Race morning the alarm went off at 4:20. I ate my PB&J sandwich and drank a little mountain dew (the kind with real sugar!) and took a quick shower. We were checked out and in the car by 4:40! I love races with bike check in the day before, because race morning there is very little to do, just get my nutriton for the day set up, eat PB&J number 2 and stretch. Except even with the very little to do, I still forgot my endurolytes. So after a mad dash sprint back to the car, then back to the transition area, then to throw my wetsuit on and sprint to the start line, I was nice and warmed up and ready to go!
32:58 - 1:34/100yard - 6th in AG
This is the first time I have ever felt like I was racing in the water. I lined up with the front of our wave and when the gun went off I dove in and took off sprinting. I was determined to make it on the feet of someone fast when we made the first turn. Unfortunately, I still haven't figured out how to swim really hard AND swim straight. Instead I swim way to the left. So my little detour kept me from getting right on the feet I wanted to be on, but I still felt like I was in good position. I managed to stay in a little pack for the first couple hundred yards but after rounding the 2nd turn buoy, there was nothing left of the pack. So off on my own I went!
This swim was in a spring fed lake, so it was crystal clear. I could see the rock formations on the bottom of the lake nearly the entire swim. This was a very nice change of pace from the nasty lake and bay swims I have grown acustomed to where you can't even see as far as your elbow when you are swimming.
I finished my first lap and jumped out of the water to round the timing mat. As I did so, I heard my cheering section scream that I was in 6th place. As I hopped back in the water, I could see the next guy in my AG about 25 yards ahead of me. No matter how hard I swam, he always seemed to be that same 25 yards right in front of me and we finished the second lap in the same position.
I didn't quite make my goal of swimming a 31:xx but I have to say that I am still very happy with this swim. I have a lot to work on, but just 6 months after swimming a 1:20:31 at Ironman I will call this an improvement. Of course all of the extra speed could be attributed to this swim cap:
T1 - 1:57
2:30:50 - 22.3mph - 4th in AG
The bike was tough. Much tougher than I thought that it would be. The course was flat as a pancake, but the wind was howling! And my bike is not quite an aero bike. If you missed part one of my race report than you might not be aware of the fact that I am riding an ancient race bike, known as The Mummy.
Well, I did manage to alter The Mummy a little bit from the picture and add race wheels and aero bars to it. But despite the changes, the components are still 26 years old. And it didn't take long before that proved to be a problem. I wasn't even out of the park that this race is staged in before my rear deraileur decided to throw my chain. Fortunately though, riding this bike has made me quite proficient at working on a drive train. So I was off the bike, fixed the chain, and was back riding again in just a minute or two. Now, time to get to work!
During Ironman Texas, I don't think I consumed near enough electrolytes or calories on the bike, so I wanted to make sure I did not repeat that mistake here. I started with two bottles of gatorade diluted with half water and made sure that I drank a minimum of every 15 minutes. I took a hammer gel every 30 minutes as well as 1 or 2 endurolytes (depending on how I was feeling) every 30 minutes. I staggered the gels and the endurolytes so that I didn't have to take both at the same time.
I wasn't on the bike long before a group of 3 guys, including 2 guys in my age group, riding in a peloton came past me. I let them go and decided to stick to my heart rate, but after the initial pass, they didn't seem to be putting any additional time on me. Then the more I watched them draft, the more mad it made me. So I put a charge in and passed them and then put some space between us. We ended up battling back and forth for most of the day. Although one of them was not quite staying out of the draft zone and the other one was no more than half a bike length behind the person in front of him at all times, it was fun to actually race against them and to know where I placed in the race at pretty much all times.
I started out feeling great on the bike, but as time progressed, the wind picked up big time and my heart rate began to drop. I thought my inability to hold my heart rate was just the headwind, but after the race I started thinking about things and realised that the change in bike position the week of the race probably had a good deal to do with my heart rate. Moving my position on the bike from more of a touring position, as the bike was designed, to an aero position moved a lot of the load from my hamstrings to my quads. This just sucked my legs dry.
In the end, one of the guys I was battling with rode off, I dropped the other and then passed another guy to move up to 4th in my AG coming off of the bike.
T2 - 1:14
2:08:47 - 9:49 min/mile - 10th in AG
Yeah, the run was carnage. My quads were cramping within the first half mile. It didn't matter how much fluid or endurolytes I sucked down, there was no saving them. My heart rate stayed about where I wanted it, but I couldn't get my legs to move any faster. I would push harder and harder and my heart rate would shoot higher and higher, and then when I got to the next mile marker I would find that I was not actually running any faster at all. That's not fun. I walked through the aid stations and "ran" all the rest of the time. But that "run" kept getting slower as the day went on.
Sucking down some warm Mountain Dew in a desperate attempt to keep moving.
As I stumbled through the run I began to calculate my times and negotiate with myself: "ok, keep pushing here. If you can hold this pace, you can still break 5:05." "Ok, keep pushing here. If you can hold this pace, you can still break 5:10..." In the end I had to run a 30 minute 5k to break 5:15. I pushed as hard as I could, but once again no matter how much I pushed the hurt, my legs weren't moving any faster. At one point in the last mile it felt like I kicked a towel or blanket or something and looked down to see what my leg was caught in. There was nothing there. "Ok, so now my legs are shutting down. Let's not pull a Chris Legh here at the end of the race..." So now I'm pushing as hard as I can and praying my body does not shut down in a collapse fit for Hollywood. Fun stuff.
I dropped 6 places on the run and finished in 5:15:48. I'm not exactly proud of that finish or that time, but I am proud of how hard I pushed. That was the most I have ever hurt in a race and the hardest I have ever pushed.
Now to find a bike...