Today was the New Mexico Club State Championship Triathlon in Socorro, NM. It is one of my favorite local races mostly because there are always a lot of people that I know there and it is only about 70 miles from home so I get to sleep in my own bed the night before the race and just drive down in the morning. I really didn’t know what to expect from the day because I haven’t been riding or swimming in, like, months. I did a sprint tri about two months ago and even that was my first swim and bike in a couple months. However, my run training has been incredible so I had that going for me at least.
The Chili Harvest Triathlon starts with a pool swim and people are seeded according to the swim time they estimated when they registered for the race. I don’t have the foggiest notion what I put down for my swim time but whatever it was I was fairly certain it was way too optimistic considering the complete lack of training. I lined up #118 out of about 350 people and was looking around as if that may give me some clue as to whether or not I was going to get swam over by a couple hundred people or not. Not seeing Michael Phelps behind me was a relief but no other useful information was forthcoming. When it was my turn I slipped into the pool and headed out for the 400 meter swim.
Within a couple strokes I found myself thinking “Jeeze, I don’t remember water being so THICK” I felt like my arms were pulling through molasses but my breathing felt fine and my stroke actually felt pretty smooth so I just kept plugging away waiting for people to start passing. It never happened. In fact, I even caught and passed someone with about 100 meters to go. My total time for the swim was 7:39, which is just a little slower than what I would do had I been training diligently. I might have been able to knock as much as 20 seconds off that swim fully trained.
Next up was the bike. The course isn’t exactly difficult but…well, its relative lack of difficulty makes it difficult. It consists of miles of undulating roads and is shaped somewhat like a three toed chicken foot. The roads are generally pretty crappy as well. The thing about the undulating roads is that there is nothing that could be called a climb but there as these frequently reoccurring, energy sucking upward grades followed by a brief downturn and then it’s back up. I probably rode as hard as I could, didn’t have any issues and wound up with a time of 34:30, a 21.5 mph ride. I was looking back at past race results and this is my fastest bike split at this race to date.
Now on to the run, the thing I was really waiting for. I knew I would run well because I have already started tapering for Leadville but I still had a 50 mile week behind me with no rest. Blowing up wasn’t going to be the issue, I was more curious about leg turnover. I knew I could go far but what about fast? I pulled on my racing flats and headed out at an easy jog and just started to accelerate nice and even. I didn’t want to push too hard for fear of doing something stupid like pulling a hamstring 13 days from Leadville so I held some in reserve but within a hundred yards or so I was sailing past people. There was a line of people running on the right and I just stayed to the left and cruised on by.
My total time for the run was 21:27 for an average pace of 6:55 minute miles! That is hands down the fastest triathlon split I have ever run regardless of whether the run came at the beginning of the race or the end. It is also only 44 seconds off my 5K PR, which was run at sea level in Boston on a flatter course in the cool of the morning. Needless to say I am happy with the run. So happy in fact that I headed out for two more laps so I got in 9.3 miles. It was pretty funny because while I was running my second and third laps people were still yelling out “Good Job, you can do it!” and I was still running sub-8 minute miles and feeling really relaxed. The down side, which didn't cross my mind untill it was too late, was the seven blisters I developed on my toes due to running 9.3 miles in sock-like racing flats without socks. Oops.
Probably about a mile and a quarter into my third lap I finally caught up with the GeekGrl and ran the last bit with her, which is always a treat. Even as early as she is in her Javelina training she is already running better and commented to me on the way home that there was something about her running now that felt different, smoother. That, my dear, is efficiency.
So, all in all it was a good day. Unbelievably I PR’d the course by over 2 minutes. That does not bode well for my triathlon training. Hell, if I can just log big miles running and still come out and race well, why burn money with extra wear and tear on my bike? Why pay the gym membership for a swimming pool? Ok, well, I can’t really imagine not having a gym membership and probably should be swimming on my recovery days, but still, I could get by.
Oh, I almost forgot, The Outlaws won the Club State Championship! again...I think this is our 5th year in a row...does that make us a Tri-team Dynasty yet?