It’s been five months, but it is still triathlon season in Florida, and I finally got off my rear and ran another race. For the second year in a row, I ran the Downtown Orlando Triathlon that starts at Lake Underhill and finishes at the Wall Street Plaza in downtown Orlando.
Like last year, I went and picked up my packet on Friday afternoon. But this year I decided that I didn’t want to fuss with the parking at Lake Underhill, so I put all my stuff in a backpack and rode my bike the three miles from the house to Lake Underhill. This marked a first, the first time I haven’t driven to a race site. I figured I might regret it after the race, but that’s why I had the cell phone so that I could call Lady CurbCrusher to come get me if I was too tired to ride back home.
The transition area was well organized, with each bike spot marked with the race number, and officials wandering around and making sure that people racked their bikes in the proper spot, and didn’t try and homestead and take up three or four spots with their stuff. Since I rode the bike up, I got there about an hour before the race, so I didn’t have to hang around long.
Swim – 10:30
My age group started in the third wave at 7:40am, 10 minutes after the first wave went off. It is a quarter-mile swim, and unlike last year, most all the weeds were gone. Last year this lake was so full of weeds, that on just about every stroke your arm came out of the water with weeds wrapped around it. This year I only had that happen twice, once in the middle of the race, and once after turning at the last buoy and heading for the swim finish. Swimming out to the first buoy seemed a little crowded, even though I hung back at the back of the starting group. Once we rounded the first buoy, it seemed like it thinned out a bit.
T1 – 4:44
The transition is very close to the swim finish, so it is fairly quick to get to your bike after you swim. Of course I have an innate ability to take something that should be fast and make it slow. I got to the bike fairly quickly, but seemed to take forever to get my bike jersey on. Once I got that done, I was able get out of transition.
Bike – 39:00
The bike ride as changed a bit from last year. Instead of heading all the way east on Robinson to OEA, we turned at Bumby and went down to Central, then turned east to OEA. This introduced about four extra turns into the course, and a bunch of rough road. I know that last year I felt that Robinson and South streets were rough, but they must have been repaved during the year as both of these streets seemed smoother that last year. I did two things different this race, that may have contributed to my better time, or maybe I just got faster.
I had noticed in the last couple of races that I’ve run out of energy on the run after about a mile and a half. So I decided that I’d try eating a bit on the bike. So I ate a gel, and also had a couple of these gel-drops that they gave away in the bags for the race. To take the time to eat, I also applied a bit of a Galloway Method to the bike as well as the run. So every six minutes, I took a minute to get out of the drops and take a break for a minute while riding. This gave me time to drink and take the gels.
T2 – 1:34
Fairly quick and uneventful transition. Switched from a bike jersey to a dry t-shirt, grabbed my belt with my number and started running.
Run – 43:58
I ran with a Galloway approach, running for five minutes, walking for one. I tried not to pay attention to the amount of time that it was taking, as last year I’d pretty much run out of gas on this run and ended felling miserable. One thing that made it better in 2009 was an overcast day, so the sun wasn’t beating down on you as you ran. Since I had plan to walk, I always found myself running again after each break. Since I was using a six minute walk run cycle (1 minute walk, 5 minute run), and I had run this course in just under 56 minutes last year, I’d figured nine walk run cycles. I was just focusing on how far I’d gone using my nine cycles, and not where I was on the course. So, I’d finished seven cycles, and looked up and was like “Wow, I’m almost done.”
Finish – 1:39:47
Well, I was happy. I ran the same race and shaved about 14 minutes off of last years time. And, I didn’t feel like crap. I still think that the Wall Street Plaza is a bad place to end a race, it is crowded, and the lines of people looking for free beer, water and food all cross and it’s hard to figure out which one is which. But they did seem to move some of the goodies to the street that runs up behind the plaza in front of the History Center, so there was a bit more room this year.
Mears ran the shuttle this year that transported you back to Lake Underhill and the start. I had to wait about 10 minutes for a bus, and it was pleasant riding in the air conditioning back to the start. I felt good enough that I didn’t bother calling Lady CurbCrusher, and just rode the bike back to the house.
All in all a great race for Team CurbCrusher. Taking almost a quarter hour off of last years time was fantastic. Now maybe one more race at Moss Park in October, and then I’ll wrap up the year at the OUC Half-Marathon.