2:29:47. 2/13 AG (M50-54), 36/156 OA Male
always enjoyed the Colonial Beach tri. It's got a nice run and bike
course, and I like the funky vibe of Colonial Beach, sort of a
mini-beach town on the south bank of the Potomac. Debi, my coach, lives
nearby in King George and is always a gracious host. It's fun to hang
out at her house with her and other triathletes the night before the
race. I arrived late Saturday afternoon, had a delicious dinner (grilled
chicken, asparagus, salad and pasta) with her family and friends before
turning in around 930.
Up and at it early on Sunday, we drove
down to the race site, where I scored a perfect parking spot abut 50
yards from transition (love these small-town races). Racked the bike,
set up transition, and fired down a caffeinated gel about 20 minutes
before the race, washed down with the remains of my morning bottle of
Ironman Perform. It was going to be a hot one, so I'd been hydrating
consistently all morning and the evening before. Then it was time to hit
the beach for a quick warm up in the warm, 84-degree water.
wave was third to go on the rectangular course. The course went
straight out from shore for a couple of hundred yards, then turned right
for a downstream leg. Another right, then a short leg towards the
shore, where there was another right. Then back up against the current,
and a left turn back to the shore to finish.
I could see from the
first waves that the current was an issue, flowing steadily from left
to right. I lined up on the left and hit the first buoy in pretty good
shape, probably around the middle of the wave. After the turn the crowd
thinned out and I had clear water downstream to the second turn. This
longer leg flew by, so I knew it might take a while to take it back
upstream. After rounding the next two buoys I started back up the
course. This was the time to concentrate on the things I'd been working
on with my stroke -- head down, core firm, rotate around the hips to
engage the larger muscles. I was glad I'd been doing a fair amount of
long-course swimming this summer to build my endurance.
concentration on stying in control seemed to be working, as I caught a
fair number of my wave who were fading. Finally it was time to turn for
shore, and I swam it in until my hands hit bottom. Across the beach for a
straight shot into transition.
Time: 35:45. 3/13 AG, 67/156 OA
Male. Not good time-wise, but all the swim times were slowed by the
current. I was satisfied overall. Sighting had been good and I felt
strong and in control the whole time. Plenty of energy left as I came
out of the water. My swim's improving, I think.
is smooth, and smooth is fast." I put my cycling shoes because of a
fairly long run up a gravel path to the mount line. Solid transition.
Time: 1:25. 1/13 AG, 19/156 OA.
been looking forward to the bike. I've done so much Z1 riding this
summer I was ready to let it rip. The course at Colonial Beach is a fun
out-and-back, with smooth roads, a few rollers and a couple of hills.
Nothing too extreme, but a little taxing at times.
I had smooth
sailing for the most part, with a fair amount of room around me. The
other cyclists were behaving themselves so I could concentrate on
hunkering down and pushing the pedals. My powermeter was my friend -- I
used it to encourage myself to push bigger gears and keep the watts up.
It was a delight to power up the small hills of this course after
numerous Saturdays grinding my way to the end of 4-5 mile climbs on the
Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive. This was fun, and I even caught
myself letting out a couple of "whoops!" as I rounded some of the
corners at speed.
I hit the turnaround at 33 minutes, and knew
the return leg was a net downhill, so I cranked up the intensity a bit
more. My recent bike fit seemed spot on -- I was comfortable in the
cockpit the entire time. I kicked my feet out of the shoes and executed a
smooth flying dismount at the line, running the bike up the grass
margin on the side of the gravel. I felt great and was ready to rock the
Time: 1:05:01. 3/13 AG, 34/156 OA Male.
the time to slip on socks, since I hadn't run any significant amount
without socks in these shoes. Not a big time killer, though.
Time: 1:05. 1/13 AG, 18/156 OA Male.
now the sun was burning through the morning clouds and the temperatures
were climbing fast. While the run course at Colonial Beach is almost
pancake flat, the out-and-back is wide open for miles 1-2 and 5-6. I
took out the first couple miles at a slightly restrained pace,
concentrating on good form and quick turnover. I started picking off a
fair share of younger runners from the previous waves, while taking
fluid at every water stop. A few stops had ice, and I dumped a cup down
the back of my tri-top at every opportunity. Believe me, a lump of ice
at the base of your spine will do wonders to cool you off.
came to the turn around I was feeling good, holding 7:25-7:30 miles
consistently. I took the opportunity to check out any competition and
spied a 54-year old heading the other way. I figured I had to catch him
to have any chance in my AG. As I turned I could see him at least 300
yards ahead. Based on how he was running, I thought I had a good chance
if I didn't slow down.
The last 2-3 miles are where an
international distance race gets tough. The legs are tired, and you're
starting to run out of energy. I'd handled the energy end of things OK, I
thought, with a full bottle of Ironman Perform and a gel on the bike,
plus two endurolytes, a gel, and alternating water and Heed on the run
course. I wasn't going to bonk, but I could feel the reserves starting
to run down a bit.
At mile 4 I'd made up a lot of ground, but had
slowed my pace slightly. Now it was time to dig in. I focused my eyes
on the ground about 10 feet ahead and started counting left foot falls
to 100. "Don't look up until you get to 100," I told myself. "Focus on
your form. Smooth. Relaxed."
After several rounds of this I was
close to my competition. Now was the time to make a move. As we passed
through the water stop I plowed ahead and picked up the pace just a
notch. "Do 100 steps at this pace, then another 100 a little faster.
Don't look back -- he won't be able to hold on if I keep it up."
could hear and feel my rival pick up his pace, but slowly the sound
receded. I stuck to plan, and even put in a few little digs as I rounded
some corners. This was hurting. I finally snuck a look back -- no one
in sight. And here was the final turn to the finish. Across the
I waited a few moments for my 54-year old
competitor to cross the line and shook his hand to congratulate him on a
good race. Then I noticed his age marking said 57, not 54. Oh well --
even if it didn't change my AG finish I still owed a lot to him.
Time: 46:33. 4/13 AG, 41/156 OA Male.
One of my best races ever at this distance, and with a more normal swim
time it would have been a big PR. Every part of the race clicked in
nicely, and I could feel the benefit of all the long aerobic training
I've been doing this summer. An important reminder that there's no
substitute for putting in the miles. Build the base and the rest will
2:29:47. 2/13 AG (M50-54), 36/156 OA Male