Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pat Griskus Olympic Northeast Championship

The forecast was for a beautiful day, but as I drove up to the race the fog cover was severe. The fog seemed to clear while we were doing our swim warm-up. However, by the time we were ready to start the fog had dropped back down to the water’s surface. The decision was made to shorten the swim to under a .5 mile in order to keep things safe. Normally, I would be totally fine with this decision. However, I had tweaked my left calf while racing a sprint distance event the week before. I was actually looking forward to using the swim to loosen up a bit more and hopefully build up a decent spread to the stronger runners.
I tried to go out a bit faster, but the fog cover made it tricky to site. A friend of mine who was in the 2nd wave commented that it was a comical site watching our wave start. We were swimming straight out, then we spotted the first turn buoy and had to break hard to the right. It was similar to watching a herd of cattle. Oh well, the shortened distance made it a quick experience.
My main focus was to get out quick and be as consistent as possible. I knew that I needed to ride well so I could ease up on the run. My most important race was the following weekend out in Texas and I did not want to jeopardize that race by significantly injuring my calf. I was able to get up to the lead pace car by mile 6sh. Sometimes this can be an advantage and sometimes... well not so much. I was following the police car that had the lights flashing. A truck had pulled out in front of us from a side road. The driver of the truck, apparently, got a little confused and thought the lights were meant to slow them down. Fortunately the situation was resolved quickly as the police car sped up and forced the truck to get moving. I pushed the remainder of the bike as hard as I could without going into the red zone. I was able to finish the bike two minutes faster then the previous year.
I headed out onto the run in my K-Swiss Kona’s and my Sugoi Timex calf compression socks. I wanted to use the compression socks to keep my calves warm and prevent them from bouncing around to much. My calf was still very tender to the touch. I focused on shorter strides with good cadence. This approach helped to limit the impact on the downhill section at the beginning of the run. I was able to find a comfortable pace quickly. The run is an out and back two loop course. I knew I would be able to determine if I needed to push the pace after the turnaround. I hit the turnaround and realized that I could keep a consistent pace. I came in with a two minute slower run split than the previous year, but it was enough to hold on for the overall spot.

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