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Race Result

Racer: Steve Smith
Race: Lums Pond Triathlon
Date: Sunday, September 28, 2003
Location: Bear, DE
Race Type: Triathlon - Sprint
Age Group: Male 30 - 34
Time: 1:19:43
Overall Place: 4
Comment: Decent race after big volume week

Race Report:

Short Story
RATS come out with 2nd place club award Not bad ... The women really came through as we fielded a team of 4 men, 5 women, the seven fastest times averaged for our score.


I finished 4th OA. Yet again, I came in just behind Anthony Van Lierop, a good swim/biker, who was behind James Bales, a great swim/runner. Definitely the moment I will remember is former pro Troy Jacobson, the eventual winner, catching me on the bike around mile 8. I kept him within 100m or so for about a mile or two, but he just disappeared around one corner to eventually put 2:30 on me in the bike, over a mere 19.5 miles! Wow. It's sobering to see what it takes to compete at the next level (or two, Troy has twice set the fastest bike split at Ironman events, Florida and Canada, to finish 2nd overall). Troy knocked out a run within :25 of the fastest run split to dominate the race.

I missed the Saturday RATS Gathering, barely making it to packet pick-up before they closed. However, I was able to catch up with most of the RATS for the awards. Having the group of us up there for the team award was something cool. Thanks to everyone who made the trip for the race; I look forward to getting a huge group of RATS to next year's club race. More RATS equals more fun.

I would like to point out the race course was well manned and well marked, so it appears that Diamond was a fluke. Results are up at http://www.lin-mark.com/reslums03.htm

Long Story

Lum's is about 20 minutes north of the Diamond race venue. While Diamond is just inside the morning departure radius for Reston, Lum's is right on the cusp. I was glad to have gotten up the night before & pre-register, 'cause the morning registration lines were LONG.

I saw Guzek & Matt in the men's room ... Yes, indoor potties, but only 5 stalls, so the line was long (another reason to get the hotel room). Seems like those nice cheesy-colored shirts are a sure-fired way to find people at the potties.


The lake is nice, cool, and vegetation free. Cleaner than Reston lakes, and someone less murky, but not by much. I wore a long-sleeved wetsuit, which wasn't a bad choice; however, if the swim were any longer or the day any warmer, I would have roasted (water temp rumored to be 74). I went off in the second wave, and was surprised to find myself well ahead of the pack. The first dozen yards were shallow, and I should have "dolphined" off the bottom. Because I didn't I had to swim around some guys. All in all, I was really happy with my swim, coming in only :40 behind Van Lierop, who has beat me by as much as 4:00 in 1500m last year. (It was long ... Benda & Kilmartin are capable of 2:15/200yd, so I figure it was at least 1000 yards and not .5 miles).

The transition area was muddy. Right before my wave went off, I decided to duct tape the soles of my cycling shoes. The Speedplays are great in many ways, but a little bit of muck can make them very hard to get into (and out of once said muck has dried). I stopped outside of TA to peel the duct tape. This seemed to work pretty good, but it took too long to remove the tape. Next time I will have the "handles protruding from the sides of my shoes (rather than underneath them).


The bike is all false-flats, with some real flat here and there. There's a few small rises, but nothing serious (I recorded 640ft of elevation). I rode my 11-21 rear cog for the first time, and loved it. Around mile 8 or 9 I see someone coming up on me. I know it's Troy; he's the only guy around who can come up on me that fast. Watching him go buy was impressive. He was riding a cadence of 85 or 90 (I spun an average of 105) and was just so smooth. No bounce, no wasted motion, deep in an aero tuck. Impressive. Just to put this in perspective, in the last two years, I've never been more than 1:00 outside of the fastest bike split in short-course racing (except for the Triple-T events). This was the first race this year I didn't outsplit everyone on the bike; in fact, I was 4th, with 2,3,4,5 all coming within :20 of one another.

The rest of the bike was uneventful: well marked, a few turns wet from the previous night's thunderstorm. Not as scenic as Diamond, no where near as hilly, but a nice ride through some country pastures and cornfields.


T2 was uneventful, but a little muddy, and also mostly flat. I took a few seconds to wipe off my feet before heading out on the run. I think they reconfigured the run course this year, it went around the grassy area that hosted transition, and then onto some gravel roads. There was a small section of "trail" that went about 100m, but that's all. I'd heard it was mostly a trail run. I felt okay for the first half of the run, but just couldn't get my HR up that high. My full training week was making itself known, but I was definitely *cooking* given the HR I was putting out. I negative split the out-and-back course in a big way (8:42/8:14, they had a turn-around mat), really hammering the last 300m to break 17:00 (barely, though I didn't know it at the time).


Like the Triple T in May, I just couldn't get my HR up, but I felt like I could go forever. So I ran with that emotion, literally, and headed out after the race for a 6-ish run back along the bike course. I felt good and went farther than I'd intended (I was shooting for 30 minutes, ended up with almost 50).

Right now I'm on what I call the Edge. This officially started Saturday, when I got back from a standard 5-mile run with a time much faster than I had expected, but with a typical HR (thanks Brady). A key component of The Edge is doubt, doubt that I'll even finish the workout. The other key component is success, often this includes training PRs. The doubt comes from tiredness, tiredness from training. The success comes from tiredness, tiredness from training.

The Edge is what Derek Clayton referred to when he said great athletes wake up tired and go to bed very tired. Implied in this quote are these two words: Every day. Getting tired is the point of training; the trick is to not get so tired that you cannot train similarly the next day. Every day.

The Edge is a place I'm a little unsure of; The Edge means I show up at a workout, sure that I'll drown or fall asleep in the straights of the track or puke on my bike. But then I nail the workout, often with a training PR. Even though I don't *feel* faster, when I look at the clock, speedometer, watch, there's no denying it, I'm getting faster. I know The Edge is a good place to be, what I don't know is how long I can stay here.

When I first hit an Edge last year, I thought it was something I could only endure for 10 days. Perhaps instead The Edge is that Peak Period the magazines & books speak of, a period 8 or 12 weeks of solid, quality work. What I suspect, however, is that it's a place great athletes spend 8 or 10 months of the year. Only they don't have as much doubt.

And The Edge is what I love about endurance sports. Everyone has an edge, everyone can push themselves, learn about themselves, experience success in the face of doubts. Some successes are faster than others, but the ingredients are all the same: patience, fear, discipline, failure, success, doubt, learning. Sure, you can do a triathlon without all this stuff, as an experience, a toe-in-the-water moment. I respect these folks with their toes in the water, even admire them, admire their restraint. But, fast or slow, I share something with, and understand better, the people familiar with The Edge.