Inaurgural Cortland sprint tri – last tri for the season

Posted: September 16, 2012 in cycling, Running, Training, Triathlons
Tags: ,

First things first- I love this race! If you have done more than a few events, you quickly learn to appreciate one that is well organized and well ran. Huge kudos to Jarrod Kolodziejczyk (race director), Cortland  Tri Club, Cortland YMCA, Cortland United Way, and especially the over the top volunteers. To pull off the event the way they did for an inaugural race is impressive.  Any race for that matter. As I think back, all the events I signed up for this year were well ran, and easy for the athlete to enjoy. You could say it’s just my perspective, and that I am just enjoying being back in the sport. Some truth to that. However, aside from being a participant,  I also volunteer at races and you learn first hand what it takes to put on an event. With all that said, the Cortland Tri was a big success!

The race this past Saturday was the last triathlon of my 2012 season. My last hurrah if you will. With the New York City Marathon just six weeks out, the race coincided with an off week long run of 10 miles (next week is an 18 miler) which I’ll run today or tomorrow. This also fits my idea of cross discipline training to gain fitness instead of logging more and more run miles which my body doesn’t tolerate all that well. Other pluses include: a local race, modest race fee, and the course is on the same training grounds I use  from work at lunch time. I can execute it as a training day or go all out effort, and not beat myself up too bad.

I felt pretty decent on race morning. Ultimately I chose to do something in between effort wise. I made my goal to maintain a zone 4 effort, and see how well I could keep my heart rate in a 155-160 bpm range. If I felt really good, I might bottom out the gas pedal. In the back of my mind I always worry that I might push too hard, then either injure something, or not recover quick enough for my long runs which are a priority for my remaining ‘A’ race.

Race packet pick up was super easy at the Cortland YMCA. I took the opportunity to use the pool to shake out not swimming in recent weeks. A few hundred yards, and my usual not so efficient stroke was normal and expected. All stuff I need to work on this winter. Just the same, familiarity and that things had not changed for the worse was comforting. I may be slow, but I will be steady, not panic, and just get it done.

Race morning was a balmy (not) 52 degrees, with the water hovering at 68. All good with a wetsuit. Picked up my timing chip, and got set up in the transition area. Again, well organized and easy. Saw a bunch of people I knew, and it was great to see them again. Yep, I was excited to race, and in a great mood for the day.  The 800 yard swim was set up as an out and back course. Simple and easy. Wave starts went as advertised. I went out on the second wave. No problems getting settled in, and finding a rhythm. Other than the water/bottom being a bit gooey & stinky the first 1oo yards, and some oncoming traffic that crossed over on the return leg, the swim was one of the better experiences this season. Swim time: 21:29, 2:41/100. Slow, but no problems, enjoyable first leg of the race. One last mention, plenty of volunteers on the swim course looking out for our safety. Plenty of coverage from canoes and kayaks. Very much appreciated.

For the bike, I opted to put on my (dry) running top after the swim, and then my EN team cycling jacket over that. Worth the extra time. I did forget to bring a towel, and used my fleece pullover to dry off a little bit. Got out on the course with no problems and settled in quickly on the aerobars. I had to back off a little the first mile as my heart rate was spiking, and there was a little headwind. I was very happy that I got my pedal cadence up in the 90-92 rpm range and kept it there. Once I felt dialed in, I increased my effort, and passed a bunch of folks on the bike course. Crossing over on the north end of the course I had to come out of the aerobars, as the rear disk I was running was being pushed around with the wind gusts. A little unnerving. I should have ran my trispoke in the back. Once we made the turn south, it was all good. Bike pace picked up with the tail wind. I passed more cyclists on the back roads to the west of Preble. The last few miles were very fast. Overall I averaged 18.5 mph on the 14.8 mile course. Happy with keeping it at a zone 4 effort. 160bpm for most of the course. A lot of effort to be applied this winter to improve bike splits for next year’s season. Overall I liked the bike course, and there were plenty of very loud and enthusiastic volunteers at all the corners and intersections. Very safe and well controlled course.

Back into transition, again volunteers were fantastic, very helpful. Not much to mention in T2 other than I tore my race bib,and had to find my keys to punch a new hole, and reattach. Lost a minute there. Plesantly surprised that I got my running legs under me quickly as I did a fare amount of work on the bike course. Even though I didn’t ride pedal to the metal, I was working it. I felt good going into the run. Absolutely loved the run course. most of it was packed or gravel trail that was mostly wooded. A favorite setup for me. I normally dislike double loop courses, but I really enjoyed this one. I remember thinking to my self about how I was looking forward to the second trip around as I crossed the little bridge. There is something inherently evil  about having to choose right or left chute within sight of the finish line. left to go back around, right to finish. Seriously, I didn’t mind it, but your brain does look at that and go, hmmmm. The run leg of the race was just as consistent as the other legs with the course being filled with great volunteers.  I ran the 5K leg in 27:23, a 8:50/ mile pace. Considering that my current 50-54 AG PR is 24:02, and that I stayed within my planned effort until the last half mile, I was happy with it. Other than my legs being a little tired today, I’ll be ready to do my 10 miler.

I finished the race in 1:42:03, and made sure the back of the pack was well represented 🙂 Before the race I predicted a range of 1:34 ish as an all out effort, to a 1:40ish time if I stayed within my effort box. Very solid training day and a very enjoyable one.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a number of 70-79 and 80+  athletes there. I can only hope I live that long, and look that good. Even larger hope is to look as good as they did tackling the course. Very inspirational.

Again, kudos to all those that help put the event on, and looking forward to this event in 2013

  1. Carrie says:

    Congrats on finishing the season on a great note! I’ll be in NYC for the marathon–maybe I’ll see you there?

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