After last week’s disappointment with the aborted attempt of a 50 mile trail run, a little success at yesterday’s sprint triathlon was just what the doctor ordered. The FAST (Fishers Area Sprint Triathlon) consisted of a 500 meter pool swim, a 10 mile bike ride, and a 3 mile run. The weather could not have been better. It did rain a little, not until after I finished the bike segment. I was faster in all three segments, but the swim and bike segments can’t really be compared with the previous events. The swim and bike courses at this venue were definitely easier and there was less distance to travel in transition. The run course was probably the most similar and I was about a minute faster there. My total time of 1:04:26 was good for 37th out of 246 and 3rd in my age group.
The swim was in a 50 meter, 10 lane pool. They were sending us off at 5 to 10 second intervals. I’m not a very fast swimmer so I don’t rush to the head of the line. A few swimmers passed me, but I also passed a few. I didn’t use breast stroke nearly as much as I do in the lake swims. I’m guessing I swam freestyle at least 70% of the time which probably accounts for my faster than normal time of 12:14. When I exited the pool there were no more participants waiting to enter the pool. Swimming is by far my worst event. My swim time was 157th, but I’m happy with the progress I’m making.
I felt a little woozy coming out of the pool, but I quickly regained my senses and ran for my bike. I had a little trouble with one shoe, but still this transition time wasn’t too bad. The bike course was a 5 mile rectangle with a few slight inclines, no hills, no hair pin turns. One of the corners was a little tight. I pushed pretty hard in the first lap and continued pushing hard in the second lap. I was passing slower riders most of the way. I think maybe two faster riders passed me. I averaged 20.8 mph.
As I approached the dismount line I slipped my feet out of my shoes and in the process came close to clipping the curb. This slowed me a little, but it’s still faster than running with the shoes on and then having to take them off in transition. I racked my bike slipped into my shoes, grabbed my race number belt, and off I went. After all the hard pushing on the bike, I felt sluggish starting the run. By the time I made it to the 1 mile mark I felt like I had been running all day. I was starting to loosen up though and mile marker 2 seemed to come up pretty quickly. Time to start pushing it to the finish. With a little more than a quarter mile to go I kicked it into high gear. Of course this only made me think that I should have been running faster a lot sooner. My run time was about a minute faster than at the last event so I can’t complain.
Sadly that’s the last sprint triathlon for this year. I can’t wait for next summer though. I hope to continue regular swim workouts through the winter and be ready for an Olympic distance or maybe even a half IM next year.
Last Saturday I traveled to Caesar’s Creek State Park in Ohio for the Dawg Gone Long 50 Mile Trail Run. Twenty-four runners started the race and 15 finished. I was one of the 9 who didn’t finish. Physically I was doing ok, but mentally I just didn’t have the drive to finish. I rode there with Zach Mitchell, who won the race with a time of 8 hours 16 minutes and that’s after getting off course in the first mile and adding about 26 extra minutes of running. I finished my second loop about 20 minutes ahead of him finishing his third. I knew he would do well, but I was thinking more like 9 hours or so.
The course was pretty scenic, very rugged though, lots of roots and leg scraping vegetation. Parts of the course were on trails that had not been used in years. Not any major hills to speak of, just lots of little hills. Definitely more hills than the Another Dam loop in Englewood. A total of maybe 2 or 3 miles on pavement, including the bridge on highway 73. I didn’t care too much for running on that bridge with all the semi’s blasting past. I think I’d rather have swum across the lake.
My time for the first loop, which included a little extra out and back at the start to bring the total distance up to 50 miles, was 3:33. I don’t think that was too fast; although I was already having negative thoughts near the end of that loop. The bridge on 73 was maybe 3 miles into the loop. On the second trip across I was thinking I really didn’t want to run across this bridge again. After crossing the bridge, about a quarter mile into the woods, I was day dreaming and the next thing I know I’m hitting the ground hard. Luckily I was carrying two hand held bottles to help cushion the blow. I started paying closer attention to the trail afterward, but the fall didn’t help my mood any. Almost half way into the second loop I decided I was definitely not doing a third. From then on I really slowed the pace, taking time to enjoy the scenery. I was thinking there was no point in speeding to the finish area only to have to sit and wait for Zach. Of course at the time I didn’t know how close he was to lapping me. If not for his going off course he would have lapped me.
Even though I hadn’t trained for this event; I’m a little surprised and disappointed in my poor performance. My overall fitness level at this point is the best I can remember, but I guess training for sprint triathlons doesn’t prepare one for the mental challenge of finishing a 50 mile run.
Next Sunday I have another sprint triathlon on the schedule. The swim is indoors, 500 meters in a 50 meter pool, then 10 mile bike and 5k run. After that the only race I am already committed to is the Indy Half Marathon on October 17th. Oh, and of course the DINO 15k October 10 and again November 14th. Thinking about Stone Steps 50k and/or OPSF 50k. I’m going to Albuquerque September 30th. There is a 11.6 mile trail run north of Santa Fe October 3rd. This is the description from Active.com “Course is up and back a forest service road through quaking aspens and magnificent pines to the radio towers at the top of the ski area. Starting elevation is ~10,000 ft., summit is 12,038 ft. Total race distance is ~11.6 miles”. That sounds like a tasty little challenge. Now all I have to do is talk my hosts into driving me up there. Below is the elevation profile with percent grade.
Last Saturday I ran the DINO Trail Series 15k at Town Run Trail Park. It’s a very flat course, but it has lots of tight turns and quite a few short steep rises, maybe 6 to 8 feet tall. With all the turns and “speed bumps” you can’t ever get in a rhythm. It’s almost 100% very narrow single track too, which makes passing a challenge. Bottom line, this course will tear you up. Brian the RD says the course actually measured 9.5 miles. Whatever the true distance was, it was slightly longer than last year’s course and yet I managed to run it more than two minutes faster than last year. That was a bit of a confidence boost going into this weekend’s event. Since I’ve been training for triathlons I haven’t been getting nearly as many miles running as I should have, but still I seem to be in pretty good running shape. I wound up 4th in my age group. The next day though, I was at a 4 mile race that my son was running. There I ran into the guy who was 3rd in my age group. He said he had realized he missed a turn on the course and cut off some distance and that I actually should have been given the 3rd place award. My recounting of this doesn’t really do it justice, but it really was an extraordinary coincidence running into that guy.
So, tomorrow morning at 3am I’m heading east to Caesar’s Creek State Park in Waynesville, Ohio to run the Dawg Gone Long 50 Mile Trail Run. As of today only 21 brave souls are registered for this new race. It’s supposed to be a 16.4 mile loop that you run 3 times. I guess technically then it will only be a mere 49.2 miles. Only 49.2?!!
I’m riding over there with another local trail runner, Zach Mitchell. He’s using this as a training run for the Oil Creek 100. Zach is a much faster runner than I, but he says he doesn’t mind waiting around for me at the finish.
Busy week ahead too. Job interview on Wednesday, drive to New York Thursday, fly home Friday, then sprint triathlon on Sunday.