This past weekend, I competed in the Kansas City Corporate Challenge (KCCC) Triathlon. For those outside of the KC area, the KCCC is an Olympic-type event held over a two-month period that allows Kansas City area corporations to interact with each other through a variety of sporting events. Employees from the area corporations compete in various events ranging from 5k, half marathon, track meet, bike race, swimming, triathlon, to weight lifting, horseshoes, 3v3 basketball and soccer, disc golf, darts, bowling, tug-of-war, fishing and many more. Participation is free for the employees, and it is fun to compete against other athletes from the KC area. As you might expect, the events attract a range of athletes from the ultra competitive to the team-spirited novice participant. At this particular venue, KCCC was hosting a team triathlon, individual triathlon, and duathlon at the same time.
The individual triathlon consisted of a 500 meter swim, 9 mile bike, and 3.2 mile run.
Swim: 6:46, 3rd fastest swim split.
Unfortunately, my AG was the last wave to start, which meant a lot of waiting around race morning since bike racks were first come first serve. I wasn’t sure what to expect in the swim this year since last week I put in a huge week of swim training and nearly doubled my “normal” weekly average. I’ve always wanted to do a swim-focused training block and I finally did. It was awesome and I loved it, but I knew I’d probably be a bit fatigued for race day. With it only being 500 meters and maybe 7 minutes of swimming, I planned to just push it hard from the start. That was a mistake; I was completely spent just a few hundred meters into the race. Luckily I knew I only had a few more minutes of swimming to go so I just tried to keep my form and push on.
Bike: 22:21, 2nd fastest bike split.
As I mentioned earlier, starting in the last wave was a big disadvantage. The bike course is a 4.5 mile loop and very hilly. The team triathletes had to do 4 laps, duathletes had 3 laps, and individual triathletes had 2 laps. So by the time I got on the bike course, it was very crowded and a wee bit sketchy. Main goal: do not crash. Since it’s only 9 miles, I decided I’d just push it as hard as possible from the start (similar to swim). And just like the swim, that was a mistake. Basically, my bike leg consisted of: out of the saddle climbing, flying on the downhill’s, and constantly screaming “on your left” as loud as possible all while gasping for air because I was going too hard for the shape I’m in. There were 2 rather scary moments as I approached a weaving cyclist and my “on your left” didn’t help at all. Fortunately, we both survived. Ah, the joys of a less competitive race!
Run: 18:05, 2nd fastest run split.
Since I didn’t learn anything on the swim or bike, I decided to push the run hard despite the fact that I know I’m not in fast 5k shape at all. Yeah, that was a mistake, too. To be fair, this course definitely doesn’t allow for an evenly paced 5k, but I could have certainly run it smarter. In a nutshell, the course is rolling downhill for .5 mile, flat across a dam for .25, then steep uphill, u turn in parking lot, and flat for last .25. Then a huge downhill section for .33 mile, flat until mile 2.25, followed by steep uphill to get back up to the dam and rolling uphill (reverse of start of race) for .5 to finish line. So my race basically went like this: go out hard (5:20 avg), suffer up first big uphill (7:45 – 8 min pace). First mile split of 5:50. Fly down the downhill (4:45 avg) and trying to find a groove on flat (5:30 – 5:40 pace). Second mile split of 5:23. Then suffer last .75 mile of all uphill, 6:31 last mile.
It was nice to compete against local triathletes/friends, come away with the win, score points for my company, and successfully defend my KCCC Triathlon title from 2013 (rained out in 2014). I swam faster but biked and ran slower than 2013, which I actually expected. IM training does not lend itself as good prep for an all-out race shorter than a sprint triathlon. All in all, I had fun, it was a good reality check of my short course fitness, and it served as a nice preview for my next race in 3 weeks which is Shawnee Mission Triathlon. It’s held on the same course except that it is 1000 m swim, 18 mile bike and 4.5 mile run. I won the race back in 2013 (it too was rained out it 2014), so it’ll be interesting to see how I do this year since it’s not necessarily a focus of mine like it was back in 2013. I’ll be using it as a tune up as I focus on my key races in August and September.