Basically, I have felt unmotivated and not in a race ready mindset all week leading up to this race. My fellow readers know I have battled a few injuries(or more pain really) and with a recovery week this past week my motivation went right out the window.
I needed this race. Flat out plain and simple. I needed something to refuel my passion for training and pushing my personal limits and barriers.
I woke up at 3:30 am which I know many think is crazy for a local race. I have a routine that I don't like to mess with that I have followed for my road races and my first triathlon a few weeks back. I ate my waffles, drank my coffee, and just chilled on the internet checking for Dave tickets. Around 4:40 I headed out to the park to get a good parking spot. When I arrived I met up with some LIVE UNCOMMON people and slowly started to get set up.
I grabbed my race chip, realized my bike was not shifting properly so I had that fixed, racked my bike, set up all my gear and was getting ready to do a short run when it started to run. I decided to scrap the run. It started to rain more and more and I decided to sit in my car. The rain just kept coming down and I sat there in silence in my car thinking how in the world was I going to ride my bike on wet pavement when I can barely turn and navigate in the sunshine?
Around 6:15 I decided to quit chilling in the car and get my wetsuit on and do some swimming before the race to try and eliminate the sense of panic I had at Bluff Creek. Trying to put on a soaking wet wetsuit while wet was not fun. It took me forever to get it on. I headed to the water and swam some laps. That is some very unclear water. You can't see squat. The warm-up really helped. I felt nice and calm in the water when the race started.
The race started and I decided to head towards the front because my thought was there would be less people and by the time I was comfortable others would catch me and it would not be a big deal. I don't think to many people passed me and I felt very comfortable in the water. My breathing was rapid but I think that was adrenaline and trying to push faster.
Looking at my swim time I can swim faster than what was time chipped. I did swim more than 600 yards looking at my HydroTracker. I wore this device to see how I swam. My data has me swimming faster than the race. I know the race results are based on 600 yards. Plus I stood on the timing mat for a little while before leaving so I think that added a few seconds. However, this stuff is a moot point because it is the same for everyone. It helped me knowing that I was swimming sub 1:30 pace with my Hydro Tracker because I felt like I was swimming faster than training.
My race results showed 9:35 for 1:35 pace/100 yard and ranked 40th overall. I am happy with this. I know swimming is not my fastest part. I just want to come out in a good standings and feeling good to hit the bike.
Moving to transition I realized that I have transition time to work on. My T1 time was 2:16. I need to get faster. I could not get my wetsuit off. I had to sit down and really pull. My goggles got stuck in my arm sleeve. I quickly adjusted. I started to cramp right away like in Bluff Creek. At Bluff Creek I tried taking more GU than needed and it hurt me during the run. This race I decided to go with one GU before the swim and one Pepsi on the bike. That was it. I could take no more unless I took some water on the run or during transition. I did drink water in transition before heading out on the bike praying I would not cramp. I headed out with my legs feeling off, but it was not long before I felt really good. I just kept pushing to see what I had. I found a nice pace on the bike that did not feel overly difficult yet I was cranking 20+ mph. I started passing people and it felt good. I kept passing more and more and it was motivation to keep going. I hit a few spots where I eased back a bit knowing I would crank hard on the hills. I went hard on the hills and one hill I passed 7 people. I could not believe how good I felt on the bike. I really surprised myself. I just prayed that I did not spend all my energy on the bike and left myself empty for the run.
I finished the bike in 38:12 for 23.6 mph pace and 9th best bike split overall. I cannot tell you how surprised I was with this time. My bike was my weakest link in all my training for the last few months, but the last month I have really worked hard on my bike training. So much so that my run has really fallen apart in training. However, my hard work has helped me along with a new bike. This was great to see.
My T2 time was 1:13 so much better. I slipped my shoes on and headed out. My legs felt HORRIBLE! I was really worried I went too hard on the bike. I was right with Jay and I told him my legs might not hold. I started to cramp in my hips in T2, but they did go away. The first part of this run was through gravel and mud. The holes in the bottoms of my Iso Transition shoes allowed all that stuff to come through. It was hard to run through. I fought through it and once I hit the road I was able to pick up the pace. I wish now that I had pushed sooner on the run because I know I could have hit sub 20 on this 5K. I had some left in the tank when I finished. I ended up running 20:34 which is a 6:37 mile pace.
I had a great race. It was exactly what I needed with Racine 4 weeks away. I was not sure how I finished overall, but I was very happy when I found out. I was first in Clydesdale and had I entered my age group I would have been first as well which is even more important to me. Even cooler is that I was 11th overall in the entire race. Looking at how close I was at cracking the top 10 I know my simple slow transition time in T1 and perhaps swimming a little faster cost me from a #8 or #9 spot. Being my first sprint tri and my second tri ever I am very happy with this. I could not ask for more.
This was an excellent triathlon. I will be back next year for sure. There was an awesome showing by the LIVE UNCOMMON crew. Jeff Paul won overall and Jen took third for females which is not too shabby being her first triathlon not really training at all for one(this has to really make some people mad:)) Jay, Chad, and Josiah all tore it up. Jay won his age division on his new sweet ride. Chad raced awesome considering his crazy schedule of skiing and bruised ribs. Josiah knocked off a ton of time since Bluff Creek so everyone is LIVING UNCOMMON and continuing to make themselves better.
Thanks to Phil for the photos. He is the man. When not riding 200 miles in 25 mph winds he is all over the QC taking photos. Thanks to everyone who was out there cheering and supporting all the athletes. It was a great day despite the early rain.