Pace Strategy: A Saturday Run Workout Example


Pace strategy during any event, be it a triathlon, basketball game, or speed skating, plays a very large part in the outcome of your event.   Perform at a lower pace and you might be out run by your competitors without the ability to make a come back.  Perform too fast and you may exhaust yourself prematurely.   Finding the balance is where practice and analysis comes in.

My Run Workout

Saturday’s run was an endurance run, meaning slow and steady for a longer distance.  I was a little nervous going into this workout since the longest I had run following the sprained ankle was a 5k (33min).  This workout was expected to last one hour and cover at least 5 miles, hopefully more.   I wasn’t sure if my body was able to go the distance.

Pace, what is that?

I started out like I usually do, letting my body go as I don’t have much reference for pace when starting out.  It always feels like I am running slower than I really am.   And like usual, I was fast. Check out the split times in the chart below:

Let’s take a look at some highlights that you can see in the chart above:

  1. The first half of the run had a more sporadic pace than the second half. In fact, the second mile was more of an interval workout with fast pace for 0.25 mile and then a fast walk.
  2. The third split (2.35), was painfully slow as I was exhausted and walked up a long, shallow hill to Shoreline Park.
  3. In the latter half of the chart (3.35 and above), the more consistent helped moderate the heart rate, which was slowly climbing.
  4. The slowly climbing heart rate in the latter half of the chart, indicates that I was running above my true endurance pace.

One chart, lots to digest.  I think it proves that pace strategy is the largest determinant of success in running.  Had I taken it slower on the first half of the run, the latter would have been a lot easier and I wouldn’t have felt so exhuasted.

Why did it happen?

So why didn’t I take it easy?  Two reasons:

  1. I just started and didn’t have a sense of pace. – Yep, when I first start running, my body wants to go and it feels like I am running slower than I really am.  It takes a mile or two before I can start to moderate my own pace based on feel.  Solution: Run for ten minutes prior as warm-up and use my GPS to measure my pace initially.
  2. I listen to my iPod.  Listening to techno (Scooter’s “Jumping All Over the World”) gets me pumped up and I want to run at the same pace as the music.  It is rather hard to separate the body from the beat.  Solution: Find a slower paced songs for an endurance run.  Something like Podrunner mixes might work.

The next time you go out and run, keep in mind your pace strategy, it’ll save your run.  In fact, it could even save your triathlon.

Invest in Winter Training


Yeah, winter training is hard.  Its cold, dark, wet, and miserable outside.  Our daylight hours are reduced, making it difficult to be safe and get workouts in before and after work.  We have to buy expensive winter gear to stay warm, which eats into our holiday funds.  Yep, winter training is nothing like the paradise of summer training.

But there are numerous advantages for braving the miseries of winter training:

  1. Winter training provides a higher foundation heading into the the new racing season.  Come March, when your competitors will be dusting off their running shoes, you would have already gained an advantage.
  2. Provides an opportunity to train in conditions that are not so perfect.  Hey, race day conditions are seldom ideal and getting practice in in less than ideal conditions prepares you for the worst.
  3. It’ll provide stress relief during the holidays.  With countless social occasions on your calendar, the stress of shopping in crowded stores, squeezing in extra end of the year projects at work, etc, the holidays can stress us all out. Getting a good run, bike, swim in will help relieve the stress.
  4. Triathlons are mental events.  I know the physical side of triathlons are just a small part of the picture, based on personal experience (I’ve seen very strong athletes crumble during the swim).  Getting yourself mentally prepared by running through a blizzard is just part of the journey.
  5. It “separates the men from the boys.”  Yes, the weak will hang up their running shoes and take a nice comfy arm chair next to the warm fireplace.  The strong will be running/swimming/biking in the freezing temperatures.  Just think, when you meet that fellow runner by the coffee maker at work one afternoon and their chin drops to the floor when you tell them you ran 6 miles through that icing storm last night, you will be gloating for the rest of the day.

What ever reason you use to maintain a proper training schedule during the winter, just know that it is truly worth investing in winter training.  Whether your are preparing for a triathlon, an ironman, or a marathon in 2011, get a head start on your competition this winter.

The Inner Tiger Needs to Get Out


If there is any more satisfying indication of my life change over the past three years, it is this:

“Suffering from a sprained ankle which is keeping my training to a minimum, the voice in the back of my mind is screaming to get out for a run and the legs are ready to run like a tiger chasing its prey.”

Three years ago, I would have been perfectly content to sit all day.  Today, if I sit too long, I go nuts.  I am so happy to report that I have achieved an active lifestyle and I have stuck with it.

This tiger is quite content, but is thinking about capturing larger, faster prey when his ankle heels!

Running up Jesusita & Swimming in Lightning


Trail running is a heck a lot of fun.  Swimming in the pool, gracefully gliding through the water, is very sublime.  As a triathlete, one of the best parts of my training is the variety of workouts I endure.  In fact, I have such a variety during some weeks that I feel like an athlete with ADD.

Running Up Jesusita

With the Malibu Canyon Trail Run just a week away, it was time to hit the local trails to get some workout time in.   After I hit the first incline however, I suddenly realized that I should have started getting trail running time in more than just a week in advance.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  The Jesusita Trail that runs through the San Roque Canyon of the Santa Barbara foothills, is described as a strenuous hike with moderate slope over the seven mile round trip (out and back).  <Jesusita Trail mapping by Trimble> The 2,000 feet gain in climbing altitude, makes this the perfect warm-up for the less strenuous Malibu Canyon Trail Run.

Having never run or hiked Jesusita before, it took me a few drive-by’s to find the trail head.  Located just off San Roque Rd, but hidden by bushes and down an incline, the trail head is not directly visible from the road. I have a feeling this is intentional.

After changing shirts, grabbing my running pack and bottle, I headed down the trail, somewhat leisurely.  But this was trail run practice, so I better get the move on, which was easy to do going downhill.  However, my hesitation wasn’t from lack of enthusiasm, but from unfamiliarity.  With forks in the trail and new scenery, I really didn’t feel comfortable cranking out speed… I really had no idea where I was going or what to expect.

This turned out to be the theme of the run, discovery.  I discovered that the Jesusita is literally an upward slope all the way to the top (duh, it is a hill!) and that my legs quickly reach exhaustion even on the slightest of inclines.  Taking it slow gave me a great opportunity to enjoy the scenery under the low clouds and canopy.

Those low clouds were vital in helping me determine how high I was actually climbing.  It seemed like I run up through a narrow canyon and started up some switchbacks, about a 1.75 miles only to realize that the conditions were much colder and much wetter than I remembered a few moments ago.   Continuing on up the backside of the hill, the tree canopy gave way to a wide vista of cliff and grey fog on the right with a wet, slipper slope on the left.  I had reached the ridgeline at 2.30 miles.  I was on the fence about going back or continuing on due to the conditions (cold/wet, my lack of familiarity with the trail, my fear of heights, and being on the trail alone).

I decided to push on to 2.5 miles, but didn’t make it.  I turned around at 2.45 miles after encountering a very narrow trail, even lower visibility, and an area of rock slides (that made the trail seem even narrower).  Instead of finding the top, I started back, fast.

Going downhill is obviously a lot easier than going up.  You have gravity in your favor and I just come up the same trail so I knew what kind of footing to expect on the way down.  While it took 45 minutes to come up, it took about 22 minutes to go the same distance down.

I was exhausted, yet gratified that I had done it.  I was even more satisfied with the trail run after I got home and uploaded my GPS data and saw that I had climbed 1,400 feet.  Wow…  it sure felt like it, but wow, I was proud!   Can’t wait to do it again… in the sun!

Swimming in Lightning

With all the nasty, Seattle-like weather we’ve been having in Santa Barbara lately really makes it hard to get a good workout in.  Granted trail running is one of those sports where you do it no matter the conditions.    On the opposite end of the spectrum is swimming.  In general, you don’t swim in foul weather.

So, the other evening, with a thunderstorm rolling in from the east and a swim workout highlighted on my training calendar, I headed over to the gym to sneak in a workout.

Arriving at the gym, changing and heading down to the pool, everything seemed great.  The weather was fine, a little chilly perhaps, the aqua aerobics class had just concluded and I had the pool to myself, and the thunderstorm was still a ways off in the distance.

Things started going downhill when I hit the water.  I am used to ocean swimming, so with cold water, I’ve learned to just suck it up and go.  On this evening however, there was something extra in the air that made getting used to the cold water more difficult.  I couldn’t put my finger on it, but that instinct said something was up.

Then the chilling, cold breeze that floated over the pool on my third lap sent shivers down my arm and through my spine.  The edge of the storm had arrived.  The peaceful world of the pool was a profoundly calm place to be compared to the chaos that began above the water.  The dark, gnarly, vicious clouds soared overhead like a monster in a scifi movie.

Sucking it up and going back to my peaceful sanctuary of water, I started another set of 100’s.   With the dark clouds masking the low sun, the pool had suddenly become quite dark.  With the pool lights off and my tinted goggles blurring the tiles below, I became infatuated with this new world…  a dark, spooky world of water below a thunderstorm.

Then it got interesting with the first bolt of bright lightning.  Scary at first, the sudden light illuminates the water around you, placing a rather interesting shadow of your body on the bottom of the pool, while I gasp for air in shock of the sudden new but brief swimming conditions.

With one more lap to conclude this 100, I decided to go all out back to the starting end of the pool.  Along the way, the lightning created a disco effect of shadows, blinding light, and darkness.  The randomness was sublime.

Then reality sets in and you remember that your mother always told you to never swim when there was lightning.  With the growing breeze, horrendously evil clouds, and bang of thunder, this evening was not a time to argue with mom.

After 11-minutes and 350m, I had the pleasure of experiencing a world that few others even begin to consider.  Swimming with lightning is not recommended, but boy, oh boy, is it an experience that one will never forget.

Recovering from Distractions


Aric in Training April to November
April on the left, November on the right

Life isn’t always as convenient and fun as a walk through the woods to the creek for a picnic.   If it was, people probably wouldn’t be obese, depressed, and unemployed.  Instead, life is a lot like a box of chocolates (Thanks Forrest!) where you really don’t know what you are going to get.

In fact, I got nothing but the icky chocolates over the past few weeks.  A client with a very complex house-sitting situation left town and my obligation to the business kept me from enjoying my usual triathlon training routine. There were also some additional early morning hours required at work that exacerbated the distractions from training.

To make matters worse, the increased stress led to additional distraction from the proper triathlon training diet.  Some how, fast food found its way back into my stomach.  Those compromises between fresh home cooked meals and fast, convenient food were pushed to an extreme.

By the time the client returned and my schedule opened up, my training on average per week dropped from 5+ hours to less then 3 hours.  And today, my body felt every minute of reduction in training and every over processed carbohydrate I’ve eaten.

Today’s run: 80 min endurance run, which turned into a 58min run that only covered 4.8 miles.  Given where I was a few weeks ago, this is shameful. While my muscles were in pretty good shape, the main problem was my inability to breathe and a heart rate that kept spiking higher than Mt Everest.   I simply couldn’t catch my breath and as I pushed on, the heart rate rose to ridiculous levels, the chest tightened and life sucked even more.

Previously, I was able to maintain 12:00 pace for quite some distance (1hr +) with a heart rate in the low 160’s. Today, dorking (remember the dork run?) along at 13:00 pace still brought on a heart rate of 170+ with my lungs feeling like filled balloons, gasping for air.

While I really don’t want to believe that a three week reduction in training and a less than ideal diet would cause such poor performance, I have to remind myself that I am sensitive to airborne allergens. With such dry weather and so much burned land around Santa Barbara, the particulate count is at ridiculously high levels.  This has impacted my cardio performance before.  Perhaps, next time I will try taking a Claritin before the next big workout.

So, with just one week from the Santa Barbara Triathlon, I am not feeling ready.  Granted it is a very short distance sprint, but my hopes of crushing last year’s time of one hour and four minutes are diminishing.

All of these distractions have reminded me of how important triathlons and associated training is to me.  Time to put into place an action plan to prevent further long-term distractions from happening again.   Triathlons are a huge part of me and I can’t ignore it.

I look at the thumbnail above, two pictures of me running 7 months apart, and am reminded of how far I’ve come.  I don’t have time to recover from distractions that shouldn’t exist.  I am a triathlete.

Strawberry Fields Triathlon: Hell, Heaven & Fun


Don’t let the title fool you, the Strawberry Fields Triathlon is one of the best run events I’ve had the honor of participating in in my triathlon career.  Race maps were accurate, volunteers were extremely helpful, transition area was marked with reserved spaces, and the pre-race information was highly detailed and accurate.  The next race to reach the top of my charts has a lot of work ahead to top this race!

Just with any event that you compete in, you have to approach it with an open mind.  Going into an event expecting something or a particular outcome is setting yourself up for failure.  With the Strawberry Fields Tri being my sixth triathlon, I approached it expecting to simply take each stroke, pedal stroke, and step as it came.  And it was a good thing. (note: official results are posted here)

Swim – Hell

The swim portion of the triathlon consisted of a 450m ocean swim just off Oxnard State Park.  The thing that made me nervous after visiting the site the day before was the long, sandy beach run from the water’s edge to the transition area.  Plotted in Google Earth at 0.26 miles, this was going to separate the men from the boys. Beach running and I just don’t get along, in fact it kills my legs and saps them of energy.

However, the morning of the triathlon, another hell quickly materialized.  After setting up my transition area and heading down to the beach, the calm conditions were not exactly calm.  High surf, crashing waves, and swell at over four feet was just the icing on cake.

In fact getting out to the first buoy was just the first step into hell.  Turning right at the first buoy sent the swimmers parallel to shore, but meant we had to swim diagonally across breaking surf, huge waves, etc to the second buoy.  Then it was simply keeping your head above water and riding the waves to shore.

Entering the water is all about timing.  Being part of the first wave, I didn’t have the ability to watch others enter the water, but I did have enough to observe the wave patterns.  One large wave, two smaller ones and then calm before the pattern repeated. I used this to my advantage, letting the “pros” run out into the first “big” wave only to get themselves clobbered!  I more patiently waded out into the surf, waited for the two smaller waves to break and then started side stroking for my life. It worked, but the four foot swell was too much.

I dogie paddled around the first buoy and thought to myself how crazy it was that I was actually doing this.  Just shy of half way that realistic voice told me to quit,  then the competitive voice said that that would embarrassing.  Then the lifeguard actually looked me in the eye and asked “are you done?”  “HELL NO!”  The evil voice in me suggested knocking him off his surfboard throne into the hellish cold I was suffering in, but then I would get disqualified, not totally embarrassing, but not exactly the nice thing to do.

Approaching the second buoy conditions continued to change as we swam diagonally across the surf/waves.  The waves were pushing us toward shore and the lifeguards were desperately trying to push the buoy back out into position.  This gave us a narrow space in which to turn.  By this time, the speed-demons of the second wave caught up to us and I found myself in a mixed hell of human arms and feet, cold water, breaking, waves, lifeguards, and possibly even a few sharks (not really!)!

The cool thing was riding the wave to shore.  While everyone stood up and started running in the water, I managed to catch a giant wave and went surfing by the runners!  Woohoo!

Then it was time to run up the beach.  This sand was like no sand I’ve walked on before.  Extra dry, extra course, extra deep, and extra loose.  With every step I could feel my legs strain, energy disappearing and my heart rate racing.  The British competitor that caught up to me just when we hit pavement said it best, “Could they have put the transition area any closer to China? We aren’t running marathons… we are triathletes!”  I will never forget that!

I will also never forget that on July 18th, just after 7:30am, I entered a hell that I never expected to see and lived to talk about it.

In the end I spent 8:30 in the water with a little over 3 minutes for the run to transition.  (11:35 total)

T1 – I Am Alive!

Transitions are where triathletes can really shine, proving their ability to quickly switch between sports.  On this day, I was just so happy to be alive after swimming through hell, that I wanted to relish in the fact I was still standing.   Strip off the wetsuit, grab the shorts, turn on the GPS, put on the HR monitor, socks, jersey, grab some water, put on the shoes and helmet and enjoy the fact that I am still standing.  With the bike off the rack, time to run another marathon to the bike mount.

T1 was a shamefully leisurely 4:15! Ouch!

Bike – I’ve Gone to Heaven

Cycling is my thing.  I love cruising on the bike, enjoying the scenery, enjoying the smells (pleasant and otherwise!), and feeling the air rush by.  Mounting on the bike, I felt like I went to heaven.

The course was very similar to the Ventura Triathlon course, although there was a surprise in the end for me.  The course went north along Harbor Blvd, west across Gonzales Rd to Victoria, an out and back segment along 5th ave, and then swing back to Oxnard State Park via Channel Islands Blvd.

The course races amongst natural land, the agricultural fields growing produce such as strawberries, and then through the civilized world of Oxnard.  Such a great course that is quite flat and lets one just cruise.  However, it wasn’t all flat.  Toward the end of the 11.5 mile route, one must go up and over the Channel Islands Harbor, an extreme incline compare to the rest of the route.  Heaven on the muscles.

Rounding the corner back into the park, there was a slight communication problem as to when one should dismount. The first volunteer said to dismount after the line, the second said to dismount before the line.  I split the difference… stopped with the line mid-bike.

11.5 miles in 37:45 (including the marathon to the mount/dismount)

T2 – Forgot Something… Again!

You have something go so well that you know you must have missed a step.  Yep, my T2 was so good, I totally forgot something.

After mounting the bike, removing the helmet, changing shirts, shoes, etc, I started off toward then Run Start.  Its that moment where you are going through a mental checklist and you suddenly realize that something is missing?  That sinking feeling?  Yep, I had that feeling when I realized that I forgot to put on my number belt.  Not the end of the world, but required.  I ran back across the transition area to get it.  Ugh!

total T2 time was a doubly shameful 3:38!

Run – Let’s have some fun!

With everything finally in order, I started to run.  I’ve had to go to the the bathroom since I started this event.  Since the run course went right by the bathroom, I figured I had very little to loose and a lot to gain by making a brief pit-stop.  It took about 60 seconds and I was back running.

I’ve been working with a running coach who has really helped my run become more efficient.  By leaning through the hips and using my legs to carry momentum forward using gravity, I can run slightly faster than before at a lower heart rate.   Using this new technique, I settled in and just enjoyed the final leg of this fantastic event.

While I did stop for a few brief moments, I can’t believe how well I kept up a decent pace.  The straight shot run along Ocean Dr.  reminded me more of Tijuana than California.  The narrow road with tall multi-story residences and sand covered intersections put me another country, adding to the fun.

Rounding the last few curvy turns toward the finish I really quite surprised at how good I felt.  The final sprint came fast and seeing the time clock really sent the reality of finishing the event home.

With a potty break and steady pace, the 5k run came in at 36:40.

Final Thoughts

Finishing this event in 1:33:51 puts me in 384th place overall and second to last (of 35) in my age group.  (note: official results are posted here) After finishing a triathlon, I expect to walk away from the experience having learned a few things.  To do otherwise, one would not be fully experiencing the event nor would they call themselves a triathlete.

What have I learned after this event?  A couple of things:

  • What I thought constituted a rough ocean paled in comparison to the conditions of the event. I survived and know what hell looks like.
  • Transition times are important and need to be improved greatly!  With an average transition time of 3:56, shaving even one minute off each time would have bumped me up to 367th place from 384th overall and up one position in my age group.
  • My modified running form is working. Being more efficient on my feet during the run feels great and I really am looking forward to making more progress.
  • The 2010 Strawberry Fields Triathlon was run so well, that this event sets the standard for how to run an event.
  • Pre-race positive visualization works well.  It doesn’t help to get stressed out over what could be during an event. Simply taking the event in stride and going with each blow as they come is the only way to succeed.
  • There might be some more, so I will add to this list as I continue to reflect on this memorable event.

What’s next?  I am not quite ready to go there yet.  I am still riding my high from this event.  I know what I need to do succeed and I am more determined than ever to push on and make the next event the best yet!

Cheers!

2010 Ventura Triathlon Sprint… Done!


After an early start this morning and pushing my body to new limits, I completed the 12th Annual Ventura Breathe of Life Triathlon sprint in 1:37:47.   I placed 270 (of 363) overall and 20 of 24 in my age group (M30-34).

So what was it like?  It was satisfyingly hard.  From the 8am start of the 400m swim to the somewhat confusing 13.3mile bike course, to the left sided 5k run, each sport presented its challenges and I met them head on!

(note, a link to the official results appears at the end of this post)

SWIM: I stepped on a fish!

The swim was 400m, just inside the breakwaters of the Ventura Harbor.  The water was warm at 66 degrees, calm and quite pool like. This was going to be a little easier than I thought.

Heading out for the practice swim, I was surprised to feel how uneven the sand was walking out into the water.  It was like hiking along an old road full of potholes and bumps.   But that wasn’t the real surprise.   As I took another step, I felt sand being pushed against my leg.  It wasn’t sand being moved by the wave, it was too concentrated and seemed to be coming up from the bottom.  Then I put my foot down and felt the fish fluttering.  As I started to panic, it swam off.  Oh boy… swimming with the fishies…  this was going to be interesting.

The horn blows and I hit the water just behind the group.  I started out side stroke and was keeping up.  I switched briefly to forward crawl with my head in the water.  Only got in two strokes before I realized I had a breathing problem.  Back to side stroke… “just keep moving and breathe” is what I reminded myself.

Half way to the first buoy, the happened.  My arms and legs hurt like no tomorrow.  Every stroke was painful.  Slow down, breathe and glide was the best move. But then, I was swimming in a pack, which made it difficult to relax.  Every time I stroked, I hit someone.  I was not used to swimming in such a crowd, so that added to my anxiety.

To make a long story short, I settle into an alternating left/right side stroke and got through the swim.  As I noticed people starting to stand up in waist high water, I took advantage of the footing and did two dolphins to avoid having to run through knee deep water.

Running up the beach to the transition area sucked.  It was a very long (0.15 mile) beach run which drained me even more.  I was so happy to step onto pavement and cross the timing pads!

T1 – Remember the Sequence

Transitioning to the bike, it was all about going through the steps.  Unfortunately, my transition area was setup opposite as it had been in the past (stuff to the left of the bike, before it was right).  It took a little getting used to.   I didn’t have the GPS out, so I didn’t turn it on until after I was ready to put on my shoes.  Putting on my left shoe, I found my right glove riding glove. ugh!

Eventually I got everything together, but I forgot the bib.  While this wasn’t mandatory for the bike (both the bike and helmet had my athlete number) it was something that I missed.  The sequence of T1 was out of order, but I got 99% covered

This points out that I need to practice my transitions more.  I hadn’t practiced them since the UCSB Triathlon in March, perhaps I dropped the ball.

Bike – Just Keep Cranking

The bike course was a little odd and required a turn around on Harbor Blvd followed by a right hand turn onto Gonzales Rd. The turn around isn’t so bad, but the right hand turn could be missed.  I personally didn’t miss it, but I heard that a number of riders in the event did and were disqualified.

Heading east on Gonzales Rd, I just kept cranking.  The course is fairly flat and there isn’t much time to relax on a downhill.  Just keep cranking isn’t hard, until you try and eat something.  Fuel for this event was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that I had in a ziplock bag in my jersey.  I clearly wasn’t thinking about how I was going to open it while riding, so I did caveman… tore open the bag with my teeth enough that I could bite a piece off and suck it through the hole.  It worked, but the peanut butter… well you know what happens when you eat peanut butter.  I never tried eating one before while on the move, now I know!

The bike itself was really good, fast and fun.   I settled in behind #45 for a bit and just cranked.  I eventually passed him and found myself back at Ventura Harbor for T2.

T2 – Grab the Droid, stupid. Don’t Forget the Bib!

T2 was pretty fast.  All I had to do was put the bike away, strip the helmet and gloves, put on the running shoes, and go.  Unfortunately, I was a little concerned about finishing the race without my Droid.  I wanted to take pictures and video of a friend of mine finishing after me.  In a last minute decision, I grabbed my water belt and crammed the Droid into it.

I started off and suddenly realized that I sill didn’t have my bib!  Ugh.  Run back, where is it?  Its under the shirt that I didn’t put on as I decided at the last minute just wear the jersey.   With the bib on, it was time to run.

Run – The Pain and the Surprise!

Starting the run, I quickly learned that grabbing the water belt was a huge mistake.  My Carpinteria Triathlon water bottle kept bouncing out of the holder.  I had to stop multiple times in the first quarter mile to stop and grab it.  After the third time, I just held it in my hand.  Annoying, but better than stopping.

After the bike, it is always the first half mile that is the worst.  Unfortunately, this run never improved.  I was tired, my muscles sore and I was mentally drained.  Still, I had a goal, to beat my 2009 time of 35 minutes and finish this 5k with a sub 11:00 pace.  I pushed on.

Then I saw my friend, passing me on her way BACK to the finish.  H0ly moly, she was kicking my butt, how did that happen?  I had to catch her, despite the pain.  At this point, my mental ability took a downfall.  The person that I thought I would beat was ahead of me and it really made me think about the pain, the pace, and the humiliation of defeat.

I think too much.  I pushed on, inspired by fellow Olympic triathletes and the fact it was only another mile.  I can do this!  Then I saw her.  I caught up…  but my legs weren’t going faster.  Strategy, sometimes, is more powerful than mightiness.  I decided to follow her to the finish and pass her in the last few hundred feet.   It worked well, I surprised her, she took off sprinting, I took off sprinting and I passed her just in time to beat her across the finish.

As it turns out, she was one of the ones that missed the turn and was dq’d.  Figures, as glorious as I was about the win, I was a little embarrassed too

The Results

I finished the triathlon in 1:37:47:  12:37 swim, 52:14 bike, 32:56 run.  Placing 20 of 24 in my division and 270th overall.  I know this is a repeat of the beginning of this post, but let’s look at what happened last year.

Last year I placed 24 of 25 in my division and 312th overall.   The 2010 results definitely show improvement… and I am happy!

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If you are looking for your results, follow this link to Prime Time’ website.

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For an interesting account from an Olympic triathlete’s perspective, read: They Can’t Take That Away From Me…