Way back in 2013 this was the site of my first triathlon. I enjoyed it so much I couldn’t wait to do my next one. The unfortunate part was I’d have to wait about 7 months or so for that to happen. As it occurs at the end or close to the end of the tri season in the North East it marks the end of my tri season. It’s a great race with all the proceeds from it going to the local United Way. It is one of the only races in the area that I know of that offers a Try-A-Tri, a scaled down sprint distance of a 200-yard swim, 10-mile bike, then a 5k run.
Normally during the week leading into a race I would do swim, bike and run training but with a day or two of rest included. But because I had really stressed out my legs in my last 2 races over the last 2 weeks I only did swim workouts. For those who don’t know, I did my first Olympic distance triathlon 2 weeks ago. It was heavy with hills on both the bike and the run for a total race distance of about 32 miles. Last week I was to do a Sprint distance tri but the swim was canceled because of the lake conditions so it was changed to a duathlon. My total race distance should have only been about 19.5 miles but unfortunately, I missed a turn on the bike course so my race turned into almost 47 miles over almost 3 hours (you’ll have to read Incredoubleman race recap for that story). I certainly wasn’t expecting to put out that kind of effort going into my last race. So in an effort to get my legs back under me I thought only swimming and not using my legs much would help. It also took about 4 days for the soreness in my right lower quad to go away and with only 6 days in between races I had to expect fatigue to set in at some point during the race. Mind you this would be my 14th racing event of the year not including my swim meets that occurred at the beginning of the year.
I got to the park early because I hadn’t picked my packet up yet. I probably didn’t need to be here so early but I wanted to get a good spot in the transition area so the 4:30am alarm I got up to was probably worth it as I was one of the first to rack my bike. Because this was my 4th time doing this race I knew more people here than I do at my other races. So I spent a good portion of the morning catching up with those who I hadn’t seen throughout the season. Like normal it’s very windy here…I could feel it blowing my car as I drove in. That was going to make for a tough bike ride, however, the lake wasn’t too bad and was only a little choppy so there shouldn’t be any issues in the swim. The water was a little cool but at 70 degrees it was a lot warmer than it had been in the past. One of the things I liked about this race was that they did a staggered swim start. They send you into the water in 5-second intervals from the shore. You get to self-seed yourself based on how fast you think you can swim. There is less congestion that way and it reduces the chance of getting run over by a faster swimmer. The drawback is you don’t really know if the person next to you going into the finish on the run is ahead of you or behind based on time. I went for a quick half mile run to warm up; my legs felt OK so only time would tell how I would hold up.
I was probably about the 10th person to go into the water. There was lots of seaweed close to the shore so I tried not dropping my arms too low during my stroke so I wouldn’t get tangled up in it. I had a few people go by me but I kind of expected that. I had one issue on the swim when my arm got caught in the line holding the second turn buoy. I stopped briefly to get it off my arm then went back into my stroke. As I approached the shore I stood up a little too early which put me in the mud making trying to run out very slow. So I dove forward and went back to swimming. I swam until my hand hit the bottom then stood up, I was still in the mud but I had to just run through it. I finally made it to the rocks and was able to run past the slower people walking out of the lake.
The shoot from the lake to the transition box was a little narrow. I had to turn completely sideways to so I wouldn’t knock a lady over who wasn’t running as fast as I was. I had one hiccup in getting my wetsuit off as it caught on my timing chip that was on my ankle. Once I got it off I put my helmet on and was off with the bike.
I did a running mount and was on the go with my feet on top of my shoes. We were told that there was to be no passing in the coned area which extended until we were out of the park. A guy passed me then passed more people in the coned area. I thought for sure that guy would get penalized but I never saw it on the time sheets. Because I stuck to the rules I really got held up when I got stuck behind a really slow guy who was racing the duathlon. As soon as we got out of the park I took off. I felt great in the first part of the ride. I looked down at my bike computer I saw I was averaging over 24mph after about 3 miles. That was most likely because I had that strong wind at my back. Once we turned into the wind however that average would come down. Halfway through the ride, I could feel the fatigue setting into my legs. The course is relatively flat but fighting the headwind just seemed to take the steam out of me. I got into a back and forth battle with one guy about ¾ of the way through the ride but I eventually pulled away from him towards the end. I caught one guy and passed him not far from the park entrance. He went back by me as we approached the final hill that would lead to the park entrance. He said something to me as he went by but I didn’t make out what he said. It had to be someone I knew but didn’t recognize because I didn’t see his face as he went by. I had to decide if I was going to power up that hill to catch him. Knowing my legs were already tired I decided not to. Once I made the turn into the park I pulled my feet out of my shoes and got ready to make my dismount. The guy that passed me had stopped to unclip and dismount. That’s such a slow process that I was able to step off my bike and run right past him. I wasn’t running too fast as the parking lot had some small stones on it. The guy I passed came up behind me and was saying faster, faster. Once I hit the grass I did run faster but I didn’t take the time to see who the guy was.
Once I racked my bike and took off my helmet I sat down to put my shoes on. Normally I would stand and do it but because I’d stressed my legs out so much I didn’t want to take the chance of twisting awkwardly and causing a muscle spasm. Once I got my running shoes on I stood up, grabbed my race belt and took off.
I came out of the transition area behind 2 guys. The guy I passed at the bike dismount line and another guy. The guy that I had passed was running at a faster pace and I knew I couldn’t stay with him. But the other guy and I were going at about the same pace so we started talking about the wind on the bike course. I’m starting to think that it’s good for me to talk when I run because it forces me to settle my breathing. After I realized that my legs were going to be ok and wouldn’t cramp up on me I started running fast and left the guy behind. I didn’t feel like I could run as fast as I would normally run but I was able to hold a decent pace. I got passed by about 4 people on the run and as they’d pass me I’d look down and see their ages on their leg. If they weren’t in my age group I’d just let them go but to tell you the truth, I don’t know if I could have done anything about it if they were…lol. I finished off the run with a nice little sprint even thought I had no one to pass or no challengers from behind.
I finished in 13th place, 1st in my age group in 1:21:46.7. I’m going to rest my legs this week and get ready for my 14k road race!