Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Morgan Hill Sprint Triathlon

I was feeling pretty fit so one week out, I signed up for this race (thank goodness for non-WTC events that don't sell out, well actually, this one did sell out but not one week before the race). I'm very familiar with this race as I did my first one when I was 23, and I've been doing it on and off for the past 18 years. I thought it would be cool to compare my 41 year-old self to my 26 year-old self when I set my PR on this course and claimed my first ever age-group win.

I wanted to be conservative because this was my first tri of the season, and the last thing I wanted to do was to blow up. The 3/4 mile swim felt good, too good, like I didn't swim hard enough to good. But I didn't blow up, and well, that was the goal. The fastest guy was way out in front so I swam solo the entire time, and came out second in my wave. I stripped off my wetsuit and to the surprise of some spectators, I was wearing only a speedo underneath. Yep. Since I'm not racing for a team this year, I realized before the race that I had no new race kit. Well, I decided to just race it old skool and don nothing but a speedo. There was some anxiety around the decision, mostly the fear of chafing but I figured, I did this throughout half of my twenties and all went well.

The 16-mile bike ride was just plain awesome. I felt so strong and powerful the entire time and just charged through the rollers and nobody passed me, which is a rarity. Like most of my rides this season, my hips and upper body were quiet, my form solid, and my cadence steady. Can you tell I had a good time on the bike? Probably too good, like I wasn't riding hard enough too good. The ride ended far too quickly, and I found myself heading into T2 with a lot left in the tank. But once again, I didn't blow up so goal still in tact.

As I headed into T2, I heard the announcer say something about not trusting his eyes because he thinks he sees a guy flying through T2 in nothing but a tiny speedo. And as he thought aloud into the mic, I heard him say, this guy kind of looks like Kiet Tran. When I heard this, I raised my hand with a thumbs up and I heard him laughing. My T2 felt awesome, all 29 seconds of it, I must have channeled all the ITU peeps I watched last weekend. The start of the 5 mile run felt good and my turnover was fast, but I just wasn't going fast, as the course is a gradual uphill out to the turnaround. My teammate Pete came up on me after the 1-mile mark and I hopped on his shoulder to see how long I could stay with him. It lasted about 100 meters and I found myself getting lightheaded from the increased effort. I backed off and just ran my race. It was during the run that negative thoughts crept in my head for the first time that day. I thought of how much the run hurt and how much I wanted to be done. I allowed myself to back off, get some reprieve, and then set another goal. As we neared the turnaround, I realized that I was actually minimizing the gap between Peter and I so he must have slowed down. The leaders were on their way back and I saw my buddy Ritch, leading our age-group, and shouting and laughing at me when he realized the guy in the speedo and a pink trucker hat (did I not mention I was wearing a pink trucker hat too?) was me. Getting Ritch and others to laugh at my ridiculous outfit brought the fun back and I started to get my head back into the race. After the turnaround, I learned that I was in second with third place hunting me down. The run back to the finish was slightly downhill so I tried to stay relaxed and let my legs go. On the way back, so many people were giving me thumbs up and giving me props for racing it old skool, and this pretty much fueled me all the way to finish.

I finished 7th overall and second in my age group. And how did my 41 year-old self compare to my 26 year-old self? Really can't compare swims as courses change but 17:55 vs. 15:xx. The bike 42:56 vs. 41:xx, and the run 31:36 vs. 27:xx. Overall time 1:33:46 vs. 1:27:xx. Racing hurts and I think both my mind and my body were not prepared to race myself into the hurtbox. My goal for each successive race is to get myself deeper and deeper into that hurtbox. I've been scouring the web for pics in the speedo but nothing so far. I'll keep ya posted because like a bad car accident, you know you shouldn't but you wanna see.


Beth said...

Oh I was SOOO hoping for pictures of the speedo!!!! :) Great job Kiet! Sounds like you not only had fun but went FAST too! Congrats!

BreeWee said...

Yeah, where is the speedo?

Steve said...

Ummmm, no, I don't want to see any of those pics. :)

JC said...

lol - gotta see the pics, I'm sure the pink trucker hat "made" the outfit! Congrats on the race Dude!

Libby said...

omg love it! I want more pics. this is what its all about having fun and slowly working your way back into that hurtbox! sprints hurt!! way to kill it!!!