It isn’t the fastest I have raced a 70.3 either but this is the best race I ever had at this distance!
This may sound strange at first but it was a great experience. First a shout out to Mike O for hosting this weekend, it truly helped me get into the mood to race. Meeting the legend “Iron ZenMaster” Shane from TI was a blast…. what a trip it was talking to him.
Anyway to the story, breakfast…. Kashi, milk, english muffin with honey. From then on it was water and a salt cap maybe two. Transition was smooth, easy set up. Troy Jacobson, the former pro, and one time course record holder was in my lane. What a way to start the day. I was catching up with some folks I know and then it was off to the port o potty….. no one was in a hurry at all. This is where the fun began. I was in line and they said white caps…… two minutes…. I still had 5 people in front of me, with the delayed start and spread out waves no one was in a hurry. I went to the front and asked to cut saying we are starting…. They let me go into the port-o-potty, it was like a military operation in that port-o-potty as far as efficiency…. In the military we train to do things fast…. This was like being blindfolded at night stripping your weapon apart -fast, because the Taliban are coming. I was cutting through the red caps to get to the start and the announcer said "15 seconds." I put my goggles on and started swimming, out the ramp. I looked up and saw a white wave of caps moving forward into the washing machine. My plan was to get in the front in with the group I knew I could swim with and draft as much as possible. I couldn’t see around the ramp, and was thinking in my head “WAIT FOR ME!” but when I cleared the ramp, it was a floating log jam of “back of the pack” swimmers (no offense to anyone) desperately trying to stay alive, by doing something that kind of looked like swimming. It was the start of a long day.
Mentally, I checked out of the “race” before the first turn buoy. I saw the normal scene. Some hard charging red caps. Then, there they were, the Iron Princess’s swimming right by me, it was like Homer’s Odyssey …. The sirens were calling me ….. it was surreal seeing these women swim. Smooth and elegant…. Oh wow…. I haven’t seen them since Escape from Fort Delaware in 09. Came out of the water at what seemed like forever…. but was around 48 minutes. I just eased the pace back and enjoyed some open water time. I really enjoyed swimming and look forward to more open water this year.
T1 quick with no wetsuit, out on the bike and time to get warmed up for the rest of the day. Since I knew there was no way of being anything competitive I decided to just go for it and see how the rest of my training paid off. First few miles where pretty aerobic and I was feeling ok, a little discomfort in my stomach maybe form the brackish water, but nothing painful like 08. I think I figured out what has been ailing me the past two years where GI distress has been a problem.
I was happy to see there wasn’t a lot of drafting going on a little here and a little there but nothing big. No packs that I saw. It seemed pretty good.
All I did was focus on heart rate and cadence, the whole time. I stayed in my race zone and kept the cadence over 90 the whole time. That is it. Didn’t look at speed averages or current, didn’t care.
Nutrition plan was simple sports drink and gels. Finished my sports drink right where I thought I would and was going for the gels when I discovered …. Ut oh no gels….. I looked up and there was an aid station the last one, hurray! I came on it and said “any gels” and they said “no”…. I grabbed a half banana at the last drop and off I went. I went “oh boy one hour to go on the bike and I have nothing but a banana.” Two courses of action, slow down and play it tight, or push on through. Well I haven’t trained my body to use fat as a fuel source for nothing. So I went for it. Race intensity for one hour high cadence, water only.
Came in feeling good into T2, transitioned took two gels at once, hit the port o potty again, I was well hydrated, and off to the run rodeo.
First three miles I was in my race zone but the pace wasn’t there. I had to get my nutrition plan back on line, at mile 4 I was feeling the carb build up working, and then my legs picked up the pace at the same heart rate.
I pushed sodium down in the first mile. At mile four my salt cap “volcanoed”, and I tried taking the sodium like a pixie stick, that was fun and I might have got some, but it was like eating sawdust. Things were going well, I was passing people and no one was passing me. Feeling better as I was taking in nutrition and sodium, No GI issues or cramps this year. I finally became “that guy”. The one who ran by me in countless other triathlons towards the end. The MMTC colors were going by many other clubs and groups. I heard triathletes saying “wow, you sound good” and some spectators saying “he looks good.” I looked back and said “looks good? Today I am good”… with a smile on my face. They laughed….. I can’t remember much about what I was thinking during the race other than stay on pace and focus on form. I saw some friends from all over out there and said hi to everyone I saw.
There is a spot on the course that is reminiscent of 08. Where I bonked hard….. that was my first Eagleman race, you can look at my results on the CTA site. I finished the day, but it was ugly. That spot is like Ichabod Crane’s “Spooky Hollow” it gives me the willies. I saw a family passing out water on that street this year around mile 11. Changed my entire perspective of the street. Was getting faster as the race was ending, pace was really good. Felt great, stayed in my racing zones for 4:20 in those conditions! 5:10 final time, moved from 62nd last year to 33rd in my AG this year. I equate that like being in a rock band and getting into Casey Kasem’s top 40 for the weekend show.
Even though, I did not meet any of my goals for this race, my seasonal goals are still in hand. It was the best race I ever had at this distance, and no, it is not my fastest race at this distance. I pushed through some physical and mental barriers and came out with a improved perspective. I know I have a better race…. and that is exciting. Looking forward to Timberman.
Took my wife and kids out to dinner and we exchanged “What we did this weekend stories”. With the almost four month old it was too hot to bring them to it. I think they would be mad at me if I did. They went to a park for 10 minutes and decided it was too hot, so they went to make pottery.
Thanks for the energy of the club and the wonderful new friends I met this weekend they made this race spectacular. Thanks to Duck for the great work down…. I am feeling gratefully sore today!