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Swim4Purpose: Doug Saar

Race Result

Racer: Bram Arrington
Race: Columbia Triathlon
Date: Sunday, May 22, 2011
Location: Columbia, MD
Race Type: Triathlon - International Distance
Age Group: Male 35 - 39
Time: 2:44:12
Overall Place: 463 / 1633
Age Group Place: 68 / 169



Race Report:

Summary: My first olympic is over and I'm still willing to do more!
2:44:12
68/169 male 35-39
366/1093 male overall


Preface: My favorite race reports are the ones with inspirational messages or stories of overcoming adversity or the ones chock full of tips for us newbies. Sadly, this report will have none of that. But since it's my first olympic, I feel compelled to write one.

Pre-race: I had set some pretty ambitious goals based on previous race results, but had kept up pretty well with swimming and running over the winter so I thought they were attainable. I was also about three weeks into a training plan from Coach Ken Mierke which was already yielding noticeable results.
I woke up at 4am to start on breakfast which was instant oatmeal and a greek yogurt. My caffeine source was some shot bloks, but I think next time I'll go back to coffee.
I had been a little nervous the last few days but this morning I felt calm and ready.
My wife was doing the swim relay, so she just rolled out of bed at 4:45am for us to leave at 5. Must be nice.

Transition 0: ~2:00:00 (169/169 AG *estimated)
I took my time setting up. My transitions have been a problem for me in the past so I was trying to prepared. The spot next to me was empty so luckily I had a little extra room to setup.
I guess I took a little too long, because they started to kick us out before I was completely setup. So I finished up, then started to put on my wetsuit for only the 4th time ever so it was still a struggle. (Only swam in it once, in a pool.) Once I was finally able to get my second leg in, I realized I still had my shorts on. Lovely. I honestly considered cutting them off instead of taking off the wetsuit, but I like those shorts. Plus, I didnt have extras. I decided not to swim with my garmin so I left it in transition to put on for the bike.

Swim: 27:53 (64/169 AG)
Nutrition: Gu and water 10 minutes before start
My goal was under 30 minutes. My Celebration swim last year was 26:27, but I had spent a lot of time in the pool and now feel much more comfortable in the water. I started with a strong but sustainable stroke and kept it up the entire time. I found that the neck of my wetsuit made it difficult to look up without breaking my stroke rhythm, so I tried to just keep an even distance to the swimmers on my left. Sometimes it worked, but a couple of times when I did look up to sight a bouy, I found myself way off course. Something to work on. While swimming I focused on technique to keep occupied, but occasionally my mind would wander to T1. It was during one of these wanderings that I made a realization that I wasnt happy with...


T1: 3:40 (96/169 AG)
I had been practicing and streamlining T1 in my head for almost a year after a 5:15 T1 in Celebration. No socks, no bike gloves, no drying feet, no T1 water or nutrition. But what I realized on the swim was that I forgot to turn my watch on and set it to multisport. Being a data nerd, the thought of not having race numbers to poor over was unacceptable. I also forgot to take my Endurolytes out of my bag. I decided to forget about multisport mode and just hope I picked up satellites before I mounted. I also decided that there would be enough electrolytes in my other nutrition that I wouldnt need the endurolytes.
So I take off my timing chip, remove my wetsuit, put on my glasses and helmet, slip into my bike shoes and I'm off! Through transition, up the hill, almost to the mat and........No timing chip. No watch. Damn. Back down the hill, through transition, oops wrong row, find my spot put on my timing chip and watch and back out to the bike start. At least I had found satellites!

Bike: 1:16:44 (19.9mph 58/169 AG)
Nutrition: 24oz gu brew, 1 gu, 1 package chomps
My goal was 18.0mph. I hadnt been on the bike as much as I'd liked this year but had been steadily picking up 0.5mph per week at the club RBRs. And since this course has a few hills, I also picked up some very useful information at the club hill climbing clinic. So a big thanks to Bill V and Marcos for that.
I was a little paranoid about drafting penalties and had a near miss when two riders bumped each other on a steep section as well as when an SUV was directed into the traffic circle just as I was entering it but I managed to stay upright so all is good.
I also reached my secondary goal of only being passed by people with fancier bikes and/or helmets than I had!

T2: 1:33 (44/169 AG)
I had setup my socks in case I wanted to wear them, but decided against it. Threw on my hat and race belt and was off.

Run: 54:25 (8:46min/mile 83/169 AG)
Nutrition: Handheld water bottle with half a packet chomps at mile 1 and the other half at mile 3.
I felt good coming out of T2. A little tightness in my calves, but I've felt that during all my bricks and it usually goes away around mile 1.5-2. Head up the first hill and start to notice my quads getting tighter and tighter. I hadnt experienced it before and hoped it would go away like my calf tightness does. But it didnt. I run based on my heart rate and my legs werent letting me get anywhere close to race effort, it was frustrating. I tried to walk a few steps up the hill leading away from the lake to stretch them out but that only felt worse. My goal was 8 minute miles, and I now knew I wouldnt come close to that. So I just tried to slow down and keep it together. But every stride felt like my legs were going to lock up. On the few flat/downhill stretches I felt it ease up after a while and was able to get up closer to race speed, but then another uphill would come and I'd be back to a shuffle again. I think the adrenaline of hearing the loudspeaker kicked in on the way back to the lake, because I was able to pick up speed again and finish strong which felt good. After I finished, I could tell I was being stalked by a medic so I guess I didnt look that good. He asked if I was ok, I told him I was just tight and I kept on walking until it was bearable to stand still.

Overall the weather was beautiful, I met or surpassed most of my goals and I was incredibly happy about the overall experience.
Not to mention, I got an outstanding fresh fruit smoothie from some pretty incredible volunteers!
Ok that's not true. I got two outstanding fresh fruit smoothies.
Not sure what else I could have asked.