This was my scheduled "A" race for the year but following the epic groin pull in late July I was skeptical of my capability in pulling off a good showing. So going in my goals were: 1) Have fun 2) Finish 3) Definitely go under 5:15 4) Possibly go under 5:00.
I got down to Greenwood the day before to get my packet and camp out with the FCAe folks. I like being there the day before so I can get an extra hour or two of sleep. So after picking up the packet and setting up the tent The Dannelley's and I rode our bikes out on the run course to make sure everything was in order. Then we grabbed our wetsuits and went to the swim start. I swam out about 400m and swam back in. Everything seemed to be in good shape. After a great pasta, salad, and bread dinner we turned in. I slept pretty good. Got cold a couple of times, but nothing major. It was a little chilly in the morning...around 50 F. After slowly waking and eating a little, I got on the bike and rode to transition.
I elected to not really warm up and just let the swim be my warm up. I did the pre-race prayer, they played the national anthem and then the elites went into the water. I was in the 2nd wave. Somehow the under 39 men were given the pink pearlized swim caps!Swim: 35:57, 6th AG
I haven't been in the pool much lately, so I just wanted to go out steady and build into a decent swim without wasting much energy. Pretty much went to plan. I thought I would be about 34 minutes, but honestly my sighting wasn't great so that definitely slowed me down. I did come out the water feeling great and fresh, so I guess mission accomplished there.
Took off the wetsuit. Dried off some. Put on jersey (I didn't swim in it because I wanted it dry, remember 50 F). Put on socks, shoes, sunglasses, helmet. I thought this would take about 2 minutes, turns out I was right.
Bike: 2:43:19, 20.7 mph, 8th AG
This segment brought to you by my sponsor Midway BBQ of Buffalo, SC!!!! Jay Allen let me ride his rocketship of a bike and it definitely made a difference. Technology made the flats feel like I was cheating!! I wasn't sure how fast I could do this, so I went by HR only. I knew I needed to hold back in the first 20 mi because all the climbs of consequence happened there. I did a good job of that. The next 36 mi were all about making up speed. My nutrition was a Powerade mix, PowerBar gels, and Endurolyte tablets. I set my watch to alarm every 15 min. I drank every time, took a gel every 45 min, took two tablets every hour. Everything must have worked because I felt great the whole time and ready to run.
I racked the bike, dropped the helmet, put on my shoes and FCAe hat, grabbed my number and gels and gone. I thought I'd be around 1 min...right again.
Run: 1:39:50, 5th AG, 7:37/mi avg
This two lap run course is rolling hills and a lot of exposure to the elements. The first lap felt great. I was going by HR again and maintaining about a 7:15 pace. The sun was still behind some clouds so it wasn't hot at all. I managed the hills and made sure I took fluids at every aid station. I was still having fun up to around mile 8. After that my lack of run base caught up to me. I kept my HR in check but I steadily slowed down to the end. I think the last mile was about 8:30. It was all worth it at the end. Julie and her mom brought Ian down in time to see me come into T2 and finish. Ian was near the bottom of the crappin hill that you have to run up to finish. He was cheering and I grabbed his hand. We ran up the hill together and crossed the finish line. It was the best race finish ever!!! The lady at the finish gave Ian my finishers medal and he wore it the rest of the day. Later he told me, "That lady gave me a medal for runnin!"