Jul 17, 2014
This race has always been my nemesis. There are two most notable years of issues that stand out though. One year I did the whole swim/bike portion of the race without water. Severe dehydration set in and I was a mess after the run. Last year I cut my finger on the bottom of the lake at the start with my dolphin dives. It gashed it pretty good and my hand was bloody all day. The heat is almost always an issue there. Despite all of that, I love it. It's a very challenging race that I can't get enough of.
I am feeling pretty good at the start. Before I know it, we are off and swimming. We have the biggest heat of races in my group and the traffic in the water is significant. I get stood up at the turns and am in a fairly constant battle for position to keep from getting beat up. All in all, I'm thinking that I'm not having the best of swims. I push on and make it to the big climb up to transition. It is no joke and I find myself passing a handful of racers as they suffer up it. T1 is fast and I'm off on the bike.
The bike is going out fast. I find myself looking a lot of riders on the out and back section that are ahead of me. It was very discouraging and reinforced my thoughts that I had a bad swim. I push on trying to move up as best as I can, but progress seems slow and gets even slower as the race progresses. I know the hills of Innsbrook are considerable, but my pace is much slower than I would have hoped. I don't give up and ride as hard as I can to try to pick things up. By the end of the ride, I'm really suffering. I pull into T2 and am quickly off on the run.
It doesn't take long for me to know I'm in trouble. I'm dealing with some muscle issues that I feel right off the first step. I get into stride with the downhill start, but it doesn't take long for the first hill on the run to kick me to the curb. I must have gone too hard on the bike and didn't leave enough for this run by a long shot. I fought through it as best as I could, but my pace was miserable. I'm forced to walk some of the steeper hills. I have given up hope for being high in the overall standings or even in my age group. I have dialed things back and am just trying to get to the finish as quickly as I can without un-needed suffering. I cross the finish and head straight to the lake to cool off and relax.
I end up 32nd overall and 5th in my age group. Wow! I hadn't done as bad as I thought... and if I hadn't given up on the run, who knows what I might have been able to do. Lesson learned. My swim wasn't fast, but according to my Garmin pace it was faster than I had been swimming. My bike pace was slow, but it was in line with everyone else. Granted I did push too hard on the bike and didn't have much left for the run, but I certainly had more than I gave. That is one of the most disappointing things I can say. Let it be known that I did a race pace 5K run the next four days in a row!
Strava data: Swim, Bike, Run