Monday, June 9, 2014

US National Long Course Championship--Nailed It! A Blatant Brag (with caveats)

OK--I'm back in New Jersey after about 1800 miles of driving over the last 4 days.  I did compete--and successfully so--at the US Long Course Championship in Grand Rapids, MI on Sunday.

My goal was to make the US Long Course Team that will compete in the Long Course World Championship in Sweden in 2015.  I achieved this goal.

However, my brag is not about that accomplishment (although I do feel good about it).  My performance on Sunday was very MOP--in fact I finished just above the median time OA.  I was also some 47 minutes off of my Half-Ironman PR.  "Real" triathletes will call my performance MOP--and rightfully so.  I get that.

What I did do, very well, is assess my competition (in a very detailed way), figure out what I needed to do to make the team (which I felt was just barely within my current fitness level), execute that plan, and just merely make the team.  It usually doesn't work this well-but this time it did.  I refer to my prior post immediately below to see my pre-race predictions.  This post is to give you the highlights of how I did vs. those precitions.  I'll file a full race report shortly.

1. I did extensive analysis of my 43 competitors and determined that I was at best 16th and perhaps as  low as 25th in this competition.  I needed to finish 20th to make the team.

2.  I also determined to finish 20th or better I would need to finish at 5:30 or better.

3. I devised a game plan that called for a 35 min swim/2:35 bike/2:14 run and 6 minutes in transition. I felt if I did this I'd either just qualify or just miss--I'd be right on the bubble.

4. After extensive analysis of my current fitness, I felt this was just possible on this course with the forecasted weather.

5. I swam 36:54 but the course turned out to be 1.29-miles--a bit long, so I was actually a bit faster than I planned.

6.  The transitions were longer than I planned, which I felt was a function of the physical limitations of the Transition zone--I lost about a minute to my plan in transition.

7. I had a great bike.  I hit 195 watts (vs. a plan of 190-200 watts) and finished my bike in 2:34:59 vs. a plan of 2:35:00--I worked hard for that.

8.  When I left T2, I knew I needed to break 2:11 on the run (10:00/mile) to be under 5:30.  Without getting into details (which are dramatic), I just barely did so and finished with a 5:29:53 overall--7 seconds better than plan/goal.

9.  This turned out to be good enough for 18th in my AG--I was 1:30 or so better than 20th place.  As a result, I can compete in Sweden at the Long Course Worlds next year if I choose to do so.

Again, I know 5:29:53 is not so good.  But it was probably about as good as I could expect to do yesterday.  I evaluated the situation before the race and determined that I needed to do 5:30 to make it.  Without that analysis, there is no way I would have pushed as hard as I did to make a sub 5:30 happen.  If I didn't make it happen, I would not have made the team.  I feel very good about this tonight.

Race report soon....

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