one word can describe this morning’s race: freezing. a quick check of my phone at about 6:00am, one hour before race start, showed 45° with 17mph winds. the windchill? 37 degrees. just yesterday, the weather forecast was predicting temps about 10 to 12 degrees higher, so i neglected to take any cold weather gear – no arm or leg warmers, no vest, nothing. luckily, i had a pair of knee high compression socks and a thin pair of gloves i found in my bag from the last race. still, gloves, socks, and a tri kit doesn’t do much when you’re ripping along on the bike at 20+ miles an hour dripping wet.
here’s how it went:
the swim: this was a weird one. it was marked at 800 yards, but the water for the first half of the loop was so shallow i had to dolphin dive pretty much the whole way. and since it was a two loop course, i did a lot of this. still, i was out of the water in 9:40.68, good for the 10th fastest time of the day. i wore my wetsuit, so the swim wasn’t that cold. problem is you have to take it off in transition 1 to get on the bike.
tranition 1: because i chose to put on my compression socks in an attempt to not completely freeze on the bike, transition took way too long. about a minute and a half too long. while it seemed like i was there for days, the official time says 2:27.22. and if that wasn’t bad enough, i spaced taping my nutrition gels to my bike prior to the race start, and again forgot to grab them heading out on the course.
the bike: by mile one, my feet were already cold. i remember thinking how glad i was to have taken the extra time to put on socks. (normally for shorter races like this, i don’t wear them.) i think i may have even smiled a bit, hopeful my feet would stay a little bit warmer with them. by mile two, i’m pretty sure my feet were numb. so much for positive thinking. i could go on and on about how cold it was out there, but i’ll just say it was cold. you could stretch it and say it was freezing. i had the shakes, my mind got a bit fuzzy a few times, and i felt dizzy around mile 23 – all due to the cold. yet every time i felt like letting off the gas and easing my way back to the transition area, i thought of my mom and what she went through. after that, i remembered the pain my dad had endured in that hospital bed for all those days. i wondered how my old partner was doing with her current illness, and what she’s been dealing with these past few months. and almost instantly, the cold didn’t hurt so bad. i felt a bit of feeling in my near frozen toes, and i found the strength to push on. sure racing triathlon is tough, but it’s nowhere near what they have all gone / are going through. they didn’t quit. how could i?
my goal was to maintain 200 watts on the bike, and i did just that – 201 NP. i always find myself thinking that’s low, but i have to remind myself i’m barely 140 pounds. there just isn’t a lot of me to make much more power. i also have to be content with the fact that’s where my body is at right now, and that there’s always room for improvement. the 29 mile course took me 1:20:48.85, averaging just over 21.8mph. in the cold and the wind, i was happy with this.
transition 2: quick and easy: 00:44.62
the run: it took about two miles before i regained the feeling in my feet, and that isn’t an embellishment. the good news is with every step i ran, my body started to warm back up. i had hoped i wouldn’t run out of energy having eaten nothing on the bike, and around mile three i was glad to find myself still feeling strong. the first half of the run i averaged 6:38 minute miles; the back half i ran 6:20’s. total time for the 10k run was 39:41.02. i again met my goal of a sub 40 minute run, and i couldn’t have been happier. the fact i negative split the run was icing on the cake.
i placed eleventh overall, missing a top ten finish by 18 seconds. i did see the guy ahead of me during the final mile or so, but my type B personality was having none of the thought of chasing him down. and i’m fine with that. i raced my race, met my goals, and am very happy with my overall result. my club members did well today: Mike McQueen placed 1st overall and David Gramer took 2nd. Jason Lowman’s saddle busted leaving T1, and despite not being able to fix it, he still rode the course and finished the race. BADASS! Steve Ruppel had a solid sprint distance race with a really strong bike, and Will Fisher placed 15th overall in the sprint race. there’s nothing i like better than a guy in his 50’s beating up on the young guys!
kansas 70.3 is this coming weekend, and i’m really excited for the chance to race outside of WI. it’ll be nice to escape antarctica north for the weekend.