This morning started at a more reasonable time than most of the races I have done this year. Because Reeds Lake is so close, I was able to sleep until 6:00 before heading up to the lake. I had packed everything up last night, so it was a quick ride.
I was surprised at how many people were already getting setup and ended up not getting the end spot on my rack. After setting up, I walked around a bit and relaxed while I waited for Jennifer to arrive. She biked up around 7:00. I was in the first swim wave at 7:30 after the charity groups started.
Wow. I don’t know what else to say. My swim was absolutely amazing. It was my first swim in my new wetsuit, and it made a huge difference. As soon as I got in the water, I knew it would be fast. I was so buoyant that my back almost stayed dry the entire way.
The course was a U-shaped half mile in the 72 degree Reeds Lake. The beginning of the swim was a little more physical than some of my races have been. I think this was due to a lot of first-timers who got wrapped up in the excitement and started further ahead than they should have.
I swam nice and straight towards the first buoy and made the turn close enough that I could reach out and touch it. Likewise, I managed to stay tight to the buoy line on the back stretch. I even was able to draft for a bit, but I never found someone that I could draft off of for an extended period of time. However, for some reason, just like Ludington, I wasn’t able to swim in a straight line if my life depended on it during the final stretch.
Nevertheless, I was back to dry land (albeit slippery, algae-covered dry land) in no time. My swim time was 11:37 (1:27 / 100 yd). This was a 6:20 improvement over last year. I’m sure most of this can be attributed to the new wetsuit, but I am sure that my increased swim workouts helped a bit as well.
When I got back to the bike rack for T1, I was the first one from my rack out of the water. This has never happened to me before. Usually, half the bikes are gone already and mine is easy to find because it is the only one left. I pulled on my shoes (sans socks), clipped on my number, grabbed my bike and helmet and was off. Surprisingly, removing the new wetsuit was far less difficult than I thought it would be; it slipped off very easily.
As I headed out on the bike, I was starting to regret not putting on socks. It wasn’t quite 8:00 and the sun was still rising, so it was still a bit chilly out. Last year, I went sans socks and my feet went numb on the bike ride. I thought today was going to be warmer than last year though. Thankfully, my feel warmed up, and I was glad I didn’t take the time to put on socks (for now). I was pushing as hard as I could for the entire bike. Every time I started to feel pain and back off, I told myself that it was only a 17 mile course and to HTFU.
I did some passing on the bike, but was passed by more people than I passed. That is the one frustrating thing about being the first swim wave – there aren’t any groups ahead of you to try and catch. The first half of the bike course is mainly downhill with a few uphills that are easy to climb because you gain so much speed on the preceding downhill.
The second half of the bike course is the harder half. All of those downhills are now uphills. Despite my legs feeling tired, I charged up the hills as hard as I could. On the biggest hill, I even managed to catch a few riders and leave them behind me after reaching the top. I checked my speed a few times on the way uphill and the lowest I saw my speed go was 14mph, which is better than last year when I dropped to 10mph.
After reaching the top of the hill, I knew the worst was behind me and it was only 5 miles to go before the run. I really picked up a lot of speed on the final portion and was cruising at 24mph+ for the last couple of miles.
In the end, I pulled off a 21mph average – my fastest race pace yet. My time was 6:14 faster than last year, so again, nothing to complain about here.
T2 this year was slower than last year for some reason. I can’t figure out why. I have been doing so much less in the transition area as I get more races under my belt and focus on just getting in and out. Today, it was just bike shoes off and run shoes on and leave the bike behind.
As I was running, I really didn’t think the run would be as fast as it was. It took the first two miles to get my legs back and I figured that I was doing 8:00 min miles at that point. However, I must have been going much faster than I thought. After I settled in to the run, I started to catch a few people. I got passed by a handful of people during the first two miles, but was able to catch a few of them.
After about 3 miles, I was starting to regret going sans socks. The tongues of my shoes were starting to rub on the tops of my feet, and it was quite uncomfortable. I think that some Body Glide (which I keep forgetting to pick up) would solve this problem in the future. Despite the chafing, I pushed ahead as much as I could knowing that there was less than 2 miles to go.
I finished the run 3:58 faster than last year with a time of 34:35. I pulled out an amazing 7:03 /mi pace, which completely shocked me. I barely manage a 7 minute pace during a 5k, let alone over 4.9 miles.
Overall, I couldn’t be happier with how I did. A nearly 18 minute PR works for me any day. Plus, I finished in the top 100 (out of 914), which is probably one of my best overall finishes. On top of the overall finish, I moved from 42nd to 14th in my age group. Getting closer to that podium stand, although I still have a ways to go. I would have had to go 1:31:20 to get a podium stand in my age group, and at this point, I can’t imagine doing this course any faster. Still, you won’t hear me complaining. This was a great way to end my 2009 triathlon season.
On another note, one my co-workers made his triathlon debut today. DB had a great race finishing in 1:45:02, which is an amazing time for a first-timer.
|Age Group Place:||42/82||14/83|
|Run Pace:||7:52 /mi||7:03 /mi|