Well, this had to be my least stellar race of the year, unfortunate. I had come off such a great Ironman race in Wisconsin and had high hopes for this race. I have raced at least once each month this season and this was the biggest two month gap between races. I went in not really knowing where I stood with my fitness. I felt great but my training volume was down from ironman training and it had been a while since I had raced. I just threw myself in the race believing I was where I should be....this however wasn't a reflection of my race experience.
The swim was just horrid for me. I have not swam in the ocean very often, let alone the open wavy side. The practice swims were an eye-opener for me. I told myself to just remember to relax and just do my best.
Well, the gun goes off and I got off to a great start. However, the farther out I got, the wavier it got, and the less I had control of holding a draft, let alone some swim form. As I made the turn to head back in the sun was directly in my eyes and I just struggled the rest of the way in.
My transition to the bike was awesome. I had two guys stripping my wetsuit that basically held me up in the air so I never had to touch the ground and kept on going. Grabbing my bike bag was easy and I had set everything up to run smoothy.....and it did. I jumped on the bike and just took off. I am a strong cyclist, but found this course to be a bit different than the rest. Of course everyone has heard of the Clearwater drafting, in a non-drafting race, but I can't even explain the magnitude of the drafting I rode hard, but when packs would come by, I took a cautious back seat, as I did not want to risk a penalty, or crashing. I saw multiple crashes and a penalty tent with more than 10 people in it. In my opinion, the course isn't bad, its just that the roads are all open to cars and the bikers only have one lane of riding and passing. When you have age groupers that are all similar caliber athletes, they most likely are going to be riding close to one an other, so a narrow course just isn't realistic.
I had another great transition in T2. Gotta love the bike catcher in the 70.3. If only every race had volunteers to take your bike so you could skip the racking, wow that would be amazing.The first two miles of the run for me are a build into a good pace. I am always conscious of going out too fast. I actually had great run. It got hotter as it went on, but never really effected me too much. Humidity isn't my friend. The humidity seemed pretty low on race day. I finished hard the last 5 miles and passed a few of my contenders within the last mile to round out the top 10 in the 30-34 age group.
Of course top 10 in your age group in the world is pretty good, but its not good enough for me. I always go into a race expecting to win, or at least do my best. This was not my day. There are many lessons to learn from this race. I find a lot of value in this, and will take this race as a building block for the next season. I had a wonderful triathlon season in 2010 and am very happy of all of the growth and successes I experienced.
Thank you to Kestrel and Speedfill for helping me get set up pre-race. Especially to Steve H. and Frank from the bike shop for helping get my Kestrel 4000 setup fine tuned. It felt amazing and was much better than I could have done myself.
Next race report blog will be done as an elite. Lots of work to do until then....lots and lots.