Leading up to the race I had a pretty light week. I did get in a couple runs, but that was it. I guess we'll call that "taper". Got everyone off to bed reasonably early Saturday night and warned them of the early wakeup call. Thankfully, this race is so low key that there really isn't a time when transition closes and the race itself starts at 8 - late by triathlon standards. The event is held at Phillips Lake on the south side of Columbia, a mere 30 min from my house. So we rolled out of bed at 5:45, woke the kids up about 6:15 and struck out by 6:30-40ish.
I got my packet (pre-registered on the last day for online apparently - saved $5) and T-shirt and bodymarked. Set up my transition area (which was tough with people hogging the unassigned racks and ground space. I mean - really - 3' worth of towel and stuff PLUS another couple of feet for your bike? I know this is a small race, but leave some room folks!) Will teach me to get my spot earlier. Still had time to kind of stand around. Took a few pics with my family (which apparently I need to harass to take pics because they didn't take any OTHER pics the rest of the day!). And then, after very brief race instructions, they sent all racers 39 and under (me for 3 more weeks) into the water and said "GO!"
Not all of us were even in the water when they said this so I had to ease on in over the rocks at the bottom of the boat ramp and then start swimming through some of the dense lake vegetation at the edge. I had a hard time finding a rhythm and there was some very minor contact. Pretty soon I was at the back with the fast folks zooming to the first buoy ahead of me. They must have sent the rest of the racers shortly after that because they passed me too. I seemed out of breath from the start and kept having to stop my regular stroke and do a side or back stroke to try to get more air. I didn't think the first buoy would ever get there.
The trip to the second one wasn't bad, but it was a LONG way from there to the end. The boat ramp never seemed to get any closer, but I would look back at the last buoy and it would be a little further away so I just kept going. I'd try to count through 5-10 strokes before I would take a break. I was suffering and pretty much decided I have no business doing an Oly while I was out there. I was super tired and ready for the swim to be done. I was almost to the shore and I hit even worse lake weeds that felt like ropes tying my arms under the water and not letting me through. Not fun! It wasn't like that the last two years. They must need to spray or something. Finally got out of the water at 26:57 minutes (according to Garmin). It was supposed to be a 1/2 mile swim, but my Garmin said it was 0.56 (though looking at the map, I may have zig zagged a little). Slower than last year, but the course was shaped a little differently.
I felt for sure the heavy bike miles this year would pay off and I could just CRUSH the bike leg. Nope! For the first mile or so I still felt completely gassed from the swim. I couldn't push a bigger gear and was just hanging on. I tried to get a drink to ease the scratch in my throat that started on the swim. But I just didn't feel steady so I didn't drink much. I felt progressively better, but continued to get passed. The course isn't that hard with just some minor hills. I tried to increase my pace, but I think I just maintained. I felt a little better as it went on and was able to drink more.
I averaged 14.5 mph on the bike which is solid for me (and especially given how bad I felt the first few miles). Made it back to T2 in 1:02:56 (Garmin) and and made the supremely stupid decision to remain sockless. I had a bit of trouble getting my running shoes on, then grabbed my race belt/number and fiddled with clipping it on as I walked over to start the run. I took a handheld this year because of the fiasco with water last year and I was glad I had it to sip on whenever I walked (which was, as always, way more than it should have been). The cloud cover remained so it really wasn't that ungodly hot, but I just felt like I had nothing to give.
I spent the entire run bargaining with myself to run even the shortest amount. I would say to myself "run to that tree", "run until you pass five people coming back towards you", "run through an entire Hail Mary". Whatever! I got to the water station and kept going. They had some music on that I could hear for a few minutes - nice break from my mental dialogue. First mile came in just over 12 min which is about par for the course for me. But about this time I notice the rubbing on my ankles. Oh, did I wish I'd have taken the 30 seconds to put on socks. Jeez, that burned. But it hurt about the same whether I walked or ran so I continued to force myself to at least run little bits. Second mile came in pretty close to the first. OK, I can live with that. Dear God, only a mile to go. Man that spot on my ankles is really on fire. Just run to that next tree, nope the next one. Come on - suck it up!
Final mile was slightly slower, but I finally got across the finish line for a 38:04 min run (though it said "moving time" was 36:13 - and I didn't stand still so not sure if part of that is my T2 time). It sure as hell wasn't pretty. And a little annoying that it took 2 hours and 10 minutes total. But another tri in the books regardless. Took off my tennis shoes post-race and saw the blood that making a stupid game day decision to go sockless gives me. I know better. Not sure what the hell I was thinking. Those BURNED in the shower too. Ouch!
Got back to JC in time for school registration so that is taken care of. Not much else to speak of over the weekend. Went out for fried chicken last night and so MMNW was on the higher side (162.4).
Swimming = 9.56 mi
Biking = 991.2 miles
Running = 128.9 miles