Well, it was certainly a day to remember. My first Olympic Distance triathlon and my first triathlon after tearing my ACL 15 months ago, which is still not repaired. So, for me, I was pleased to have finished and recognize areas to which I can improve, transitions, guiding my swim, and mental toughness.
Swim - I had a pretty strong swim (24:42), but could have shaved a few minutes off my time had I not swam ashore on my the home stretch. I stayed out of the pack the way out, until I had clear waters, than I made my cut in towards the markers. On the home stretch, I got a little too confident in my positioning and instead of continue to mark myself, I put my head down and swam 50-75 meters before I gauged myself again (big mistake). After recognizing this mistake, I headed directly towards the markers and finished strong. Was pleased with the end swim result (26/197) and (156/1058).
T1 - Not a strong transition (5:03), I think I was having more fun playing in the mud than making my way back onto the course. Slow jog to the transition area. I had little trouble getting the wetsuit off, my problem was with the amount of gear I thought I needed for the rest of the race, garmin watch, heart monitor, race bib belt, way too much crap, lesson learned.
Bike - After making my way out of T1, got on the bike and started out on my ride. I quickly realized that the sunglasses were not going to work and put them in my helmet. Got into my groove fairly easily. However, as I was biking and maintaining my cadence, I was getting passed with ease, which was frustrating. I felt like I was riding well, but continued to get passed throughout the first of the 3 bike legs. I break the ride up into 3's. Centennial out to Folly Quarter, Folly Quarter/Tridelphia loop, and FQ back to Centennial. During my training rides, I typically hit the FQ circle in 36 minutes, race day I was out in 34 min+. So, even though I was getting passed, I was ahead of my training pace. I had my wife and kids hanging out at Ten Oaks tavern, which was cool seeing them.
My 2nd leg of the bike felt strong as well for me (35 min+) another 2 minutes ahead of my training rides. So 2/3 complete and feeling really good about myself, despite the fact other bikers were flying by me with ease. I just continued to tell myself, run my own race, you are doing GREAT!!! Saw the family again, gave them a quick wave and hit the final leg.
The final leg of my bike, I rode with more caution than I had during my training rides. With the rain and wet roads, I didn't attack as much as I could have and I started to notice my back tire was low. Instead of stopping, I kept plugging along and completed the 3rd leg in 27+ min, training rides were in the 23 min zone. So, I completed the ride in 1:37, which was 3 minutes under my training pace, so felt real good about my position at this point in the race.
T2 - Another slow transition. Almost wiped out coming off the bike and entering the transition area, total mud slide as you re-entered. Had to carry my bike into my station, as it was pretty full. My gear was soaking wet and I froze on whether or not I wanted to switch sox into dry ones. I decided to run through it and go with the flow. I left the transition area in 2:50, not exactly lightening fast, but another area for improvement.
Run - Heading out onto the run course, I knew it was going to be a battle of my mental toughness and it was going to be challenged within the first 1/2 mile. Well, as I made the sharp left turn to the beat of the drum, I knew what the outcome was going to be and it was not a good feeling. I ended up adopting a run/walk strategy in order to finish. No matter how may bike/run workouts I did, how many times I ran the run course of the last 6 weeks, I had not prepared myself for the mental fatigue I was experiencing. So, now the goal was to finish the race and keep the legs going, no matter what. I committed to myself, that if I needed to walk it was only going to be for 15 seconds at a time. This was my strategy and I stuck with it for the rest of the run.
I made my way though the park and out to the neighborhood and was keeping with my strategy. The neighborhood didn't take as much out of me as I thought it might, but that probably was due to the run/walk strategy. I exited the neighborhood and knew I was going to complete the race, now it was my goal to run the rest of the way. Well, this worked until I hit the half way point of the final climb up gatorade hill when I needed to get some water in me, so I took a 15 sec walk break, got my gatorade for the final stretch and began the home stretch.
I could hear the announcer calling out the finishers and knew that my family would be excited to see me on the final 1/10 mile run to the finish. As I entered that final leg, I saw my family, gave my daughter Annabelle a High 5 and heard my name get called as I crossed, stopped my watch and felt great about what I just accomplished, despite missing out on my goal time.
All in all, it was a GREAT DAY and an even better experience. I am excited about taking this experience and making the necessary adjustment for my next race and certainly the race next year.