Sunday, July 29, 2007

Preview of the Annapolis Triathlon

Since I had to drop Rebecca off at BWI airport by 5:15 am yesterday morning, I figured I'd stop by Annapolis for a pre-ride/run of the Annapolis Triathlon course. I pulled into the parking lot of the planned transition area by 5:45. The only people mulling around were fisherman getting ready to head out on the Chesapeake, trash collectors, and a few people like me - out for either an early run or bike. After setting things up, I was out on the course by a little after six.

The bike course starts with an uphill climb out of transition up Main St and then out and around the Maryland Governor's Mansion and the Maryland State House. The course then heads north alone the rolling hills, passing by a local golf course, until finally taking a right into a large loop. The loop consists of some of the more hilly sections, including a steep downhill following by short, but nasty uphill. I went all the way down until my lowest gear and I still had to get out of the saddle to get up the thing. Not looking forward to that on race day! The loop continues to climb a bit until finally back on the same road headed back south toward transition. The elevation profile shows the 2nd half of the bike as being mostly downhill, but there were still plenty of rollers keeping me from getting into a consistent groove. It wasn't until about 5 miles to go, that everything flattens out and starts the downhill where you can crank it. I went along at a steady pace, without pushing too hard and my legs felt ok.

After a quick transition at my car, I threw on my run gear and took off back up Main St. I knew the run course started off similar to the run course, so I started off for the first couple minutes going the same route. Since I wasn't intimately familiar with the course, I carried directions this me. Unfortunately, I followed the bike directions for a few too many turns, before realizing I was looking at the wrong sheet. Once I figured out where I was, I made my way back, where the bike and run split off. In total, I made it about 2 miles round trip off course. Once I turned around, I figured I'd run most of the real course, but cut it short, since I didn't bring enough nutrition with me to make it through the whole run course, plus my detour. The run course is pretty flat for the first 3 miles, until you hit the bridge that takes you over the Severn River. Its a steep arching bridge that gives an amazing view, but not so much fun when you are running over it. Once I reached the end of the bridge, I decided to turn around. That point was about 3/4 to the turnaround, so I felt good that I got a decent preview of the course. I decided to run a negative split for the 2nd half of the run to see how far I can push it in a non-competitive situation. Surprisingly, I averaged 7:40 min/mile for the last 3 miles! If I can put it together with those times on race day, I'll be ecstatic. I'm also hoping that it is a bit cooler than it was yesterday, because there was NO shade. By the time I was in the middle of my run, the temperature had hit 88 (at 8:30 am!).

I'll probably head out there again in 2 weeks, just to go get another ride and run in. Can't wait till race day...little more than a month to go!

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