Monday, July 19, 2010

Strawberry Fields: A Race Report

Wow, what a day. Picture this 70 degrees sun out, not a cloud in the sky, windfloating off the ocean, and BAM! Your hit with the wonderful smell of strawberries.

Strawberry Fields triathlon in Oxnard, CA. Just south of Santa Barbara and north of Santa Monica. Gorgeous. We did the Olympic distance. 1500 m swim, 20 (ish) mile bike, and 6.2 mile run. Here is how it breaks down:

Since this was my wife's and our dear friend andrea' (andi) first attempt at the olympic distance and all 3 of our first ocean swim, we though we would get there early and check out the water. So glad we did. This race is a triathletes race. No fluff, no corporate sponsor no funny business , just speed. There was a small and intimate expo with not a whole lot of stuff but nice. It was set up at Oxnard beach park and what a nice park it was. Saturday and all had tons of non-triathlete types barbecuing and jump housing. So it made it fun. Then there is the practice swim. This is where we realize what we are in for. At the time there was 6 foot swells and crashing about. Just get past the break. Easier said than done. Oh and when you are swimming to shore you still have to manage the waves, they sneak up on you. lets just say my sinuses are rinsed. After surveying the scene I decided to modify my race strategy. Get as much out of the swim as possible, kick ass on the bike as it is flat as flat can be, and hold on to the run. Since I have been trying to train that way I felt totally prepared.

SWIM: Goal: 35:00, actual 41:15 (+6:15)

The good news is the waves were smaller in the am. Bad news not that smaller. From 6 foot or so to 4 or so. TURBULENT. The swim required every bit of swimming skill and fitness I have. I am proud to say I can swim anywhere now. The only thing harder might be alcatraz or something crazy like that. Anyone? Hard swim somewhere? Anyway some strokes were completely out of the water and totally useless while I ride a wave and some sighting was absolutely nothing. Some sights had everything but what did I just see? So it was a challenge. The good news is the garmin shows slight deviations but not a zig zag pattern way off course. I did not have any trouble with other swimmers or anything. Attached to this swim was a 0.5 run/walk/stumble out of the water onto deep sand. Wobbly any one? If I swam in the ocean more often I think I can preform better but since I dont I am happy with that. I have never had shoulder soreness from swimming this distance. My shoulders are sore today for sure.

T1: Goal 4 min, actual 3:18 (+ 5:27 overall off my goal)

Experience with the same equipment is the key. I had a little trouble with my tri jersey cought on my HR monitor, lol. Overall happy. I like transition on grass.

Bike: Goal 1:30, actual 1:12:53 (-11:31 off my goal)

This bike is in the shape of a boxy letter B. One u turn, and 2 laps. Once I get on my bike I thought CRAP, there isnt supposed to wind out here. This was supposed to be flat and no wind. A cross wind for most of it. Oh well make due. I wanted to average 20 mph. I busted my ass. There was only one climb and it was only 100 feet or so and then followed by a long fun downhill to the exit or start of the 2nd lap. I actually averaged 18.4 mph. I think when I computed my goal I though it would be 25 miles it was a little more than 21 I think. Yeah 21.56. The race reports on the race site have mixed measurements. My goal was to max out the bike. I am limited by my leg strength. My HR ave zone 4.6 (86% of my max) or 159 bpm. I tried to keep 80-90 rpm on the biggest gear I could. It was a blast. There were some dudes with RIDICULOUS bikes out there. I passed a lot of people. Some with nice bikes in aero position. I was proud of that. There was a scenery or strawberry fields for probably 1/2 the bike course. It smelled so awesome. Nice ride.

T2: Goal 4 min, actual 2:43 (-15:14 overall off my goal)

Can be faster but I had to put socks on and my feet were still sandy. Should I put my socks on over sand? Baseball has prepared me for that. Go for it. hat on number on off I go.

Run: Goal 60 min, actual 1:07:06

I have reading a lot lately about "triathlon" running vs running alone.
Main difference? Running strength or economy. I though about that the whole time, why? Because I aint got none, lol. This is my biggest weakness right now. I am too easy to walk. If I am going to start to compete I HAVE to get better at this. The slowest run of my category. It was pretty though. Out and back a few times on the beach sidewalk with some beach houses thrown in. The residents out with hoses and cheers. It was nice. I did start to get some cramping in the L quad but I am able to keep it at bay now and I am able to fight trough it. I am sure that will come in handy in NOV. This run was so flat a net elevation gain of 54 feet. In las vegas you cannot go a 1/2 mile flatter than that in any direction. The only real issue was hot spot on the ball of the my left foot and later felt gritty from the sand. Funny.

Overall: A Goal was smash my actual goal and beat 3 hours. B goal was actual. 3:13 when everything gets added up. Actual was 3:07:16. Beat my actual goal by 6 min. Good enough for 3rd in the Clydesdale division. Who cares if there was only 5 competitors in my category. If I was racing with my age group I would have been 46/48. Thats not that great. Now my age group also had the 3rd overall male and he flew. Will I ever run a 38 min 10K? That is beat my current PR by 20 min? That is a lot and I hope that is the progression I am on. Sure my 5K pr is 8 min faster than when I first started running and if I double that then that would be about the change I am going to have to make. The 1st guy to have a 10K over the hour mark is 33/48, so it was a fast race. It is a new PR for me at this distance but it seems not comparable. The hills and runs that I have raced on at this distance are a completely different race. It was a PR of 23:33 at this distance. My PR streak for 2010 is still intact.

Marathon bar:
I gave out 10 boxes of bars. 5 protein and 5 energy. I met another athlete Carlos. I also saw him out on the road too. It was nice to talk to another athlete. We didnt have much time together though. I had all positive feedback. A couple of people came up to me and struck marathon
bar conversation. Everything thinks that its a fun and cool thing to spread the word of what an active lifestyle can do. Average Joe triathletes
who are above average citizens. I am comfortable with that. I would like to be faster though. Here are some pics of the weekend.

Congrats to Julie and Andi on stellar performances in their Olympic distance debuts. Julie actually had the 4th fastest swim among all women in her age group and the fastest in the athena category. Andi had the 7th fastest run among females in her age group. WE get her some bike fitness and a decent bike and she will make some noise.

I am on the clock with SILVERMAN. A few days rest, then the build to Silverman. BRING IT. Quote:

"I think they should put a warning label on strawberries: 'Caution: tastes nothing like a strawberry milkshake'." — Ryan Kaplan.

But boy they smell delicious and right of the vine....PRICELESS


Pete32 said...

Great job Ron, and great PR. I can't get any of those ocean swims here in the Midwest, but 4-6foot swells does not sound like a easy swim. Actually, it sounds a little scary. Great job, and great race report!

Caratunk Girl said...

Awesome job Ron! And congrats on the PR. That swim sounds like hell to me.

Christi said...

Great job on the race! You rocked it so I am impressed!

Chuck said...

Congratulations to Julie, Andi, and yourself on your outstanding accomplishment. What I found interesting while reviewing the results was that Julie did fantastic in the swim, Ron in the bike, and Andi in the run. You all need to share your secrets with each other. Awesome job by all three of you!

P said...

Awesome race - congrats on a PR and podium!!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Congrats on the PR

B.o.B. said...

Kudos Ron! You are getting so freakin' fast! Congrats on the PR. I hope to do as well as you expect on Saturday. LOL! Thanks for the tips too.