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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Azalea Triathlon: 3%...that's all

This morning was the opening event of the 2011 IOSTS Series, the Azalea Festival Triathlon. I was not expecting much performance wise due to the myriad health issues that marred my 2010/early 2011 training. Unfortunately, the race matched these expectations. After an unspectacular swim, I proceeded to post an average T1 and follow up with a mediocre (though extremely painful, 'genitalia against the vertical surface') bike ride, a pedestrian T2, and an especially unimpressive run for 45:29 and 3rd overall. Taking into account the truncated bike course, I am about 1:10 slower than last year, a 3% discrepancy. Though in reality a significant gap, 3% doesn't look like much on paper and I am confident that with further consistent training under the guidance of the genius Dave Williams I will not only reattain but exceed my fitness from last year.
As for specifics, the swim felt smooth and based on the testimony of a credible witness and local swim guru, my technique looked good. T1 was hampered by my futile attempts to pull on soccer socks which I had fashioned into arm warmers, a pursuit which I abandoned as I reached my bike. Over the following twenty two minutes I proceeded to flog myself and flood my screaming muscles with lactic acid, fueled only by two pieces of toast, a gel, and God (the latter obviously making the difference). Coming into T2 I pulled on my extremely flashy Nike Mayflies and lumbered onto the run course. Lumbering is the best word that comes to mind when I attempt to quantify my run effort; I had developed an all too familiar stitch under my ribcage stretching across my stomach on the bike and running exacerbated it to the extreme. As a result my pace really suffered. My legs had more to give but once again i found myself limited by 'stitching'. TMS-IOS stud Brad Perry posted an extremely impressive 44:08 for 2nd overall behind the equally (okay, slightly more) impressive 43:34 put up by that infamous lion of the golden locks, Matt Wisthoff. Matt, can't you find some ITU race to do instead of showing us up in the nondrafting stuff? Please? But I digress. Another notable performance was that of a new TMS-IOS addition, Mark Carey, whose 46:00 was good for 5th overall. On the ladies' side, speedy Amie Krasnozon of TMS-IOS (who should really adopt the title 'Krassy,' because it is pretty classy. If you are reading, A.K., please consider this when you get your new uniform) ran a blazing 19:26 to earn 2nd overall female, 1st open female, in 51:11, with teammate Tara Flint (whose 19:41 was also quite an impressive run split) claiming 2nd open and 3rd overall in 52:29. Setup Events also deserves applause for another astoundingly well put together event. They never cease to amaze me with the quality of their productions. Finally, a shout-out to my good ol' Pops, who volunteered in transition and did it well. He will be getting after it himself at next weeks' Quintiles Marathon.
Though I am not yet at my best, I am encouraged and motivated by the upward trend of the past weeks' training. I am so thankful for the privilege of participating in this great sport and community. Every time I race I thank God for creating the marvel of nature and the human body, and for allowing me to experience and test these marvels when race.

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