Sunday, April 19, 2009
Nick's Triathlon Race Report - Rage in the Sage
Race: Rage in the Sage
Distance: 1/2 Ironman
Date: April 18th, 2009
By: Nick Tostenrude
Race Strategy: Training race for IM CDA. I felt this race would give me a good indication on my current fitness level with 2 months before IM CDA. The bike course (~6,000ft elevation gain) was great practice for the hilly IM CDA course as well. Because of my leg injury (I haven't been able to run much for the past 2 months) my plan was to race hard on the swim and bike and then speed walk through the run. I realized that any time I gained on the first two legs would be lost while walking 13 miles but I prepared for this mentally.
Swim: After practicing in lake Mead the day before, I was nervous about the waves and swimming out against them at the start of the race. I couldn't get any rhythm going on my own and I figured it would be even worse with a mass start; however, with a 6:10am start, the water was pretty calm and this hardly crossed my mind during the race. The swim went well. I was able to sight and stay on course better than my last 1/2 IM and kept a manageable pace. I got out of the water and felt I could've pushed harder during the swim but, overall, I was pleased that I felt controlled. I did get very light headed and dizzy when I stopped to take my wetsuit off but once I held onto something the feeling went away fast. 37:59 (58 out of 145)
Bike: The bike course was a modified out-and-back with rolling hills for most of the course. The roads were in great condition relative to the other tri's I've raced. After the initial hill out of transition, I pushed hard on the bike for as long as I could. I managed to pass over 20 people by the main turnaround at mile 25. Around mile 40 I started to 'feel' the hills a bit more and popped out of the aero position for the first time. My right glut started hurting around the same time. The hardest part of the ride for me was maintaining a good speed on the smaller grade hills. I did most of my passing on the steeper hills and when I reached a couple riders that were on the same pace as I was, I would make my gains on the uphills and they'd get me back on the downhills. I stayed in the big chainring for the entire ride. I may need to spin more for IM CDA. I was pleased with the ride. 2:47:27 (32 out of 145)
Run: The run course was 90% dirt/gravel trail with a big 2 to 3 mile hill out of transition. It then leveled off and overlooked lake Mead for most of the run. There were even a few old railroad tunnels to run through. I actually enjoyed the course quite a bit but maybe that's because I was walking and had the time to. I knew I had had a solid swim and bike and that was my goal so I was thrilled regardless of how the run went. I started the run expecting to speed walk the course but was planning to test my knee to see how it felt. I figured I could keep a 12-13 minute pace walking fast. Out of transition, I walked up the hill, and watched a few people pass me on the way up. I tested the knee out on a flat section and got about 50 ft before I felt pain. Back to walking. More people passed. By mile 6 or so, I had given back all of my gains on the bike. I gradually increased the amount I was able to actually run and managed a couple sections where I almost made it a mile before I had to walk again. So, for the most part, I settled for trying to emulate those speed walkers you see on TV, the ones with the arms and hips swinging. Yeah, I remember making fun of my mom and her friends for walking like that and now I'm in a race not only doing it, but trying to figure out what the optimal arm swing is to help increase my speed! It was hard to not be smiling out there on the course. I eventually jogged (hobbled) across the finished line. 2:27:29 (109 out of 145)
Overall Time: 5:59:33 (70 out of 145)
Summary: I felt the race was a big success. The 2008 Utah Half was my first 1/2 IM and Rage was my 2nd. I had 9 months since the U.H. and managed to improve my swim by over 13 minutes (I had a miserable swim at the U.H.). My bike came in 2 minutes longer than U.H. but the the course was much, much more difficult. And I actually PR'd on the run by 12 minutes. Yeah, I really did. My conditioning was much improved. I felt fresh after the bike...much more fresh than I did at U.H. At U.H. I struggled through the run whereas at Rage, I was begging my knee to let me run because I felt like I could push harder. That was the best part. I as also pleased to break 6 hrs while walking most of the run.
So, overall, it was a great race. the course was challenging but very scenic and enjoyable. The organizers and volunteers (lots of volunteers) did an excellent job.
Night before race dinner: Spaghetti & Meatballs with Garlic Bread and extra salt
Pre-race Breakfast: Banana, breakfast bar, and granola bar ~1 hour before race. One gel 10 minutes before race.
Bike Nutrition: 1 Hammer Perpetuem, 2 Water Bottles