Last week during a long run in the heat I internally rationalized (red flag!!) a big step into the world of the serious (male) age group triathlete. I decided to get find some "free speed" and the business end of a disposable razor.
See, I'm a fairly hairy guy. So visually, I felt like silky smooth legs might look out of place in the overall picture. And I am a little self-conscious about aesthetics, so this was a tough decision.
But on one shoulder I had Mark Yost saying, "You never see hairy legs on the podium." Along with Mike Mattney saying, "Smooth legs are sexy legs and sexy legs are fast!" And finally with Bill Wheeler saying, "Shave the engine!" And those are all some super fast guys.
The problem was, my wife was on the other shoulder saying, "Don't you dare..."
But she's much slower than they are right? I should listen to them! (Remember that red flag?)
Besides, with a 4 week old baby at home, what are the chances she'd even notice before it grew back? (I hope someone writing a thesis on the thought processes of an exercising male is reading this, because this stuff is gold baby!)
But luckily for my marriage, as race day got closer, the fear and doubts started to manifest. I started reading articles and forums debating the actual benefits for swimmers and cyclists and I even watched a youtube video teaching cyclists how to shave their legs for the first time. I think it was that video that broke me. Dude was just a little too creepy.
So in the end I chickened out by delaying the cutting on race night to the point where I figured the extra sleep would help my race more than giving up my leg hair.
I will say I was a little upset with my decision when looking at the post-race massage tent. Muscles said yes but hair follicles screamed no. Again, the 'no's won.
1:41:36 7/73 AG 47/855 OA
~2 minutes faster than last year. I went into this race with no split time goals. In the back of my mind I expected to beat last year just based on the increased training of the last 10 months. I was a little disappointed that I only improved by 2 minutes and was hoping to be competitive with Ben Mertes this year, but in fairness, my training has been geared for endurance and not sprints. Plus MMTC crushed my age group with Jason Miller, Brian Richards and Ben dominating the podium with great times.
Swim 20:29 18/60 AG 154/855 OA
I feel like I took poor sight lines. I usually have a feel for swimming straight, but here I had to adjust my direction nearly every time I sighted. I only beat last year's time by :14 despite being a much faster swimmer this year.
Slower than last year. I moved in and out of transition quickly, but fumbled mentally with my helmet and watch a little. Needed to visualize transition more so that everything was automatic.
Bike 52:36 20.1 MPH 7/60 AG 48/855 OA
My plan was to go out to the school at about a 7/10 in perceived effort then come back in at an 8/10. I think this would have been good for an olympic, but was too conservative for a sprint. But I am very happy that I was able to stick to my plan.
Last year's T2 was only :03 faster despite putting on socks then and staying sockless this year. Not really sure why.
Run 25:01 7:22 pace 7/60 AG 48/855 OA
Plan here was to get to the top of Gatorade hill at a 9/10 in effort and bring it home with everything I had left. I think this went perfectly, as my HR graph for the run is a near perfect staircase from start to finish along with the always desirable negative split. I was determined to make it hurt and to embrace the suck, but that didn't really come until the final stretch on the causeway. Again, I think the plan was a little too conservative for a sprint. I should have been hurting earlier.
Overall it was a great race was especially inspiring seeing the para-athletes out there. It's preaching to the choir but it can't be said enough that the club really makes all the difference on race day. I'm looking forward to a strong club presence when I volunteer at Lake Placid and to when I race at Rev3 Cedar Point.