This was only my 2nd Columbia Tri and only my 3rd overall. I really pumped this winter and was in a good training form until late January when a hip flexor developed and basically kept me from running for most of the time up to the race. I only got in about 8 very short runs since January so I wasn't expecting much on the run. Plus, the pain was pretty bad just walking around transition on Sat. Just ask Bryan M and a few others who saw me hobbling. But due to some unknown forces, it almost completely disappeared late afternoon (at least while I was walking) so then I was getting a little more excited about my goals for the race.
When I woke on Sunday morning and saw the rain, I just thought, "ok, just like last year, no worries". Ok, it was raining a little harder than last year. Got to park pretty early and had plenty of time to just hang out in the car before heading to set up and then off to the tent. Was very relaxed when I got to the tent, got my suit on was like "this is it, I have nothing else to do?". One thing I was concentrating on this year was nutrition. I was definitely trying to make sure I put in enough calories every hour.
Unlike last year where I started in the middle of the battle royal, I started on the shore side this year. It was pretty uneventful and didn't have too much jostling - made for some less stressful swimming. My only event was when I swallowed not one but two back-to-back mouthfuls of the lovely, brown-colored water right before getting to the last orange buoy near the island. I swear I thought I was going to throw up, but onward I went. Cruised by a few swimmers near the finish and I hopped out of the water with some energy. My time was about what I did last year at DC Nations. I thought I'd be a little faster but I was happy.
My transition times were definitely slow, but I wasn't trying to go fast, with the hip and all, actually stretched in both of them just in case.
BIKE: 1:19:06 (19.3 mph)
Hopped on the bike and off I went in what was some pretty heavy rain for the first third of the course. There was definitely a lot of activity on the bike course this year. It seemed at every critical point, downhill or corner, I was among a tight bunch with too many people braking and trying a little too hard to gain an advantage with this rain. Other than Danny throwing his water bottle at me as he passed me on the flat before Folly Quarter circle on the return, I got through unscathed. I did have some fun passing Erik C. on an uphill only to be his leadout man once we crested the top. Overall, I was really happy with my time, again because of the up & down training I had due to the hip.
RUN: 51:13 (8:15/mile)
Hit transition, stretched again and out I went on the run. Got to see my kids as I exited so that extra motivation was nice. My goal was to just be able to finish the run, and do it running for the most part with my new Chi running style (which is the only way I can run without major pain). I did expect to stop a few times which I did at all the water stations except the first. I immediately had a cramp in my stomach at the start so I hit the water and Gu quickly to see if that helped. By the time I headed out of the park, cramp was gone. Having all the "Go MMTC" cheers on the run was also great help - Susie on the way out on Gatorade Hill, Mike Matney in and out of the park was very encouraging. Kept me motivated. So I was just plugging along the run, surprising myself with the number of people I was passing - wasn't expecting that. Once I made it to mile 4, I knew I was going to make it, at least to Gatorade Hill - that was a tough one this year. Thank you to whoever came by me near the top encouraging me to keep going. Came into the chute in good shape, saw my kids cheering and finished I was. Then the leg gave out - good timing. I was amazed that I beat my run time from last year. I felt like I was shuffling along most of the time, but it must have been a quick shuffle.
There is nothing like the feeling of crossing that line and having your kids there and all the other club members there congratulating you. It is an amazing feeling. I love this club! Thank you to all those who manned the tent and took care of us that raced. Also thanks to Dan & Deb for the post-race gathering. Beers and pizza were definitely needed.
I can't wait for Eagleman.