This past weekend was the Devilman Half Iron Triathlon. Unfortunately, I probably had one of the worst race weeks I can ever remember. After a solid 3-week build up going into race week that I was confident about, I had a business trip to Portland OR on Monday morning with a 7:00am flight. 4 hours of sleep Sunday night for that trip does not mix well with a tough training weekend and of course I ended up getting sick on Monday while in Portland. My body is very sensitive to sleep and I typically get sick when my trailing three day average sleep falls below 7 hours…like clock work (and yes, I actually track that). That sickness, combined with jet lag and a busy work schedule resulted in me getting light sleep and no workouts in AT ALL on Tuesday and Wednesday. I started to feel a bit better on Thursday but of course had a red eye out of town that night….another 4 hour sleep night going into Friday. Friday we began our drive down to NJ with a stay-over in NY Friday night. This finally worked out well and I was able to get 9.5 hours of sleep that night. Saturday I felt decent with the cold almost gone and a good night sleep coming into it. We got down to NJ, registered and was then off to the hotel to get some sleep. After a pretty good night sleep on race night, it was race morning and I was not confident at all on how I would perform given the week I had had. I was particularly concerned about getting NO time in on my bike for a full week going into the race.
The gun went off and the havoc in the mud began. For anyone who has not done this race, it’s the filthiest water of any triathlon I am aware of….by factors. Despite the mud and three loop ciaos, my swim went pretty well.
The bike course at this race is exactly the type I like…mostly flat with some slight rollers. I had planned to go out pretty hard and really have a solid bike split. The first of the two-loop course was tough for me to get into a grove. This was exactly what I had worried about: not having ridden my bike all week. With too little volume close to race day you are rested, but lack the sport specificity to be ready to fire. This is why long distance events require less volume on race week than short events. For short events you want to be ready to fire. The possibility of some residual fatigue from the last workouts close to race day won’t affect the race. For longer events, it’s more important to be 100% rested than to be ready to fire. A topic for another coaching tip post I guess. The second loop, I began to find a grove and actually rode faster than the first. Came off the bike in 7th or 8th place I think.
Onto the run, my plan was to average 6:10 pace on my Garmin (5 seconds per mile faster the Oceanside) with the first mile at 5:55. It did not feel good at all, but I stuck to the plan and went out at 5:55. I was able to hold this for about 7 miles before the drift began. With the drift, I crossed the finish line with a 6:11 average and new half iron PR….4:10:XX I can’t complain given the week I had going into the race.
More importantly, we had 12 QT2 athletes race that day which produced 12 PRs. Included in that group was my wife Chrissie who pulled off her first half iron in 5:21!! And yes, this is 44 minutes faster than my first Half Iron. What a great start to the season! The only negative to the day was Tim’s flat on the bike which cost him the win for sure. It would have been nice to see a 4:02 out of him down there…serious stuff!
Next Up…My old favorite for tracking progress: The Sudbury Spring Sprint!