Monday, June 18, 2012

Race Report: KC Corporate Challenge Triathlon

My sophomore season of being a triathlete officially started Sunday morning at Shawnee Mission Park. Being my 2nd season it also means participating in races for the second time.  Typically you can compare running races fairly easily because a half marathon is always 13.1 miles.  Yes, you have changes in elevation, weather, and routes but you can generally compare them.  There are many inconsistencies between triathlon events the compare one from the other.  You can rarely find triathlons that have the exact same distances unless you are paying for an event like a 5150, half ironman or full ironman event.

In 2011, the KC Corporate Challenge Triathlon was my second triathlon of my first year in the sport.  In 2012, it was the first triathlon of my second year in the sport.  Poetic, no?

Truth be told, I had no clue what to expect because I've probably spent a quarter amount of time in the water and bike saddle this year than I did last year.  I knew my running would certainly improve though.  Last year I completed the KC Corporate Challenge Triathlon in 1:03:56.  I at least wanted to see an improvement of that time but knowing I hadn't trained for it, I would take what I could get. I had an ambitious goal of under an hour but again, no basis for that.

I'm still in marathon training mode, so I did 5 easy miles on Saturday and spent the morning watching my 6 year old niece compete in her first swim meet!  It was so much fun!

Ella on the blocks!!!

Ella is in the middle doing the backstroke.  Yeah, I have a lot to learn from her!
I asked for some tips and she recommended keeping my head down in the water.  Very good tips.

We went up to northwest Missouri near Maryville for a family reunion where we almost got blown away by an oncoming storm.  I spent about 15 minutes holding down a canopy from flying into the next county.

We arrived home around 10pm and I spent about 30 minutes packing up and then bedtime.

I woke up to a sick wifey, so I took off for Shawnee Mission Park around 5:30am on my own.  My company's Corporate Challenge Triathlon/Duathlon coordinator Denise parked right behind me.  She had carpooled with Bryan, both were participating in the Du.  Another DST associate showed up while they were getting unpacked and I eventually took off on my own to get my rack position.  It's first come, first serve.  The organizers changed things up this year and gave timing chips and TriTats in the packet, so I didn't even need to do anything other than setup my transition area before the race.

I talked with a handful of other associates in between bathroom stops (using the flush toilet by the marina and not the 10 or so pit toilets).  I found Kristen on the way back and we chatted with our Triathlon Team.  The swimmer on the team is Doug Hayden who coaches a Masters swim class in North KC.  I plan to take his class this offseason as I prepare for next year's season.

Kristen and I took off for a warm up run but I noticed it was almost 7am, which was the start for the Duathlon... Kristen's event!  My wave didn't start until 7:35 so I was able to get a mile or so jog in and still get back in time for the start.  I snapped this photo of a bunch of DST associates ready to run/bike/run.

They just look fast.  Surprised I could catch them on my camera.

Eventually I made it back to my transition to down a Gu packet, grab my swim cap and say good bye to corrected vision for about 40 minutes.  I do have prescription goggles... the best prescription goggles about $5 can buy.  I caught up with Austin while getting into the water, he is the other 30 - 39 male age group competitor for my company.  He and I met up for a couple Open Water Swim practices the previous weeks.

Triathlons at Shawnee Mission Park require participants to swim from the marina to the beach, which is maybe 50 meters.  It's a perfect warmup swim.  Not too long after we were herded over the timing mat and back into the water on the other side of the beach for our start.

Swim - 500 Meters
I haven't spent much time water... Maybe once a week for the last 6 weeks (with the last three being at Shawnee Mission Park Open Water Swim practice). I lined up conservatively about 3 rows back and on the outside. It wasn't a huge fight the entire time but crowded. I was still able to get in a good rhythm though. Sighting was pretty hard after the turnaround due to the sun but I somehow managed to be perfectly positioned for the exit. I swam until I hit ground and took off. I did peek at my Garmin and was happy to see it under 11 minutes. My time was 61 seconds faster this year, which is funny because I've probably spent 20% the amount of time in the pool since January.

Time: 10:29
Rank: 100 / 254

Huffing and puffing, I easily found my bike.  I don't remember having any problems.  Instead of racking up close the to bike exit, I racked in between the swim entrance and run exit, which was only 4 racks away from the bike entrance/exit.  I thought it was a good spot even though you probably have no way to visualize what I'm talking about.

Time: 1:41
Rank: 54 / 254

Bike - 9 Miles
My mount was pretty piss poor but that's ok.

1st Lap - Just like swimming, I haven't spent much time on the bike. I decided to follow the strategy of trying not to blast the downhills and save the legs during the 1st lap. I did work on keeping the speed up during the flats of the second half of the loop.

2nd Lap - Strategy was was to hit the hills a little harder and blast the downs. I do GPS tracking so friends and family can "watch" me online. On one of the downs I decided to give them a little show and hit 45mph since I had just finished an up hill around 8mph.

Nearing the end, I peeked at my clock again and noticed that I was at 23 minutes and realized I was set for finishing under 30 minutes.

I did a flying dismount and it worked perfectly.  The only thing that was wrong with it is the guy at the dismount line wasn't yelling at me to dismount.  I guess I wasn't going fast enough.   Overall a really good time for me. Over 3 minutes faster than last year.

Time: 27:42
Pace: 19.5 mph
Rank: 77/254

Last year I had the special laces that don't requiring tying the shoes so my time suffered a little.  I think my racking position was pretty optimal because I didn't have a long run to the run start.

Time: 1:07
Rank: 132/254

I may have been too conservative on the run. There is a nasty hill in the first mile and a nasty hill in the last half mile. I followed another triathlete for the first mile as she was pacing around 7:45. She could hear me (breathing my last breaths) because she even waved me to pass at one point. Once we got through the dam(n) hill and the first aid station I took off. That strategy likely hurt my first mile split but it probably saved me for the end. Mile 1 - 7:44

The second mile is mostly downhill and I took advantage as much as I could and hit 7:26 average. I was down to under 6:30 pace for most of it but that last hill was a killer. The good thing was I didn't walk like I did last year. Mile 2 - 7:26

The last .4 is usually a struggle due to the hill you are working against but you know the end is near!! And yes, you finish on another hill too! There were a couple Sprint employees in front of me and reeled them in when I hit sub-6 for about a .1 of a mile. I shaved a minute off of last years time here too! Mile .4 - 2:57 (average pace 7:21)

I just noticed something as I was proofing my post.  I NEGATIVE SPLIT THE RUN!  7:44, 7:26, 7:21 (pace for last .4).  Pacing off the runner in the first mile was probably beneficial!!

Time: 18:07
Pace: 7:33
Rank: 60 / 254

I saw the clock tick at 1:34:04 and since I had started 35 minutes after the first wave, I realized I had hit my top goal.... Under an hour!  I was pretty amazed by this.  After a couple disappointing races, I was glad to hit an arbitrary goal that I had no basis for setting!!  Why not be happy!

While I bested last year's time by almost 5 minutes, I did not fair so well in the rankings.  I was prepared for this since last year the Corporate Challenge Triathlon was the same day as Ironman Kansas 70.3 (which is where Austin was last year).  I knew competition was going to be much more fierce this time.

Time: 59:04
Rank: 61 / 254 Overall
Age Group: 25 / 68 (Males 30 - 39)

Last Year
Time: 1:03:56
Rank: 73 / 215
Age Group: 21 / 65

So a much better time.  My overall rank was improved but those in my age group must have been doing IM Kansas 70.3 and the people replacing them just went as fast.

My photos are somewhat lacking this time around due to my #1 fan being in the infirmary. Here are some the I took or stole off of Facebook

Team DST.... well, most of them.  I'm in the back in the white visor.
Always my favorite photo.... the one showing the underwater rescue boat launching pre-race.  What were you thinking it was?

Me racing my nephew Sam.  Showing him how to cheat at the start a race.

I'm a bad influence.  He caught me in the end.  Notice the storm coming in?

1 comment:

  1. Nice time! All the times I've ran the KCCC Du/Tri, it was the DU race. I was either at a family reunion or IM KS.