Onion Man 2009- Race Report

On a typical Memorial Weekend you wouldn't catch me anywhere but up at Priest Lake camping on the island and boating all weekend. With Ironman looming just a few weeks away, I took the opportunity to race Onion Man down in Walla Walla.

Tim and I loaded up Saturday morning and set off to parts unknown. I honestly can not remember the last time I was in Walla Walla. It was probably over 15 years ago but trying to remember something that long ago is dang near impossible, at least for me.

Roger showing us the swim course on Saturday.

We arrived before packet pickup was opened so we took the opportunity to get in a quick open water swim and short brick ride and run. The temperature was warm and very dry. It was good to get a little acclimated prior to race day.

Tim and I had plans to stay at my aunts place in Dayton and if we weren't so tired and didn't have such an early wake up call, we might have joined in the local festivities and took in the rodeo. We chose to relax and get rested for the race the next morning.

The two weeks leading up to this race I had been suffering from an extremely sore soleus muscle (the muscle just under your calf) and have been struggling to get in an quality runs. I took advantage of a short taper and with a massage a few days prior just tried to rest my leg and see what happened on race day.

Pre-Race with Tiffany and Hosh. Looking good if I don't say so myself:)

I was feeling pretty good during the short workouts on Saturday and felt ready to take on the Onionman course and see what would happen.


As the gun went off, I tried to get up near the front and avoid all the craziness that can happen in the main pack. The strategy paid off and after a few slight sighting problems I swam most of the race in clear water and set a new PR by 2 minutes for the Olympic distance swim. I would have loved to be sub 24 but that is for another day.

Swim: 24:09
T1: 1:09

After a bit of bike preparation from the day before, I knew the bike was going to be slow going out and fast coming back. After some advice from Roger, I went out strong and focused on a solid effort on the way back. I once again set another PR even though it is difficult to compared since I haven't raced this course.

Bike: 1:07:47
T2: 0:31

Since my running had been limited and I was going to run completely on feel, I really didn't know how this would go. My lower leg felt great when I started and didn't bother me at all. Last year I set a goal to run a 10K off the bike in under 40 minutes. My best to date is 42 and change, so it is going to be difficult.

As I hit the turn-a-round I was right on pace with a 20 minute 5k. I knew I would need to negative split the run but today just wasn't the day. I struggled a bit with the heat and just didn't feel real strong on the way home. I was able to pass one guy in my age-group around mile 5 and did my best to finish strong and set my third PR of the day.

Run: 41:45

I am definitely pleased with how the race went. I would have liked to have been a few seconds faster on the swim and the run but for the first Olympic of the year, I am happy with the results. I finished 15th overall and 4th in my age-group. The good (or maybe) bad is that 3rd place was over 5 minutes ahead of me. At least I have a carrot to chase down in the future. But with a 5 minute PR at this distance, I am pretty stoked.

Overall: 2:15:21

The leg is still feeling pretty good and with less than a month from Ironman, it is down to crunch time. It was a great time watching all the Tri-Fusion folks kick some serious butt and hang with everyone post race. Next year, there will definitely have to be a stop at the Dayton rodeo to make the trip complete.

A+ Second race of the season!

Until next time, happy training...


jessithompson said...

Keith, you rocked this race in every aspect. I am so excited for you and the fact that you had such a stellar day! WAY TO GO!!!

Tiffany said...

Awesome job out there, Keve! I'm so glad your leg felt good and that you had such a fabulous race! You are so flipping fast! Can't wait to see you out there in 24 days!!!!!

Matt said...

nice work! you were flying out there! Its only a preview for June!! keep up the hard work!