I came into this race with two goals—first to beat my younger brother Joe in a tri for the first time in 5 tries, and second to try and break 1:45. That would be a big improvement from last year (2:00:53), but based on training times, it would really depend on the swim--my weakest area.
THE SWIM 22:53 (OA 303/855, AG 33/73)
We waited until the last minute to start treading water to save energy and went off in the middle of the pack. Lots of swimming around, over and under people and I spent quite a bit of time running into Joe at the beginning (hehe…) I couldn’t see the first few buoys because of the sun (need those tinted goggles!) but I decided to follow the majority of the other swimmers until we turned.
The underwater vegetation was thick enough in places to pull yourself along the course just by grabbing the grass. Pretty harmless, but I did have to shake it off quite a few times, as it was just annoying. In any case, the 2nd half of the swim went quickly (swam much straighter this year) and I was out of the water a little more than 3 minutes faster than last year.
Uneventful and 1:28 faster than last year. Passed several people who were walking through transition, and I was only in a light jog—THIS IS FREE TIME, PEOPLE! I minimized what I was trying to accomplish this year (socks, shoes, sunglasses, helmet, go!) and it seemed to work-Joe’s bike was still racked when I left.
Bike 51:40 (20.3 mph, OA 36/855, AG 5/73)
One thing about having a fast T1 is that my heart rate was still pretty high starting the bike, still pushed through it all. I seemed to be going a little slower on the hills than on training rides, but my average speed was quite good, so I just keep pushing based on RPE. I tried to keep track of how many people I passed, but there was a sea of people on Mt. Albert from the first wave that made this impossible. I’m convinced people wipe themselves out on the first (steep) part of that hill and pay for it for the next 5 minutes.
I saw Joe coming up toward the school as I was going down so I had a decent lead, but I couldn’t tell whether it was 2 minutes or 4 minutes.
I started to have a bit of an upset stomach on the hill coming back up to 108 so I stopped drinking. It didn’t slow me down at all, but this was foreshadowing…
Took Bob V.’s tip and threw my race belt a Gu, and a salt tab in a bag to get through transition quickly. The great thing about this approach is that I don’t have to think. The less my brain is involved here, the better.
Run 26:48 (7:53 / mile, OA 99/855, AG 17/73)
Since I knew my bike and swim were good, all I had to do was repeat my time from a training brick a week before (25:40ish) to break 1:45 with time to spare. Unfortunately my stomach was upset from the start of the run and was worse on every hill. It was getting bad enough that I was worried that I would have to stop, so I slowed down just at the start of Gatorade hill, even walking a few steps. That seemed to settle things a bit and I was able to get going again. I proceeded to go slowly and seemed to get my legs back a little bit after climbing the hill around the ball field. I saw Joe coming down Gatorade as I was going back up. When I crested the hill I heard someone say “He doesn’t even look tired” but they didn’t know I hadn’t really been leg or heart limited on this run... After this I was able to speed up—heard some footsteps near the last little hill and kicked it up to keep my spot AND break 1:45 with 10 seconds to spare!
I have to say I was very happy with this race (16 minute improvement!), especially that I managed my stomach well enough to meet my goals. Thanks to all the MMTC folks at the tent, my loving family (my wife Lynn was REALLY looking forward to this race but hurt her wrist two weeks ago) and congratulations to all the racers (especially the fast ones in my AG--I think MMTC got 5 of the top 10 in M35-39!)