Wednesday, June 15, 2011
After the week of weather that we had in Chicago, and the entire Midwest for the most part, I was happy to see that the forecasted high for the day was only going to be 80 or so which for Kansas in June is pretty tolerable. What I wasn’t happy to see was the 80% chance of rain and thunderstorms for pretty much the entire day from 2-3 AM and on. My biggest fear was that the race might be shortened or worse yet, cancelled. It would be a long way to travel for a no go. Either way, it was only a “forecast”, more specifically a weather forecast. Essentially it was nothing I could control. I hit the alarm button at 4:00 and thus the day began.
Got to the race site just after 5 and made my way to T2 which was separate from T1. Got my stuff set up and into a plastic bag should the rains actually come. Always nice putting on dry shoes if you’re soaked coming off the bike. Headed down to the swim start and finished setting up my bike and got out of T1. Considering I was the absolute last wave of the day, I had almost an hour after watching the pro men go off to hang out and talk, relax, and settle the typical race day nerves in attempt to get ready to race. Met a fellow Zooter Rick Lapinski and realized that he lives less than 30 minutes from me in the Chicago burbs, hey the day was off to a good start from the getgo.
As a few of the first waves went off and we watched from an elevated position, I realized how calm the swim looks as a spectator, even when the gun initially goes off. Everyone seems to be swimming at their own pace, unhindered by anyone in the world. I can see how the swim portion of a triathlon “looks” like the best part of the race if you’re far enough away from the action because it truly looks orderly. Got ready to hit the water and the gun was off.
Swim – 32:58
Swim was a skinny rectangle that pretty much took us out, over a tad, and back to the beach. Got to the first of 2 red turn buoys in what felt like a pretty short period of time. The one thing I noticed on my way out was that the water seemed to be getting choppier with every minute. Luckily the lake seemed to be somewhat clean because the water I swallowed a few times really didn’t have much of a bad taste to it. Hit the first buoy and then the chop turned into what felt like intermittent swells. Having talked with several competitors afterwards, I don’t think I was alone in my description of the swim. The 2nd leg of the swim seemed to take what felt like forever. One of the buoys became detached and of course, I bellied back into the course to follow it before realizing I was not heading towards the 2nd of the turn buoys. Probably lost a bit of time there but with the chop being as bad as it was, this wasn’t bound to be a PR swim anyway. Finally hit the beach and was pretty discouraged when I looked at my watch. Got to my bike rack and didn’t notice a whole lot of bikes gone so I knew I wasn’t the only one who struggled with the first leg of the race. Shoes and helmet on and off we went.
Bike – 2:19:30
Knew right from the start that the wind was going to be a factor as we rode straight into it before leaving Clinton State Park. Headed over the dam and also realized that with my disc/1080 setup, crosswinds were also going to be a factor. Hit the gas anyway and figured that I may as well ride the horse until she bucks me. First 20 miles or so of the bike seemed to go by pretty well and I felt surprisingly strong considering my bike fitness is somewhat lacking at this stage of the year. Then from about mile 30-45 or so I really started to feel my legs weaken. Much of this stage of the bike leg seemed to be impacted by the wind and there were a few times going downhill that I had to grab the bars and get out of the aero position for fear of going all over the road. I knew going into the race that the last 5 or so miles would have a tailwind so my focus was just to get through the miles up until that point and then hope for the best. Hit T2 in just under 2:20, not spectacular by any stretch but I was satisfied all things considered.
Run – 1:21-25
After checking out the run course the day before and talking with my coach, I knew that the course was pretty much pancake flat with the exception of a hill on each lap. Right from the start I felt solid. Through mile 5 each of my splits were between 6:00 and 6:08 or so. Again I tried not to get ahead of myself but I wasn’t laboring to run that speed and so I just ran by feel. By mile 9 or so I was starting to feel the race take its toll and I just tried not to slow down too much. I went through mile 11 in 6:25 and as much as I wanted to just stroll in the final 2 miles, I really wasn’t in the mood to look back on the race and kick myself because of it. On top of that, I wasn’t sure where I stood in my age group at that point and I wanted to turn in a solid result at this race. Kept from falling off any more than I already had from my initial pace and hit the line about 1:30 slower than my pre-race goal of 4:15.
Race Time – 4:16:33, 1st 30-34, 5th Amateur.
Talked with Rick at the massage line and met a few more of the Zoot racers, Diana and Adrienne who all had impressive races. Was nice to also hang out with all of them as we all stuck it out and stayed for the awards, despite some lengthy traveling afterwards, for me anyway! Thanks to everyone at Zoot, Ridley, Zipp, GU, Garmin, Fuel Belt, and all other contributing sponsors, we couldn’t do it without you! Also a special shout out to my number one fan Julie, no words can express my gratitude for all that you did to make this weekend better, easier, less stressful, etc!!! Best of luck to everyone the rest of the season and hope to see some of you at Muncie 70.3 in about a month!
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