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Swim4Purpose: Doug Saar

Race Result

Racer: Jesse Leitner
Race: Columbia Triathlon
Date: Sunday, May 20, 2007
Location: Columbia, MD
Race Type: Triathlon - International Distance
Age Group: Male 35 - 39
Time: 2:36:08
Overall Place: 271 / 1446
Age Group Place: 47 / 186
Comment: no swim panic!



Race Report:

I started off this week on a sour running note. While out for an easy
trail run, I mis-stepped on one of my clodhoppers and collapsed my
ankle all the way to the ground, resulting in excruciating pain. I waited
10 minutes or so for the pain to subside and went on my merry way for
another 6 miles or so, feeling ok. After the run I went for a swim, at
which point the pain came back, so I cut it short. After just a little while,
the ankle swelled up like a racquetball. On Tuesday I left for Orlando
for a short business trip after my usual running rest day and 2 mile swim
in the pool (which didn't seem to irritate it). I went for a 13 mile run on
Wednesday, which didn't hurt at all, but resulted in more swelling after
the run. Short run Thursday and a bit on the exercise bike, resulted in
more swelling. At this point, I decided to cut off any further activity
and recover as much as possible before the tri. As is always the case,
by Sunday after little to nothing for a few straight days, my congestion
becomes unbearable. However, the swelling is down and I'm feeling
ok.

It's cool out in the morning, but not as bad as I had expected. The water
is in the mid-60s and the air temp is about 58 or so. I hop in, 10-15
minutes before the start, determined not to experience the horrendous
swim panic I had last year. After about 5 minutes, I was shivering
like crazy in the water. Then it starts to rain. Not too noticeable
in the water, but I feared what was to come on the bike course. I never
ride in the rain and the couple of times I've been caught in the rain, or
even on wet ground, have been very bad experiences.
I decided to stay in the very back of the pack in the water, on the
outside (as opposed to up at the front, on the inside) and wait until
everyone moves forward for a bit before starting. This paid off overall,
but still had its challenges. It wasn't long before I started catching
up with the slower part of the mob and was challenged with figuring
out how to get around them. Nonetheless, I was comfortable, which was
the most important thing. I was wiggling my way through and around the
crowds, rounding the corners around the buoys as widely as possible.
Although I was always in a crowd, generally I passed people the whole
time and felt good all the while. I came in around 29:40, about 10 seconds
or so faster than last year, but feeling 100% better. My average heart
rate was 159, about 20 beats higher than my usual swim heart rate
at the same pace. When I came out of
the water, my usual trusty wetsuit did not want to come off. The zipper
stuck. I was going crazy trying to get it unzipped, finally successful after
about 2-3 minutes (but what felt like 10 minutes). All-in-all, I was happy
with my 4 minute+ transition, because it was still much faster than last
year! I get to my bike, which is soaking wet from head to toe. I put on my
wet socks and bike shoes and run my bike up to the mounting area.
Chain pops off right away. Took me a couple of minutes to get it properly
set. Finally, I'm on my way, getting into a groove. The rain is still coming
down and roads are slick. I'm wondering how brave I really feel on this
course with many steep sharp turns. Clearly the weather was getting
to everyone because I encountered cluster after cluster of careful bikers.
It became a major challenge to figure out how to get by without danger
and penalty. I don't think I was ever able to ride my own race with all
of the bike clusters. I was riding at about my marathon heart rate of
around 172, but really not trying to maintain a particular max. My heart
rate was way high for this pace, which I know is due to the few days
off as that's what I generally see. Suffice it
to say I survived the ride averaging just over 20 mph, about 0.5 mph
faster than last year, this time in much crappier conditions. Transition to run went
well, in just over 1:30. Goal for the run is sub-45 minutes, perhaps a bit
of a stretch after 3 solid days off and not having run the course at all
this year. I felt great through the entire run, no ankle pain or anything,
heart rate a bit high, but not as bad as on the bike. Finish time was 45:04,
slightly off goal, but still satisfying, a couple of minutes faster than last
year. All-in-all an 11 minute improvement over last year, a very comfortable
finish, and no swim panic! I really didn't need much of anything to drink
today with the cooler temperatures, around 5 or 6 ounces of accelerade
after the swim, nothing during the bike, and a cup of gatorade at four of
the stops on the run. Next is eagleman 70.3 and my sinus surgery a few
days later. Good time for a few weeks of rest, recovery, and misery.