Sunday, July 27, 2008

Fairport Lighthouse Tri - pleasant surprise

A week ago, standing in the rain watching the Ironman in Lake Placid, I had no idea I'd be doing a triathlon this weekend. Or, even this season. But something in the mountain air got hold of me and on Tuesday night, while in our cottage on vacation, I logged in to the Internet and signed up for the Lighthouse Tri in Fairport Harbor.

It's a race I've done several times in the past. Usually as either a glorified speed workout or a post-Ironman shakeout. But I've always done it when I've been on my own "razor's edge" of fitness. I think my best time here was a 1:09, and in some years I've been competitive in the overall. 

But this year, looks like Fairport is going to constitute my entire tri season. Going in, I hadn't done a single brick, had ridden my tri bike only once this summer (yesterday), and had swam open water only twice (last Friday, and yesterday).  Frankly, until last weekend, I have had scant interest in multisport this year; instead focusing on running (actually, healing my stress fractured toe...then running), and swimming / biking on the side to cross train.

So I was surprised at not only how well I did, but how much fun I had. 

Jen was doing the race too. We got there about 6:30, and the racks quickly filled up. They never offer enough racks at Fairport, so I brought my own bike stand and set up to the side. Good spot near the bike exit.

I did a five minute ride to work through the gears and make sure the new tube I installed last night was all set. Then ran about 10 minutes to warm up. The sun was coming out and it looked to be a nice morning. I had a good sweat, and was ready to go.

Not a great swim, but I've done worse
I was in the "old guys" starting heat. Everyone 35 and older.  I'd guess there were about 50-75 of us in the heat. The horn blew and off we went. A 500 yard out-and-back. I got into a lot of traffic in the "out." Kept swimming up on people, and caught a few arms and elbows. But after the turn, things began to spread out, and I angled towards the beach, helping get me out of traffic. I settled in to a groove and actually drafted off another guy (in a wetsuit; I wore none) for most of the last 250 yards.  I got to the end buoy, popped up and my watch read 11:30. Not great, but I think I've done worse, and was on my way.

Only thing that slowed me down in transition was putting on my singlet. Otherwise, I was through fairly quickly. The bike course begins with a short but steep uphill. Pretty nasty, actually. But the rest is pancake flat. From the start, I was passing people, as we rode out of Fairport Harbor and on to Fairport-Nursery Road. I settled into an easy gear and spun away. When I sneaked a look at my computer, I seemed to be holding easily at around 22 mph. 

A slight headwind on the way back on the bike
There was a lot of bike traffic on the first half. But as I worked my way thorough the field, it thinned out. I was even passing a lot of folks from the earlier starting heat (the "young" guys). We had a slight, slight headwind on the way back, but I was still able to hold my pace above 21.  I saw Jen on the way out, and she looked like she had on her battle face. She looked GOOD!

I finished the bike in about 32 minutes; or a 22 mph pace. Honestly, I was very surprised I was this fast - and that it wasn't an overly hard effort. That's in the ballpark of my performances in years past when I was in Ironman shape. 

Holding my own on the run
But I had no time to reflect, because I was off on the run. I had no idea what to expect. Almost all my running this year - at least since coming back from my stress fracture - has been slow steady and long. And mostly on trails, to get ready for the Dances with Dirt Ultra.  So I started out pretty easily. Out of the park and over that nasty hill, on to the three-mile loop. I got in to it and just focused on a relaxed stride. I wasn't sure of my exact pace, but I knew it was slightly faster than my usual training pace. 

For the most part, I held my own over the three miles. I was passed by a couple runners, but also passed a few on my own. And while I went in to this thing with no thought of playing competitive, I admit I was looking at the ages markered on to each runner's leg. If someone in the 35-39 group had passed me, I think I would have tried to latch on and give them a run for it. But it never happened.

I finished the run in about 25 minutes, and posted a 1:13 overall time. Fourth place in my age group. 

Jen: most combative
Jen finished shortly after me, in about 1:22, or fifth in her group. Her race was highlighted by a superfast bike, averaging 19 mph. I call that "most combative", in Tour de France terms. 

Post, I mingled with a bunch of folks. Sam and Joe Joseph, Esq., I.M., were there with Gabby in tow. Joe was hoping to race but couldn't get there in time (although, I think a week off is a good thing too). My mom (the Brett Favre of middle school teachers) and dad came to watch too. Scott Erdman, John Telich and his son, Deirdre and Bill, Roger Miller, Jen's friend Halle (did her first tri - way to go!), Bill Bretz, Joe Bush and many others.  

I was surprised, pleasantly, at how much fun I had and how well I did. I think I needed a year off from this. I have some other stuff on the calendar this year, and I think this will be the only tri. But I am thinking of putting together a flexible, changeable race schedule for 2009, focused on local races. Already thinking about 2009!

1 comment:

tracie said...

great job! glad to see you and jen on my way out!