An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Triathlon season closer

This was the 2014 edition of the Bonney Lake Labor of Love Triathlon, promoted by BuDu Racing, LLC. It wasn't the wettest triathlon I've ever done, but it was close. Animals were queuing up by 2's...

I've done this event 6 times now -- every year it's been put on -- and this was the first time I've done it in the rain. Add to that the fact that I haven't trained my swim at all, and barely more than that for the run, and it was looking to be another fine hour of suffering. I've done the long course (close to Olympic/International distance) once, but find the sprint distance (800m/12mi/5K) to be more to my liking. That was my (wise) choice this year as well.

The forecast said the chance of rain was increasing, but it didn't get into the "pretty much assured" range until late in the morning. Well, it started about the time I left my house at 5:30am, and kept on in fits and starts until my race was starting (held up a few minutes to allow the rescue boat to deliver one of the Oly swimmers who was having difficulty). After that point, we were already wet, do it didn't matter too much.

Did I mention I hadn't been doing any swim training? That came back to bite me about 200m into the swim. My arms loaded up in a big way, and I had to just ease up the pressure and glide through it. I emerged from the water with the 35th fastest swim time (out of 177 finishers), and feeling only a little dizzy.

Now I was in my element. I managed to not count the aisles after I got my gear on and bike in hand and started heading back towards the entrance. Okay, another 15 seconds added to my transition time... I found the exit, then got going, passing several people who were trying the flying mount or shoes-on-the-pedals, apparently for the first time. I spent the first mile threading through people before it finally thinned out enough to fly. It was funny seeing the bubbled wake on the road from riders in front of me...

I kept the pressure on throughout the bike, and avoided the dead zone that I've experienced the last couple years on that course. Maybe because I had given myself a little break by taking it really easy in the corners (didn't want to slide out).

I had decided to leave the glasses behind at transition, and there were times that the rain felt like hail on my face. I was flying "blind", not just because of not having glasses. I went with no cyclocomputer -- I had no idea how fast I was going, like Greg Lemond in the '89 Tour, "I just rode". One thing I did differently was to add toe covers to my shoes. It really made a big difference in foot warmth, especially with the constant spray not just from the sky but from my front wheel. Coming in at 22.5mph average, I was just slightly slower than last year.

And now the real suffering begins. This run course is brutal. The hills come steep and often, testing your ability to get your rhythm going time after time. My shoes were sloshing well before I hit the first mile. I managed to only walk one short stretch near the top of a hill just past the half-way mark. There was a water station at the point where the short and long course split, but I passed it by. If I wanted a drink, all I had to do was open my mouth...

Finishing the 5K in an average of 7:30/mile (last year was 6:41), my final time was 1:09:39, 13th overall (2nd in my age group), over seven minutes slower than last year (in beautiful weather), but only 2 places farther back.

And the best part? Two of the girls on the youth triathlon team that I help coach beat me! Kudos to them!

The team had their end-of-the-season party after the race at the home of one of the athletes who lives on the same lake. It was a little sad to think of the season being over, that these kids are all headed off to school, and that fall really is just around the corner.

Anyway, the race is in the books for another year. I hobbled around for a couple days after, soreness being the theme of the day. My ankles recovered from the run fairly quickly, though. 

It's a fun race that I would recommend to anyone. Just be ready for those hills on the run.

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