Before I tell you how I did, let me tell you how I almost wasnt able to race.
Saturday morning, I was up at 5AM and headed out for a 6 miler with my usual peeps. I tried not to go too fast since I would be racing on Sunday. For the first time eva, I actually ran the second half faster then the first. My first mile was 10:04, good and easy.I picked it up a little and all but one mile was faster then the previous. My splits were (10:04,9:30,9:52,9:42,9:22,9:16) 6 Miles . total time 57:47 for an average pace of 9:38.
At about 7PM Saturday night, I started what I thought was going to be a simple task of cleaning the bike and degreasing/lubing the drivetrain. So I cleaned windbreaker all up and relubed the chain. I made sure my brakes were tight and centered to the wheel. When I was done, I rode her out for a quick test. As I approached my house, I jumped of the bike for a flying, shoes-on dismount. When my feet hit the ground, my rear wheel locked up. I looked at my rear brakes and they were locked up. Then I noticed my rear wheel had actually come loose. Released the breaks (sort of) and pulled the wheel off. My breaks were completely locked up. I could not get them to spring back. After fussing with them for about 30 minutes, I finally figured it out and put the bike back together.
Because I had taken a nap in the early afternoon, I didnt go to bed till after 11PM. I just wasnt tired. I could not seem to get to sleep. I think it was 1AM before I finally got to sleep. I think it was a combination of nerves and an aching shoulder.
So at 3:30AM, my Alarm went off. I got up and had a PBJ sandwich and a banana. As we were getting ready to leave, I was shocked to hear thunder. I took a quick look on the weather channel and found out it was raining by me, but would not be raining where the race was. I hurried to get the bikes on the rack (which I had put on my explorer the night before). On our way down, we hit some heavy rain, but were soon in the clear. Because I completely forgot to get gas last night, we had to stop for gas too. With a 2 hour drive, we got to the race site (Callaway Gardens) at 6:15. We parked where everyone else was parked and headed to packet pickup. Cathy and I got our numbers and took a quick look at the swim course. We then grabbed our stuff and our bikes and walked them to transition. The course was a little spread out. We were parked closer to the finish then we were to transition.
After setting up our bikes in transition, I realized Cathy's tires felt super low. So I ran back to the car. I figured the run would be a good warmup. On my way running to the car, I saw Wes and Dee Dee pulling in. I got my pump out of my car and headed back to transition. On the way, I made sure to stop by Wes and Dee Dee and say hello. I sucked down my hornet juice and a gel. Once I got Cathy's tires inflated, we headed down to the beach. As we walked around the lake, I walked into the water and found out it was really warm (like bath water). We made it to the start and I got in the water to get my cap and goggles on and do a little warmup. We would be swimming along the shoreline, in a counter-clockwise direction keeping the buoys to the right. At its deepest, it was only about 6 feet. The start would be an in the water start. As a Clydesdale, I would be starting in the last of about 6 or 7 heats. I decided as the other heats were going off, I would swim just outside the starting buoy so that when our heat came up I would be at the front, right inside the buoy. This would prove to work out well. In our heat, in addition to Clydes were teams and escorted chilren. There were some really fast chilren swimmers.
When we started. I booked it. I wanted to get some separation from the rest of my heat. From what I could see, there were a few kids who kept up or were faster and we left a whole lotta people in the dust. I passed many pink caps from the heat ahead of us as well as several blue caps from those in front of the pinks. I did manage to avoid any real crowds in the swim. I think most novice swimmers listened to the instructions to stay closer to the shore. I did have to dodge several women swimming super slow on their back. I ran out of the water and hit the mat at exactly 7 minutes. I was the first clydesdale out of the water and and from looking at the A/G results I was like the 5th overall male out of the water (2 of those were kids under 13).
I hit T1 and had my 1st blunder. I ran all the way to my bike and felt great. Because they did not do body marking, we were required to wear our number on the bike. Thinking it would be quicker to slip my race belt on through my arms, I ended up popping the buttons off and had to hunt them down. I got out of T1 in 2:15. It should have been closer to 1:30 or less. Because there was 1000 racers registered T1 was quite large. This would prove to cause me problems in T2.
When I crossed the mat, I had problems clipping in. My feet kept slipping. Once I was in, I was off. I started my Forerunner(Which didnt count the distance right, AND I had forgot to set on multisport mode). Through the first 5 or 6 miles I was clippin away at 20-25 miles per hour. I was constantly passing folks. I thought to myself, I need to get some sort of gadget where I could just press a button and it would say "Coming by on your left". Unfortunately, the last 4 miles didnt go as well. I am not sure if the course got hillier, or my legs a little tired, but I was passed by several folks and my speed kept creeping down under 20 mph. I did the 10 miles in 25:36 for an average of 21.1 mph.
Coming into T2, I dismounted a little early with a flying dismount and began running my bike in. Because transition was in a parking lot, I had to run my bike over several little dirt mounds. Then came the trouble. I couldnt find my spot!!. I knew which bard I was on, but I couldnt find where my towel/bag was. I probably lost a minute just looking for my spot. Every other tri I have done had short bars, maybe 2 sections and they were broken down by number. This race had like 3 super long bars and it was first come first serve.
I got my cycle shoes and helmet off and put my socks and shoes on and I was off. T2 time was 3:09.DOH!!! As I began my run,my legs felt great. I was able to keep my pace under 8:30 almost the whole time. I passed so many people and I was maybe only passed by one or two people. As I was coming into the finish I saw Wes who told me the finish was just around the bend and I took off.I finished my run in 16:41.
My total time was 54:39. I was 12th in the Clydesdales, 157 overall out of like 840 finishers.
Once I finished up, I walked out to the run course to come in with Cathy.She finished the race in 1:27:24 Swim-9:20 T1-4:20 Bike-36:56(14.6 mph) T2-3:50 Run-33:00. She did this with almost only swim training. She had only been on here bike twice since we bought it. She said this would be it, but I think once we can get her on a formal training plan and work her up to running via run/walk, she'll feel different by next season.
We headed home, and stopped at McDonalds to celebrate with a big juicy double quarter pounder and fries. Tomorrow its back to eating right. Overall, I feel great. this nagging shoulder pain is bothering me a little. I am not sure if tomorrow will be a off day, or more then likely, back to the grind.
Looking at my race performance, I see two big areas for improvement. My transitions were aweful. I should have done better at planning the transitions on the morning of the race. Unfortunately there were no maps provided until the morning of the race and even those werent well done. plus there was no signage as far as directions in and out of transition. Plus I now know it will be easiest to leave my race number unsnapped and just snap it on. Plus, I need to find a brightly colored ugly lookin towel so I can more easily find my spot.
The second area for improvement is my cycling. I am not sure if it was the gentle hills, or if my legs were tired the second half of the race. I definitely need to do a portion of my longer rides at race pace. I also need to experiment with gearing. I did almost the whole ride in the big ring of my triple chainring. I feel like I get so much power in the big gear. The only downside is this may be draining my legs of their energy.
Otherwise, I feel great. My swim was super speedy. I felt great running off the bike. I didnt walk once. I need to decide for Chattanooga Oly whether I am going to take my fuel belt or plan on walking the water stops. Otherwise, I think I am in great shape for Chattanooga in 3 weeks. I just need to get some longer speedwork and some more hills on the bike.