Going into the race I felt great. I had been dealing with a lot of mental battles in my training, but the week before during my taper, I felt I had finally grasp how to fight through and had done remarkably well. Physically, I had no issues and believed myself to be 100% ready. My wife and I had made the decision to do this race alone with no kids. Because of the 6:30 start time and the location away from the house, this was not the time to be cheap and not get a hotel room:) So I spent Friday doing last minute maintenance to my bike and packing for the race. My wife and I woke early on Saturday morning, ate breakfast, hit up Starbucks, and started on the short hour long ride to the race. For once in our 10 years of being together, we were actually hours early. That turned out to be a nice thing because we could walk around transition and check out the water. Lake Andrea is awesome and the water was amazing. I almost wanted to jump in and take a swim that very moment...almost:) We left the race venue and ended up finding an outlet mall a couple of miles away. After spending a disgusting amount of money, we decided to get back and check out the expo. The expo was good. There were a handful of vendors there selling last minute needs for unprepared racers and as always those "must haves" that we triathletes think we can't live without:) There were some classes on transition and course advice talks also. The transition class was great, but I found myself thinking..."If you don't know how to do a good transition the day before a race, then you skimped in your training BIG time."
I did make the decision to check my bike that afternoon. I felt so good that I wondered why not just take that little bit of stress away from me. Luckily our shopping trip made that decision easy for me. Since there was a 50% chance of rain that night, I wanted to cover the important stuff, Like my seat and handlebars...i used the plastic bags from the shopping trip to do that. I had a chain condom on my bike, so I knew that would protect me from any issues also. I spent the rest of the day just having a blast with my wife. Honestly, this was a great trip for our marriage. It was just me and her and no stress at all. I would do it again all over if I could...not having the kids was awesome.
Pre Race Nutrition:
I had a rough night sleeping. I sleep with a fan, and in a hotel, no luck. My body was also acting like I was in menopause. I was hot, then I was so cold it hurt. I sweat like a whore in church under the covers. Oh, and my wife was snoring like crazy too. In a quiet room...I was in hell. At 4am the alarm went off and I sprang into action though. I threw on my tri kit and sat down to breakfast. I mixed my pre race Driven and began to sip. No Starbucks meant no coffee...I will say now, I survived, but it sucked. My wife had a Sharpie with her so I had her mark my numbers before we left the hotel, so there was no standing in line for that. I got right into transition an set up my gear. I decided after my sprint I could afford to take up a little more room in transition, so i bought a Blue T-Mat. I will also say now, that this was a great choice. The guys to the right and left of me were apparently Nomads and had brought all but a stove to cook their breakfast. Needless to say they both took up a large portion of my area to put their hat and gloves and snowsuit. If it was not for my T-Mat, then I would have had to get ghetto on their booties. I once again put my bike shoes in the front fully opened and ready for my feet. This time though I could put my running shoes next to them for ease too. I decided to wear socks on the run, so I rolled them and placed them inside each shoe, visor on top of the and race belt behind my shoes. I mixed up 5 Race ready packets of Driven and put them in my 40oz Speedfil, and I was set to get on my wet suit. I lathered my neck, ankles, and wrists with Body Glide, to ease the situation on my body to get said wet suit off, and then headed towards swim out.
I was almost positive the swim was going to make my wife a widow. I did everything right. I placed myself in the rear of the pack and on the outside. I would not be punched, slapped, or drowned. I forgot though that no matter where you place yourself in the pack....you have to swim...doh!! I made a major mistake and had never trained in my wet suit. Unfortunately all of my attempts had been thwarted by hot water temps. So I now, in the midst of the largest race I have attempted to date, am learning to swim in a wet suit....yes, my mom my did drop me on my head. I spent a third of the 1 mile swim with my head above water. I mean, I probably looked like a 5 year old treading water. Needless to say I lost my pack, but don't worry!!!....the next 3 wave packs found me.... Eventually after my second turn, I stopped kicking my legs, turned them off, looked down into the water, blew out and began to swim like a big boy. Line of sight was key here. I was having issues with my goggles yet again...on a side note I am retiring them now...So my right eye was in pirate mode, and I needed to count on the left eye to get me through. I was positive I was on course, and I was, but I was conflicted. There was 50 swimmer on my right side swimming about 60 yards away. I have now decided that they played follow the leader with the wrong person. I almost turned and swam out to them...good thing I didn't! Eventually I ended up at the shore and busted out of that pop stand. I was later happy to find out that 6 more men in my wave were still in the water. However before we get into T1, Let me share the real battle....I had to pee, but my body refused to allow me that pleasure...lets continue to T1 now....
The moment I got out of the water, I needed to pee, so I headed to the Porta Potty. With a wet suit and trisuit on, this slowed me down, but it was worth it! I luckily had schemed with my wife to stand at the fence next to my transition area, so I just ran from the potty, straight to her...Bliss! Not that I needed it though, because there were only 7 bikes left in my age group. The wet suit came off like a dream and I keep a small swimmers towel on my handlebars, so I ran it over my feet, popped them in the shoes, glasses, helmet, bike, and I'm off.
I had decided to mainly work on nutrition this race, and not worry about speed. However, that's like telling Einstein to just balance your checkbook and not completely reinvent how you do finances. Yep, I just compared myself to Einstein....Lets move on. This was a relatively fast course. Not too many hills, and I had scouted it well enough to be prepared for what there would be. I quickly learned that the USAT rules of "no drafting" was mainly a nice suggestion they made. I felt like the guy driving in the left lane on the interstate and there were all the semi trucks trying to pass. I was keeping a good 20+ MPH, but I struggled when coming up to a group of people going 16+ trying to race each other. Now I knew why the guys with full discs were cruising in oncoming traffic. Still though, I was only passed about 5 times, by guys that had to be going 26+ MPH. All I could tell you was that they were fast and had discs. Too fast to see what kind of bike they had:) I passed so many people I did not even attempt to try and keep count. Basically, I was fast and they were not. I had an interesting thing happen on the bike. Towards the end I felt tired, and a fellow teammate passed me and I could see her water bottle was about to pop out. I was mentally checking out for the last 3 miles to prepare for the run, so when this girl comes by, I had slowed to 18MPH. After seeing sooooooo many water bottles and aero bottles on the side of the road, I knew I didn't want my teammate to lose a bottle too. So I kicked it in and caught up with her. I was surprised to find that it was someone who I knew well, and we do long rides together on the weekend. In all my training, we had forgot to actually talk about what races we were doing....ooopps. Well I decided to just finish strong and get ahead with my current speed. My projected time pre race was 1:30, so 1:07 was nice. When I came in my wife actually thought I was starting my second loop and was going to go back out. ha! I averaged over 21MPH on the bike this time out.
I got lost. yepp, even perfect plans fall apart sometimes. My wife was thinking I still had more time on the bike, she was supposed to go back to transition after my first loop...doh! The good thing about coming back was transition looked empty. Apparently all those awesome swimmers that left me to drown, were still on their bikes...serves them right!! The crappy thing was, I could not find my bright blue transition mat. I ran back and forth looking, but came up empty. Turns out a giant bright blue mat does no good when the jerk next to you throws his wetsuit on top of your transition. I almost peed in his shoe, instead I chucked his wetsuit into the next rack. Jesus, please forgive me...amen. Rack bike, chuck wet suit, helmet off, visor on, socks, shoes, racebelt and I'm off.
My plan going into the run was to run a 9:30 pace. I did that to a dream for the first mile, the second mile there was some craziness going with the direction people were running and the guy telling people where to go was running with us confusing the crap out of everyone. I actually heard one guy tell him to shut the bleep up, he was making things worse. So for 3/4 of a mile we were running into the people making the loop back, it was terrible. After mile 2....it happened. I mentally lost it, let me explain. Shortly after mile 2 I began to smell something. At first I thought it was dog poo. We were in a park, so this didn't surprise me. After about another mile the smell got worse, it smelled like my 18 month's diaper after black beans for lunch. So mentally I am thinking way too much about this smell that is making me ill. I should of just looked at the Garmin and sped up, but I didn't. I had officially checked out of the race. Then my mind went somewhere else. Since the beginning of the race I was behind a woman in a black and red tri suit. She was about 10/20 yards in front of me and kept perfect pace with me the whole race. Sometimes I would get within 5 yards, but quickly, she would speed up, or that dog poo would get worse and my mind would drift. I suddenly noticed something on her tri shorts. I think they were wearing out. There were 2 spots on her leg on each side of her Chamois. They were not black, but very worn out and an off color. Sometimes this does happen with tri shorts, so it did not surprise me too much, but it was odd. Then I had that moment. The moment when the last few miles of thoughts come all into one thought and complete what I was thinking....the spots were brown....THAT WOMAN CRAPPED HERSELF!!! I had to get around her, but every time I tried, I almost threw up. My gag reflex had kicked in, I decided that the race was over, she won. I held back and let her finish first.
Finish Time 3:05:38
So I finished. I was tired, exhausted, but not dead. I enjoyed the race and I learned a lot. I plan on doing this race every year. Mentally I need to do some work....oh and the swim too:) Next stop 70.3 Ironman Racine....