My 3rd Tri of the year, 2nd sprint, started off with a bang as the parking situation was intense and I just couldn’t find a rhythm mentally both during my race prep and on the morning of the event itself. Still, aside from a few mistakes on my behalf, the race went well overall. I didn’t hit the top 20% yet, but I’m slowly closing the gap.
I woke up at 4:15 and had a bagel w/ PB and a banana. Also had a glass of milk for some extra water/protein.
We got to the race site at approximately 6:30 and fought traffic into the parking lot, only to have to turn around and drive back a few miles. My wife was kind enough to drop me off and I used the ride to the transition area as my bike warmup. Once I got my race packet and prepped my gear, I went for a slow jog, mixing in some intervals and butt kicks to get the blood flowing. When I got the the lake, which was extremely murky, I had about 10 minutes of swimming before we had to exit for the first wave prep.
I was in the 3rd wave this time (forest green swim cap) and waited my turn while trying to stretch out my sore hamstrings. When the gun went off, I planned on sprinting to the first buoy and then settling in to my race pace for the rest of the swim. The first leg went great and I made it to the first buoy feeling great, thanks to some drafting and improved sighting. However, when I passed the 2nd buoy I made the mistake of cutting in towards shore rather than noticing the 3rd buoy ahead. This was a costly mistake, as I had to swim back after being pointed in the right direction by a lifeguard in a kayak. This cost me several minutes and a few hundred meters of extra swimming. Still, I tried not to let it phase me (which I wasn’t very successful at) and I finished the swim in 17:32, which was right around my AG average.
The sprint to T1 was lengthy, but I was happy to see my wife and kids cheering my on faithfully. I had no issues in T1 and came out in 2:49, which was slower than I’d aimed for, but not terrible.
I was still pissed about missing the buoy and let it affect me on the bike. I lost focus and beat myself up a bit for my mistake. Being that it was my first major error in a race, it was something I hadn’t had to deal with before. Still, I tried to keep going…that is, until I hit the 2nd speed bump.
They promised the bumps would be covered, but they basically just threw down a piece of plywood over top, causing a major impact upon the exit of every single ramp. The first one shook me, but the 2nd knocked my Aero Drink out and it smashed onto the pavement in the middle of the road. I made a quick decision to go back for it (being that it was my only water source) and I think I made the right call, although it cost me another minute or so.
My velcro was gone and I had no way to secure it, so I had to hold it for the first 5 or 6 miles until I could figure out an alternative. That cost me a bit too, both physically and mentally. I tried to mash the entire race in the big ring and was pretty successful, but I could feel my hamstrings tightening up (reminiscent of the REV3) and was worried I was going to blow the run after going too hard on the bike. Still, having lost time on every leg so far, I had no choice.
I passed several guys in the older AG and kept up with and passed many in my own AG. I could tell I wasn’t killing it, but I felt strong considering the circumstances. I finished in 53:23, which wasn’t a great time, but was a time I could live with.
T2 was pretty simple and I spent about 1:43 dropping off the bike and helmet. I probably could have gone faster, but I was worried about the hamstring.
My favorite and probably my best leg is always the run, partly because I have run more than I’ve biked or swam, but also because I’m comfortable feeling the pain of running. I know how hard I can push myself and still make it to the finish line. Knowing I had some time to make up, I started with a quick pace using short steps until my legs got underneath me. I was passing quite a few guys right off the bat, which felt like some sort of redemption. As my coach said, I’d have to pick up the effort from mile 1-2 in order to maintain the same pace, which I did. I held back a bit during some of the flat portions because I wasn’t sure how many hills there would be, but when I hit that 2nd mile marker I picked it up to a 7 minute pace. When I finally hit the pavement once more, I sprinted to the finish, passing another AG’er right at the line.
It felt good to run so hard and still feel great. I ran the 5k in 22:51, which is not only my best sprint run time, but also my best 5k time ever. Overall, I finished the race at 1:38:17, which was good enough for 26/54 in my AG and 211/579 overall (males). It wasn’t my goal time, but I was happy with my effort and even happier that I was only 17 minutes, as opposed to 20, off the AG leader.
Going into Amica in a few weeks, I know I’ll be ready for revenge.