Power Station Triathlon – November 2013

Power Station.

It’s an iconic historic, albeit rundown, building on the beach on North Coogee (south of Fremantle) in WA. Driving down you could still see the remnants of the previous evening’s storm – lots of water, grey clouds, plenty of wind were noticeable. Arriving at CY O’Connor beach, you could tell from the breeze that the water would be choppy, even without seeing it.

When we were setting up our bikes in transition, the word spread quickly that the swim had been cancelled at the advice of the surf life savers. Soon enough there was the official announcement, so we all went back and put our shoes on, packed away our goggles, and gathered in the car park for the run along the beach side footpath. I was happy, as my swim is weaker than running.

Run Leg 1 (2km): 9:37 (Actual: 2.17km, 4:26min/km)

The initial run felt pretty good. I was drawn in with the crowd, so the first km was 4:15, the second was 4:31, and the final 200m was 4:48 pace. My hear rate was 190 when we got to the bikes at T1, indicating I possibly pushed a little hard.

Bike: 25km – 51:16 (Actual: 24.46km, 28.1km/h)

The bike leg is a little long for a sprint, but the course was nice and flat, and the direct into the headwind section was relatively short, the majority of the course was at 90 degrees to the wind. Those with deep wheels would have had a torrid time.

The total ascent was 21 metres, less than 1 meter per kilometre – so this is certainly a course that could be described as flat

Run Leg (6km): 31:13 (Actual: 6.3km, 5:17min/km)

The second run leg wasn’t too bad, though after a first split of 5:05 my pace rapid fell to 5:35 for the next 3km, and out to 5:43 for the second last km. The final whole km was back down to 5:05, and 4:16 pace for the final 300m to the line.

It was a 3 lap course, so the final lap seemed to take for ever, especially as the turn around was so close to the finish line.

I was happy with the run, as it was a solid increase in speed over the last race, and this race was a km further, and 5km further on the bike. Countering that, clearly the first run was easier than a swim.

Overall

1:37:46

25th out of 27 (in 20-29yr Age Group. Age group winner: 1:16:02)

I was happier with the run, but still a bit disappointed to be so far down the pack in my age group. Nevertheless, having only been doing triathlons for 9 month (and 6 of those months being the off season) I couldn’t really expect to be further up the field.

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Left Bank Triathlon 17 Nov 2013

New Season.

2013-11-17 Left Bank

The first triathlon of my first full season (and therefore 4th ever triathlon, after completing 3 races last season) was the Left Bank Triathlon. This was the first event of the second-most popular race series here in WA the Total Triathlon Series (new sponsor this year). These events are run with a bit less for a formal style than the Telstra Tri Series, but certainly just as fun.

This was also the first race I’d have my new Garmin 910XT – so I could actually get some data to analyse after the races, and get real time information during the run and swim, previously I just had a non-GPS bike computer.

Swim Leg (400m): 11:01 

Fortunately for me some of the events in this series have shorter swims, with regular length bike and run, and the Left Bank was one of these. With a 400m swim in the Swan River (near Fremantle) the opening leg shouldn’t be too challenging.

I was within the last 5 out of the water in my wave. Swim actually felt fairly good, and after starting towards the back, I didn’t lose contact with the others at my speed, and wasn’t overtaken by the final wave (one of the hazards of being a late wave is that you could be last out of the water!).

Bike: 19km – 40:22 (28.8km/h)

I was feeling OK heading onto the bike (probably because of the short swim). This was the first race on my new bike the Merida Scultura 905-e. The bike felt great – more responsive and stiff, I could feel it was more efficient, converting my extremely modest power output into forward motion.

The bike course is a bit challenging, immediately heading out of transition there’s a climb after 50m. By the third time this was very tough. Other than that it was fairly steady, and I overtook a few others (though not in my age group) on the downhill, pushing it a little faster than they were willing to go.

Run Leg (4km): 25:47 (Actual: 4.9km, 26:33, 5:28min/km)

(The run course followed the bike course up the first half of the climb, and then took a left turn onto a more gradual incline. 2 laps of the 2km course seemed to take a lot longer than I expected. The uphills were very tought, but the downhills felt OK.

Overall

1:19:30

36th out of 38 (in 20-29yr Age Group)

Overall, I was happy with the event, but felt I should have been better on the run.

City 2 Surf 2013

City2Surf. The most popular running event in WA is run around August time each year. People run it for bragging rights, to prove their training, or for prize money. This year there were 48 000 runners – the largest attendance in the long history of the event.

Apart from a brief moment of confusion as to where I was supposed to join the large start wave I was in (Category 1B), everything went smoothly. The race starts on the main street in Perth (St George’s Terrace) so after about 100 metres I passed my office building. Then there’s the first hill up towards Kings Park, and then some more undulations through to the Subiaco cafe district.

There are more hills through Perth’s western suburbs, and then a final downhill to City Beach, with about 300/400metres running north on the home stretch. About 8 hills in all. My normal training loop near my house includes 2 hills each 5 km loop, so this was quite good preparation, but still, hills are hills, so my average pace (5:13/km) was below what it would have been had the course been flat, like Run for a Reason was in May.

I did improve my time from Run for a Reason by 3 minutes (1hr 3min vs 1hr 6min) – which is a good result. 3 mins faster on a much more difficult course would indicate the 3 month training plan was effective.

From a race management perspective, I had a HR monitor on, but wasn’t really running to a specific HR, I just ran at a pace I perceived I could sustain. After 30second, my heart rate was a 183, which is well into the top zone (which starts at 175). It basically never fell lower than 177, so I spent the entire race in the top zone, for an average of 181. A marked contrast with Run for a Reason which was 40% in Z4, and 50% in the top zone 5.

What this indicates, I’m not sure – perhaps I’ve not really got much more efficient at running, but the training has helped me handle a higher heart rate. This may be OK for sprint triathlons, but probably will bring me unstuck for the Olympic, given that will be 2.5/3 hrs.

The Grumpy Triathlete (Left), and my two (younger) brothers

Your friendly Grumpy Triathlete (left) and my two (younger) brothers. I beat my youngest brother in the sprint for the line, after 3 attacks each in the final 400m, but as he crossed the start line 4 seconds after I did, he actually had the better time! Brother on the right (but in the middle age-wise) did a 52min run – he’s the serious triathlete.

In other news, my bike arrived, so I’ll be able to start my 40km each way commute a couple of times a week throughout spring in preparation for the summer triathlon series.

I’m also planning to start the 5km training plan from Adidas MiCoach – with a goal time of 20:00 in 3 months from now. Current PB: 23:20.

 

Winter Progress

Winter. One of the great things about being in Perth is the fantastic weather. The downside is that the (brief) winter seems terrible.

Through this winter I’ve embarked on a 3 month running training programme from Adidas MiCoach- it’s called Finish Faster 10km. I’m using to see how much I can improve my 12km ‘Run for a Reason’ in May, to the City2Surf in August.

9 days to go, and I feel I’ve significantly improved, by following the programme. I did a 5km ParkRun 4 weeks ago and lowereed my PB from 25:06 to 23:20 which was really pleasing to see.

Other than that, I’ve placed an order for a Merida Scultura 905-E http://www.merida.com.au/2013-bikes/road/scultura-comp/scultura-comp-905-e.html. Brand snobs will look down on me, but the value is great, and di2 was amazing on the test ride. I’m hoping to fit bar end shifters on my aero bars, so i can have 2 bikes in one!

I’ve signed up for the 5 races in the Tesltra Triathlon series, and there are only 5 games left in my final outdoor soccer season, once that’s done, training for triathlons will get a whole lot more serious.

I’ve joined the Team XTR triathlon club as part of the Triathlon WA membership, so I’m hoping to get a long to some training sessions once soccer is finished.

Running

Running. Well I was never any good at running in school carnivals, best result was 2nd place in Division B, in other words 11th out of 30 boys.

Around 16 my grandfather suggested I do some regular running as a good way to stay fit. So after three years of once or twice a week running I got down to about 7:30 for the 2km circuit around our street.

Getting a real job and other commitments meant than running fell by the wayside till about three years ago. I started again – smart phone apps like RunKeeper and Endomondo provided additional incentive. For 2 years I did running around 4 or 5km most of the time. Rarely getting better than 5:30 pace. During this time I also played my first 2 seasons if soccer. Which was probably why my aerobic running capacity never really improved. Well that, and the lack of any structure plans.

Fast forward to late 2012 and we move home to Mindarie, a beachside suburb in Perth’s northern suburbs. Five or six weekend swims at Quinns beach in the afternoon while my young son was having his nap gave me confidence to start some triathlons. I also did a few 5km ParkRuns at 5min pace, as well as regular 5km loops around my home. More about the triathlons later, but for now we’ll speak of the runs legs.

The run legs for the three triathlons I completed in the 2012/13 season (1 each in Feb, Mar, Apr) were 5:44, 5:39, and 5:51 pace (distance 3km, 5km, 5km) respectively. The middle one  I was in the best shape – the final one I managed one training session in 2 weeks beforehand because of the cold.

Looking at the results I didn’t really lose or gain many places through the run leg. Given that I thought my runs were fairly weak, it shows my age group was not particularly great at running.

Now it’s winter, I’ve thought it’s a great time to knuckle down on some run training especially as there are some good fun runs in Perth to compete in.

I’m doing to 10km race plan from Adidas MiCoach, running 4 times per week – 3 of them are lunch runs with some work colleague which is great!

I’m hoping to boost my running capacity and speed a lot over the off season to see if I can bring home the run leg a lot more competitively.

In later posts I’ll talk about my run plan, but for now, my run goals are 4km 22min, 12km 60min.

Hi. My name is Grumpy Triathlete

Hi. I thought I’d start a blog to document the process of starting out being an age grouper triathlete in Perth WA. After 2 seasons of soccer, and 30 rapidly approaching, I thought it would be a good idea to try some endurance sport.

Having hardly played soccer at all growing up, trying to join a team as a 27 year old turned out to be quite challenging but also stressful. Having 20 odd fewer years of soccer drills and skills than your team mates is difficult catch up on.

Seeing my brother do some triathlons, it looked like a great sport as you don’t have any team mates you would be letting down with a poor performance – it’s just you vs the course.

So I did 3 in the 2012/13 season and have decide to blog the build up to next season.

City of Joondalup Triathlon – Hillarys Sprint (April 2013)

Hillarys.

It’s a place of great enjoyment here in WA – great beach, a boat harbour and marina with shopping and dining places. A fantastic place for a triathlon. Transition is in a park just north of the marina – just across the sand from the swim exit – it’s only about a 30m run from the water to transition.

This was the final race of the 2012-2013 Telstra Triathlon Series, and my first full Sprint Distance triathlon.

Swim (750m): 17:57

By far the longest swim I’d done in a triathlon so far, and I’d only really done about 600m as a longest open water swim in training. The swim was pretty good, except the final turn where it puts you right facing the sun for the whole 100m to back to shore.

Bike (21km): 48:57 (25.7 km/h)

Three laps of 7km means the bike course is slightly long, and it has undulating hills, being near the coast and sand dunes.

Run (5km): 29:10 (5:51 min/km)

Struggled with the run – had to really slow down from being tired from the longer swim and hilly bike.

Overall: 1:36:10

Age Group (25-29): 72th out of 76 (AG Winner’s time: 1:01:56)