Monday, October 01, 2007

Sdot Yam - Olympic Triathlon Race Report

Saturday 29th Sept 2007

There are many reasons to look back on Saturady and reflect on my performance, but above all it is good to reflect that you gave it all and know deep in your heart and soul. It was the best I have ever performed, well apart from the swim. Which after progressing so well has stalled and it is back to the basics to get it focused agagin and ready for Ironman Austria in 287 days.

Swim Leg

Talk about the famed washing machine, I felt like a sock trying to find its partner in a front loader. From the git go is was chaotic, punched kicked clawed on swam over no matter where I tried to go there was someone else heading there faster and stronger. Try as I might to keep the freestyle going I was in fact going so slowly that I thought for a minute that I was swimming backwards despite my arms going forwards and by the time I was two thirds of the way to the first buoy I realised that unless I went back to breaststroke I was going to lose to much ground [or water as in this case] for me to make up the time and have a competitive time.

Thus it was back to the curse of the breaststroke but also i immediately started catching others and passing the slower freestylers, so I knew that it was a matter of pushing hard. Many people consider breaststroke as a easy out, but when you put the hammer down and do it aggressively it is a powerful stroke.

Exiting the water after the first loop my heart rate was a solid 143, and my focus was to swim the next two buoys breaststroke again before switching back to freestyle for the last leg back to the beach.

Exiting the water in 30:47 (85th out of 129 in my Age Group) I knew that everything was back on track and my worst discipline was over, but at the same time the discipline that I want to improve the most. Up to transition and out as fast as possible. I am even starting to figure out how to cut and shave seconds in transition, often not the big things but small simple things, or as one might put it, "Do not set up a supermarket, when the corner store is all you need".

Bike Leg

The bottom line was that i really felt that for the first time in my short life as a Triathlete I hammered out a discipline to the best of my ability to the point that I moved from 85th to finish in 46th place in my age group. It was an out and back course no loops just the hwy closed in one direction , a fast rolling course with no major climbs , the only problem is that on this type of road you always feel that you are going forever upwards as there is no relief or chance to rest and free wheel down.

Then add the dreaded "No Drafting" rule , as one might say I enjoy the pace and commitments of being surrounded by other triathletes wanting to push a little bit harder in the paceline. But alas this was a heads down you are on your own. Now having spent the last few weeks watching Ironman Videos your mind conjures up images barreling down the Queen K at Kona, when reality was, I was pushing myself harder than I have ever done on the bike, but I was on the Hwy 2 going North on the Southbound lane to Haifa, and not Hawi.

On the out leg as I passed a rider he asked me whch direction I thought the wind was coming from and a thought crossed my mind that someone the other day at the Group Track Session had mentioned the headwinds.

The first half of the Bike I did in 34:17 (20km's) and as I went around the mark and crossed the timing mat, the headwind hit hard , nothing but to push harder and try to maintain my cadeance and speed. I worked with two others keeping draft distance as best as I could and tried to take in food and drink my bottle of Nuun. Battling the headwind I completed the second half in 40:43 and was out again in 2:41 for the run.

Run Leg

10km's around the Kibbutz , two loops thru sand and past cow sheds, the heat was now well up into the 30's and heat coming back off the lone stretch of the course that was sand was tough. As they say at the water stops if they were selling I was buying tring to get as much of the cold water that i could get off each volunteer and tip it over my head in an attempt to keep cool. I drank sports drink and water at each station and kept well hydrated. In fact my nutrition plan for the whole was spot on as at no stage did I feel empty in fact my energy level on the final run back on the second loop was as good as I had felt apart from being exhausted from keeping my heart rates in the 140's plus for the past two and half hours.

First Loop 5km/ 25:34 Second Loop / 25:24.

Finishing in 66th place out of 129 for all triathletes over 40 and in my age group 45-49 20th out of 33 . My best placing ever and a new PB time of 2:40:19 . My last Olympic had been a drafting race 2:41:25, so whilst the time difference may not have been as good as I had felt, the difference of the draft and a paceline cannot be underestimated.

And a final thought for everyone of us, those silly check lists we use in our first tri and then think we do not need too use then again, well guess who turned up and did not have his Association timing chip, well put it this way I am 50 shekels ($12) poorer for having to rent one at the race, guess what I downloaded again this morning a whole new checklist.

Tri'ing Harder


bari said...

Great job, Mal!

I looked up your race number before the race and meant to come find you (as I have meant to do several times in the past), but, just as in the past, I forgot all about it on race day. Lack of oxygen to the brain, I guess! I will catch up with you one of these days!

The sand was, indeed, brutal. I'm a lousy runner to begin with and sand just does me in. At least I only had to run through it twice, not four times like you did!

I haven't decided yet whether or not to do Ashdod. Have you changed your mind about Eilat? I'll definitely be there!

21stCenturyMom said...

Nice job! Battling headwinds is really tough. There is no end and you just have to push, push, push. It is exhausting and yet you had even splits on the run and fast ones, at that.

Did you notice in my race report that I drafted off a breaststroker on my swim? I lost him at some point but he exited the water just ahead of me - and I'm not a bad swimmer. So if breaststroke is what works for you, go for it!

Congratulations on a PR - given the conditions it was a big one.