After Age Group Nationals in Burlington, VT I was motivated. I had a great race and I had a whole month - all of September - to train for my last three races of the season starting with the Powerman Muncie Sprint Triathlon which was today. I met my training volume for the month and was running very well. My swimming has been good the last two weeks to. This had me thinking and visualizing my sprint race today and looking forward to an age group victory and a sub 18 minute run....
I started to get nervous a few days ago when I checked the weather forecast and it said a hi of 54* F! Yowwww! That's pretty cold. As it turned out, last night the race directors moved the swim start from 7 am to 19 am when it was the early morning forecast was 39*F! So I was thankful for the extra sleep time, but very worried about the cold conditions.
Pre- Race: I stuck to my typical routine, only I had to lay out extra cold weather gear that included a long sleeve jersey, tights, a jacket, and gloves. I used the bathroom four (4) times, I had a bowl of oatmeal and trail mix for breakfast, half a powerbar an hour before the race, a Gatorade Prime 01 Pre-Workout drink thirty minutes before the race, and a GU Roctane 15 minutes before the race. Just as I did at Age Group Nationals, I put my wetsuit on and forget my timing chip. I remembered 5 minutes before the start, had to run back to the truck, grab it, and run back to the swim start which was actually a good warmup.
Swim: Water temp was a crisp 61*F. The race director made all triathletes - even the Olympic distance folks - do a swim sprint due to the cold conditions. I really have a problem with cold water so I didnt want to even touch it. The cannon went boom and the elites went off. Three minutes later the rest of us started to run into the water at 3 second intervals. I was the third age grouper to hit the water. It was cold, but not as bad as I thought it would be and by the first buoy, I was in the lead and I had put the cold out of my mind. Actually felt pretty good. Since it was only a 400 meter swim, I used a pretty quick turnover, rounded the final turn buoy and raced home. By now I had a good 29 second lead and had caught an Elite swimmer!. Two dolphins dives at the end and I ran out of the water as the first age grouper. In fact, I had the fastest overall swim time at 3:05. Obviously, the swim was not 400 meters.
T1: I decided going into the race that I was going to take the time needed to put on a my cold weather gear for the bike, so I had a 4:18 transition. Remarkably this was still the 11th fastest T1 time since everyone else was doing the same.
Bike: Cold weather gear on, I headed out and immediately felt my hamstring tighten a bit. Never felt that before. At least I wasn't freezing. The wind was about 15 mph too, so I was kinda tough getting going. I didn't feel I hit my sweet spot until about mile 4. At this point there were a few Elites ahead of me and one age grouper. Usually I start getting passed by tons of guys at about mile 6 or 7, but today only 3 people passed me the whole ride. The back half is up and down rolling hills and the wind seemed to be everywhere. Nevertheless, I actually enjoyed the bike and knew I was doing well with just a few people ahead of me. My bike split was only 40:07 (19.1 mph) and I rode the same course averaging 20.1 mph before, but good enough for 12th overall. Like I said, it was windy!
T2: I typically have fast T2 and today I did as well. :53 seconds and 5th fastest overall. I took off my jacket and kept the long sleeve jersey as it was a bit warmer now.
Run: All week I was excited about my run, especially after I read that Liz ran a 6:06 pace. My goal was a sub 6:00 pace for the 5K. By now the sun came out and it was a little warmer but not much. I wanted to hold back a little the first mile and save a little for the last, but my first mile was only 6:37 and I just never felt like I had any speed and I never recovered. I passed one of the guys that passed me on the bike, but I didn't push myself past about 90% and I confess I backed off going into the "super hurt" territory, content with the fact that no one was going to catch me and I wasn't going to catch anyone else. Disappointed in myself for doing that. I only ran 21:11 (6:50 pace) over a very hilly up and down run course. Still, I was 1:03 faster than I was in May on the same course and my run time was the 3rd fastest overall.
I finished in 1:09:32. 5th overall and 1st in my age group even though two guys in my age group finished ahead of me. They both raced in the Elite Division. So, overall, I was happy to win my first race of the season, proud that I embraced the cold weather challenge and fared pretty well, disappointed that I didn't run faster, and happy that my wife and three of my sons were there, too! They should get an award for making it through the cold weather as well.
Watch my race video here: