Huntsville Sprint Triathlon
With my estimated pace I am usually in the first heat and should have been in that heat this year. I found out race morning that I was in the 3rd heat which meant I was buried behind about 300 slower and faster runners. I was in better shape training wise this year, but the poor seeding kind of took some of the wind out of my sails. If I had known about the poor seeding, I would probably have skipped this race. I decided I would just try to finish the race without getting hurt are running over anybody.
Starting in the 3rd heat was a little disappointing. I like to get out in front and get to the pool before it gets crowded. We start the run over an open field and then the trail narrows as it goes into the woods. The trail marking was a little confusing, so the guys I was following took a wrong turn and I followed them. The guys I was going to pace off of were running in an earlier heat, so I had to wing it. Narrow trails and walkers don't mix. I did managed to finish the run with a time of 22:34.
It took me 1:17 to transition to the bike and then I was off on a 6 mile bike ride. And there was slow traffic here also. I got boxed in a couple times by people riding and not clearing the people they were passing. One guy I followed for several hundred yards just kept riding beside another racer. When I got a wide lane to pass and said "on your left" he veered left until he figured out what I meant. Again proper seeding would have alleviated some of these problems. I finished with a time of 19:23 at an average speed of 18.6 mph. I managed a transition of 1:30. I did a pretty good job with the transition. As I got close to the pool I realized I still had my socks on.
After ditching my socks I entered the pool. The water felt great and I swam with ease at first. During the first lap I realized I had left my shirt on. It was no tri shirt and kind of floppy, not something you would want to swim fast in. The shirt and starting out too fast made me tire quickly. I had to stop and re-group so I could finish the race. I finished the swim with a time of 11:06.
I had really wanted to get a PR and I was certainly fit enough to improve this year. I think a combination of mental disappointment in the seeding and navigating through the slower traffic led to under-performing this year.
This was the 3rd time I ran this race. I really liked this race because it was my first triathlon. This year the race had a new race director and sponsor and I could tell it was going to be different. I am really proud that a sponsor stepped up and sponsored the race this year, but the organization of the race was a little shaky. They did add chip timing this year which is usually a plus, but there was some confusion with the seeding of this race. They finally just punted and the seeding seemed to be randomly assigned. So you had fast racers running with very slow racers. This is stressful for both the fast and the slow. With a race that begins on a single track cross country trail it is very important to have some kind of meaningful seeding.
Hopefully the growing pains will be over and next year's race will be better managed. I may have to look for a new favorite race next year.
By the numbers.
5th in age group, 47nd in males and 52nd overall
5th on run 22:34,7:32 pace, 1:17 transition
8th on bike, 19:23, 18.6mph, 1:30 transition
9th on the swim, 11:06
Finish time 55:47
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