My 2nd Tri of the year was another sprint distance with a 1/4 mile swim, 14.3 mile bike and a 5k run. The Clay's park Tri a month ago would have been a logged as a disappointment for me except that it was my first sprint and I thought for a large portion of the swim I might drown, so I had to mark it as a wash. This tri though was going to be much more successful. I had bought a wetsuit and begun swimming in open water 2-3 times a week focusing on my form and breathing. I had also upped my cycling to 3-5 hours a week. My running remained around 30 miles a week which included races, tempo runs and a bit of speedwork. I was nervous as always but was determined to improve on my 1:38 even though my the bike was 1.3 miles longer.
The swim went like this. I felt confident so I decided to stay with the pack and use my new stroke I had so often practiced. The water was fairly warm and calm for Lake Erie until we got out passed the break wall and then all hell broke loose. The chop had some waves that seemed to be rather high. I had never been in Lake Erie before and I had told mself to be prepared for anything. I still managed to keep my stroke and breathe without feeling any panic, but then a hand grabbed my head and pushed me under. I pushed back up to the surface and again was pushed back under by the same hand....WTF. I pushed back up for the 2nd time and for a 3rd time the hand pushed on my head but I was ready. I turned my head and yelled some "get the hell off me" at some girl who looked about ready to drown. She grabbed onto my shoulder but I shrugged her off and pulled forward with my arms. I was pissed, but still okay to swim. The water was clear so I began making my way passed the first break wall trying to stay on a straight line. I began passing girls in the water and trying to avoid being kicked or punched, but no luck, some chick roundhoused me right in the cheek. Geez, was this a tri or the ultimate fighting challenge??!! I swam on for a bit but had to stop and fix my goggles as the chop was so strong it pushed water into my goggles and I have learned with regard to the tri, fix it now and lose a second or two or fix it later and lose a lot more. I made the turn into shore after the second breakwall and made my way to shore. The women had yellow swim caps and the men who were 35+ had red caps and had started 4 minutes ahead of us. I was shocked there were about 4-5 red caps with a few yellows around me. I had swam well :) I swam unitl the water was below my waist and then stood to make a break up the hill and into transition. Time: 9:32. I was very happy.
I wanted to have 4:00 for T1 and T2 today so I figured no more than 2:30 for T1. I popped up my wetsuit and began dressing for the cycle portion. The Walrus was already way ahead of me, but the other guy on our bike rack was right there with me. Today I may get my 1:30 afterall. I took my gel and some gatorade and ran out of transition.
The bike - I had a little trouble clipping in for some reason, so I lost a second or so, but nothing major. I knew my heart rate was up and I needed to get it down. I was in my warm-up gear that I use on my trainer so I started focusing on my breathing and relaxing my upper body. The course was a big loop. We headed west on Rt. 6 for about 5 miles before turning off. It was fairly flat but there was definately a head wind. I could not relax and I got passed by a few girls and guys in the tri on this part. The Duathlon had also started and the top competitors had gained on me. My pedal speed was not very good, about 15mph. My legs were tight in the hips too. Something had to be done. I started focusing on my single leg 5's and siting the riders ahead of me. It worked my body fell into sync. I began catching those I that had clipped me in the beginning of the cycle. about 8 miles in 2 more cyclists in the Du got me, but this time I decided they were not getting away. I pushed forward to about 18mph. I had had enough I was going to work hard the rest of the way in or die trying. I hit the 12 mile marker and continued on hitting 19-20mph here and there. I turned into the park where the transition area was set-up. I jumped off the bike and realized I had not hit my split when I left T1 so total bike time and T1 time was 53:06.62. I saw my time was 1:02:38. I was right on my goal time. I need to transition in 1:30.
I dumped off my bike ripped off my cycling shoes and pulled on my Asics. One more discipline to go. I needed to run a 26 minute 5k to finish in 1:30. I transitioned in 1:29:36. Here is where things went haywire.
I looked around to confirm run exit was at the bike exit. I yelled where do I go and someone pointed me up toward the front of the park. I began jogging to the exit, and then to the road. Someone yelled at me that I was going the wrong way and needed to turn around. Damn IT!!! I did a U-turn and headed back in where I saw TriSaraTops who directed me onto the path. Thank God for her. My legs were heavy, but I figured they would relax after a couple minutes. I had lost about a minute running around looking for the course but there was nothing I could do. I was almost a quarter mile out when I saw the Walrus coming in. He yelled some encouraging words at me, but all I could think about was how hot I already was and how I wished I were him on the way in instead of the way out. The course was was almost completely in the sun and there were lots of turns. I was a bit disoriented and new I was dehydrated. I found some shade and ran down the sidewalk instead of the road. I needed some friggin' water. I was overheating BIG TIME! I went down a hill and made a turn and then another turn and there it was, the turnaround and the aid station. I took a gatorade to drink and a water to dump on my head. I was out in about 16 minutes. Whoa, again WTF??!! I wasn't running that slow, but what choice did I have but to keep going. On the way back up the hill I saw the Journey Woman coming down and yelled at her to keep going. It was only about 3 minutes to the turnaround. Ahhh, this course was long, I was exhausted, I still had about a mile to go. He was topless and tired, but he was running back. It was my hope and determination coming back to me. It was the Walrus. He jumped in along side me and started encouraging me to keep going. He told me about the race and how he did. It was of course, Great. He pushed me forward and I told him I just wanted to finish and I was exhausted. He said I had busted my ass and worked hard for and hour and a half and I might as well finish strong and give it everything I have. I sensed a girl coming up behind me with a quarter mile to go. I held my pace though for about another minute and then picked it up until I hit the finsih. run time was 32:45. Very disappointing. The course felt long and with the misdirection in the beginning I had buried myself on the run.
My total time was 1: 36:55. I was 6:55 off my goal time and I lost it on the run. I was still about 2 minutes faster than Clay's Park with an extra mile on the bike course and a longer run course. I had made strides forward, but I still needed many more . Next up Painesville 5-miler!!