This is a great course, challenging enough without the rain, even more so with it.
This race was a conditions check for me. I didn't train for it in a periodized manner; I just trained to be in training. This was a "C" race for me. I did ride the course a dozen times so I knew it well. The week prior was anything but a taper, for example the week prior I rode with Mark Yost and the "Leadvillians" out in the Shenandoah's for 80 miles, Swam 2.66 miles on Saturday, Ran 9-10 miles on Sunday, Then kept intensity up until Thursday. Did an active recovery training day on Friday and a active recovery triathlon on Saturday, before going to the expo.
When I ran the full course and then some the week prior to the race, I knew I did not spend enough time running hills. Oh well, can't do anything about that now.
During the expo, I saw so many friends, friends of friends, who knew my friends, it was comical. Spoke with Terrenzo B. and caught a buddy of mine helping Chrissie W. out. Mike Barone was sponsoring a pro so we spent some time with her checking out the course and getting her ready to race. She placed 7th after Chrissie in her first race as a pro! Met up with Mark Yost, his son Matthew, Linda Giampalmo, and Mike Barone for an early dinner at the Tomato Palace. Then went to have second dinner with an Army buddy, who served in the 101st Airborne with me. It was he and I who originally decided to do this race.
Started with a wake up at 4 AM, breakfast, and then a quick hit in the hyperbaric chamber. Showered, shaved, changed, picked up a cup of coffee and off to Centennial.
I love coming to a triathlon, even in the rain, I just get relieved seeing all of the athletes and families gathered around. Everyone is trying to improve their fitness or test it. It is a great connection we have.
Set up went fine, except I couldn't find my oversized timing chip and went back to the truck to find it. Wasn't there, went back and performed a GI inspection on my gear, oh there it is, right where I put it, in my bike shoe. Great hiding place.
Ran into so many friends I almost didn't realize it was time for me to start. Drank my sports drink and jumped in the water. The water felt great! My objective for this swim was to swim at Iron Man swim pace. Not Olympic racing pace. So I positioned myself up front and waited for the bell. There it is! Off and going. I was caught in the middle of one of the most chaotic swims I have ever been in, it was close to Wildflower. It was pure bliss! I felt like I was swimming in a can of Sardines. Wonderful! Wish we could have done that the entire swim. By the second orange buoy we were thinned out. I was catching feet and enjoying my warm up. Swimming is my limiter. Swim time was 25:29, a great IM pace for me. 44th in age group.
T1 went fine, I guess there was a timing mat issue.
The bike is where I love to be, I just recently acquired a new bike and had only ridden it three times prior to Columbia. My new wheels didn't make it in, so I raced in a pair of loaners that were pretty good, but I could have used my new wheels.
The rain made me hold back, I am not risking an wreck during a C race. No thanks, been there done that. I was going at a slightly hard effort (probably a 8 beats below my normal Olympic pace). I was catching a lot of the 35-39's on the ride and the occasional 40-44'r on the ride, at the end had good pacing, after the climb on started feeling a little bit of lactic acid build up so I tuned it down needed to save a little for the run. One problem I had on the bike was I cut my straw on the aero tube down to far. It was hard to get down far enough to get the drink out, so I only took in about half what I needed.
Finished the bike pretty strong, 1:10:18 with T1, 7th in age group.
T2 did not go as well, I had a problem with my race belt and my shoes did not want to go on my feet.
The run, felt good coming off of the bike, felt strong. Hit the first hill and went up it but it was not strong. This would be the theme for the rest of the run. My down hills were great and running in the flats was phenomenal. I was really happy with it.
Not taking in enough on the bike made me adjust my pacing a little as well, I had an Accel gel for an emergency, but opted for the Gatorade. I do not normally use Gatorade and was concerned but I felt my body grab it and turn it into instant energy. That was good. Hills, hills, hills, learned my lesson, If you wanna do Columbia you gotta run hills.
Run time 42:48 6:54 min per mile. 15th in age group.
As you know the post race tent is a Godsend. Wonderful support, I do feel for other athletes who do not have that luxury. It was like being at the Mariott! Thanks to Dawn and all of the volunteers at the MMTC post party celebration.
So this was a great race for me. Glad to have checked out the body and get a good idea of where I am. Looking forward to Eagleman.