Sunday, May 20, 2012

Honolulu Olympic Tri '12 Race Report

Honolulu Olympic Tri Race Report

Swim- 1500yds - 25:15
T1- 2:11
Bike- 40km- 1:12.24
T2- 2:08
Run- 10km- 56:49
Total Time- 2:38.45

I have mixed feelings about this race, so rather than dive straight into the report, I feel I should go over an idea that I've had recently. Maybe you should grab a snack, dear reader, I honestly have no idea how long we will be here.
You may remember me mentioning that a week ago during my long run I had foot fail. Self- and friend-diagnosed as sesamoiditis, it pretty much kept me off my feet all week. No running for me. And I had no idea how it was going to feel during today's race. It didn't act up until mile seven last Sunday, so would I be able to get away with a 10k? Would I start limping halfway through the run? Would I not even be able to run through transitions? I had no idea, and I wasn't willing to test it before today in case I aggravated it. And then Thursday I woke up feeling kind of fuzzy. By Friday after my swim the fuzzy morphed a pretty solid head cold. You know when you wake up and your throat is killing you because you've been dripping what seems to be acid into it all night? Yeah, all kinds of that going on since Friday.
These sound like excuses, and right now they still feel like excuses. And don't worry, I've got one or two more up my sleeve, but they don't play into this particular point. The point I'm trying to make right now is that for the last week the outcome of this race has been very hazy. Injured and sick is not how you want to go into something, and is definitely not the making of a PR. So I had to reevaluate. What were my goals? Well, the big goal is to keep in mind that this year the Honolulu Triathlon is NOT the Big Goal. That comes in two weeks. So that means if my foot hurts, I'm walking. This is a B-race. It should be hard, it should hurt, but it should also be fun. I mulled this for a while before reaching my Big Goal for this race:
Finish Proud.
I feel like this idea should get its own post, so I'm not going to go too deeply into it now, but the basic version is I didn't know if I was going to be able to Finish Hard, which is what I'd like. So I figured as long as I Finshed Proud, proud of myself, feeling like I poured what I had into the race, then I would call it a win. And I do think I did that.
Now, before we get to the race report proper I have two more excuses/reasons I was seven minutes slower this year than last year. Ready?
1) Last year this was my A Race. Everything I did for three and a half months was focused on this race. This year it's the B Race. I thought about it, but my training was never specific for it. It was never in my head as The Race. That has an effect.
2) I didn't taper at all. Sure, I barely worked out this week, but that was because I was sick, not because I was resting up for the race. So while I wasn't worn out before it, I also wasn't really rested up.
Enough excuse-making! On to the race report!
I did not warm-up the swim. My reason is simple- the line to the Port-a-Potty's was really long. I seriously went from there, kissed the Super Awesome Wife, and made it to the starting corral as the Elite wave was taking off.
Not warming up is not something I recommend. However, 1500yds gives my plenty of time to warm up. I don't like it, I want to shake those bugs out before I'm in the mass start mosh pit, but whatever. It was what it is. Last time I raced, during the Lanikai, my stroke never evened out. It felt choppy and broken the whole time. This time I felt much better, smoother. Not the whole swim, but I had good 100 yard chunks where my body position got right and everything felt smooth. The masses make for an interesting first 200 yards or so, but in a wave start you get spread out rather nicely after not too long. Especially in a long out-and-back course like this one. I had clear water for the majority of the swim, which is how I like it. Obviously. No one likes doing 25 minutes of swimming with some dumbass crawling up their legs. And this is where I start blaming being sick on my time. My perceived effort on the swim was high. I thought I worked hard and had a nice fast swim. My actual time was fairly slow. A 25 minute swim means I was doing 1:44/100s. Not so hot for me. But if you had asked I would have guessed at 1:35 split averages.
Two other swim notes- I chafed a little under my arms because of my tri top, something that I should have thought about because it happened during the North Shore swims. I need to remember to though some Glide on before the Honu, because that will be no fun. Also, I want you to check out the awesome Garmin data I got for the swim. I wore it on my wrist, and I knew that would give me a goofy read, but I just wanted it for time and so I didn't have to deal with putting it on in transition. But seriously, that map is fantastic. It thinks I swam two and a quarter miles in 25 minutes. I was FLYING!
Up the beach and into the parking lot and this was the first time I glimpsed how my foot might hold up. Actually felt good. No pain. Oh good. Transition to the bike went fast. No problems. Grabbed a Gu and tucked it into my tri short leg. Handy carrying place, that. Away I went.

Smiling! That's a good thing.

Smiling again! This is good.

The bike is the other place where my perceived effort does not match my data. I felt like I was cranking for most of the ride. Really putting in down and going for it. And for some of the ride I was. Check out the speed spike in the data near the front of the ride. That is when I was bombing down Lagoon Drive. Out is with the wind, back is into it, so I figured I would take advantage and really hammer while I was getting help from Mr. Aeolus. Felt good, made some passes, it was good. And even coming back was pretty decent. Sure, I dropped huge in speed but last year during that section I started hating life. This year I was merely hurting.
After that we went out to the Arizona Memorial, which is our turn-around. There are a few not-very-significant climbs along the way that I feel like I powered up and over. Again, the data doesn't really back up Dirtbag FantasyLand. I'm beginning to think I did the first two events in my own personal Dreamatorium*. As we were heading back I popped the Gu I had in my short for a little extra energy during the mystery run. We got sprinkled on a little bit while we were out on the course and I hoped that would continue on the run. Running in rain is awesome and fast. No such luck.
A big difference from last year's bike, and nearly every bike I've done, and a reason I felt like I was having a good ride, was that I mixed it up with other riders a lot this year. There was much passing and overtaking rather than just being overtaken. Oh, that did happen. A lot. And when some of these fellas with their disc wheels and super aero bikes fly by you wonder how the hell they could be going so fast. But I got to play leapfrog with one dude in full kit and compression socks for a good seven miles, and tracked another guy for pretty much the whole ride. Riding with others and feeling like you're really racing them makes triathlon more fun.
T2 went well if not particularly quick. I should be out of there in under a minute, for sure under two, so 2:11 is kind of slow. However, let's revisit this "2:11 is a slow T2" statement after the Honu, when I take five minutes or more. My only big happy take away from T2 is I slipped my feet out of my shoes coming into the parking lot which meant all I had to do was hop off and run barefoot with my bike shoes still clipped in. Way faster, and hey, I get to run barefoot! Bonus.
As I've said only about 400 times so far, I had no idea how my foot was going to hold up. So imagine my surprise when I came out of T2 running strong and solid. My pace was high, nothing hurt, I was feeling great. Good kick, high cadence, no bike fatigue. Ok, let's go. Remember, up until now I had been feeling great and was sure I was on pace for a stellar race. Then The Sick caught up with me. Took a while, but the sun was high in the sky, temperatures were rising, and I started feeling kinda crappy. If you check out the data for this leg of the race, watch as my pace crashes. I shouldn't be shocked, I haven't done any speed work at all, all my running has been focused on building the strongest endurance engine I can. That said, even though I didn't feel fast this year, I still felt better than I did during the run last year. I was hating it last year. But looking at the race report, I help a quick pace. I don't know how. All three legs of this race felt better than last year, and all three were slower. Ok, not true. The rides were almost identical. But again, I felt better this year. I felt faster. My perceived exertion was all screwy.
Mentally, six miles is so so much easier than it was. That felt like a really long run last year, and this year every run I do is longer than six. So that wasn't so bad. I hurt in the middle, mile two and a half to four. But I knew that after three miles its all downhill, its nearly done. I managed to get the pace back down for the last two miles, which makes me happy and I wish I could have held that longer or done it earlier. The run course, as you can see, was really funky. Lots and lots of turns, two U-turns that were basically in the middle of the course. That's where my pace drops way down in the middle, I was asking a volunteer to be sure I was going to right way. Race director fail. We were supposed to have Ka'a'ako Park too, which would have stretched the course. But there was some kind of charity run over there this morning because no one can read a permit. Anyway, small kine complaint really because considering how massive the Honolulu Triathlon is, excuse me, the Honolulu Triathlon International Festival of Sports is, there were no major problems. We started on time. All the volunteers were great. Aid stations were plentiful. The courses were well-marked.

 I passed the five mile marker, after getting passed by literally half the field, and put my head down. I was feeling the head cold in my neck and the pit of my stomach, but with only a mile and some left I had to fight through it. We ran by the transition area and into Magic Island, which is what that park at the bottom of the run map is called, which you would know if you could read the map. In transition they were blasting music. What should come on as I run by? "Shook Me (All Night Long)" by the mighty AC/DC! Hell yeah. So I did the only thing any rational person in my situation would do. I run-SOSMSed. A SOSMS, for those of you not one of the three people in on this joke, stands for Sudden Onset Slayer Moment Syndrome. This is an affliction suffered by heavy metal and rock fans across my house in which any time you hear an awesome riff (usually Slayer, but not always) you must headbang and air-instrument. You might not even hear the riff, it might just randomly pop into your head. So yes, after swimming nearly a mile, biking 25 miles, and running five miles, I ran, sang, head banged, and air-guitared a good twenty yards. That's right. This should be fun. And SOSMS are fun. Try it some time.
When you head into the park you think, "I'm almost done! Yay!" And you're right, but not really. You still have about a mile to go. That's not almost done! That's about half a mile of, "I'm almost done!" Followed by a quarter mile of, "What the hell? Where is the damn finish line?" And then another quarter mile of, "There it is! I can see it from here! Why won't it come closer?"
And across the line.
Ga! I can see the finish! Come to me!

In closing, I'm getting over my time. Yeah, I was seven minutes slower than last year. But there are a lot of reasons for that, and they are good reasons, so I'm trying not to be too hard on myself. I took the few hours I thought I deserved to be annoyed by it, but now it's over and I'm past it. Time to taper and focus on the Honu.
I would like to thank, as always, Super Awesome Wife for being there to cheer me on. I know it's not easy getting up so early to watch a race. And all the Dirtbag Friends on island and mainland who I know where cheering me one from their homes. I may not have raced like it, but I felt the love. Congrats to Diesel, who also competed. Kepa too, I think. Kepa, you were there, weren't you? And I need to thank my kick ass sponsor, Background Profiles. If you're in the business of hiring people for your business, or you need to run a background check for whatever reason, please click on the link and check them out. They always show the Dirtbag love.
Here's a few more pictures of me. Why? Because I'm a total narcissist.

Shoot The Moon!

Don't get this? Go here-

*If you get this reference then you are streets ahead and can study with me any time!


  1. Good job, glad things weren't hurting. On another note, did you notice the big guy in orange? He's in two of your pics. Looks like you have a fan. Haha.

  2. Great race report! Yeah, I totally understand about this not being your "A" race. You are training for stamina and endurance for the Honu. Short course triathlons are speed things. They may be shorter, but they can hurt for sure and its not in your best interest to be hurt with 2 weeks til the Honu. Hope you can shake the "sick" out of you for the Honu.

  3. Good training for Honu. It was best to keep it low key. I don't want you to have any excuses when I pass you on the run in Honu! (hehe!)

    1. You're not going to catch me on the bike? How many minutes am I going to put into you in the water?

    2. I think we're pretty even on the bike. The hills might help me, but the headwinds take a greater toll on lighter bikers. But, you probably should keep checking over your shoulder, just in case!

  4. Good report. I think your RPE was so much lower this time around because you're in much more distance-minded shape. So it FELT easier, so you assumed you were faster, which, in reality, just meant you were in better shape. Plus the sick... Good training for the Honu, you know you can do this while sick and injured and do ok, which should be a confidence builder for the big race. Now get some rest, drink some OJ, and taper away.