Monday, July 26, 2010

The EPIC Journey begins…

I had planned on August being a busy month, but as time passed over the spring and summer, I realized that August would be a very busy month.  Last Friday August became … EPIC.  Let’s rewind to last winter, when I registered for the St Paul Sprint Tri when it was half price entries.

St Paul Sprint Tri – August 22

I did the first annual Waseca Sprint last year, and had planned on doing that race on August 1st.  After looking at some schedules, I found that Camp Courageous was hosting a first annual very close to the town I grew up, so I opted for the Camp Courageous tri on the first so my parents could come watch a race this year.


Camp Courageous Sprint Tri – August 1

I am sure everyone can attest to the things we do for this sport… getting up at or before 4 AM to be at a race, driving how many hours, and expecting to perform at our highest levels.  Well what better way to reward yourself, but with a tri that is in your backyard.  I found the Lake Marion Tri in Lakeville, ok not my backyard, but 2 blocks to the south is Lakeville, so the closest race I will find until we move. 

Lake Marion Sprint Tri - August 15

My wife picked up distance running last year when she ran the Twin Cities 10 Mile, her goal for this year was to run a Half Marathon.  She registered for the Urban Wildland Half Marathon on August 7th after we got a discount code through our run club at work.  After a couple weeks of debating, I figured I would run it as well.  I have never run this distance before, but wanted to go out and push a pace to see what I could do in hopes of lowering my marathon time and someday within the next 5 years be able to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

Urban Wildland Half Marathon – August 7

So, 4 weeks in a row, not too shabby!  August would push my ability to train and recover properly between races towards the end of the season, yet hopefully continue to improve my performances in a year that has shown so much potential.


After my Lifetime Fitness Race Report, an email exchange, and getting approval from the CFO (read my better half) the Chicago Triathlon was added to my August schedule on August 29.  This is a large race, significantly larger than the Lifetime Fitness Tri in Minneapolis which will be amazing to experience.  I am going to save a few other things for a later post, but man I am stoked to do this race and get to enjoy some time in the Chi Town.  If only I could work it to see a Cubs game while there!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

2010 Lifetime Fitness Triathlon – Short Course

Some Information:
I was late to the show to register and happened to get put on the waiting list for this race.  A few days after joining the wait list, I got an email saying I would get a spot, so I quickly registered on short notice of around a week in advance.  Now it was just the sprint distance, so nothing that required a large taper, but this race fell on July 10, yep... the week after the 4th of July.  I had a very rough weekend of eating and consuming some adult beverages as well having just come off helping build a garage for 3 days and being away from training.

I snuck out on Monday the 5th to ride the course since I had the day off.  I took my road bike and cruised on the course, dodging as many potholes as possible.  This was easier said than done as there were some large holes, big enough to cause a disaster if you hit one of the 18 inchers.  The course was flat for the most part with a few climbs here and there.  most notably is "the hill" of the Twin Cities Marathon, which consists of a gradual climb over a few miles.  I wanted to make sure I knew where the holes were in the situation they did not get through to patch before the race.

Based on the size of the event, there is no race-day packet pick-up.  It was held downtown Minneapolis at the Convention Center.  A quick stop in the sky-walk to shoot a few pictures:

IMG_0296 IMG_0295
I took a little bit of time off work to go down and enjoy the expo before traffic got bad leaving downtown.  I walked around talking with many of the vendors.  I enjoyed talking with the different vendors and walking around.  Since this race is part of the Toyota Cup, Toyota had a large booth and had autographs with some of the professional triathletes throughout the afternoon.  I arrived and was able to get in and talk with Hunter Kemper for a while and found the thing that drives both of us is the constant competition, not only versus the clock, but others as well.  10k times are getting lower and lower, and in order to be competitive, you have to improve, even if that discipline is your strong suit in the first place. This reminded me of a quote I have heard many times: "Good, better, best.  Never let it rest until your good is better your better is the best."  A quick autograph towards the end, and I did a little more exploring.

I came back to the booth after a while and had an opportunity to meet Sarah Haskins.  We talked about favorite venues and race styles as well as excelling in one sport versus being balanced in all.  It was a great opportunity to talk to the person who would end up winning the Professional Female division the following day. 

I headed home with a few autographed pictures and a bag full of materials.  I also snagged some coupons, and the guy in the booth urged me to take more. I wish I would have taken even more in hindsight.  The Jenny-O booth had 2 dollars off any package of turkey.  Since we use ground turkey for almost everything, we will put them to good use! 

I was up at 4:25 AM to eat a peanut butter and honey flat-bread along with some greek yogurt.  I had packed everything into the car the night before, so I loaded up my water bottle for pre-race, and my bike bottle with Infinit and headed out.  I got a pretty good parking spot, and by pretty good, I mean I still only had to walk like 3/4 of a mile or so to transition. What a great view of the lake as the sun was waking up: 
When I arrived, they make you get body marked first before going to transition, ok fair enough.  Here is where the fun begins. 

I love the social nature of triathlon and enjoy talking with people before races.  This day, I would get an opportunity to talk to a few people who would amaze me on two totally different levels.  As I waited to get body marked, someone asked me a question about running tubeless tires and what you do if you get a flat.  Not ever using tubeless tires before, I offered the best advise I could.  I was not sure if the course offered a support cart that helped with flats or not, but I expected many people either DNF, and catch the sag wagon, or carry their own materials to change.  I looked down at the wheels, they were Zipps, 440 or older 404 styles.  Fair enough, many people bite on aero wheels, I am one of them.  The next comment threw me for a bit of a loop when he said he just got them and has never ridden on them before.  I am a firm believer of 'Nothing new on race day' but I reserved my comments to myself for this occasion. 

Another question prompted following this comment, all this time we are getting passed by people getting body marked, and the mosquitoes were attacking in full force.  His next question, valve extenders... and how to tell how much to pump up the tires.  I responded with again, my best possible, "Sometimes extenders will show the readout, other times it won't but having an idea of how the tire feels when inflated is the best way to judge."  We went on our ways to get body marked.  As I looked over his direction when we were getting body marked... I saw his bike... Cervelo P4.  Now I try not to judge, and everyone has their right to purchase what they please, but I will say that these were questions I would expect from someone with a little less vested interest in triathlon, something that does not typically go hand-in-hand with a P4.

I got body-marked and headed to my spot which was laid out by number.  After a quick glance at the transition area map, I found my spot.  I was about 4 bikes away from being the closest to the bike out as possible.  Not a bad spot for luck of the draw.  I setup my area and then walked around transition a little to understand the flow.  With 3500 people, the area was large, and I had set goals for transition times, so I sure as heck did not want to wander around trying to find my stuff. 

Transition closes as 6:30 initially, and 6:45 officially, so I had a bit of a predicament.  Being in the sprint, meant I went after all international distance racers, and being 27, put me towards the end of the sprint.  With 3000+ participants and time trial starts, you can see my issue building.  Yes I would be waiting a long time before I could start.  I wanted to get on the bike and do a warm-up so my legs remember what it feels like.  I get my shoes and helmet on and head out.  When I climbed on the bike, sure enough I look to my left and its Craig Alexander getting on his bike right next to me.  I surely would not pass up an opportunity to say hello and wish him a good race.  We ended up biking together for a while as he spun his legs up.  What a great guy, although only a couple of miles of riding, I was happy to have gotten the opportunity to talk with him since I missed him at the expo the day before.

I settled things back to transition and took my things with me.  At this point I would normally leave my Zoots in the transition area and go barefoot, but since I had 2+ hours to wait, I brought a second pair of shoes and shorts and Marathon bar shirt to sport as I waited along with my water bottle to keep hydrated as it warmed up.

I watched the professional men start and sat around for what seemed like ages, passing out some Marathon bars and talking to other racers.  I talked with Minneapolis local Steve Sander whom I had raced with in Alexandria and Waconia.  He is a down to earth guy racing in the Elite division, a guy I look up to and hopefully get to race against, although I have some work to do in order to get to his level!  I caught up with my wife after watching the men head out on the bikes.  We killed some time watching people go out, and then eventually come back in off the bike.  We even saw the professional women come in. 

I decided to do my run warm-up and headed out on the path for a while, getting my legs under me, but not burning out.  Shortly after that, I headed to the water.  Since the water was 82, wetsuits were not allowed if you wanted to compete, so this would officially be my first OWS without a wetsuit.  The water was perfect, and I would have roasted in a wetsuit. A bit more time passed and I got in line to head out.

The course is a .4 mile, 704 yard, rectangleish circle, if that is what you want to call it.  Maybe this picture will help.  This was from my Garmin 310xt in my swim cap using the quick release kit.  For the second race in a row, I forgot to start it, coincidence it was also another TT start that I forgot?  I remembered it shortly after I did my dolphin dive in and a few strokes later, so I reached up and poked it through my swim cap and continued on almost in one fluid motion.

I started strong, heading straight for the first small buoy and moving past people with very little contact.  I was on a good line, and ready to move.  In hindsight, I may have taken a different line to lower the amount of distance by a bit, but that is in the past now.  So I look at this graphed our distance, and see where I started in the water, and then as I approach the turn buoy, I deviate a little, otherwise I am doing well sighting.  I felt good, only getting kicked one time, will blame it on someone not being able to swim straight as they came wildly in front of me nearly perpendicular to how the course was supposed to go.

I made the turn and kept on passing people, occasionally seeing a Silver swim cap, but I was not sure if they were guys from my division or the 30-35 AG that was 2 groups ahead of my starting range of numbers.  Regardless, I pressed on, feeling great in the water.  I was amazed at how efficiently I felt like I was moving through the water especially without a wetsuit, it almost felt like I was in salt water, my legs were in a good position and I was doing well. Rounding the final turn, I headed in, what a line to the shore!  Before I knew it my fingers touched sand, and I was up and running out of the water.  Oddly enough for as quick as the water dropped off on the start side, the end part of the beach was shallow for quite a ways.  I ran into transition and clicked the Garmin at some point, not really sure where the timing mat was located. 

The biggest downside on the swim was my time, significantly slower than expected, but I guess understandable for non wetsuit.  I could have pushed it a bit harder at the start/middle.  Tinted goggles made a huge difference, man was that a good choice today.

Transition 1:
Remember how I said I had Transition goals, well I knew my route and stuck to it, getting to my bike effortlessly, loving the barefoot feel, I got in my shoes and helmet/sunglasses on, and out I went.  The only mistake I can find here was that I had clipped my Garmin into the wrist strap, forgetting it went on the bike, but I resolved that while running, so no time lost there.  Overall, quite happy with this performance.

Next area of improvement, getting on the bike with shoes clipped in already.

I was out and after a little issue getting both feet clipped in, I was off and moving quickly.  Since the roads were closed for the race, people biked in the whole road, making passing sometimes difficult, but I managed to escape the bottle neck and start picking people off.  I passed one, then two, then saw lucky number three in my age group.  Not sure how many were ahead of me, my goal was hunt them down so I know if I get passed later, I can keep track of how many are ahead of me.  While not a perfect strategy, it was good enough for me. 

Well race day had other plans for me.  I have been using a bottle mounted horizontally on my aero bars with a standard cage.  I love the setup for easy access, and one bottle is all I need on my race distances especially.  About mile two something, I hit a bump and pop goes the bottle, flying off my handlebars, and to the road.  In a flash I had a few thoughts cross my mind, the first being "Crap"  I knew I would want liquid, and being a USAT event, I knew I could get penalized for leaving equipment on the course, so I got on the brakes, and clipped out as I stopped, I laid my bike on the grass and trotted back in my bike shoes to get the water bottle, having to wait for some bikers to pass to get to the right side of the road, I snagged the bottle and trotted back. My HR was up from this excitement, and I was quickly back on the bike.  Somehow I seemed to have lost my legs since it took another couple of miles to get my bike legs back under me. 

The bike continued to be an interesting journey, ups and downs, fast and slow, hills and flats.  As I came back towards transition, all I could think is thank goodness that is done. 

I need some work on mental toughness on the bike, while it wasn't a flat, I struggled after this and never got into it.  This hurts the race because normally I pick up some good time on the bike. 

Transition 2:
I made a decision on my way into the park to try and take my feet out of my shoes and keep them on the bike, something I have not practiced.  Luckily, this went off without a hitch, and I think I benefit from this decision.  I felt very in tune running back to the opposite side of transition with my bike barefoot.  I slipped on my Zoots as the helmet went to the ground trying not to scuff it up on the asphalt, snagged my race belt on the way out and away I went.  I purposely did not tighten my Zoots, as it worked the last time I forgot to tighten and resulted in no blisters or discomfort, I figured why not. 

I headed out and knew that the run would need to be strong, stronger than my goal said if I wanted any shot of my goal time, which at this point was pretty unrealistic.  I took off quickly forgetting that goal time, and focusing on the run goal time, sub 21.  I saw Garmin say 6:10 miles, and then 6:28s, and all sorts of numbers, but I kept focus, dodging people on the narrow path, and moving forward.  I passed a few more age groupers, and kept moving.  The run is mostly flat, with the exception when you have to run up a road for a turn around, it happens to be a bridge going up and over the lake, so nothing extreme, just enough to play with your mind.  Water stop number two was right after the turn around, so a quick sip and a dribble on my head, I kept moving forward.  I felt good and knew I was around 7 minute miles or so.  I saw my times start going on the plus side and would do a lot of loping around that 7 minute mark.  It was steamy outside which did not help, but my lungs were not burning too terribly bad, I was just slightly uncomfortable, something I was shooting to feel.

A quick grab of water at mile 2, I knew I was about a mile away from being done, 7 minutes or less of this effort.  At 2.4 according to Garmin, I hit a mental hurdle.  We were across the lake from the start, I could see where we started, and it looked much longer than .6 miles away, so I doubted the course distances.  This prevented me from picking up the pace as planned for the last half mile.  I got passed by one person up until this point, and shortly after a second came by me.  He was right next to me and was not moving much faster, but just enough to push me.  I quickly commented that I liked his pace and kept with him knowing the end was near, I wanted to hurt in a good way, and he was my ticket home.  Seeing his number I realized he was on the International distance course, but stuck with him anyway, we would end in the same spot.  The final turn came for the home stretch, and away we went.  I took the lead, dropping in to the 5 minute range, and before I knew it he flew past me like I was standing still.  I finished strong, remembering one moment I thought "If one muscle decides to stop for the day, you can basically slide through the finish line with your momentum."  I am glad I did not test this theory, but I was floored at the end.

My goals going into the race were as follows:
-Sub 11 swim
-Under 2:30 T1
-Bike under 40 minutes
-T2 under 1:30
-Run better than 21 minutes
-Giving an overall time 1:16, really shooting for under 1:15

Actual Results:
Swim: 11:36 (1:48/100m) 4/33 AG, 34 Overall
T1: 1:51 5/33 AG, 18 Overall
Bike: 42:06 (21.4 MPH, 216 Watts) 3/33 AG, 31 Overall
T2: 1:19 9/33 AG, 28 Overall
Run: 20:48 (6:56 / mile) AG 5/33, 20 Overall
Totals: 1:17:42 2nd in Age Group, 12/753 Overall

IMG_0307 IMG_0308

Overall Summary:
The bike mishap hurt me mentally, overall I am happy with the results, my wattage was low on the bike, but probably about right based on how little I had prepped on the bike.  The run victory was huge for me, sub 7 minute miles is a HUGE mental barrier for me.  As I was writing this post, I was thinking I needed to find a 5k so I can push to break 20 minutes which will be a huge mental barrier I need to accomplish to continue to grow my run.  Things work in amazing ways, and I got an email saying I can register for the Torchlight 5k next Wednesday evening.  This was just recently featured in Runner's World, so I am going to give it a shot.

Next race: 1st Annual Camp Courageous Sprint near my hometown in Iowa on August 1.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fourth Weekend and more

Well I started my weekend of the 4th early, namely I only worked Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday I was up at 4:30 and out of the house before 5 to head out of town and help build a garage for some family. What an extreme 3 days of work. There was not much in my triathlon training that prepped me for construction, so I started to notice muscles that had not been used in a looooong time.

We got the garage mostly sealed up and water tight despite some issues with parts being delivered on time. The weekend was spent with family enjoying the weather on Saturday at the pool with my niece, nephew, and family. Sunday decided to rain all day and we returned home late that night.

During the weekend, I got confirmation that I would be able to enter the Lifetime Fitness Triahlon, which is this weekend. Having been out of town and away from training for a few days, I knew I need a very disciplined week this week, to trim a few pounds off that I happened to gain this weekend, partially to the super addicting M&M's with pretzels in them..... freaking YUM!

The short week is a good start, Monday I was able to pre-ride the course, or pretty close minus a small detour I took accidentally. I am all registered and ready to do packet pickup on Friday. I may take a half day to hang at the expo and meet/listen to some of the pros. I will be doing the short course, while I know I could do the International distance, I am focused on sprints and think my performance will be best at that distance.

That being said... here goes with my goals:

Swim .4 miles: Under 11 which would be around a 1:33/100
T1: No clue how this is going to work being so large, lets say <2:30 Bike 15 miles: 240 Watts enough said, it is going to happen! Not sure what that will get me speed wise on this course, but aiming at <40 minutes (39:55 is 22.5 MPH) T2: <1:30 Run 3 miles: No guts no glory, hopefully I don't spill my guts on the run, but I want a sub 7 pace for less than 21 minutes. It doesn't take a mathematician to sum those times up and you get 76 minutes or 1:16. My goal is better than 1:15. If you want to look at Last Years Results You will see why I am saying sub 1:15.

This race is a mental hurdle for me. Looking to push my swim, last race I settled and did not have the race mentality for a good 1/2 of the swim.

Efficient transitions will help shave some precious time.

The bike... oh the bike. I rode the course Monday on my road bike, a few tight turns, some rough roads, but a couple nice stretches to put the pedal to the medal. Since it is a short course, I will not be packing repair kits and hoping for the best luck getting through. Wattage is my performance factor here. If I push over 240, I will be happy as that has been a barrier in a race.

The race is won on the run, or so they say. I know I am not a speed runner, but my 7:01 average at the first tri makes me want to push hard and break that barrier. Since its 3 miles and not a 5k, I need to push hard to make a good pace. If it were a 5k, I would be aiming for that sub 20 5k time. Hopefully I can mentally break that barrier.

Overall: As I said mental toughness day. It will be less than 75 minutes of pain (have not raced a sprint yet that was even close to this pain threshold overall) I love pushing hard, but on my races, I tend to be tired later that day, but not physically wiped out. I am going for that.

Waconia Triathlon 2010

I will start this by saying ,wow is it late, and wow no pictures... yet.

Before The Race:
Storms the night before, and pre-race jitters a week in advance, Sunday finally rolled around. My Sleeptracker went off at 4:50, which surprisingly did not feel that early although I had gone to bed at 11:30. I gathered my things, had my peanut butter and honey flatbread which prompted a quick morning pit stop before leaving, filled up a water bottle with ice and headed out the door a bit earlier than expected. I had loaded everything up the night prior, so it was a fast departure. The drive to Waconia was peaceful, not much traffic and I even beat the early morning DJs up, so I had the late night crew still with some party remixes, a good way to get the body grooving. If you happened to see me driving on 494 or 5... you may have seen me jamming out... just sayin.

I got to the park and went to pickup my packet, race number 443. Went to get body marked, and I was a little confused why they wanted to mark the thigh, which ended up requiring me to hike up my shorts and hiding the first number, whatever no lost sleep on that.

You may recall last year’s race was super windy with some ocean like chop. When I arrived, the water looked like a sheet of glass. Hopefully that will continue through the morning. I ran into a co-worker and we chatted a bit as he was prepping his new Felt B2 . I headed to transition shortly after and got setup, and then moved one rack closer to the exit, because I did not like how people had racked/placed gear on the current rack. Once settled in, I did a little spin on the bike, figuring out what gearing I should be in off the start as it is followed by an almost immediate climb. Re-rack, and then a quick pit stop and I ate one of my Marathon Bars. A slight run to get the blood moving, which ended up causing me to start sweating, told me it was going to be a warm day. Shortly after was the “athlete meeting” and I began to wetsuit up. Water was 70 degrees, and in my full 2XU E:0, I was about perfect, not too hot, not too cold. I did a short swim in the water and then a long wait in line for the time trial start standing in the sun the whole time.

Time Trial start, Elites went off in a wave, and after a timing mistake they pulled the team swimmers back to start again. It took a while to get up to the start, which then took me by surprise, I quickly spouted off my number and heard “GO!” In I went, quickly running into the water a few steps, and diving in. (2 mistakes thus far: 1 - I did not click start on the Garmin 310xt 2 – I was going too fast and popped the seal on my left eye goggle.) After about 50 yards with it half full of water, I decided the couple of seconds it would take to clear were worth it. By the time I dove in, I had passed the 4 people who started ahead of me, by the time I stopped for my goggle another 4 or so, then I settled in quite quickly. I got in a groove and felt fast. My sighting was spot on (wish I had the GPS track) About the first buoy I swam up on a line of 5 ladies swimming abreast, trying to be nice, I found an opening and went for it, weaving between them and not touching a soul rather than going up and over. I headed in the direction of the second buoy and then got off track heading for the turn buoy. Luckily it was less than 10 strokes in a bad direction, I corrected and pushed around the first turn.

After the turn, I immediately recognized mistake 3, tinted goggles would have been a better choice. My clear ones were doing me no favors as the sun peaked over and right into my eyes when breathing to the right and eventually the swim back. I reached the second turn and headed in. After getting caught up in the turn with a few people treading water right around the corner, I made the push back. Quickly realizing I am not pushing as hard as I probably should. I picked it up and immediately went off track, both due to not being able to see the next buoy and some poor stroke mechanics. I settled down and got on track, finding a large umbrella on the beach to use for sighting. Before I knew it, I saw the bottom in this green lake and was on my feet.

The best movement out of my wetsuit thus far. I got the zipper cord on the first reach, quickly pulled it down and was out of my arms before I hit the timing mats.

Quickly I took off my cap/goggles/310 and saw I forgot to start it, hitting start as I crossed the timing mat, and quickly hitting lap to enter transition, I headed to my bike, someone must have biffed it in the water pool to wash the sand off because it was laying upside down, luckily the grass cleaned my feet well.

I got to my bike and pulled down on the wetsuit, again getting a bit caught up in the legs, I managed to get out of it fully after a few seconds. Shoes, Helmet, and glasses on, so out I went. I hooked the 310 up on the Quick Release, and hit lap as I exited transition. I over ran the mount line to keep it cleaner for people behind me, and off I went. I got clipped in quickly and found my pace. Although it was a USAT sanctioned event, there was a lot of packs near the start which required some very wide passes of groups of 4-6. I climbed the hill and found my wattage. Cemetery hill was a push and once I got over the top, I knew I was moving well. I started passing people left and right, only being passed by a couple of people on the down hills to quickly catch back up as we climbed… Jeff a climber… no way!

We got out of the neighborhoods which were quite fun navigating at higher speeds, and then it was time for the fun to begin. Rolling hills as we left, I continued moving past people, and got passed by another 2 guys. In total I counted 5 guys who passed me. Two of them were in my Age Group, but I proceeded to pick one off later in the ride. I stuck to my wattage, finding myself slacking at times on the flats. My goal for the race was 240 over the 20 miles, knowing it would probably end up being closer to 230 if I were shooting for 240 the full distance. When I got on the highway headed back east and just over half way through the course, I started clicking and moving quicker. There was very little wind, but any that was there would have been helping at this point. A few times I looked down and was around 33 MPH which quickly closed gaps with people in front of me. Some of the people I passed offered some nice words of encouragement as I went by, which was a nice booster as well.

The course has a few round-abouts that required careful navigation as well as backing off speed since you have to come from a shoulder, between a set of rumble strips, and then take the round-about. The first is less than a quarter around, and then you right turn from your starting direction, but the second requires you to navigate half of it. I got through these while being very conscious of other riders and found myself heading south before I knew it. Time for 6 rolling hills, the first was mostly effortless, the second was mentally my toughest, and the third was the longest which I dropped to my small ring and spun up, moving past a lot of guys trying to muscle it out. Not once did I have to leave the saddle.

I noticed around mile 17 or 18 that my time/distance were good, quite good, but I wasn’t going to clog up my mind anymore than knowing 17 miles at 20MPH equates to 51 minutes. I made some of the last turns and got stuck behind a guy who was making some very unpredicted swerves especially around the corners. I kept a safe distance back, and as we rounded the final turn, I dropped the hammer and went past. As seen in the pictures, I was slightly out of the saddle pushing past him and made the turn into the final stretch before dismount. I clipped my right leg out first, and something happened. In the moment I got a little fuzzy, not dizzy, just cloudy and almost teetered off the bike, not sure what happened, but I wobbled and quickly got out of the left pedal as a volunteer noted my “Nice save”

As I headed to transition, I ran around a few people who were strolling on the carpeted area over the grass/mud etc.

Mostly uneventful, someone racked their bike in my spot and on top of my transition area, so I improvised and moved down a little. In one fell swoop, the helmet and sunglasses were off and I swapped shoes, grabbing the Garmin 310xt and race belt on the way out. I left the shades because I knew I would be pouring water on myself and did not want the hassle of them.

I missed water coming out of T2, oh well only a mile to go. Well it would have been nice to cool myself a little, but I started on. The run course starts the same as the bike course, up a hill. I tried to get my legs under me, but they would not cooperate. First rest stop, it felt great to get some water on my head and a little in my stomach. It took about a mile and a quarter and my legs showed up. I started dropping the pace down and picking people off. Having just been passed by a guy in my AG, I tried to not pay too much attention and get fixated on him, but ran my race. I hit the turn around and headed back, emptying a cup of water on my head, and taking in a bit more, but I felt a tad waterlogged as I knew I had taken in some air with the first glass. The third mile was a push, there was a moment my body wanted to stop, but mentally I knew I wasn’t going to let that happen. I saw the last hill I would have to go up until the last quarter mile or so and pushed up it. The good thing about running up Cemetery hill on the way out, is you get to go down it on the way back.

My pace wavered between 7 and 8 minute miles. The final mile I wanted to push and hammer it out, but wanted to make sure I did not end up on my face as well. I splashed myself at mile 3 and kept on. At this point I knew catching up to the AG guy who passed me was looking slim, but kept my pace. Speeding up, but I never quite got my sprint legs on at the end.

Overall: Until I get official results from home tonight:
Swim (1/2 mile): 13:48
T1: 1:19
Bike: 51 – 223 watts
T2 : 1:00
Run: 30:11

Rough numbers, but they get me close, overall 1:37:48 I believe. Well better than my 1:45 hopes, and even better than my 1:40 mark of things going exceptionally well.

I did not medal, which was bittersweet, and I had to keep reminding myself that this time was 20 minutes faster than last year, and the swim was twice as long! When I first looked at the standings, I was 4th in my AG, by 38 seconds. That was brutal! Luckily later it looks as I dropped to 5th, so I was a little easier on myself knowing I was a bit further from the podium than 38 seconds (I could have found these somewhere out there I know as a fact)

I stuck around for the raffle and had some food. Somehow I got lucky enough to snag a Kurt Kinetic Road Machine bike trainer. We have one already, but not too shabby! I may try to contact the store and see as they have often offered in-store credit if you already have an item that you win.

Overall what a great day. Exceeded expectations, the run was just shy of what I was aiming to hit, but overall I had a great day. July is a non-race month that involves a lot of traveling to weddings, but will prove very beneficial to train and prep for August, the race filled month!

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