My season FINALLY started on Sunday. I have to admit I wasn’t 100% excited about it in the weeks leading up to the race. For about a month I was suffering from training burnout. Just thinking about the workouts wore me out & I did a lot of slacking.
On top of traveling for the race, we made this trip a family vacation to Disney World. We flew out Wednesday, spent Thursday-Saturday at Epcot, Magic Kingdom and Animal Kindgom and then I raced Sunday.
Packing for the trip was stressful just because of the amount of stuff needed for four people in addition to all my race gear.
This time I decided to ship my bike with TriBike Transport instead of dragging it through the airport. It was a fantastic decision! They partner with the Trek Store in Highland Park, so I dropped the bike off there and TriBike Transport drives it to the race site fully assembled and then they bring it back to Highland Park afterwards… AWESOME! The pick up & drop off at the race site was also super easy. I met Mark who stared the company, he was a really nice guy and explained how the whole operation works. I would totally do it again when traveling to a race.
On race day I woke up at 3:45, ate and was on the road by 4am. Transition was already buzzing when I got there at 4:30. I lugged in my gear and strolled past Lance as I located my spot WAY in the back.
While setting up my area, I realized I left my bento box, spare tubes and CO2 back in Chicago… Not cool. I figured I would just cram all my nutrition in my suit and really hope I didn’t flat out.
I was ready and at the swim start to watch the pros go off at 6:30, then I mulled around a bit warming up and stressing about swimming without a wetsuit. It was my 1st race without one.
At 7:35 I was I the water waiting for the horn to go off. I didn’t feel as nervous as I thought I would. At 7:40 we were off! The water was a balmy 82 degrees and relatively clear. The swim course was a single loop ‘M’ shape which threw me off a bit. I felt great swimming! At no point did I feel tired. Even after catching an elbow to the head and getting kicked in the ribs my swim felt strong.
I was surprised at how long it took me though. At Mooseman last year the swim seemed to take hours, this race seemed FAST but the two times were pretty close.
T1 was long, weaving through the zig-zag transition area didn’t help though. But now it was time to bike! I was pumped to take my new Felt DA4 out to race for the first time!
My race plan called for me to average 18mph on the course and for a while I thought I was going to destroy that goal. I kept checking my Garmin and seeing 18 and at one point 19.5mph averages!
There were two big buzz kills on the bike ride. One was the local resident who decided the closed roads didn’t apply to him and he snuck his Subaru in with a pack of riders. Me and one other guy decided we’d try and pull off him for a while, but it didn’t work out cause he was going too slow. Finally an officer removed the car from the course and we were racing again… I bet Lance didn’t have to deal with that crap!
The other killer was that I dropped my last full water bottle with about 15 miles left to ride, and I had already passed the last aid station. I didn’t realize the bottle was gone until I went to grab it… Ooops. Other than that my nutrition had been on point.
On to the run… Sort of.
I was a little dehydrated as I rolled into T2. After slugging some HOT Gatorade and refilling my trisuit with ShotBloks and Clif Shots, I trotted out on to the run course.
I always blow it on the run. I feel good coming out of transition, start too strong and fall apart midway through. This was not the case this time.
I was hot and tired. This run wasn’t flat like the bike course either. The 3 loops kicked off with a nasty hill in the first 1.5 miles which I walked. The whole course was on asphalt and there was no shade. I was roasting. I followed my race plan and Coach Jen’s advice to stay wet. Eventually I started to come around and was able to jog around mile 3. My run was more of a run walk combo. I’d jog in between aid stations and walk through them to drink, eat and water down. The residents of the neighborhoods we ran through were also out hosing runners down.
About midway through the 2nd loop I knew my sub 7:00 goal was going to be a stretch. The heat was getting to me & I couldn’t keep a fast enough pace. Another runner said “we have an hour and a half to finish the next loop and a half!”
Not if I want to finish in 7:00 i said.
“Throw out your time goal now, I did” he said.
Sorry buddy. I’m not quite giving up yet. I took one last Espresso Clif Shot and grinded away the last 6 miles. I still had to run and walk, but my run was a little faster. My new goal became 7:20, any longer and I would consider this race a failure.
As the 3rd loop started I was pushing hard, wearing more water than I drank just to keep cool. Finally I got close enough to hear the finish line. Now it was time to use the last of the energy. My race plan said “last 5k run until my heart explodes”. Speed-wise I wasn’t running that fast, but the effort I had to put out felt that hard.
I was hot and beat. I didn’t make my Sub 7 hour time I had hoped for, but I’m confident I could have.
Next up is the Lake in the Hills Triathlon on June 10th and Bigfoot Triathlon on June 24th. Some nice short courses before Racine 70.3 in July.