My ?4th Wet Dog Triathlon is in the books. We had great conditions… Cooler and overcast. This race is held in my neighborhood. I’m within 2 miles of the venue. Always look forward to this race if I’m free. The racing year is going well. Training volumes are down if truth be told. I am doing mostly short course races so there is little incentive to do big volume. In fact, since my half-ironman in May, the training logs are pretty depressing. The past month was spent pushing tempo-vo2 max intervals on the bike and lots of high tempo running. This was supposed to deliver some needed top end speed for this triathlon. As it turned out, the delivery may be next week. More on this later.
Pre-race day was nice. Off work, so I took it nice and slow going through my prep work. I ran the course slowly that morning. I wanted to see if the recent rains left any small lakes on the trails. It was really in good shape. I mentally marked the 1/2 mile and 1 mile splits along the course. Afterward, I drove over to the pool for a little stretching and a short (500y) swim. I did a couple of faster 100s with sighting and mixed up the breathing a little. Later in the afternoon, once the Bumblebee was dressed for the party, I took her out on the bike course for 30mins. I tried to do a couple of 5min tempo openers. My legs felt a little fatigued but I shrugged it off to the sun warming up.
My pre-race was some stuffed manicotti–yum and a bowl of ice cream for dessert…ok maybe 2 bowls. The ice cream is going into the “never do before a race again” file however. I’m perfectly willing to place blame for a sub-par race without regard for innocence. I didn’t sleep well for some reason…ruminating about the race or spiking insulin levels from my sugar overdose. I, again, shrugged it off. I had slept well the previous night. Ate oatmeal and a couple of pancakes and got a early start to transition.
Several folks were already there and claimed a few of the choice bike-rack spots. Guess, I’m not the only one thinking the same way. Big Matty H. and TD were early as well. In fact, most of dTri Club members were getting an early start. Time flies by in the morning, even if you arrive 2 hours before the swim. Transition was set-up and after a short run with a couple of strides, I headed down to the swim start. Got in the water and did about 400y with a few pick-ups. I sighted out my landmarks for the turn back to shore. I waded out and sat down to do some race visualization.
Matt, Trent, and I were seeded closely on the swim (time-trial start) so we got in line together and soon were off. I pushed the pace, or at least I thought, over the first 100y, then settled into a good rhythm. The game plan was to use my kick a little more and try and get into clean water. Fortunately, my swim lanes were open. I exited the water in 6:58 which at the time was near goal. It’s supposed to be a 400meter swim but it turned out being 400y+/-. So, once again, I’m loosing 10+ secs/100y in the open water vs pool without a wetsuit. My Garmin910 showed me going wide after the turn-around buoy so perhaps I swam a little longer…15-18secs worth, some how I doubt it. I suspect I’m getting some leg drag from sighting/breathing in the open water. ?more open water practice needed?
There is a 40sec run up the beach and into transition. I exited the swim feeling a little lightheaded and my heart was pounding but that’s not unusual. It usually passes in the run into T1 and it did this time as well with the exception of my heart rate. I saw Matt at his bike so I figured we swam similar times. Trent wasn’t to transition yet. I exited transition in 30secs and jumped on Bumblebee. A short line of us started the bike course together. Matt took off quickly as I expected him to do. I settled into my goal power for the first mile. I, sadly, started to realize that my legs were dead. My heart-rate wasn’t settling down and I couldn’t find a rhythm on the bike. It was a struggle to finish the bike leg. The split was 2-3 mins slower than I planned and Trent passed me towards the end of the bike. There was little wind and it wasn’t hot but I felt hammered. I seriously felt like dropping out but I’ve only DNF’d one race in my lifetime and that was a worse pill to swallow. Plus, my beautiful wife and one of three kids came. That’s no small miracle!
I dismounted and racked my bike, slammed my helmet down in the process. Anger had replaced disappointment at that time. Passing my wife and “Cartrey” helped, as I turned onto the trail for mile one. Appreciate the Vuvuzela blowing, Big Cat!
My legs seemed to like running better. However, miles 1 and 2 passed by in a snail-like 7:15ish each. There just wasn’t any speed in them or maybe I didn’t feel the need to thump it. I did begin to pass people by the second mile and was gaining on 3 guys that passed me on the bike. The last mile was much better at 6:20ish and sneaked by a fading Matt who had quad cramps. I saw Trent along the last 0.3 mile straight-away but couldn’t catch him. I finished angry and disappointed but oddly not tired? It was great to have the family there for support. This is usually the only race I can convince them to come watch. Good to see all the dTri Club members, many who had PRs.
As for me, I analyzed the power data from the bike. I pushed for about 8mins then slowly faded. No specific thoughts crossed my mind other than, “Am I pulling a trailer?”, “Do I have two flat tires?”, “WTF?”…I said that alot. I tried angry cop, then nice cop to my legs…no reaction. My run-specific muscles were in better shape, but their top end was absent today. It was definitely a gutted-out finish. Glad I didn’t throw in the towel. Good lesson. Every multisport race I do teaches me something. I had dead legs on the bike but was able to keep slogging along and recovered. Next time, I need not to be doing a 50min sprint when that happens. Ha! Another reason to tell the wife, “This is why you need to let me do another Ironman!”
And really, when it comes down to it, it’s just a race. There is more important stuff in life, like giving your son a hug at the finish line, first or last place. Thanks guys for coming out. Love yall!
Again, Thanks for reading!