Third year of triathlon, second Eagleman.
Got up at 0400
Normal pre-race breakfast, whole-grain bread, 2 hard-boiled eggs and hummus sandwich
Watched for wetsuit notification on the tricolumbia facebook and twitter feeds, but didn’t learn until arriving at transition that the swim would be wetsuit-legal. Called my wife, Julie (still at the car), and asked her to bring it. Still hadn’t decided yet if I would use it. Swam a warm-up the day prior in around 75 degree water and felt pretty good, but heeding the wisdom provided by many of our accomplished MMTC athletes; time saved in T1 not having to remove the wetsuit is more than offset by time saved swimming with the neoprene - like many, I wore it.
Setup my transition - empty slot beside me, laid out everything as usual (including socks partially rolled down and tucked in the bike shoes per recommendations of Sadj 3 years ago - been doing it since). First race using my speedfil hydration system which needed to be filled. Left a bottle of water/gatorade for T1, and a bottle of my super-secret, mid-race nutrition blend (which contains gatorade, protein powder and water sshhhh) for T2. Number belt, running belt, goofy hat (with the built-in sun curtain, sunscreen, sun sleeves - i’m noticing a pattern here.
Arrived at the team fight/mmtc tents. dawn, susie, heidi, heather and everyone else that had a part in the planning and setup, thank you very much for this indispensable benefit of being a part of such fine organizations. Smiles, shade and sanctuary should be your mantra. As an old(er) dude, my swim wave didn’t start until 0806, so grabbed some chair/shade with Julie who had arrived with my wetsuit and attempted to play through how i thought my day would go. My zen moment was cut short by hearing my name and number announced over the public address that I was being summoned to transition by a referee. this was fortunately my only “oh sh**” moment of the day as I couldn’t for the life of me figure why that could be. It turned out that my Uvex helmet came into question because there were several models listed on a sheet that the referee was carrying and she’d thought mine was one of them. Flipped my helmet over, showed her the appropriate certification sticker on the inside (I guess they’re not permitted to check for such things themselves), and just like that, crisis averted. Returned to the tent to await my swim start.
The swim (118/194 38:08)
Last year 54:32. So I'm attributing most of this improvement to the tide heading in the right direction this year AND the fact that I was in a wetsuit. The rest is due to the weekly training I’ve received by our team fight coaches (adam, mike and jelly). either way I’ll take it and be happy. Lined up toward the back of the pack at the start, and with the buoys. Didn’t panic at all this year (there was a moment last year, but don't want to go there). Switched to Aquasphere goggles this year, opted for the smoked lenses (again per the recommendation of an mmtc member to avoid glare) and haven’t looked back. Drifted off course a bit after the first turn, and then again on the final run for T1 (there was a bit of a current it seemed pushing away from the shore), but compensated each time quickly and attempted to finish strong. started to see other non-purple swimmers (female and male), but didn’t know if they were coming or going - but didn’t really matter.
Transition is not my forte. I’ve been accused of making sandwiches, reading magazines and having full-on philosophical conversations (all not true, btw). Minded my business, stripped the wetsuit, donned the socks and bike shoes and the rest of the bike gear, got a shot of sunscreen from a volunteer in transition and off i went. Attempted to follow the recommendation not to sit at all if possible during transition, but couldn’t be avoided to get my socks on - kept it to a minimum. Maybe try sockless next time?
The bike (95/194 2:47 20.1)
The holy grail for me finally, averaging 20+ mph. I think even on our weekly RBRs, it’s been right there, but no cigar. Ok, so it’s only 0.1 over, but i’ll take it and be happy. took a salt stick every 10 miles, one honey stinger waffle, started with gatorade (drinking about every 15 minutes), then added water at the aid stations (topping off the gatorade) and finished one bag of chomps during the ride. I rode the e-man course the previous two weeks and had a good idea about the road conditions and where and when I’d try to push a little harder, and gauging how much I could push to leave some in the tank for the run. this is my first season on a TT bike and have to say that it’s fit properly (thanks Stoney), and a definite advantage for me compared with riding the drops on a road bike over that distance - if only reducing the fatigue on my body. maybe rent/borrow some disc or semi-disc wheels next year, and/or a LEGAL aero helmet?
Dismounted the bike in the right place this year. I grabbed my run belt containing salt sticks, gu, and another honey stinger waffle (this in addition to the number belt i was already wearing). no issues in T2 except that i grabbed the *wrong* bottle and headed out for the run without the protein i was planning on and only had gatorade.
The run (94/194 2:21:10 10:47)
My run needs much more work, particularly a transition run. I attempted to keep my cadence quick and my stride short until I’d settled in, then gradually increasing my stride (same cadence). not sure that worked as planned, but I only walked through the water stops (I think) and maintained my pitiful pace otherwise. this was the first run where i started to feel nauseous and didn’t want the gatorade, but continued with the water, salt sticks about every 30 minutes and one gu. the ice-in-my-drawers suggestions from mmtc is a helluva thing and worked great. Other than the very start of this run I never really felt like hanging it up.
As I’m crossing the line, I think I can here my name “Scott Sokolowski from Clarksville, Maryland.” Fantastic, confirmation that they know I finished. Followed by, “he had a issue with his helmet in transition, but worked it out.” Really? Apparently all of the interesting factoids have been shared over the PA by the time we slow-folk are crossing the line. ;) I bested my last years effort by 35 minutes. I’ll take it and be happy.