Sunday, December 05, 2010
Race Report: Tinman, or aluminium foil man?
(Our performances didn't justify chips or beer, so we had yummy salad and smoothies at Pluto. Mine was like a strawberry pina colada- divine!)
Today was our second time at Tinman. Last year, it was a real confidence booster, and I set my Olympic Distance PB feeling like I still had plenty in the tank. This year it was...not so much.
I needed Tinman to be a redemption race after my sluggish performance and DNF at last week's Contact Series event, and my disappointing day at the Karapiro Half. Couch Paul wanted us fresh, so we had a nice light week leading up to the race, so I felt like redemption might be possible.
Last year's swim was awesome, but definitely *fast* if not actually short, so I knew I couldn't repeat my 24:51 (out of the water). It was a rough, washing machine type swim. Good practice for Tauranga Half. This year was even rougher- at least for me! I think it was also slower on the whole- from brief discussions, times seem to have been slower overall, and since conditions on the bike and run were great, I blame the swim. I was pulled and thwacked and hit and swum over, and kept having one particularly annoying lady stop dead in front of me. Then, as I approached the first lap buoy, a woman who'd missed it and turned around decided to swim straight smack into me, and I got a jolly great whack in the eye. The water was fine- I'd never call it choppy- but I'm unaccustomed to sea swimming, and the waves made me feel a little iffy. I figured out that I've only been IN the sea once since last Tinman- and that was Mission Bay the week after! I was out around the turn around buoy in 14:xx, and out of the swim just after 30:00. Ouch!
T1 was a disaster- I lost a good 8+ female places and maybe a minute mucking around with my helmet. Lesson: always check helmet before leaving bike in transition. Eventually, I got it adjusted, but did it a bit too small, so I had helmet throb for the whole ride. When I pulled it off after the ride, I swear my head grew.
I felt really good on the bike, and was happy with my riding, passing and so on. My goal was to come in sub-1:20- last year I averaged a little over 30kph on the bike, but the course is a little long, so I knew I would need to keep safely under 2:00/ks to get in (I ride with my Garmin, so I'm looking at pace not speed). The people I was riding with were less annoying than last time, thankfully, and it was good for me to get used to a crowded course again. This year, my biggest bugbear was the bunch of people who decided that it would be smart to pass at the turnaround point. It's a big enough turn, as it's around a roundabout, but really? I was basically squashed by them, and then another lady practically rode into me. Sigh. Luckily I passed her safely a bit later- she really irritated me. I leapfrogged with that woman and another couple of people for most of the way back to transition (on the first lap), but got stuck behind some annoying slow sprint people at the turnaround and lost them for most of the second lap. I was pleased to see Kieran Doe coming into his T2 after I left for the second lap (not being lapped = important goal).
I faltered a little for the first couple of ks of lap 2. Where previously I'd been doing 1:50s, I was doing 2:01s- the unwelcome 2s were enough to spur me on, and I reached the 40k point in 1:17, which I was pleased with, and got back into T2 in 1:21.08 (Garmin says this was nearly 42ks). I thought I'd taken a couple of minutes off my time last year, but it seems it was probably only a minute or so (last year's results didn't separate out transition). I guess I only felt better and stronger because I was riding with slower people, after my crappy swim :(
Last year, my run was awesome. I started off running high 4:00s, but slowed a bit on the mount track. I finished the run in 53:17, which was slower than I'd hoped, but very good considering the slightly long run, and the hills on the base track. This year, I knew from the outset it wouldn't be quite like that. I'd tried to ride like I wasn't going to run (...fat lot of good that did me...) and I basically waddled out of T2. My butt was killing me! My pace was around the 5:20s- a good 20-30s/k slower than last year- and it was much harder to pick people off, though mostly still possible. I felt a bit steadier in my effort- rather than taking off and then dying on the Mount, I was a little more restrained, and I felt like I didn't suffer as much- though my pace slowed to 5:50s, so I guess it was about the same. I got myself over the finish line with the promise of a Spider (... Kiwi for Coke Float), and was pretty gutted to see the main clock flicking over to 2:56 (so 2:54 for me). Official run time was 57:42 (Garmin has me slower, because it includes the run from my bike to the end of transition), and official overall time was 2:54:07 (grr- 2:53:xx sounds way better!)
So, that's 8 minutes slower, in a race I really thought I could do better. A bit gutted, and the time doesn't bode well for the 5:45 I've been hoping for in Tauranga. But we have 5 weeks left, and no more silly races, so maybe I can finally do something right this season???
(PS: Thanks to Mike for spectating and picture taking!)