I had a lot of expectations for myself today. I went into this race thinking that there would be a small break out of the water, and I assumed I would be in it. Iâ€™ve been putting in some really good swim workouts lately, and riding strong too, so I figured an early break on the bike would be my ticket to a great finish.
Unfortunately, none of the work Iâ€™ve put in lately came out.
Right from the swim start I didnâ€™t have the speed to get in front of the pack, and when we were crunched into the first buoy I was right in the middle of the crunch. I ended up being in the main pack when a few guys gapped us, and by the end of the swim I was only able to lead the chase pack out of the water in about 6th or 7th position overall, but about 20 seconds down on the next athlete.
I flew through transition, which (and this is foreshadowing) was the only fast running I did today, and then put everything I had into my pedals for a little over five minutes until I caught the group of riders in front of me. It was a dumb tactic, but at the time I was thinking if I could just catch up to the break then it would undo the mistakes I had made in the swim. It took me almost a lap of the bike course to catch the group, but it turned out to only be three guys. Brian Fleischmann and Cameron Dye had gone off the front and were putting time on us. I, however, was no help to the group of three for almost another lap as I tried to recover from my effort, and by the time I was ready to pull again another large pack of athletes had caught us, including Jarrod Shoemaker, and a bunch of other runners. With them along side me it didnâ€™t make sense for me to try to catch the leaders because it was those runners that I would be trying to get a lead on. I had missed my shot at an early break, so I sat in the back and did as little work as I could. Not no work, but I wasnâ€™t too worried as the gap between us and Cameron and Brian slowly grew to about 2 minutes in the final lap.
Onto the run, I finally had a decent T2, and came out with three other runners. I tried to hang on with that group, but fell off a bit in the first half mile before settling in with two Canadians. My first lap of the six lap course was ok, but by no means fast. My second lap was slow, my third was pitiful, and at mile 3.5 I shut it down, finished the lap and turned over my timing chip. I was probably still in the top 15, but I was too hot to run fast, and clearly running well over six minute pace was not a good sign.
Brian lapped me on my jog back to transition, and wen ton to win by about 10 seconds over Jarrod. His break worked, which is awesome, and it was pretty clear that Brian was the strongest guy out there today.
I could blame all of the race on the heat, but thatâ€™s just an excuse. I went out with really high expectations of myself and when my performance was below those expectations I panicked. I didnâ€™t understand how I could train so well and still be dropped in the swim. That has nothing to do with heat. Iâ€™ve prided myself on being able to step it up on race day and outperform anyoneâ€™s expectations, but today I was off in every way. Iâ€™m bummed, but thereâ€™s always next weekâ€¦
For some good news, Anna Blume, of my generous host family came in 8th in her age group this morning in the min-musselman sprint triathlon. Great Job Anna!! Tomorrow her husband, John, will race the Musselman half Iron Triathlon. Iâ€™m planning to go out to on of the aid stations and pass out water. Hopefully Iâ€™ll see John run by and I can cheer him home in his first long distance triathlon.