Some days you just know are going to be bad from the beginning.
I woke up at 2:45am to the sound of thunder. I never did get fully back to sleep, so I felt a little sluggish as I loaded up and drove to the race in the rain.
The rain stopped before the race started, and I was able to get transition all set up with no issues.
The strong current and choppy water of the Ohio River made the race organizers change the swim course at the last minute. Instead of a simple 0.6 mile swim out and back, it was changed to two loops of a 0.3 mile out and 0.3 mile back course to give some relief from swimming against the current.
That was just the tip of the iceberg….here’s a list of things that went wrong on Saturday:
- Forgot to spit in my goggles before the swim start, so they almost immediately fogged up, making it really hard to see the buoy’s and navigate my way up the river.
- I got a cramp in the bottom of my foot about 3/4 of the way through the swim. This is pretty painful and requires you to bend at the ankle and relax your foot to get the cramp out. The 90 degree angle that your foot makes when you do this really slows you down in the water. Took about 2 minutes to work the cramp out.
- About 4 miles into the bike, I felt a flat on my back tire. I stopped, got the wheel off and put my new tube in my tire. So far so good.
- As I went to inflate the tire, I noticed that my CO2 cartridge inflator/adapter was not working right. It wasn’t releasing air into my tube. A good Samaritan stopped to see if I needed help and he fortunately had an adapter that would work. He suggested that he fill up the tire because his adapter was a little different than mine. I typically fill up the tube a little bit, check to make sure there aren’t any pinch points, then fill it the rest of the way up. My Good Samaritan did things a little different. He just let all the CO2 in at once…and POP! He blew my only spare tube!
- So there I was…on the side of the road…with a flat…and no more tubes. I got all my tools together and was just about to start walking the 4 miles back to transition when my wife Jessica just happen to be driving by. She waved and just kept going! Just kidding. She of course stopped and after loading up my bike gave me a ride back to transition. Her happening upon me at this exact time was truly the only time Lady Luck shown down on me all day.
- After asking several people for a tube near the transition, I found someone…he fortunately works at VO2 Multisport, so he had a car-load full of everything you could ever need – including a tube that would fit my tire. We drove to his car and he put the new tube in and got me all set. So after a 50 minute delay…I started the bike portion of the race – again.
- While I was messing with the back tire, my bike was resting on the rear derailleur. This is the mechanical device the shifts the rear gears on the bike. Apparently this caused some stress to the derailleur because once I got going again on the bike, I couldn’t get it to stay in some of my lower gears, meaning that I had to use a little more leg strength than normal to power up the inclines.
- I finally got back to transition after 2:49:44 (actually riding time) on the bike. The time lost at the beginning really cost me more than just time on the bike. In order to try and make up lost time, I pushed it too hard on the bike…and I knew it pretty soon into the run.
- First few mile were good. Then my legs started to burn and the sun began to take it’s toll on me. Around mile 5 a nice gentleman was out watering his lawn and decided to spray down some of us runners with his hose. It was a nice relief…until he aimed the hose at my feet. I’m sure he didn’t realize it, but soaking wet feet are a runner’s worst nightmare.
- Less than a mile later I began to feel the blisters starting to form. My socks and shoes were both soaked and there was nothing I could do about it. So I ran through the pain. I ran the first 6 miles in around 53 minutes (8:50 min/mile pace). Then it took me an hour and 37 minutes to run the last 7 miles (13:39 min/mile pace). Huge difference!
- With about 3 miles to go my body began to shut down. My breathing and pulse were out of control. Even taking 1-2 minute walking breaks wasn’t bringing my heart rate down. I was done. I ended up walking about 2 of the last 3 miles. This really killed my run time.
Only positive from the day was that despite all of these issues, I was able to finish the race…no one wants to see that DNF (Did Not Finish) next to their name on the Official Results. Speaking of, here they are:
Swim (1.2 miles): 51:35.9 (42:59 min/mile pace) – 27th out of 32 in age group
T1: 1:48.00 – 13th in age group
Bike (56 miles): 3:34:27.2 (15.7 mph) – 31st in age group
T2: 3:16.5 – 15th in age group
Run (13.1 miles): 2:31:58.6 (11:36 min/mile pace) – 21st in age group
Total: 7:03:06.2 – 26th in age group, 110th out of 134 overall
Just for my own knowledge, I took my actual bike time (what it took me to do the 56 miles after I started over), which was 2:49:44 (19.8 mph) and used it in place of my official time. My results could have looked like this:
Bike (56 miles): 2:49:44 (19.8 mph) – 13th in age group
Total: 6:18:51 – 21st in age group, 70th out of 134 overall
Bottom line – s**t happens. Maybe I got all of my bad luck out of the way on one race. I don’t have time to dwell on this race. Olympic distance Tri Indy is only 12 days away. I’ll take a few days off to let me blisters and muscles recover and then I’ll get back to training. I’m as motivated as ever!!