|Me and Mrs. Keep Moving Forward :o)|
Since this race was so low-pressure for me (meaning no Kona slots available), I took it as about as stripped down of a race I could have done. I did not use any race wheels on my bike at all, nor did I use an aero helmet, no bells, no whistles, nothing. I really couldn't care less who was racing against me in my age group as placing didn't really matter too much, I was only worried about my execution of this race. See in previous years, I've always floundered on the marathon portion of the iron-distance triathlon. I've always come out of T2 like a bat outta hell on a mission and then by the time mile 13-18 comes about, I'm cooked and walking or just slowing down in general. Not really having a problem with the closing miles, I've just never had a race with even paces that I've been proud of. That was to change this year. My desire was to execute this race flawlessly. More of a race against myself that you had to check your ego at the door and swallow the pride. I wanted to focus on my OWN race, rather than let the other racers around me shape my outcome.
|Obligatory photos at packet pickup - Tiff went on for a 45 minute PR!!|
Race morning came and it was eerie. The day prior when packing my transition bags, I mentioned to Kim that it almost didn't feel like I was racing, like I was packing bags for someone else. Maybe this is because I've done 7 iron-distance triathlons and this is all pretty much second nature by now, or maybe it was because this was such a low pressure environment for me to be racing in that I was completely at ease. Honestly, we just got up and went to go find Ken the morning of. Nice relaxing drive with some coffee and a bagel, not a bad way to start the morning.
2.4 mile Swim - 58:15 - 5th overall amateur, 4th male - 2nd in M30-34 AG
The gun went of and it got REALLY lonely. The thing with these smaller races is that compared to the M-dot races which have about 2000-2500 people vying for that "perfect" line between buoys, the race in Cedar Point only had 400 or so folks starting which makes for a little different dynamic. Anyway, we start swimming hard towards the first buoy and there's this guy next to me who is also trying to draft off a faster swimmers feet near us. It's pretty sparse mind you and we have the ENTIRE lake to swim, but he and I knocked into each other a few times until I pulled away from him.
Transition 1 - 2:13
Ran in and there was only one set of wet footprints leading into the men's change tent, which reaffirmed Kim yelling to me that I was second overall (turns out I was actually fourth male at this time - two guys swam 50's and exited the water with the pro-wave, so no one noticed them) I ran out of the tent and saw Ken Koppenhaver and yelled to him as I was going to get my bike.
112 mile bike - 5:13:29 - 6th overall amateur - 4th in M30-34 AG
I popped out on the bike and I knew my foot would hold up here, exiting transition I saw Kim and Tiff who told me I swam a 1:01 (they were reading off the clock - actually was 3 minutes faster), and got some cheers and instantly noticed my HR was a little high. I tried to soft pedal it on the causeway on the way out, but there was a guy in front of me and I was eager to make up for a sub-par swim. The causeway was a little bit bumpy, but being out of the water so early, you could weave around the bumps. My stomach still felt full and my arms were REALLY tired from battling the waves, so I was a little nervous about how that would all play out and tried to settle in as best as possible.
Jim LaMastra told me that last year he and a few pro's took a wrong turn and I was internally freaking out a little (given my track record)
After finding the 60 mile mark, things were smooth sailing. I felt like I was pacing this ride really well and the Garmin File from the Bike proves it too. I got passed by 2 other guys in the closing 10 miles (near the causeway) and the last guy that passed me asked, "you really wanna get off that bike don't you?". To which I replied, "YES!" as I was bouncing around on the causeway lumps back to transition. All in all, good ride that I am really proud of.
Transition 2 - 2:11 - 6th overall amateur - 4th M30-34 AG
Nothing special to report here, other than nervousness of how long my foot would hold up and the guy that sprayed sunscreen on me hit the chaffing on the back of my neck which made me wince...
Run 26.2 miles - 3:36:20 - 4th overall amateur - 4th M30-34 AG
Heading out was a little surreal, Kim was giving me placings and splits via her mountain bike and I hadn't run more than a few steps in the last MONTH prior to race day. So I really had no idea how my foot was going to hold up. I figured out at packet pickup, if I rolled onto my arch and pushed off via the big toe, it only hurt the capsulitis a little bit. So I figured I could work with that. Realistically I knew I could get through 13 miles, but the last half of an ironman marathon is hard enough when your body is at 100%, let alone when you are taking a gamble and you haven't run in a month. I knew I was in for a long ride.
PowerBar Team Elite kit and as a presenting sponsor of the Revolution 3 triathlon race series, I was able to get into their photo stream on Flickr with the shot above. Gingerly clicking off the first few miles again I was trying to keep my heart rate down. I knew from my training that I'd been running faster than I was at the current moment, but my heart rate was being my dictator and I was sticking by it.
The first loop was eventful, I was struggling to keep my heart rate down as the heat of the day started to creep around and I was clicking off 8minute miles like it was freaking clockwork. Honestly, if you look at the Garmin File of my Run, it proves that I was slow and steady through the entire thing. I think of the entire race, I was most proud of the steadiness to the pacing that I exhibited during this run. Kim popped by me at around mile 15 or so and asked how I was doing. Things were actually pretty good and as she sped off to go cheer for our other friends, I began to think I might just be able to pull this crazy thing off!
|Loop 1 of the run|
Hitting mile 18 or so, we were obviously all mixed in with the half'ers and it was hard to see who you were actually racing against. But I was coming up on a few folks that I recognized that had passed me earlier in the bike. There was a dude in a Ballou Skies jersey and another guy in black with a bib# in the 90's. I was getting word from Greg, Amanda and Kim that I was gaining on the Ballou Skies guy and I was getting really focused on catching up to him. I knew I was in 5th overall and illusions of grandeur started dancing in my head whether I could catch him and then the guy in black in front of me. I would later realize that the moment I saw the guy in black, he was probably passing the Ballou Skies runner and that's the last I would see of him.
|Loop 2 of the run - more focused|
Anyway, back to the race! About mile 22, I was coming up on this Ballou Skies guy and right around that time Kim was coming up to cheer for me on her mountain bike. She started to say "there's 4th place..." and I put a single finger up to my lips and said, "shhhh" because I didn't want the guy to know I was coming. I wanted to sit a few feet behind him, reload from catching up to him and then make a surge and pass that made him lose all will to chase me down and stay with me. I made that pass at mile 23 and I heard his footsteps fading in the distance. I was in 4th place and as soon as I got comfortable and settled back into my pace, disaster struck.
So I bucked up, I told myself, "you can do anything for 2.5 miles" just start running and grit through the pain". Ballou Skies guy was gone and I was just focused on finishing. Those last few miles and steps were the most painful and humbling that I have ever run. Kim was waiting for me at the finish and I was hoofing it in as best I could. I was just trying to limit the amount of people that would pass me and the amount of time that would go by.
|You can see the Ballou Skies guys arm and shoes behind me...|
|1.8 seconds after I crossed...|
Rev3 Cedar Point Iron-distance triathlon - 9:52:28 - 4th overall amateur and 1st M30-34 AG
You'll notice that I was 1st in the M30-34 age group in the final standings and that's because they removed the top three guys and put them in the overall category. Top 5 people in the amateur race were in my age group. The guy that I ran down in the finishers chute with the Ballou Skies jersey on lost out on getting; a fuel belt, a fuel belt palm bottle, $25 to the Rev3 store, a sweet AG winner medal, and free entry to the Rev3 CP Iron distance race next year ($500 value)
It is exactly a week after racing as I write this and the swelling in my right foot has finally subsided. The day after the race, I looked like this: