Race The River 2010- Race Report

I know this may sound ridiculous but I considered this my first triathlon of the season. I know that Ironman is a triathlon but in my mind, it's really 3 different races that just happen to be done back to back to back. Race the River is a sprint triathlon or as I like to think of it, 1 hour of pain!

I was actually pretty excited to do this race. Last year I had 4 or 5 races under my belt by now. So being my first 'real race', I wanted to get out and see where I was at. I had done a few hard efforts in training since Ironman but nothing like what you experience in a race and knew it was going to urt.

Race the River is a great local race put on by Christine and Curt DuPuis and honestly, these two know exactly how to put on a triathlon. They are always looking for ways to improve and make their races top notch. Case in point, they added an elite wave to the mix. Since the bike course can be a bit crowded and a chance to race against the top athletes, I put myself in the elite wave and tried to hang on for dear life.

Pre-race consisted of me completely freaking out. As I went to air up my front tire, I had to removed the valve extension to make sure the valve stem would take air. When I went to put it back on I couldn't get each piece to line up. For some reason, my tire was actually spinning on the wheel which resulted in me having to completely removing my tire and putting it back on. Greg was able to offer a little help but I can't say how freakin' nerve racking something like that can be. Since the tires are suppose to be glued on and with this course having some serious corners...I really had to make sure at take it easy around each one.

Trying to get my tire back on!

With a disaster diverted and only a few minutes to spare, I put on my wetsuit and headed for the swim start.

The Swim:
This is my first hard effort in an open water swim. The kind where you are positive your heart will jump out of your chest and become fish food at any moment. As the gun went off, I did my best to go out fast and try to find some feet of a faster swimmer. I have never been good at drafting during the swim and I usually just forge my own way.

Picture by Rory Buck
Even though I knew it would be difficult to keep up the current pace the entire time, I was able to find some feet and did my best to stick with them. At one point, I was sure he veered way left which left me with open water in front of me. Convinced it would be best to stay in my line, I left his feet and tried to focus on keeping a similiar effort. Eventually I could see my draft slowly pulling ahead and even with a brief surge I was unable to close the gap and was forced to slow back down and get back into the comfortable...yet uncomfortable pace of a sprint tri.
Heading up to the Transition (They all passed me before we got there)
Photo by My Dad
As we reach the exit ramp, I had one last surge to avoid the congestion and think I came out of the water in 4th or 5th. Since it was a long run up to the tranistion area, I was passed by Nate, Greg and a few others but I was encouraged with my swim effort and excited to build on that.

The Bike:
After the long run and a mediocore T1, I was off on the bike. This is where I feel I have improved the most over the past couple of years...I really feel I can ride with some of the top racers. Starting in the elite wave gave me a wide open road which after hearing some stories from last year...was quite nice...if your heart pounding, legs burning and spit everywhere is nice :)

Picture by Rory Buck
I pushed hard on the bike. I didn't feel I was out of my 'Sprint' comfort zone but I was definitely pushing the limits. It took me the first two loops to get into a groove and before I knew it we were headed back into transition. I was able to chase down two guys and only let Nate going flying by. I was able to ride myself up into 5th pace and exited the bike ready to run...or so I thought.

Picture by Rory Buck
The Run:
I have never been a runner and honestly have never claimed to be, even back in high school track. I know that there is a good chance I will get passed and RARELY do I ever pass anyone myself. This race was no different.

Greg and I entered transition side by side and after a quick T2 I was out on the run course. I knew Greg was going to catch me, that really wasn't even a question. The big question was who is behind me and can I hold them off.

The great...or not so great...part of this race is the out and backs on the run. You are able to get an idea of how far behind you are and also how far ahead. At the first turnaround I was about 50 seconds up on 7th as Greg had passed me in the first quarter mile or so. I could also tell I was 1:00+ up on 8th...aka Germany (he was wearing one of those national tri suits) and he was moving fast.

Heading into the finish!
On the second out and back, Germany was now in 7th and my shot at 6th was quickly evaporating. With few hard efforts in my legs, I honestly had no idea if I could have run faster, I did my best to stay consistent and just hope that I would run out of room before I was caught.

With a half mile to go, I got passed and did my best to run with him but Germany was flying and that dream fell like the Berlin Wall. I was still able to finish strong and ended up 7th overall.

And DONE!!!
The only problem is that my run split was SLOW...like REAL SLOW... for me. In any other race, Germany would have never caught me and I would have cruised on in. There are a number of reasons: Ironman training, going hard on the bike and the biggest culprit...just not running enough in training. But the good thing is that this can be fixed with a little hard work and a few more miles.

All in all, this was a great experience. The DuPuis sure know how to put on a quality race from the Kids duathlon and Expo on Saturday and the race on Sunday. They had over 800 people registered and if that ain't a sign of a good race...I am not sure what is.

Also a special thanks for my parents coming out to watch me race. Love having the support and hearing the cheers!!!


Spokane Al said...

Wow - nice recovery after your tire issues. Congratulations on fighting through all the way to the end.

Anonymous said...

Wish I could have been there, nice work amigo!


jessithompson said...

Great job out there, Keven! Especially that swim and bike... "but Germany was flying and that dream fell like the Berlin Wall"...lol... that was great writing, made me laugh! I think your run is there as evidenced by your 5k PR a few days later, but maybe just not on that day. You're a rockstar. Period.

Anonymous said...

I was eating as I read your blog post.... (look at me multitasking) and I almost choked when I read your Germany comment! You really have improved on the bike and it is always great to toe the line with you. There is nothing like doing a sprint exactly a month after an ironman. Kinda makes others wonder what kinda cool-aid us triathletes are drinking.

Tiffany said...

Ha ha! Great post, Keven! Jessi took the words right out of my mouth...can we talk about your 5k PR? I know you love to be hard on yourself though, so I won't waste my time trying to make you feel better! ;)

Matt said...

Impressive race none the less, sometimes the effort of the bike dictates the effort on the run. Still 7th overall of 750 is impressive, great work then to back it up a few days later with a 5k PR is stellar, great work!