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Race Result

Racer: Mike Tine
Race: Lifetime Fitness Triathlon
Date: Saturday, July 12, 2008
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Race Type: Triathlon - International Distance
Age Group: Male 35 - 39
Time: 2:21:34
Overall Place: 50 / 1145
Age Group Place: 10 / 150
Comment: All pistons firing...except in transition

Race Report:

Swim: 24:18 (1:37/100m, 13th in AG, 60th overall, 49th male)
T1: 2:44 (47th in AG, 343rd overall, 242nd male)
Bike: 1:08:30 (22.3mph, 13th in AG, 71st overall, 70th male)
T2: 1:35 (26th in AG, 178th overall, 141st male)
Run: 44:26 (7:10/mile, 16th AG, 111th overall, 98th male)

This race was everything that I'd hoped, especially given my mid-level training this year. Swim felt long and strong, bike as fast and aero, run was powerful and smooth. The transitions need some work, but the rest of it was as perfect as I could hope. Travel to/from, on the other hand, was a nightmare. More to follow. Full story:

Karen and I were supposed to fly out on Thursday night to prepare for the Saturday race. Due to severe weather in Atlanta, we were postponed to a 6:40am Friday morning flight which mean a 4am wakeup after only ~4 hours of sleep. That went off without a hitch, and we arrived in Minneapolis at 10:30ish. We rented an awesome minivan (much better/cheaper than SUV for triathlon!) and headed to the new Hilton Bloomington. Our room wasn't yet ready so we grabbed a pasta lunch outside at windy Romano's Macaroni Grill. We then went downtown to register for the race and found out that the first 500 who signed up got a Tyr transition bag as well as the normal swag of polypro shirt, hat, and Edge bag! Woohoo! We then drove to the race site to check out the course. We swam in the white-capped Lake Nokomis for 500-1000m then drove the curves of the bike course through beautiful suburban Minneapolis and along/over the Mississippi River. After finishing that, we returned - EXHAUSTED - to the hotel to find that our room was still not ready and/or given away to someone else. After a near meltdown, we eventually got a beautiful room on the 10th floor away from the elevator where we reassembled our bikes. After a quick few laps around the parking lot to ensure they worked and showers, we headed back to Romano's for a light pizza dinner and the standard one beer the night before the race. We returned to the hotel, put together our transition bags and nutrition, and were asleep by 9pm. Just prior to sleep, we noticed the huge thunderstorm outside (apparently 90MPH winds nearby) and hoped for good weather in the morning.

We awoke well-rested at 4:45am to a beautiful day - 66 degrees (25 degrees cooler than the day before), fluffy clouds, blue sky, light breeze. We drove the quick 10 minute drive to Fat Lorenzo's near the course and rode our bikes the last 1 mile into transition. Transition was to close at 6:30, 1-1/2 hours before we had to start, so we quickly set up, ate a breakfast cookie, and milled around to ensure nobody moved/messed with our areas. Upon leaving transition, we discovered that this was one of the only (THE only?) races that had enough port-o-johns for all the racers!!! Why don't race directors ever rent enough? Having taken care of that, we headed near the lake to hear the pros take off. 13 current or former Olympians were in the mix (with a 14th - Barb Lundquist - announcing)! After they went off, we had our "picnic" of bagel and PB, then meandered down to the water's edge. We did a bit of a warmup in the 76.6-degree water as we still had a while to go before our start. This is a time-trial start for non-elite amateurs, which I dislike, but which starts everyone at 3-second intervals.

When I was about 4 people from the start, I realized I hadn't gotten really psyched up to race! Oh well, run and dive in the water and get a move on it. Surprisingly, I hit no traffic to the first yellow buoy (the last time I did this race, I was swimming over/around people for the first 500m). I was thinking it was going to be a great, congestion-free swim until I rounded the buoy and hit the walls. There were at least 2 walls of 4-6 swimmers across that I had to swim through on the next leg. Additionally, this longest leg of the swim was into the wind/current and had a lot of traffic for me. Oh well, it's a triathlon so I dealt with it and felt great except for a little tightness/fatigue in my pecs and lats. Upon turning around the last yellow buoy I encountered even more traffic that caused me to look up more frequently than I'd like to maneuver around them. Oh well, all in all a great and uneventful swim in gorgeous lake water. I jogged to transition, didn't rush or lollygag, and headed out the LOOOOONNNNNGGGGGGG run to the mount line (3000 athletes between the sprint and oly races means a huge transition area). I was apparently slow in/out of T1 but I didn't feel it. Note: I have found recently that I gag several times during the triathlon swim legs; they're just dry heaves and apparently don't affect my overall race, but I'm not sure why it happens.

I hopped on the bike and dodged the guy weaving all over the road trying to get into his shoes that were clipped onto his pedals. I never saw him again as I pedaled out with a high, comfortable cadence and sipped on my Accelerade/Carbo-Pro mix to rehydrate after the swim. I was flying. I felt strong, aero (winds had picked up a bit), and fast! I was passing other cyclists as though they were standing still. I was climbing hills with vigor. I was cornering like a pro. You get the idea. When I saw the 15-mile banner, my first thought was "I have 10 miles to go?!? Ouch." but quickly changed that to "Wow, I feel great with only 10 miles to go. Keep it up!" I was flying down one hill when I hit a pothole and screamed an F-bomb - sorry to the spectators who heard that one. No damage to the rim or flat tire so I was thankful and kept cruising. I was only passed by one person the entire ride, but he was in my AG! He'd started about 40 seconds before me, so I picked up my pace just a little for these last 3 miles to keep him in sight. T2 was uneventful (and apparently slow too although it felt fast enough) and I jogged out of T2.

I felt better than I'd felt in a long while coming out of T2! I was breathing heavy as expected, but my legs felt great. I took the first 3/4 of a mile to get the breathing back under control but I kept up a smooth pace and started picking off people ahead of me. I had a smooth and strong gait as commented on by several spectators around the course. I was pushing my physical limits, but my HR was right where I wanted it (165) and I felt strong albeit tired. At about the 4 mile mark of the curvy run path, I again caught sight of the guy who'd passed me on the bike. I slowly gained on him and planned to lie in wait until just before the finish to get him. But then I realized I was a bit faster than him and could put some time on other racers too so I passed him with about 1.5 miles to go. I tried to go past quickly to demoralize him. It didn't work. He hung on my shoulder despite my increased pace and passed me strongly with 1/3-mile to go. I hung with him in a sprint to the finish and ended up beating him by 2 spots. I was thrilled with my race regardless of time or place because I left everything on the course in all three legs, pushing through the pain in the run to finish strong.

That said, my finish placement exceeded expectations. I set a top-10% overall goal with a top-5% stretch goal. 50/1145 is ~4.2% so well within the stretch goal (thrilled)! 10/150 is well within the 10% goal and almost to the stretch goal in my AG (again, thrilled!). And although it wasn't a goal, I wasn't "chicked" or beat by any of the women which is always an accomplishment given the awesome women triathletes out there. So all in all, a great race!

Postscript: Our flight back on Sunday was delayed severely due to weather on the East Coast and equipment so we were switched to Northwest. We eventually left ~2.5 hours late, but arrived shortly after our originally-anticipated arrival time due to this being a direct flight rather than connections. Unfortunately, it was at Reagan National rather than Dulles where our car was parked. And I'm still waiting for the luggage to arrive. We finally got to bed after midnight and after going through two rounds of baggage claim tickets, a Metro ride home from National, and a drive to Dulles to retrieve the car. Travel sucked, but the weekend was great!