Not too sure of this swim technique...I think Bruce Gennari taught me this. Some say 'feel the water.' I like to 'listen' to the waterWenatchee Apple Capital triathlon has been a race that I have wanted to do for a few years now, but it has never really lined up with my schedule. On a few occasions it was the same weekend as IM Canada. But this year it did not seem like there would really be any conflicts. I had originally thought about doing a race in Portland this weekend, but that would be another 3 hours of driving, each way, so Jessi and I threw our hats into Apple Capital.
We both registered the week of the race and got our lodging all dialed in on Thursday for the Sunday event. Emma was going to do an overnight with my parents, and Lloyd, our dog, was covered by one of our neighbors. The only thing we needed to do was get packed and in the car.
Saturday came and it was 12:00pm and neither Jessi or I were ready to leave. With school starting in a week, and this being race number 14 for her and 13 for me, our motivation to race was lacking to some degree. I think if there was some reason that we could have come up with not to go, we would have stayed home. My mom came and got Emma and it looked like we needed to get moving. We finally got the car loaded and headed out around 3:00pm. Both of us were fine with racing, but just did not have the bug to do it. I tend to get this way every September as school nears and chaos ensues.
We arrived at the race site to check out the venue the evening before and to shake the legs out a little with a short ride. The wind was blowing at about 25 mph and thought of riding a disc in this was a little scary. We rode the run course which seemed pretty hilly, but entertaining. My legs felt sluggish, but I also know this is very common the day before for me, and the day of the race as well. I went for a short run and Jessi continued to ride the run course again to get it set in her mind as to what it was like. The run felt difficult to me with all the short, and long, hills. But I knew once you were in a race doing it, they would all feel the same as the flats…tough.
We made our way back to Wenatchee where we were staying at the 1970s Econolodge. Not fancy, but we would only be there for about 8 hours. That would equate to about $12 per hour. Hmmm…I think they made out on this one. Jessi got caught up on all her facebooking that had happened while we were in the car for the past 3 hours and then we watched some TV. Lights out at 11:00 (pathetically late, I know) in anticipation of an early alarm.
We got up at 5:00am, had breakfast, and were off to check in and get set up. I was moving rather slowly, typical for me on race day. We drove up to Daroga Park and got there before the sun did. We were the first to rack our bikes and began the whole race morning process. I was able to connect with some people I have not seen for a bit which is always nice. Some people from reading this blog, and some from facebook, and some that I just have known. After getting everything relatively set up, I figured I had better do something, so I hopped on the Trek, threw on my new Rudy Project Wingspan, and went for a spin. I have to tell everyone that the new helmet is amazing. It is so dang light and you cannot even feel it when it’s on! In the race I could not believe how it felt. I did not feel any pressure on it at all, I even looked straight down, up, everything and was amazed. Anyway, I ran through the gears, I felt slow (again) and rolled back to transition.
Removing not only my goggles, but milfoil as well
As the start was approaching it was time to get on the trusty Helix and find my way to the water. I really wanted to get in a little warm up, but knew that I would probably be a little rushed…again. The swim is a 2 loop swim that is in the Columbia River, but in a bay where there was significant milfoil growth. But they cut swaths where the swim would go, so that was cool. I tried to figure out what the course looked like, checked the people around me, and figured I was set. I still was not feeling overly motivated to race this morning, but when you are waist deep in cool water at 8:00am, you figure you better do something. We got the “2 minutes to start” call, so I checked my Timex and made sure it was ready to roll. 5, 4, 3, 2, (I think there was a horn or something, I don’t know, my head was under water on 2). I took off and was watching all of the cut milfoil pass below me. As I was crossing the back side of the triangle, I ran into a giant floating patch of milfoil. It represented what one would find in the drain of the women’s shower at a YMCA (just guessing). I did not freak out, but I was “in it.” I actually rolled out of it and tried pushing it to the side. I was out of it and all I could think about is the rest of the swimmers coming up on it in a pack. That could be a sight. I made the first lap and felt fine. As I was making the second, I could feel pieces of the milfoil get stuck on my goggles, cap, etc. Kind of like when you swim in a pool and you feel a hair…it bugs the crap out of me. I finally made it to the end of the swim and was headed to the bike. I looked at my watch…22:45. Hmmm, must have been a tad long. It kind of evens out since Cda Oly was short, so it’s “even steven.”
One thing that I liked about this race was the relatively short transitions. Then on top of it, the mats were right at the entrance and exit of transition. So your transition time was the time you were actually “in” transition. Kind of cool. I think T1 was about 36 seconds. That’s fast! The only bummer part of this is that your bike time includes the pre “mount” and the post “dismount” running time. Oh well, transitions will look impressive.
I came cruising down into T2 and was ready to run. I flew trough T2 in 17 seconds…nice, and was off and running. The run was 2 loops as well that took you through the park. The first part looped you back to the transition area so I was able to get an idea as to what kind of gap I had. As I passed transition I was looking to see if I could see any bikes other than mine. Since I have such amazing vision to start with, I knew that would not be a real solid way to accomplish that. So as I headed up the hill (same one as we did on the bike) I asked if there had been any other bikes in. They said 1, but they looked like they really did not know. So was the ‘one’ meaning me? Or ‘one more’ besides me? It really did not matter, I was running my own race and needed to get lap 1 down. I came through the first lap in 18:10. Wow, that’s good. If I keep it steady, I could run a 36 and change. That’d be good. So that was the new motivation, negative split the run and run a low 36. I was getting a little bored out there so I looked way up the road and picked out someone that looked like they were moving okay and said I have to catch them before the finish. I stayed focused on them and I started to close a little bit after a long downhill (note to self, work on downhill running). I started to close fairly quickly along the trails through the park. After I passed him, I started to run a little harder and all of sudden was running into the finish. I crossed the finish, looked at my watch, and saw 36:06. Nice! Not only did I negative split the run, I ran one of my best 10ks in a race. That feels good. Since everyone else was out on the course, that was where most of the attention was.
I found her with about 1 mile to go in her run (thank goodness since I did not really want to run too much further…I did just run a 10k :)) She looked like she was moving well, but was a bit in ‘la, la land,’ because there really was not any girl that close to her in front or behind. She kept pushing and had one of her best 10ks ever…I am pretty sure she pr’d it too. Jessi ended up 1st in her age group and 3rd overall. There were some pretty fast gals there. One was headed to age group world championship in Australia and the other was an Xterra national champion. So some good athletes and I think she enjoyed keeping them honest in the race.
So for a race that neither one of us really wanted to do less than 12 hours ago, it all worked out. I ended up winning overall with a time of 1:54:50 (not too sure of the seconds). That was pretty fast for me. But since the swim was a tad long, say 2 minutes, I think that this was hands down one of my fastest races ever! I know the bike and run portions of this race are the same year after year, so those can be compared, so the swim is the only variable…as it always is.
I think we both enjoyed the short trip to Wenatchee for this race. I hope to be able to do it again. This is a beautiful area to have an event and they do a great job.
Now it’s time to go and crunch some numbers and see how I can replicate this performance again.
You can see a small article at The Wenatchee World