Sunday I raced the Rev3 Triathlon in Venice, Florida. It was the last race in this yearâ€™s Rev3 series, and the last race of my season. I came in 4th, but the race was pretty exciting, with some swapping of position during the run that led to a very close finish with me and Victor Zyemstev. It was also fun because the swim was cancelled (replaced with a 1.5 mile swim due to bad weather), which made for a race with some different faces in front at the start of the bike.
This was my second half-iron distance race. I swore I was done with that distance after the first one, but when Hurricane Sandy ruined my plans to race in the Bahamas on Sunday, I wanted to find another race. Plus, two weeks after my first half I was remembering the experience much more fondly than I that finish line video from Rev3 Anderson documented.
The first run was short, 1.5 miles where we averaged a bit under 5 minute pace. The run did less to separate the group than a swim would have, and any separation we did have starting the bike was a result of us being funneled through a very tight transition space. I was actually walking out of transition because there wasnâ€™t enough room to run around the people still putting on their helmets.
Onto the bike I caught the leaders pretty fast, but couldnâ€™t quite close the last 5 or 10 seconds to Jesse Thomas. He was just hanging in front of me for a long time, and I thought when Andrew Starykowicz came by me that I could match his pace to catch Jesse, but instead he left me in his dust and Jesse went with him. I was sure I had put a solid lead on the rest of the field, but at mile 40 I heard that I only had about a minute on a pack of six guys. To make matters worse, the flat windy course gave me no chance to get out of the saddle or change my position, and my hips were frozen with pain. The last 15 miles of the ride hurt more than any hills Iâ€™ve ever ridden.
Starting the run felt great, I was so happy to be off the bike and no longer fighting the wind that I just took off. My first two miles took eleven minutes, which is about a minute faster than what I did starting the run in Anderson two weeks ago. Behind me the pack was holding steady, but at the first turn around I could tell that the three runners of the group, Victor, Kaleb VanOrt and Kevin Collington were duking it out. My only hope was that their attacks would burn them out before they caught me.
At the end of the first lap Kaleb and Victor passed me with a pace I couldnâ€™t match. I told myself to try to negative split the run, and just try not to let anyone else pass me. At the last turnaround it looked like I had held off the rest of the guys by a good margin, but I could also see Kaleb and Victor starting to come back to me. At mile 11 I passed Kaleb back, and had Victor in my sights. With just a half mile to go I was closing fast but he must have heard me coming. Victor turned to see me behind him, his eyes widened and his pace quickened. I kept closing but as we reached the final meters of the race I ran out of real estate. I crossed the line in 4th, but having emptied the tank. I didnâ€™t have a better race in me. I was smiling as I crossed the line, which is about all you can ask for in the 17th race of the year.