Race Report Topeka Tinman
I took some time to think about how my day went at the Topeka Tinman last Saturday.
Short story, it was a hot day and I suffered right from the start. My paces were much slower than I would have liked but it ended up being a good training day.
Now for the long story. The drive to Topeka is nice and I made it in plenty of time for packet pick up. When I arrived the temperature was about 95 degrees and humidity was high. The original plan was to camp at the race site but with the heat I decided to break down and get a hotel room. Pizza for dinner and I was off to the hotel. I laid out my race needs for the day, filled my water bottles, and changed the tires on my bike. Got in bed around 10:00 PM and while I did not sleep great, it was sufficient.
Up and off to the race site at 5:30. One of the first to arrive I found my spot in transition and got most of my stuff ready, checked out my bike, and settled in for the 7:50 start. Watching the waves that went before me, I had figured out that there was a good place to line up on the right side where I could take a nice wide path to the first buoy. At the horn I jumped in and pushed to the first turn with the leaders of my wave. Once I made the turn my race started to unravel. For reasons I still don’t quite understand my form fell apart and I really started wasting energy. Compounding the wasted energy I also had decided to take advantage of the buoyancy and wear my wetsuit even though the water temp was 76. About halfway through the swim I realized what was going on but did not understand just how bad I had fallen apart and that I had started to overheat. I focused on ten strokes between sightings, a nice easy long stroke, and trying to get my kick going. Attempting to limit the affect the swim would have on the rest of my day, I set out distance goals with breaststroke breaks but I never fully relaxed and swam like I am capable of. 2:00 per 100m pace is way slower than the effort I put into that swim.
Trying to run up the beach was the absolute worst I have ever felt coming out of the water. I literally walked about half of the way up the hill because my legs were so tired. Even at IronmanAZ ,sick with the stomach flu, I came out of the water smiling and gave a thumbs up to my friends. Saturday there would have been no thumbs ups! Quick transition and off on the bike. I was really looking forward to the bike ride, first race on my new Quintana Roo CD0.1. This bike is a small rocketship that has produced some moments of sheer speed on the few training rides we have done this spring. Highlight of the day was getting my shoes on while riding without incident. Try as I might there was no power coming from my legs. Every trick was implemented, higher cadence, sitting up, stopping to check my back wheel. Nothing worked because I was plain old tuckered out. Again the theme was set small goals, pick up some speed when my body would allow and granny gear up the hills. Complicating matters, my nutrition had fallen off my bike and I only took in about 100 calories during the ride.
Overheating is one of the most horrible feelings ever! Somewhere in the middle of the bike I noticed the tell tale slight headache that means I am overheating. A little squirt of water on my head and I felt a lot better. Most of the ride I kept thinking about getting to the run. If I could just get there I could run easy and still feel good about my finish. Coming into transition, I slipped off my cycling shoes, dismounted, and had a really quick turn. Another highlight of the day. Running out of transition I heard one of the volunteers tell me how good I was doing and I had the quick thought of “if you only knew”.
I decided to head out on the run at 7:00 minute pace to gauge how I was feeling and thought I could cruise there or drop it down a little if I started feeling better. About 1 mile in and I really started feeling cooked. Knowing that pacing duties at Western States were only two weeks away I decided that every time I got goose bumps I would walk until they went away then pick it back up again. So that meant about .9 of a mile at 7:30 pace with a .1 mile walk and repeat.
All in all it was a tough day for everyone. I could have done better, but I also could have called it a day. I’m happy with a 6th place age group finish and am looking forward to the next race.
Things are still running through my mind about that swim. I really think I was carrying a lot of tension from my lower back to my feet. During the bike my lower back was aching (not normal) and I think I was clenching it during the swim while flexing my legs trying to kick. Oh well I am going to take a little two week break from swimming and see if I can reset a little.
Shout out to Topeka Tinman for putting on a quality event. Highlights include a sweet bike course, tough run, and great volunteers- especially at the water stations on the run. The only negative was that they did not check bikes out of transition.