With early season focus on distance swimming and running speed work, I was very happy to finally get into my triathlon racing season this past weekend. After running the Boston 5k over 6weeks ago, I had a bit of soreness in the right shin and decided to take a few weeks off the track and take a break from speed workouts to let it recover. I was finally able to get back onto the bike saddle more consistently and worked on increasing bike and easy run mileage over the last 4-5 weeks.
This season, my training has been quite different with such a late start to triathlon. I have been more relaxed, trying to limit racing and traveling and staying focused on the training. I’ve had a few good weeks in the pool, track, and on the trainer and open road depending on the weather. I was very happy a few weeks ago with 4x mile repeats in the 5:30 range after not having done any run based workouts and most importantly no shin pain! I tried not to overdo training leading up to and during my taper week and felt pretty ready to test my abilities going into Rock Hall.
Race morning, I can never seem to get much food in me, it may be that we got up at 4am had to drive 2h to the race. Once at the race site, did all the usual transition check-in and setup. It was really great to show up and be done with setup in 5min, which is a stark contrast to most of the races I did last year. It’s been raining on off for a number of weeks now, but water temp was 78 so just barely wetsuit legal. I opted for the Xterra shorty speedsuit this time since I was a little concerned with overheating. Ended up doing a quick 8min warm-up with Tori and a few strides after that and headed to the race start. I was feeling pretty sluggish at this point, a little tired too.
Wave 1 went off and I started the 2 lap swim. I realized after the first lap and emptying my leaky goggles twice that this wouldn’t be a fast swim. I kept going hard on the second lap around the Rock Hall Harbor where now all swimmers were on the course. I was pacing 1:20/100yds and kept maneuvering around people and emptying out my leaky goggles 2 more times before the swim was done. All in all, my GPS had me at 1950yds in 26min. After looking at other GPS athletes trackers, the course seems long by anywhere from 250-300yds. At this point I was a little upset with my swim, I didn’t really know how much extra I had swam or taken the time to look at my pace, but I knew it wasn’t the 21-22min 1500m I was aiming for. Tori told me I was 7th as I ran to T1 .15mile run up the pier. The shorty was a great decision for a fast transition.
As I headed onto the bike course I passed someone right away, then another a few miles after and then stayed tucked in aero in my big ring. I had a strong nutrition plan for this humid and hot day, 4 Roctane GU’s and 16oz energy carb drink for about 750calories combined. At 12miles I was averaging 25.3mph and realized I should probably slow it down a bit since I didn’t think I would be able to sustain the effort. Took a right turn and rod past Nicholson raceway and got pounded by some strong gusts of wind for a few minutes which slowed me down naturally. At this point I hadn’t passed anyone since mile 2 so I assumed whoever was in front was going the same pace as me. As I headed back towards Rock Hall, I spotted a bike and motorcycle in the distance; I passed at mile 18 and realized I was now in 1st behind the lead motorcycle. The whole race I hadn’t had a clue where I was in the field of athletes. I knew there would be some great athletes out, but had not expected to be in the lead myself. There is certain sense of relief and energy being behind the lead motorcycle and I kept my pedal strokes strong and smooth coming into T2 in 59:11 (24.3mph). I was so happy to have been under the hour mark! Quick T2 and off on the run.
As I excited T2 and headed on the run course, I heard an announcement of the second athlete coming into transition about 45sec behind me. I knew I had to keep it even on the 10k or try to negative split. 6:08 mile 1 and I could see someone behind me at the turnaround. I started to have some abdominal discomfort possibly from ingesting harbor water during the swim rich in bacteria. Was it too good to be true?! First loop was 19:10, I pushed harder trying not to focus on the gut pain and taking in water at each aid station. With half a mile to go no one had caught up to me yet and I went for a final surge into the finish, last mile in 6:05. 10k in 38:10 and overall 2:05:55. I knew I still had to wait for later waves athletes to finish before securing the overall victory. 2nd place finisher ran a 36min 10k and finished 2min behind. I had beaten him last year at General Smallwood Olympic for the overall win there as well. It’s a good feeling when that happens, since I know he is a great triathlete and I know I will be racing him in Omaha in August again for Team USA Slot.
I want say that I’m so thankful to be healthy right now and able to push myself to achieve such a results. I’ve really learned it’s about being consistent in my training, which is not always something I prioritized. Great thanks to Family, Friends, Coach and especially Tori who drove me and has to deal with my Cheez-It stories on a daily basis. She did get a free Ice Cream out of it!
2:05:55 (S:26:08 T1:1:44 B:59:11 T2:0:40 R:38:11)