Santa Barbara Triathlon

Just an update on the race I did on Saturday — the beautiful Santa Barbara Long Course Triathlon — 1 mile swim, 34 mile bike, 10 mile run.

Overall I fared much better than last year, although quite honestly I thought I would be even faster given all the work I have put in.  That said, my training is oriented around a completely different type of race.  I am definitely not used to going fast and hard — and it hurt.  bad.
Swim: This is my strength.  I easily moved immediately into the lead for my age group wave by the first buoy and basically crusied the swim without pushing too hard.  As I increased my lead on my group, I swam in no-man’s land until I started to catch up to the slower swimmers in the previous wave.  Then it became a matter of crawling over what felt like hundreds of bodies to the finish!  Felt good with this effort at 21:18, almost 2 minutes faster than last year at a fraction of the energy output.  Good start to the race and I ran up the beach feeling quite good and confident.  17th fastest swim split overall (out of 800+); not too bad considering I went pretty easy.
Bike: I had a decent T1 at 2:02 but then things went a bit downhill.  I made a couple unforgivable rookie mistakes.  MISTAKE #1: I got overexcited by seeing so many riders and immediately went hard, depriving myself of my rule of always building into a stage.  My HR was in the 150-160 range in the first mile, I quickly started to accumulate lactate in my legs and was huffing and puffing.  I should have just started easy and built into it (my pre-race strategy), but my competitive nature got the best of me.  So I never established a rhythm and just felt awful for the whole ride, a fact that was exacerbated by the fact that this was a highly technical course — several climbs and tricky descents (there was even a really bad crash sending 2 people to ER).  I finally started to feel good the last couple miles, but by then the damage was done.  My split ended up only being about 25 seconds faster than last year when I was only riding like once a week!  But part of this is that my training is entirely oriented around maintaining a 120-135 HR all day — no hard speed work and as such, I just can’t push it and get results.  But that’s fine.  Its all about Ultraman for me.
MISTAKE #2: Like an idiot, I contravened all that I know by putting clip on aero bars on my road bike (I don’t yet have a proper tri bike) the night before and then raced with them without ever training or even riding on them in the past.  The result?  My back seized up quickly and I was terribly uncomfortable for the entire ride.  What an idiot.
Run: I felt strong running right off the bike after a decent 1:57 T2.  Probably should have gone easier the first mile, but again, got excited…..My left calf has been giving me problems ever since it seized up on me at the end of my 2 1/2 hour run the previous Saturday and it started to tighten up around mile 4.  I thought I might have to drop out, but I eased off and it stabilized, allowing me to run to the finish without stopping.  That said, I could feel it and its definitely an issue I need to monitor.  I finished the run in 1:12:36, which is 7:16 pace.  Not great, but not too bad either.
Results: I was 10th in my age group out of 84; 97th overall out of 830.  Nothing to brag about, but not so bad considering I have zero speed and everything I am doing is about long easy zone 2…
I am very sore and tired.  That took much more out of me than I expected and I am looking forward to getting back to some good ole Zone 2 training.