Tuesday, September 07, 2010

That's it?

The rock, you know Plymouth Rock, wasn't nearly the giant monolith I had been expecting. Yes I appreciate the historical significance, but really I found myself wondering how the hell the Pilgrims even found it. Yeah I know it's been split and chipped away at, but seriously double ...no triple it's size, go 1/2 mile offshore and take a look. "One in a million, Doc. One in a million."

And yes, I begin the post with a digression. This last weekend was a family vacation/kids first trip to a race/farewell to summer. "Daddy, what's Labor Day mean?" "It means thank god school's back in because you kids are a lot of work! Just kidding honey." Though last week it seemed the weekend would be dictated by Hurricane Earl, Earl was a dud so instead the weekend revolved around our trip as a family to the Mayflower Sprint Triathlon in Plymouth, MA. Now I haven't raced a sprint in a long time. I think the last one was 2007 or s0 and before that, ... well ... , I can't really remember. Sure you could look it up, but it's just not that important. What was important was structuring a weekend the way we used to do it. "Back in the day" Leanna, Otis (our lab) and I would pack up for a weekend on the Cape and I'd race in Hyannis or Falmouth. We'd see the same group of racers/friends we'd always see. I didn't know too many people back then but over time many of those people would become the basis of my triathlon family. It was in those days that I met Tim, Cait, Beth, Brian, Steve Kelley, and others. Actually Steve was the first person I met due to his position as President of the Bay State Triathlon Team. This weekend had the familiar feel to it; grass roots kind of event with the same familiar faces, albeit older and some of us with kids, and a lot more carbon fiber. I mean even I had a carbon bike!

The race is held right in the historic section of Plymouth and started at 10:00am, not the sunrise 7:00am start we've all grown to love! The location and time made for lots of spectators, both willing and not. For those of us trained for and truly best suited for long distance triathlons, the sprint triathlon, this one made up of ~.4mile swim/12mile bike/3.1 mile run is a painful event. You have to go hard right from the gun and you really can't make any mistakes. It's not a race where I focus on finishing as one of the top three goals. First and foremost it is a race of execution. Spend too much time in transition because your foot got stuck in your wetsuit (again! time to cut it!) and you can watch the places go by you. There just is not enough course to repass too many people. After that it's just a matter of going all out. No real strategy. No nutrition plan. Just how hard can you go for 60 or so minutes.

In my opinion my biggest strength these days is in my ability to pace. So a sprint does not play into my strengths whatsoever. However it does satisfy that need to feel nervous, to get hit in the water, to have my heart try to leap from my chest, to make me want to hurl...in short it serves to help me prep for the next weekend's Pumpkinman 1/2. It's also an opportunity to bring the kids to a race. Yes the whole clan came to Plymouth, and an hour of racing was about all their 4 and 6 yr old attention spans were ready to handle. In fact a delay in the start (boat entering the harbor) almost pushed them, and by extension Leanna, over the edge! I loved having the kids at the race. In fact seeing them cheering for me was one of the best experiences I've ever had (fyi that's why I'm smiling in my race photos during the transition run from the swim to the transition area). That said, holy crap they were difficult. Did you know we went 3 for 5 on spilled drinks...Mommy and Daddy drinks! "But Daddy it was on my place mat and I didn't want anything on my place mat." They very possibly learned some new, more colorful words!

But back to the race, yes the kids were there cheering their daddy as he worked it, even if I was a bit rusty (hadn't raced since early June). And I had fun: I went hard. I hurt on the swim/bike/run. I finished 1st in my age group and 12th overall.

Post race was some relaxation time in Plymouth, including dinner out. We ran into the Snows plus Mikaela (Cait's sister) at Sam Diego's. And despite Cait questioning my sanity because I don't like fried ice cream, it was fun seeing them.

Next weekend is Pumpkinman and I want to do well. I'm fairly realistic that there are no PRs in my future as I don't have that kind of training volume this year. Nonetheless I still have goals related to maximizing what I have, and that means giving out lessons on course management and pacing.

See you next Sunday.

Here are the Garmin files: Bike , Run (note: heart strap fell down during run)