|Treasure Island Sprint Distance|
I started out nice and strong on the swim. About 100 yards in, I sighted on my left side and saw that I was tracking pretty good, but I looked forward and could count the guys swimming ahead of me. One, two, three four, five.... I knew that I couldn't -possibly- be the sixth swimmer, so on the next stoke, I sighted on the right and counted the swimmers ahead of me. One, two, three four, five, six.... Wow. I actually was in the lead pack of swimmers. Of course, that freaked me out psychologically and my swim stroke went to crap and I started dropping back, and fast. To put it another way, I lost my rhythim. But the time I recovered from that momentary lapse, I was already past the second bouy in a three-leg swim. I started strong, finished strong, but had a weak center. Still, despite not having seen any water since TFR#3 in August, I was only 22 seconds off my pace from last year. My goal at this swim has been to break 10 minutes, but that might be impossible. I'll keep trying though.
T1 felt impossibly slow. I was just all out of sorts and having all kinds of problems changing gear. I didn't have any Body Glide and my wetsuit didn't come off smoothly. I couldn't get my socks on. I couldn't get my bike shoes on. It was just a bad scene. And despite all of that, I only lost 11 seconds from last year's time. That "feeling slow" was to be a trend for the whole race.
The bike felt slow. About the second lap I started getting hungry. If I was feeling hungry, it was not only out of food, but -past- out of food. (You typically won't feel hungry/thirsty during a race until it is already too late to recover from.) Luckily, I had ONE PowerGel that I grabbed from the freebie goodie table in transition before the race. I sucked that down as I was finishing my second lap. I think it saved me from a complete bonk. Even though my bike time was the fastest every on this course, I still did not feel like I was pushing all that hard.
The first lap was nice. The second lap I had that food issue. The third lap was crowded. About that time the female waves were hitting the course and I just happened to be lapping at the same time as a group of about 20 of them were just joining in. I had to weave and jog and dodge to get through that big pack of bikes. Some of them were a bit faster than me (I think the fastest one finished her first lap about a minute ahead of me) but most were slower.
19.2 MPH average. I still felt slow.
T2 felt slow. In actuality, it was a pretty fast transition, but I felt like I lost a lot of time changing shoes and grabbing equipment. It was a decent transition, but I think it could have been a lot more streamlined. I think my T2 has gotten to the point where I'm going to have to start putting in some real effort to get faster. I've pretty much figued out how to not have 5-minute T2 times. Now I've got to work on getting a 1-minute T2.
The run actually felt pretty good, even thought this was where I lost the most time off of last year's finish. I still managed to hold a nice 8-minute pace (8:01 to be exact). I was passed about 1/2 mile from the end by a guy in my age group. He was up maybe 100 yards on me when the finish line came into view. I tried to catch him, I really did. I was pretty much putting in an all-out sprint. About 200 yards from the end, he looked over his shoulder -- I'm sure he knew I was there since he had just passed me a few minutes prior. I had cut that lead down to around 50 yards by that time. He sped up a bit. I continued to close in on him and when we hit the finish chute itself, he was only around 25 yards up on me. But that was all there was. I simply ran out of time and real estate. He ended up finishing 12 seconds ahead of me. If it had been another 50 yards, I might have been able to catch him.
Overall, I finished 00:01:34 slower than last year. Last year I trained like crazy for six weeks prior to this race. This year I did not train at all. Based on the regimen, giving up only a minute and a half... I'm happy.
And I'm already thinking about Wildflower 2005.