Sunday, May 5, 2013

Race Recon

This was, apparently, a big weekend in the world of triathlon. As we were driving down to CT friday night, Hilary noticed that Ironman Taiwan was happening on Saturday - at that moment, actually. Saturday there were two major races going on: the Wildflower Long Course (70.3 miles, a half-iron distance) in sunny california, and the US Pro 70.3 Championships at St. George, Utah. We weren't there for either, but followed them with some interest. We've been following the exploits of pro triathlete Jesse Thomas for a while. Picky Bars, the race nutrition that Thomas and his pro-runner wife, Lauren Fleshman, produce, are Hilary's power-up of choice these days. In Utah, Amber Ferreira, a pro triathlete we know from Concord, had a pretty good day against a tough course and packed field.

Hilary and I are getting psyched for our first tri of the season coming up in less than a month: Rev3 Quassy. We'll be doing the Olympic on Saturday, then spectate the half-iron the following day. We'll be bringing down a sizable contingent of our Capital Multisport teammates, too. The race happens to be near to Hilary's hometown, so it was easy to stay with her folks - who entertain B much better than we do these days - and scope out the bike and run courses. Hilary had already done this about a month ago, and was a bit discouraged by the hilly bike course, solo, on her road bike, on a day of crummy weather. This weekend, under clear skies, warm sun, on her super awesome tri bike, and already knowing the course, it was much better.

Saturday we hit the 10-k course. It has two serious climbs in the middle, followed by one quad-killing downhill, and one final climb to the finish, set along well-shaded residential streets. There were lots of people out and about scoping out the courses, too, though I suspect more of them are doing the half-iron. Neither Hilary nor I pushed it, but mostly enjoyed ourselves. Hilary's got a training schedule she's sticking to, which did not include a fast run that day. I had done a hard and fast five miles Friday before we left, and was feeling it in my legs. The ice cream for dessert that night was well earned.

Sunday was the main event: following the 25-mile bike course, then immediately running the 10-k again. (Training one discipline right after the other, like a bike-run combo, is called a "brick".) Again it was gorgeous weather, and with Hilary's familiarity with the course, we made pretty good time. Again, we weren't trying to race the course, just scope it out at a decent pace. We only made one wrong turn, which tacked on an extra 2.5 miles and a small climb. You can't go anywhere in this part of CT without going up and down hills. Overall the course has some 1800 feet of climbing - something we've been trying to emphasize in our training over the last month or so. It feels good knowing what to expect, or at least knowing you won't be surprised and daunted by the hills when you come to them. We both felt really good going into the run, and managed to push our respective paces even up the climbs. More ice cream tonight.

On the whole, we are feeling pretty good about this race coming up. It should be a good time with family and teammates, and we should be able to perform well. This is not to say that either of us are aiming for the podium. To be frank: we just aren't at that level. The top finishers in our age groups will probably be 10-15 minutes ahead. That's OK, we're just looking forward to a fun weekend.

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