I raced the Three Little Pigs Sprint triathlon on June 14, 2014. This was my first race after my broken collarbone saga. I hadn’t been following a specific training plan, and my running was sub par. So, I did not have great expectations for this day. My training consisted of a fitness boot camp twice a week – which included lost of plyometrics, calisthenics and running sprints. I had also been running 2 or 3 days a week, swimming 1 day a week, and a long bike ride once a week. My running was sporadic because my boot camp workouts irritated my plantar facisitis, and I’d had a few minor injuries while mountain biking that kept me from running as much as I like. I have decided to pack away my mountain bike for the rest of the tri season, and keep that as my winter sport. I had also decided to put boot camp aside for the rest of the season as well, thinking that it was interfering with my training too much. However, I had such a great race at 3 Pigs, that I gotta wonder if boot camp is really great training for sprint tris! I went into this race thinking I had a slight chance of placing in my age group, but I really surprised myself and nailed it!
- Swim 250y: 4:56, 1st AG.
- T1: 1:22 , 3rd AG
- Bike 14m: 0:39:43, 21.1 mph, 1st AG.
- T2: 1:31, 7th AG
- Run 5k: 30:52, 3rd AG.
- Overall: 1:18:26, 1st AG
Comments: It’s interesting to look at the AG placing for each leg. I already knew I had to work on running. I am surprised my swimming was so good (tho, I don’t think the time is that great). I can see that I need to work on transitions and practice them!
Night before: I put my aero covers on my rear wheel and went out for a short test ride. I did some transition practice, playing with how to deal with my garmin. I hate wearing it in the pool. In the end, I decided to skip it, and just wear a plain stopwatch. Then, I packed up my gear into my car. That morning: I woke up at 5am (yuk). Made coffee and mixed it with some muscle milk in a to go cup. I brought along a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Hopped in my car for the 1 hour trip. Drank coffee and ate sandwich while driving. I arrived at 6:20am and got my race packet, set up my spot in Transition, chatted with some friends. My pool start time was 8:07am. I had quite a bit of time to kill. Here is a picture of me near my bike spot in transition:
Having alot of time to kill, I wandered around. I went over to the stage area and took a snapshot of the prizes for the age group awards. These little piggies are the most coveted race prize around. I really really really wanted one. I had analyzed my expected race pace against last year’s winners and thought I had a small chance of getting a podium spot. These piggies urged me to bust my ass to get one.
I did lots of yoga/stretching. I found a nice grassy spot and did some barefoot running sprints. I went to the bathroom a million times. More chatting with peeps. Then I made my way to the line up for the pool swim.
The swim was a 250 yard pool event, where swimmers snake up and down lanes of the pool. I generally don’t like pool swims because it’s hard to pass slower swimmers. This race was unique in that they snaked up one lane, and down the next, going just one direction per lane. So there was room to pass!
I got to the start and the race director Brent said hi to me. He’s super nice and remembers my name at races 🙂 I hit my stop watch a few seconds before Brent buzzed me to go off. I always do that in races so I don’t waste a second hitting my watch.
The buzzer went off and I started swimming hard. I didn’t do flip turns and didn’t make any turns very fast, actually. I could use some improvement and practice there. I passed a two people in the middle – one guy doing backstroke. The guy behind me was on my feet for a while, but he never touched me or got close enough to pass me. Later on, I pulled away from him. I swam the last length hard to the ladder so as not to let him pass me there, because I didn’t want to wait in line to climb the ladder.
I climbed out and headed for T1. I looked at my watch and it said 5 minutes and change.
Running past the mount line, I attempted a flying mount that I had practiced the day before. The road was a slightly upwards grade, and I didn’t have enough momentum, so I botched it :(. Guess I need more practice. This is one of those skills that you need to keep practicing to get and stay good at.
I spun easy for a minute while I adjusted helmet and shoes so they felt nice and tight. Then I put the hammer down. I only had a stopwatch – no cyclometer, Garmin or HR Monitor – so I raced by feel alone. I tucked into tight aero position. I spun fast and hard. My breathing was hard but still controlled. I felt powerful. I had no idea what my speed was, but I felt like I was flying.
I passed alot of riders. Not one passed me. At about mile 2 I noticed riders coming back in the other direction, and there was a bottleneck of riders, cars waiting to get past the riders, and riders waiting behind those cars. I hoped that bottleneck was clear by the time I returned.
The course was flat and fast and I was still staying focused on being tightly aero, and was feeling powerful. I thought of Fabian Cancellara, aka,”Spartacus”. I started thinking
“I am Spartacus”. “Spartacus wants a piggy”.
This became my mantra for the rest of the ride.
On the way back toward the finish, sure enough, there was that same bottleneck of riders and cars waiting to pass the riders. There were four cars. I had to slow way down. I debated what to do. I’m not allowed to draft behind a car. It would be really dumb to try and pass to the left. I’d be blowing the yellow line, and risking one of the cars pulling out for a pass.
I decided there there was enough of a shoulder to pass to the right. I was able to get past one of the cars, passing to the right. The next car was too far over to the right, and I could see the driver was looking at his cell phone, not paying attention to the road. So, I didn’t want to try and squeeze past him. I waved frantically for a minute until he noticed I was wanting to pass. He moved over the left and let me squeeze by. I buzzed past the next two cars easily with plenty of room. One of the drivers yelled at me…I think he was mad that he’d now have an additional cyclist to get by. Oh well. I made sure the driver of front car saw me, motioned that I was going to get in front of their car, and then passed the slower riders on their left, and then got back up to speed. It was a tricky maneuver, also a dumb one, but this was a race, and I was back in the game.
I pushed it hard all the way back to the finish. Did a flying dismount (which are way easier than mounts), and headed to T2. I looked at my watch and it said something like 46 minutes.
I was on target to get a solid race time, all I had to do was pull off 10 minute miles. That’s actually a really hard pace for me right now, but I wanted a piggy!
I started out on the run at a nice trot a few hundred feet to the first water station. I poured water over my head, and then picked up the pace. I ran as hard as I could. Without any HR data to guide me, I had to run by feel alone. So, I tried to make sure I was running too hard to speak. Hard breathing, but still controlled.
I remembered the article I read recently about how to run faster by not being lazy.
The ground is tempting, your feet want to hang out there, don’t let them. Don’t be lazy. I want a piggy. Lazy piggy. LAZY PIGGY!
I ran hard the entire course, chanting lazy piggy in my brain. The second half was harder. I think the course – while basically flat – trended slightly downward on the way out, and upward on the way back. So it felt harder. To stay motivated and keep my feet moving fast, I imagined I was at boot camp, with a fast runner named Jenn leading the pack, and the boot camp instructor named Willie yelling at me from behind to close the gap. This got me to the finish line and I finished strong with a time of 1:18!
After the race, I re-hydrated, refueled, and chatted with tri peeps. Lots of friendly tri peeps at this race, super funsies.
I did end up winning 1st in my age group, beating the 2nd place winner by 20 seconds. I was really thrilled to do so well at my first race back after a big injury. And this was the funnest race I have done in a very long time.
Here is a picture of me getting my piggy award!
Here is a picture of the race mascots. Three actual piggies (taking a nap).
Here are nutrition notes for future reference:
- Day before – nothing special
- Morning of – Coffee with muscle milk and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread, about 2 hours before.
- Before Swim – Gu Roctane 45 minutes before and than 10 minutes before start.
- Bike – Gu Roctane at the 30 minute mark overall time. 20 ounce water with 1/2 tablet Nuun.
- Run – Gu Roctane at the 2 mile marker.