Take Flight Triathlon – Speed Test

Finally after five weeks of heavy training around 17-20 hours per week and incorportating various creative ways to “get it done” within the work schedule, I got a chance to enter a race before Clearwater.
Granted it was mostly because it fell on a Sunday when I am off work, but it was also a sprint race for a good cause. Called Take Flight Triathlon, this race in Concord benefits the charity Garrett’s Wings, which raises money to support families affected by Battens Disease (www.garretswings.org).
This is the second year this event is being held, and I didn’t get a chance to compete in it last year because it was on a Saturday (work). But Scott and Renee Campbell are wonderful people who lost a son to the disease and are using their charity to help others’ cope with the loss of a child.
So round up the reasons to do this event and it was obvious. Now, this would be a sprint tri a little shorter than the one I did in Maine, but it would require me to turn it on blast beyond my comfort zone.

G has been adding more homemade nutrient dense baked goods to my cubby drawer and has helped me refuel at work after my training. She has also kept the tabs on making sure I don’t break-down after each week is over and we both “chill” somehow on Sundays. I have learned to listen well. G is also completing revisions to my book, so that is progressing well. Now That’s G!

The challenge I posed to myself was continuing a basic week and then using this race to “Let it rip, have fun, and not fall apart in the process.” I did my normal weekly training which included some heavy intervals and a super long run + work Saturday, so I made sure to ice down big time last night and sleep with compression socks.
Not that it helped much as my quads were aching too.. I did have a good night’s rest and as Gina and I work the week, and the weather got cooler finally at night, zonking out isn’t a problem. Getting up IS though as sunrise is beyond 7am now. But when you use a race to hammer test and try something different, there is no big pressure on myself. Some, but not as much as next month. the “pressure” would be handling the speed while in a fatigued state, replicating the later stages of a half-ironman.
I decided to slap on the Zipp tubulars on the Black Widow since I didn’t plan to carry any spares. The distances were a 250 yard swim in the pool, a 10 mile ride, and a 3.1 mile run. All out. So minimalist was key. No socks, the final run in the womens size 7 Skylon’s, and I got to test my new shades thanks to Mark @ Swiss Eye.
We woke up at 5:30am and it was in the upper 40′s! Not an issue, except for the fact I decided to shave down this week. I opted to wear my Orca skinsuit and my Aquaphor tights on top of that! Ultimate compression for the quads now. I lathered in the Aquaphor for both chafe-free and insulating properties. Since we were able to check out the area yesterday after work when picking up the race packet, it only took us 20 minutes to get there. Plenty of parking and allowed for a good half mile walk to the event area (and warm-up).

This is a great event for beginners distance wise and many families and kids were participating, which added to that fan friendly atmosphere. There were plenty of volunteers as I got my number “branded” by a 10 yr old. How often do you see them volunteer at 6am? It was well organized and the Nomad Aquatic Center is relatively new, surrounded by patches of developments being bulit. In fact, most of the bike and run course weaved in/out of them, making for a traffic free race.
It is always fun to see those with hybrid bikes and fat tires rack their bike next to the race tri-specific kind. That’s when you know you’re in a sprint race. We admired the beauty of the unobstructed sunrise and made our way inside to the pool.
Wow – what warmth! That will be a shocker to the system – coming out of an 80+ degree pool after sprinting and exiting unclothed into 50 degree weather to hop on the bike. Wait, been there, done that. I still planned to do the race in a skinsuit/tight combo only. I did practice going in/out though to sense it. Gina scoped out here vantage points and made sure she had her logistics down, since being a sprint (and not being to the one in Maine), this would be her first trying to view everything very quickly.

When you register, you enter a time to seed yourself based on a 100 yd swim time. Not having done such a timed segment other than maybe from prior long distance races, I entered a time and was seeded 102nd. They start each person in 10 sec increments and you weave along 10 lanes. Plenty of room to pass as well. It would be about 20 minutes after the first person went off before I went.
We made our way around the center and it was buzzing with excitement. The energy was intense and easy to feed off, and then some of those who were anixous/nervous. Warmed me up quick as I loosened up and hopped/jumped around. I didn’t eat anything and kept it all light. In fact during the entire event I had 2 swigs of my Amino Vital and that was it.
Being Number 102, I had a great view of everyone lining up and then going off to the sound of the timer’s voice. 3-2-1-GO! I took a few foot dips to test the water to make sure it was indeed still warm. I viewed how people were passing others. The lanes were wide enough to do so. A girl in front of me who was part of a relay said to me “if you have to pass me, go right ahead.” “Just stay to your right.” I mentioned
In the water I went. You had about 30 seconds to get use to it and then set up. Not bad. One thing I did take from the girl infront of me was her starting position – face forward feet against the wall and arms bracing the wall behind her. Off she went and I had 10 seconds to set up and take 3 deep breaths. “This will be fast. and it will hurt”. 3-2-1-GO!

Boom! I just churned. No early contact to worry about but sure enough by the third (of 10) turns I passed the girl. Then another. And another. I was feeling quick. My kick was good. Hit the wall, turn, go. By the last lane I had 2 people side by side and there was slight contact. Not much. I hopped out of the pool 3 and a half minutes later at the same time as another person and as we exited the door to outside she screamed “Oh Mmmmyy, Gggooddd! Ittt’sss coooold!”   All I said was “Yeaaahhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
No changing needed. No time, just helmet, shades, cleats and wave to G. Off I went and I just kept the legs going. There was no wind and that helped. Otherwise the only things I felt was my breathing, hands a little cold, and my legs wondering what the heck I was doing going so quickly and urgently. Think warm. The course looped around a few nice neighborhoods and no traffice. Volunteers (Thank You) at each intersection marking turns and a few good hills. It was a nice course, a safe course on wide roads.  
I pushed and pushed and time to dismount! That was it. Finished in less than 30 minutes and now it was time to run. Still wasn’t warm and the sun remained behind an overcast sky.

Rapid turnover to stay warm and pump those arms, it’s time to roll. This route now took you in and out of a gated complex which included several tunaround points. Here it was just time to rock. Passed people big time (pac-man supercharged) and just try to maintain any type of speed I could muster both in my semi-cold state and my legs feeling yesterday’s 2 hr run. The 5 k went by in over 18 minutes. 
Back towards the start and a nice down slope finish. I hit the line in 54 minutes and change. Wooooooooooooooo!!! Now that was a quick race. Sort of like a 5K to me when I am training for a run event, this is how that felt now training for a half-ironman. But it was a blast! I found G and celebrated with a warm hug and kiss. They had a great spread for all and I stashed some pb sandwiches and goodies. We made out way back inside to warm up a bit and see some more people STILL getting in the water (last person set for 9:50am).
I talked to Scott a bit and let him know how the race went and he actually wasn’t far behind me! Guy even did the race! Awesome! This is definitely a race I’d recommend. Why? – the sheer amount of racers who finished and the reaction of family, friends, and community there to hug, kiss, laugh, and cheer their accomplishments. that’s what it’s all about folks.
We were able to take a quick walk back to the car and change before walking back to hang out some more. We met a lot of people we knew and some we haven’t seen in a while. Gina gave me the scoop on what the construction people were doing next to the event as they were building a few houses. The sun peaked in/out and we stayed for 4 hours enjoying the scene. Just a great time “away” and I finished 5th overall and 2nd in my age group. 
We would have went to Rita’s for the post-race refresher but we did a pre-race one on Thursday. The pumpkin pie flavor is a winner! We opted for home and some brunch before tending to chores, muscle soreness, and quiet time rehashing the day’s events.

I’m confident in getting such a race in and continuing my training for the final month. I’m hanging in there and we’re anxious about ending the year on a high note, along with finally getting to go on a vacation. No other test race on the docket since I will be at work mostly each day.  But I do what I can do, within what I can do. Special thanks as always to Aquaphor, BioFreeze, Polar, and now Swiss Eye for their product support.   

Gotta give a “shout-out” to Eimear who has attained her goal of breaking 45 minutes in a 10K. I have helped train her the past 5 months and she broke the tape at the Brixx 10K last week in 44:12, winning an award in her age group to boot! She has trained hard, well, and smart along with racing smart – something she hoped to work on as well. Though she says she can now “retire” from racing, I know she will continue to run and was happy to work with her. She makes a mean Guinness bread too!
Also to Gina and Rochelle for completing last month the Girls on the Run 8K over some difficult trail terrain. Gina coached Rochelle into walking the farthest she’s done to date.

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