Friday, November 18, 2016

Staying Cool Under Pressure

Staying Cool Under Pressure

In the last post, I was explaining by remaining calm and focused when under pressure or when things do not go at planned  you can still deliver the desired result.  In this edition, I will relate a couple of stories from my 2015 racing season where things didn't go quite as planned.  Yet through staying focused the desired outcome was achieved.

First up is the Iron Pig Duathlon or Crashes Happen

This past April, I raced the Iron Pig Duathlon in Fayetteville, AR.  This race is a 5k, 18 mile, 5k format.  2015 marked the fifth year I have raced it.

2015 was the first year I have raced this event as an age grouper vs a clydesdale as I had lost enough weight I no longer was eligible for clydesdale status. The conditions at gun time were a little on the chilly side at 32 deg. However, I knew I would quickly warm up as soon as the gun went off and we got underway.

Both run 1 and run 2 are on the same out and back course.

The first run went off without a hitch except seeing someone in my AG wearing a day glow green jersey passed me shortly after the turn around.  He entered T1 about 100 yards ahead of me.  I figured I would make up time in T1 and more than likely pass them on the bike. 

Flying low on the bike before the crash
I never saw the gentleman on while on the bike.  As I approached the dismount line, I prepared to hop off the bike and run sock footed into transition.  Everything was going as planned right up to the point right after I crossed the timing mats and tripped over my big size 14 feet sending me headfirst over the aero bars crashing down onto the asphalt.

I quickly got up, ran to my transition area, racked my bike and threw my shoes on and was off on the run.  I began to access the damages to my leg, arm and hand while heading out on the run course.  Nothing too bad, a nice case of gravel rash on my knee with blood running down my leg, a little gravel rash on my hand and elbow, and a pain near the big toe on the leg which wasn't bleeding.  Not fun but tolerable.

At this point, I still had not seen the gentleman in the day glow green jersey.  Then, about 300 yards after the turn around I saw a lime green jersey still headed towards turn around.  This gave me some extra incentive to keep pushing.  I maintained the same distance between him and myself up until the last half mile where he began to gain ground on me.  I kept on pushing.  I crossed the finish line about 100 yards ahead of the gentleman.  So, I waited until he crossed the finish to congratulate him on a hard fought race.  As luck would have it, the guy who was chasing me town was 4 age groups younger than me.  We never did figure what happened to the gentleman who passed me on the first run.

While waiting on the awards, I took a closer look at my injuries and discovered the pain in my big toe was due to me scraping a hole in my sock and taking half the hide off of said toe which proceeded to bleed thru to the outside of my shoe.

1st place Male 55-59
At the end of the day, I set a new course PR by 12 minutes and took first place in my age group with a 15 minute gap between me and seconds place.   Keeping my wits about me and not freaking out over the crash saved the day.

The next three multi-sport races went off without a hitch with me scoring a 2nd, 4th, and 1st place finishes.

Bartlesville Triathlon 2nd place Male 55 - 59

Chris Brown Duathlon 4th place Male 55 - 59

Jay Duathlon 1st place Male 55- 59
Leaving T1 at the Jay Duathlon

The last race multi-sport race of the season was the Tri OKC Fall Classic Duathlon

This is a fast and fun race held mid October at the Route 66 Park in Oklahoma City.
It is a 2 mile, 10 mile, 2 mile format.

The first run went off perfectly. I was in the lead for my age group by roughly 2 - 2.5 minutes, when all of a sudden, I heard a metallic clink, then a loud pop! I hit something in the road while cruising at 26 mph at mile 2 and got a blowout on my rear tire.

A less than desirable way to end the season

I pulled over put my spare tube on and inflated it about half way as I figured if I were to fully inflate the tire, it would most likely poke thru and pop before I got a mile down the road.  I crossed my fingers, hopped back on the bike  with an immediate goal of the makeshift repair holding until I got back to the transition area which you pass once besides entering and exiting it.

By the time I was nearing the turn to go into the transition area, I was averaging a little over 20 mph on the semi flat tire, so I decided to roll the dice in hopes it would hold for the remainder of the race which was about 7 miles.  Riding a half inflated tire made for some interesting cornering (Very soft and squishy).

The Reward
By remaining calm, I managed to keep my head in the game, and was able to salvage the race with a 3rd place in my age group.

When the results, came out, I discovered the margin between 1st place and 3rd place was 4 min 8 seconds. When I analyzed at the data from my Garmin, I found the blowout / flat repair took 6 min and 10 seconds. I wonder how things would have turned out if the blowout had not occurred.

Two of my co-workers did the event as a relay team and placed 2nd in their respective category. One of the ladies I have been coaching / passing pointers along to this fall also place first in her AG also. I think I have may created a trio of multi-sport junkies this fall. lol.

Oh well, at the end of the day, everyone had fun and the multi-sport gods were looking after me allowing me to salvage a podium in my last race of the season representing Cobb Mobb.

2015 was a good year 5 races (4 Duathlon and 1 Triathlon) and managed 4 podium appearances and one 4th place.  That's an 80% podium rate.  Not bad for a former Couch Potato.

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