Saturday, May 27, 2006

Sure it hurts, but it feels sooo good!

I've already done the race report for the Buffman & Squeaky Olympic distance triathlon but now I have some pics to post. This is the wife and I standing around listening to the pre-race meeting with wetsuits half on. I know I look like I'm paying attention but I can assure you I'm not. I think at this point I was just trying to scope out the competition and make sure I kept in mind what they were wearing, as if it made any difference with the injury. Still, I'm not planning on being injured forver and I enjoy keeping track of what everyone else is up to, you can learn a lot about racing, both what to do and what not to do, just by watching what others are doing.

Like I said in the earlier report I was the second Clyde out of the water missing the top spot by 3 seconds. I think I've finally decided I really love the open water swims. Here in New Mexico and West Texas we have a lot of events that have pool swims. Actually, the majority of the events are pool swims. Pools swims have some merrits, such as clean, clear water and the fact that you will never peanalize yourself with extra distance because of poor navigation or foggy or lost goggles. However, there is something about the open water swim that just seems more triathlon, more like an event and less like training. Maybe it's the excitement of the mass start, swimming in a pack or the whole element of running out of the water trying to strip your wetsuit while the blood flow is returning to your legs leaving you to lurch about on the shore like some drunken swamp thing.
Seperated at birth?

As much as I like the swim though, I really love the bike. Not only do I like the sensation of speed but I am actually good at the bike, even in comparison to most triatheletes at any given event. It is not unusual for me to end up with a bike split in the top 10% overall. However, because of my Clydesdale stature I am not the greatest on hills, that is going uphill, downhill I fly and I love it. Even though the climbs present me with a disadvantage over lighter atheletes, I still love them. I'm not saying that I want courses that are non-stop climbing but I like a few thrown in.

You can get a bit of an idea what the climbs at Buffalo Springs are like from these pictures if you look more closely at the background. This is about an 8% grade, which isn't necessairily tough but when you consider the fact that the climb is immediatly out of transition it commands a lot more respect. Right here I'm pushing a heart rate of about 190 beats per minute and creeping up the hill at about 7 mph.

The run has been my achilles heal since I began racing but this year I made some huge improvements, which is why my current injury is so discouraging. Last year I was running about a 10:30 per mile pace if the run ended the race and about a 9:20 if the run was at the begining. At the begining of this season I ran a tri with the run first and clocked a 7:09 per mile split and one with the run at the end clocking an 8:10 per minute split. On the Buffman & Squeaky my run fell to a 13:17 per mile split. I do have a lot of hope for a comeback but I'm sure getting impatient. Even with the injury though, I don't mind the run. I remember when I first started triathlon I used to curse the run. I used to think things like, "I could just stop right now and walk off the course and nobody would care, I wouldn't lose anything and it wouldn't change a thing in my life." Of course in reality it would have changed something quite fundamental in my life, something central to who I am, it would have left me with the lable DNF, Did Not Finish. It is one thing to DNF because of mechanical failures or physical problems but it is another thing entirely to just up and quit.

Fortitudine Vincimus my friends, through endurance we conquer!

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