So after last week’s good race in Lake Zurich I was hoping that I still had enough fitness to put together a good race at the 70.3 distance. But boy was I wrong! There is ZERO hiding a lack of fitness at this distance and the day was rough because of it. Now I knew I wouldn’t put down a scorching time but I had hoped I could still put together a good swim, bike, run because the course was flat and had the possibility of being fast without too much effort. But that is not how the day went.
Just like last week’s race I wanted to push the swim and see what I could do when I really raced the swim. And this was about the only good part of my race. My wave went off at 7:23 which was good because I am used to going off in the later waves in these races. Starting early meant that there would not be as much traffic in the swim. The first few hundred yards went off well, the water felt great and my stroke felt good. I had to stop once because my goggles started to take in water and I wanted to try to stop that, but after stopping by a kayak to fix them they started to leak a few hundred yards later. It’s tough to adjust goggles while treading and rushing. But when my right goggle started to leak again I just started breathing to my left which meant no more water in my eye. I get to the final turn and feel pretty good. Then I see a bunch of people standing up, so I stand, dolphin dive, take a few strokes then the water is a foot deep again. So I stand up again, but the problem is we are probably a hundred feet from the beach. Damn you Lake Michigan sandbars! So the water gets a few feet deep again, so I dolphin dive a few more times. People around me probably though I was nuts but it’s easier and faster than running in the water. I get out of the water and see the clock and it says 53:40, which means I swam a 30:40. Great! Another swim PR! Now it was time to make the LONG run through the sand to transition. This part of the race sucked, like it was awful. After a while my legs did not want to move but I knew I would lose time if I walked so I sucked it up. I got my bike and I was off.
Swim time: 30:41 for 20th in my AG and 157thoverall
Luckily I started in an early wave because right out of transition was a short, sort of steep hill. This meant that if people didn’t have the right gear out of transition or could not get clipped in they would be riding all over the road and falling over. I saw the hill the day before so I planned accordingly. All I had heard leading up to the race was that some of the roads were very, very bumpy. But I live in the Chicago area where pot holes are all over, but boy oh boy did most of roads suck! Like big time suck! The first 20 or so miles went pretty well, I was pushing the watts I wanted and things were pretty good. There seemed to be wind but nothing too terrible. But then all hell started to break loose for me. My back started to annoy me, it seemed like I was going into a 20 MPH headwind the whole time, I ran out of water, my watts were raising but my speed was dropping. “This is awful!” I was fighting with my mind for the last like 30 miles. Not exactly what I wanted in that race. It might not have been so bad if it was just the wind but the cracks in the roads every 10 yards just made the ride miserable. Thump, ride, thump, ride, thump ride. I was all alone on the road for the most part too until the turn around where we headed back on the same roads and I saw people starting their ride. This is when I knew my race was not going to go as planned. My fitness was not there for ride the 2:20-25 that I was hoping to ride, so I struggled home then turned my focus to the run.
So coming off of last week’s race, I know I keep repeating that phrase!, running 6:25 min/mile for the 6.2 miles I thought I could maybe run 6:45-7 minute miles for the 13.1. But that did not happen. Now I could blame my crap run on the fact that it was in the upper 90s, maybe reaching 100s, but the reason I ran slow was because I was just not in good enough shape. Now I know it probably wasn’t just the lack of fitness, it was probably more the heat, maybe a nutrition mistake during the bike, maybe over biking, but all of that really boils down to a lack of fitness for my standards. But you live and you learn! The run was a nice course for the most part but each loop had two hills that were short but pretty steep and the first one is about 20 yards into the run so it really tests the legs right away. After the first mile or so I felt so terrible that thoughts and a DNF (did not finish) crossed my mind because I wasn’t sure if I could run the whole race and I did not want to walk 12 miles in that heat at all. But after taking in some Coke and Perform with ice I started to feel a little better. The second lap was easier than the first but it was still not that much fun, except for being able to count my miles/minutes down. That might be a problem in the future but during long runs and races once I get passed the half-way point I start a mile and minute countdown based on my pace. It keeps my mind thinking but also sucks if I am feeling like crap. But at the turnaround point of the second lap I started to pick it up a bit then with about 2 miles to go I told myself to finish off with some sub 7 minute miles. I see the finish line and muster up what I have left and kick it in. My face crossing the line is of pure disappointment but also joy because that race was over!
Final time: 4:47:59 for 12th in my AG and 77thoverall
I shouldn’t be too disappointed because I just did not have the fitness on the day and that time is not terrible for the lack of fitness but the race is over and nothing I can do about it now but look forward to racing this weekend’s Olympic triathlon and hopefully improve on the last two races! And big thanks to my parents for waking up super early and driving out to the race!