main road I caught my first glimpse of Matt since the start of the race.  He looked to be a decent ways ahead but just the fact that he was finally in sight was a huge boost to my energy levels.  One must be extremely careful, however, in situations like that as the mind wants, nay NEEDS, to try and close that gap down immediately.  I disobeyed my inclination to sprint and set out at a manageable pace to try and let my legs and shoulders loosen up a bit.

I could tell Matt was running well as his turnover was pretty high on the first mile of the course. At roughly mile .5 I saw local runner/triathlete D. Crockford helping a lady with her bike on the side of the road and she told me I had a 1 minute gap to Matt (thanks Danielle, by the way).  I trusted her number because it seemed realistic based on how far ahead Matt appeared to be.  I carried on through mile 1 and hit the gas station to make the right hand turn onto the bigger highway.  Matt was still maintaining the same lead so we both carried on our separate little races in our own heads.  The turnaround point approached quickly (thankfully) and he'd get his first glimpse of how far back I was.  The road up to the u-turn was a slight incline and into the wind so once he turned it looked like he was fuh-lying towards me (which is always somewhat demoralizing; on a sidenote, every single person coming the other way ALWAYS looks like they are running faster than me.  Do other people think this as well? Do I look like I am running fast? I don't even know).  I made the turn and realized why he looked like he was going so fast: because he WAS going so fast! Downhill tailwind running is awesuhm!

Mile 4 came and went and I could tell I had made up some ground.  The gap was noticeably smaller and I was energized by this.  I was making a lot of funny noises as I continued to try and push the pace.  The gap to third place was massive and I figured with the paces we were running it was only going to grow.  Past mile 5 and the gas station and I knew Matt had taken a quick glance over his shoulder to see me a bit closer than I had been and that could only have spurred him onwards towards the finish.  With roughly a half mile to go Danielle gave me another split: 20 seconds to Matt.  I knew that in that short of a distance 20s was almost impossible to make up on someone running well but I continued to try and push all the way to the finish line, crossing just 20ish seconds after Matt did.

2nd Overall in 2:02:31

One of questions I was asked after the race by someone that recognized me from seeing me on the run was "I bet you're unhappy with 2nd aren't you?" Not implying anything just assuming that because I didn't win I would be upset.  I am definitely not upset with that race.  I biked and ran very well and lost to a very, very good race by Matt.  Both of us went faster than DVW's winning time last year.  I ran sub 35 minutes for a 10k for the first time.  That is HUGE. I've run sub 36 before but sub 35 is quite a different performance marker.  It was great to have had good runs leading up to the race in training and to see that reflected by a good performance on race day.  3rd place was almost 9 minutes back.  It was a two-man race and Matt totally got revenge for Stumpy.

Why so serious?

Ahh, that's more like it

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