Last year, under ideal weather conditions, I posted my 1/2-IM PR, a 5:09. I didn't expect to best that this year, for two main reasons.
- I hadn't really been training specifically for this race. Everything's pretty much been about IMWI this year, and with the "official" start of IM training a few weeks back, I'd been doing a lot of low HR zone training. As a result, this race was pretty much a "B" race, at best.
- Lost training time. The more I look back on my bout with pneumonia this spring, the more I'm realizing how much it set me back. Not only the two weeks of complete non-training, but also several weeks of slowly getting healthy again. Toss a school backpacking trip into the equation, and I probably missed about 5 weeks of solid training this spring.
I don't think I've had a more pleasant competitive swim. The water was in the high 60s, pretty clear and flat, and the sun warm. Right from the beginning this swim felt great. Good body position, smooth sighting, very relaxed. Usually an international or 1/2 swim will have a couple of "when will this be over" moments. But not today. I hope I can build on that! Swim: 35:24, 7/31 AG, 144/344 OA male.
T1 -- Here's the drama of the day.
Feeling good about the swim, I trotted up to transition and ran along the racks. I ducked in and ran to my spot, 357. Wait...where's my bike? There's no bike?! Somebody took my bike!! I did a passable impression of a headless chicken for what seemed like an eternity, running up and down the racks looking for my bike. Finally I looked down at my hand, where they'd marked our numbers. 457.
Oh s#@*. I sprinted over to the correct rack and found my bike -- right where I'd left it, of course. A couple of deep breaths, a quick laugh at my rookie mistake, and off I went. T1: 3:46(!) 13/31 AG, 211/344 OA male.
No drama here. The plan was to keep the bike in a controlled zone and get off ready to run strong. A beautiful day for riding, and a fun course. Stayed right on schedule with my eating and drinking and felt plenty strong, though a little tight, towards the end. Picked up the pace a bit over the last few miles and felt good heading into T2. My time was slow, though, especially compared to last year, when I laid down a 2:40. But, like I said, I haven't been doing the riding that builds speed, at least in the short run. Bike: 2:51:25, 15/31 AG, 206/344 AG.
Made up for T1 on this one, or at least salvaged my pride. T2: 1:03, 1/31 AG, 29/344 OA male.
The three-lap course can demolish you if you're not careful, so I started carefully, keeping my pace and breathing under control, especially up the first long hill. I was rewarded with a good first 4 miles, with my pace slowly dropping into the mid to low 8's. With a little luck I had a good chance to go under 1:50 or even better.
But it wasn't to be. Around mile 4 my calves started cramping. Never bad enough to cause a complete train wreck, but plenty bad enough to drag my pace down. I walked the water stops and pushed fluids, but never could overcome them. By the third lap the sun and heat were a factor and I was cooked. I kept turning the legs over and dug in for pride's sake, but it wasn't going to be my day. Run: 1:56:09, 11/31 AG, 149/344 OA male.
Just as well to chalk this one up to experience. And, for what it's worth, I could have given in and had a much worse run than I did, so I'll award myself a couple "mental toughness" points. But it's going to be a long summer of training, with plenty of opportunity to get myself into the kind of shape I want to be in.