The 1.2 mile swim
Almost laughable…In fact, I did laugh when I exited the water. out loud…Yes, the course was short. I don’t swim a 1:35 pace per 100! (as much as I’d love to). Some estimated that it was 300-400m short, which would have added 5-6 minutes to my time. Still, though, even with those additional minutes, it would still be a very respectable swim for me. By comparison, I did the swim in over 47 minutes last year! Nothing like having a 17 minute lead coming out of the water!
The 56 mile bike
2:53: 31 (19.4 mph avg)
That bike split was truly faster than I ever thought I could ride this course of hills, turns, winds and bad chip sealed roads. Again last year, by comparison, I averaged 18.2 mph overall. The course was slightly different last year, but the bike course official said he thought this year’s course was more difficult. I made a conscious decision to just put it all out there and try to hang on for the run. I knew my run wouldn’t be as fast, but I was already way ahead of my time goal, so I knew I could be a little conservative on the run. The bike course went by much faster than I thought it would. There were only a few moments where mental frustration kicked in and that was usually because we made a turn directly into the wind. The last 10 miles were blessed with a tailwind on the way back to transition. That is until you hit the last two “bitch” and “bastard” hills heading back to the park. Overall, it was a good ride and I started the run with a little bravado and confidence.
2:06:07 (9:38 avg per mile)
As you can tell by my time split, that confidence didn’t last long. Actually, let me take that back. I was feeling damn good for the first half of the half-marathon. The miles were ticking by between 8:15-8:30s…then 8:50s…then 9:00s…I was still cool because anything below sub 9:00 was fine with me. I was hoping to be conservative and still have energy to pick it up at the end. Yeah…well…no such luck. By Mile 6, my calves and quads were cramping BIG TIME. I’m talking vice grip cramps. I wouldn’t run 100 yards without something seizing. Needless to say, the last several miles included several walking bouts interspersed with some jogging. There was such a nice guy on the course who kept walking with me and encouraging me with each step. He ended up giving me his “magic towel” (as he called it). T3 Tom even stopped for a bit as I was having a seizure moment. He steadied me enough so that I wouldn’t fall over and look like a road carcass on the side of the course! At Mile “something,” I took 2 electrolyte tablets. They didn’t kick in until the last mile, but I was able to jog the last mile and not cramp up. Lesson learned… Oddly enough, I didn’t feel dehydrated or depleted AT ALL. I followed my nutrition plan to a “t.” It just didn’t include extra salt because I didn’t think I’d need it.
Needless to say, I’m thrilled with the overall time, even though I was on pace for a 5:20 until the wheels came off at mile 6 of the run. As I look back on this year of triathlon, I’ve seen some incredible growth with my swimming and cycling, both of which I consider to be my “weaknesses.” Ironically, they were my saving graces yesterday. I owe so much of that improvement to my T3 coaches and team. I can’t tell you what a benefit it is to train with such a large community of like-minded individuals. It’s a community of overachievers no doubt, but genuinely amazing people. I wouldn’t trade the comraderie or discipline for anything.
Shawn also posted a huge PR on his race today as he continues to knock off his PR in chunks of 15-minute intervals! (we should all be so lucky). When we got home, he thanked me for getting him into triathlons. I thanked him for not divorcing me because of it.