Monday, November 23, 2009

Contact Tri Series: Rotorua

UPDATE: The official results have been edited, and in actual fact my time was 3:21:21, NOT 3:26:21, so it was a 3 minute PB after all. A few edits marked throughout

After finishing the race, I sat on the bank in the sun, and talked to Phil who was in a grump. He was slower overall than last year, his swim was abysmal (he thought) and he just couldn't push it on the run. He was not a happy camper. In fact- for a change I had a taste of what it's like to be the partner of the brat, rather than being the brat myself!

I sat him down and lectured him:

"I know you're grumpy and it's disappointing, but that's what racing is about. Sometimes it sucks. Last year, the swim was short, maybe 1300m max. This year, it was at least 1500m, if not more, and you haven't been swimming! You beat your bike time, and not only that, felt miles better on the bike than last year. You may not have been able to push hard on the run, but you ran nearly the same time,even though you're still sick. And you know full well you can run. And you can run off the bike. You just didn't today, and that's OK. In fact, I'd take the success on the bike, all while feeling better than last year, and take that as one in the bank for the Half."

Then I got home, found out I was not, as I had thought, 5-10 minutes faster than last year. In fact, I may have been 2 minutes slower. And I had my own stampy, bratty tantrum, while Phil was off getting pizza, and I grumbled on facebook, and on the blog.

But now, I'm ready to listen to my own advice, and the advice of my coach and virtual training buddy, who know better than me, and be proud instead of bratty and stampy.

So, here we go: Contact Tri Series 2008 & 2009- A comparative race report

Swim
Last year: forgot to put goggles on, short course, deserted bike racks, out of the water in 25:53, and out of T1 in 28:12 (I think.. the official results are by memory)

This year: started well, felt strong. The Great Contact Lens Experiment of 2009 has been a grand success, so I didn't have the sighting problems I've often had in the past, and I was able to stick with a group much more effectively. Reached the turn around buoy in 14:40, I think, and was out of the water in 29:13. Not the best of times, even for a 1500m course, but could be worse. The run up to T1 was long, and I fumbled around a bit getting myself sorted for the tough bike, but I was in and out in a little over 2 minutes. Apparently I took over 7 minutes, which I find VERY hard to believe (it felt like 3, and Garmin says I was on the bike just over half an hour from the start), but who am I to argue?

Bike:

Last year: The five lap course was more painful every time, and by the end I wanted to top myself, and then go postal on everyone else. I was riding the carbonless wonder, and had three chain rings, so was shifting all over the place to deal with the easy climbs, steep climbs, long climbs, power-sections and technical descents. My average lap time was about 22:00- arrived in T2, to a full, full, bike rack, at 1:49:xx, and was out on the run at 1:51:04.

This year: My splits were pretty consistent (20:30; 20:37; 20:37, 20:50 and 21:19, which includes entering T2), though my button pressing wasn't quite on the nose, and the first lap (with an elevated post-swim heart rate) felt much harder than the last. My average cadence was between 85 and 87 for each lap, and my AHR sat in the 160s, with my max (apart from lap 1) in the low 170s. My compact cranks were an absolute godsend, and I remembered to stay in my big chain ring as much as I could. Having decent componentry also meant I didn't have to anticipate the claims, and shift in advance, as I did last year! I passed far more women than last year, wasn't passed by Phil, and I never once felt like stopping (apart from briefly toyed with skipping the last lap (kidding!)

Run:

Last year: Apart from seeing Phil at the beginning, the run was very, very lonely indeed, and I felt like I was coming last. Peoplew ere packing up the drink stations. I held an OK pace, and I think my finish time was 1:05:54, for what I think is just slightly over 11km. During the second lap, I chased down a lady in purple, and crossed the finish line with her. My average pace according to the Garmin was about 5:48/k overall, but the official number is more like 6:00/k (ugh)

This year: The run felt far less lonely, even though I didn't see Phil. I held a good pace down from transition into the beach, and then focussed on keeping my average Garmin pace below 5:30/k for the first loop, and succeeded until about 3/4 of the way through. A couple of NZ-team-kit clad ladies passed me, and I kept them in sight for as long as I could, and also picked off one lady in purple during the first loop. First loop time was 30:30, and Garmin says my average pace was 5:37/k. AHR in the 160s, so lower than usual.

The sun came up during the second loop, so I walked the beach drink station the second time, and took a bit to get going, which took my lap pace to over 6:11/k. The second loop was all about passing, and watching that average pace go down, which was most satisfying. After passing a couple of dudes (yes, dudes!) I created an imaginary opponent (I wasn't creative to name her, so she just stayed "Imaginary Opponent") who lurked at every corner, beckoning on. At a couple of points, she morphed into a Real Opponent, but the real opponents were all on their first loops, passing them lacked any real sense of satisfaction, so I relied on Garmin, and the Imaginary Opponent to get me through. I hoped to finish by 1pm (which was the time I finished last year, but we started later), but came out of the woods a couple of minutes later, ran across the beach, leapt the ditch, and crossed the finish line at 1:02pm. My second lap pace was 5:48 by the Garmin, but my official run time was 1:04:40 1:04:04, which is 5:52/k 5:49/k, not the 5:42/k my Garmin said it was. Silly Garmin.

Reflection:

On reflection, I can see that I am in better half-IM shape than last year. I had a much more successful bike ride, shaved nearly around a minute nearly two minutes off the run (every bit counts!), and the main culprit for the disappointing time was the longer swim and transition. Also, last year my training was all about hill repeats, so I had strong hill legs, but lacked endurance, which means my training was better suited to this course than to the Half. Last year, we discovered that a person's time for 5 x the Okareka circuit was roughly equivalent to their time on the Rotorua course, particularly if that person faded spectacularly after the turnaround. This year, since I plan NOT to fade, I am confident that my bike time could come down from 3:26 to somewhere in the realm of 3:10 to 3:15. I also think I could hold the Garmin pace from the run today over the full course, but to avoid being crazy ambitious, I'm going to confidently say I could average 6:00/ks, giving me a 2:06 half, compared to last year's 2:13.

Lastly, I need to learn to leave myself out on the course in a tri. I have left my whole self out there in three half marathons this year. Sure- my triathlon AHR should be lower, but I'm not convinced I'm pushing hard enough.

5 comments:

Mike said...

You averaged 9% per lap faster on the bike (20 down from 22), ran faster and swam further. Gawd knows how 'postal' you'd go if you ever have a bad race! ;)

Seems to me that it's all down to the longer swim and if it had been the same as last year you would have PB'd by maybe 8 minutes ... although the picnic/catnap you had in T1 might have dropped that a bit :)

I'd say Sub6 was on the cards!

(had to google 'going postal' btw)

Kate said...

Going postal was last year, realising I still had another couple of ghastly bike laps!

Westy said...

Awesome race Kate and awesome report... tell Phil to read it.
Yep the swim may have been even longer than 1500m? And as for putting the transition on top of the hill?
You should be very pleased with your bike performance and speed on the run... I like the idea of trying to catch people... use this to your advantage in your races.
$10 for every person in a TRINZ kit you take! Man there's far too many people in those!?!!?!?
Sorry pet hate!

Andrew is getting fit said...

It sounds like you did awesome to me!

Lucinda said...

You did AWESOME! Well done! :-D