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Friday, June 4, 2010

Keuka Lake Triathlon - June 6, 2010

I drove to my mom’s house in Skaneateles, NY on Tuesday for the Keuka Lake Triathlon this Sunday. Took me 11 hours 37 minutes for the 670 mile trip (including 27 minutes for three stops along the way). This beat my last year time by over 30 minutes. I’m hoping for a similar improvement in the race.

I’ve had some minor difficulties this week. I managed to lose the little magnet that goes on my bike wheel to measure speed and distance traveled so I won’t have that feedback during the race. Not a big deal. I know the course and I’m going to push it as hard as I can, so it doesn’t really matter what the speedometer says.

A bigger potential problem has been a pinched nerve in my neck/back which I got while biking in Wisconsin last weekend. There were some challenging hills and I had to work hard to get up and over them and my neck muscles have pinched the nerves. Usually the dull pain goes away in a few hours but this has persisted. I found a physical therapist in Skaneateles and have had two treatments. The therapist gave me a series of stretching exercises that should eventually fix the problem (I hope). It’s an annoyance, but it doesn’t bother me on the swim or run and while there is some pain on the bike segment, there are so many other pains (legs, lungs, hands) that I don’t really notice it. It won’t affect my race day performance.

I think I will have a good race and I expect an improvement over last year’s time. I have more endurance this year, my swimming is more skilled (and the water temp is in the 60s instead of the 50s), and I have new race wheels that are much faster than my old wheels.

The key for me is to use more of my energy. A triathlete is like a hybrid car. We are constantly depleting our battery and then recharging it, but with each successive recharge (active recovery) we don’t completely restore/recover a hundred percent. A common mistake of younger triathletes is to go out too fast and use up all the battery power so there’s nothing left. That can make for a really long gruesome race or a failure to finish.

I have the opposite problem. I’m too cautious. I keep too much in reserve because I put a big premium on finishing the race. I don’t push as hard as I should. That’s been especially true on the swim – as the consequences of running out of gas in the middle of the lake are more critical than on a bike or run trail.

I have had personal best times in my two races this year and in both races I finished with more than adequate reserves – my battery was still probably 50% charged. I need to see if I can use up more of my reserves and finish with the battery almost empty.

It’s easier to say than to do, but I’m going to try. Here is I how did last year and my goal for this race:

                      2009 Actual               2010 Goal

Event              Time    Pace              Time     Pace
------------    ------- -------            ------ -------
Swim:               34:31   2:07             33:00    2:01
Transition:          2:20                         1:45
Bike:                83:02  18.75 mph      77:00   19.5 mph
Transition:          1:42                          1:45
Run:                 50:40   8:06              50:00     8:00
                    ----------                   ---------
Total              2:52:15                      2:43:30

Age group place:    5th                            3rd

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