For 2017, the large triathlon focused expo formerly known as Tri-Mania, was rebranded to Race-Mania. In prior years, this event was triathlon specific. In an effort to draw larger crowds that also cared about running, swimming, or cycling as an individual sport, the event was switched up. My first year attending was last year so I didn’t have much to compare to. To me it was quite clear that there was more running and cycling specific vendors rather than triathlon specific. I primarily attended the event to compete with my local triathlon team Northeast Multisport in the 4 x 1600 run and the 4 x 200 yard swim. Ultimately, there were three Northeast Multisport teams and a Peak Triathlon Coaching team (who wound up defending their title again). This is my 2017 Race-Mania recap and race report. Read on for more.
Running Race – 4 x 1600 Meter Relay
The 4 x 1600 relay had at least two heats. Our heat was first at 9 am. Race-Mania was held at Boston University (BU). This meant that the running event was held in the BU Tennis and Track Center. I ran a lot of indoor track in high school and this track is among the best I’ve ever been on. After a brief warmup on the outside of the track, we got the rules, met our volunteer lap counters and got ready to go. Each teammate would run 8 laps around the 200 meter track for a total of 1600 meters.
I don’t recall what I submitted as my original guess at a pace, but I think it was 6:30 – 6:45/mile. Coming into the event I was a bit concerned as I hadn’t been running a lot. Part of this was due to travel for work and a broken home treadmill. Just a few days before the run I embarked on a three-day cross country trip that took me from Boston to New York City, to San Francisco, then back home. Needless to say, even a week after the trip, I’m still tired. We grabbed a quick team photo and was time for the race.
One of my primary goals this year was counting my own laps. Last year, I was pretty certain I ran an extra lap. This year, I was determined to not only count my own, but also test the accuracy of my running footpod. As we were indoors, GPS was not an option to track the run. I was the third runner. Other members of our team would also be competing in the indoor time trial on the bike shortly after this race. Two women on our team were runners one and two. They crushed their legs. Once it was my turn, I grabbed the PVC pipe which served as a baton with a timing chip on it and took off.
While I was hoping for a 6:30 I came into the race with a nagging hamstring tightness. After ratcheting up my bike volume and seeing significant improvements on the bike, I started getting a few odd aches and pains. In the week leading up to this race and on race day, my left hamstring was still tight. I kept my jaw and arms as relaxed as I could and made a conscious effort to not over extend my leg so as to prevent pulling the hamstring. I was surprised when I hit the first and second lap buttons on my watch to see how fast I was running. I kept as consistent a pace as I could through lap 4. I recall my mind drifting a bit as the lactic acid crept into my legs. Halfway there! Reaching back to my old indoor track days I could then count down the laps. Three to go…two to go…last lap!
Once I was done I saw my time was 6:10. Of course this was a far cry from my 5:15 PR when I was 17 years old, but hey, I’d take it. My laps were pretty darn consistent too:
- Lap 1 – 44 seconds
- Lap 2 – 45 seconds
- Lap 3 – 45 seconds
- Lap 4 – 47 seconds
- Lap 5 – 46 seconds
- Lap 6 – 47 seconds
- Lap 7 – 46 seconds
- Lap 8 – 46 seconds
You can’t get much more consistent than that. Only thing better would have been if I negative split the race. I’m certain I had the fitness to do it, but ran as uncomfortably comfortable as I could (yea that’s a phrase…). Pretty pleased with my result. And, I know I ran the right number of laps. The footpod was dead-on accurate. 1.02 miles. Spot on!
After the run, I changed out of the wet running clothes. One of the things I wrote about last year as a lesson was to bring more and better calories in between events. After all, I’d still be racing the 4 x 200 at noon. For Christmas, I got a sweet triathlon bag (Speedo Triclops). As I was standby for the bike too, I literally had the gear for a swim, bike, run, and nutrition. I brought a Thermos of chocolate milk which was promptly consumed after the 1600 and brought other food such as a sandwich, granola bars, and plenty of liquids. I nailed the nutrition this year.
The expo was a bit different this year. As noted above, along with the rebranding of the event from Tri-Mania to Race-Mania I felt like there were far more exhibitors about races and events vs products. You can pretty much see this in the photo below. It’s all races and events. Sure there were some shoe companies, nutrition, and clothing on display, but there were many more events than I recall from last year. It was a bit of a disappointment as I had a few items I wanted to purchase or get as free samples that simply weren’t there. I ultimately left the day without spending a dime.
The expo floor also was home to the indoor bike time trial. We got to watch several club members ride their hearts out. Some of the athletes were putting out extreme power outputs and was downright impressive to watch.
Soon, however, it was time to get ready for the 4 x 200 yard swim relay.
Swim Race – 4 x 200 Yard Relay
I’ve said it before in my race reports, but swimming is pretty natural to me. I spent virtually no time in the pool since the fall which gave me reason for some concern. My body position in the water is normally pretty good. Last year, I swam 2:40 for my 200 yards, but wasn’t sure what I’d put in for a time this year. I don’t recall my estimated time, but it was likely around 3:00-3:15.
Our team had three other teammates, but I’d be the first in the water as leadoff. We got a brief amount of time to warm up, test diving off the blocks, and generally get ready. The fun thing about competition pools are they are a tad colder than your local YMCA. That initial shock to the system is a little greater when getting into these pools. They also tend to not have “easy ways” to get out of the pool at the end of your lane. It’s a struggle to pull yourself out as it’s about 2-3 feet from the pool deck to the water level.
Another Northeast team would be in the lane directly next to us. I was swimming next to teammate Randy, who I know for a fact spends a lot of time training at SweetWater Swim Studio. SweetWater Swim Studio is used by several teammates is it run by another Northeast member who swam competitively in college. Put another way, the owner is a damn fast swimmer. After watching several teammates attempt to adjust their goggles from falling off when diving, it was time for the main event.
I dove in with no goggle issues and settled into my pace. For the first four laps I felt strong, but my form felt like it was all over the place. For reasons unknown to me, I am no longer capable of flip turns. I get dizzy and get an upset stomach when doing them. It’s open wall turns for me, but I never linger at the wall. Touch and go. While feeling strong enough, I didn’t feel fluid in the water. The water was fighting me. Interesting though was that my arms were sore, but I wasn’t as out of breath as I was last year. For the first 100 yards teammate Randy was only 2-3 body lengths in front of me. I didn’t think I was swimming that fast and knew he has a strong swim. Sure enough, pushing off for the next 100 yards, he TOOK OFF. I kept my pace as high as I could, but the arms just couldn’t go any faster. One great thing about the race was there are volunteers who keep track of laps. It is super helpful to see how many laps in you are at the far end of the pool. After muscling through, I was on my last length and finished as strong as my arms would allow.
All in all, I finished with the exact same time as last year…2:40. I was simultaneously pleased with the speed, but not with how my arms felt. Obviously, I need to spend more time in the pool. With conditioning, I’m pretty sure I could get 10-20 seconds off my 200 time. Next year maybe.
Back to the Expo
As it turns out a new Maverick Multisport teammate (Laura Ann) was also at the event and got to meet her for the first time in-person. After chatting for a while and watching another heat of the indoor TT, we said goodbye and good luck this season. I took one last loop around the expo as the crowds died down a bit more and decided it was time to head home.
I never got a chance to attend any of the sessions and to be honest, never even looked up what there was. I was kicking myself for not taking the time to see who was presenting at what time.
What I Learned
Despite two races being over in less combined time than many T1 and T2 times combined this year, there’s always something to consider for next time and the season ahead.
- My overall fitness is better than last year as evident by the times here
- Chocolate milk is a FANTASTIC recovery drink. Nailed the nutrition
- Gradual warmup for the run was helpful to shake out the loose legs after a long week. I started slow and gradually picked up the tempo
- My ability to swim fast (at least for short periods of time) is still surprising
- Research the expo a bit more before attending. I missed a few cool sessions
With that, thanks for reading! I am gearing up and eager to compete for Maverick Multisport this year. First big race is June.