I was up at 4:00am and out the door by 4:30am. I arrived at the race site and checked in to get my athlete packet. Unfortunately, they lost my #28 bib number. So I improvised and cut the bike number sticker and cut some slits in it so I could put it on my race number belt. This is the reason I always take tape and scissors to races – you never know when they might come in handy.
After I got all of that situated, I set up transition and then waited. It was only about 6:15am and the race didn’t start for another hour. I kept my jacket on for a long time, but took it off so I could leave it in transition – and the closed it at 6:30am. So for the next hour, I was freezing! I literally had goose bumps and was shivering. The temperature was in the high 40’s, which is great…if you are moving!
After the pre-race meeting (which took what seemed like hours), we made our way up to the pool to line up for the swim start. I was #28, so I was 28th in line to get in the pool. I was trying to get my muscles loose while waiting in line. My hip flexors were particularly tight. I was jumping up and down, swinging my legs, doing squats, etc. But nothing was getting me warm, and they didn’t allow anyone in the pool to get warmed-up.
So needless to say, when I jumped in the water and tried to immediately swim at a fast pace – it didn’t work out too well. I seriously felt like I was swimming in sludge. Every stroke was hard. I know that it normally takes me 200-300 meters to get loose during a normal workout (when I’m not freezing cold). So the fact that this was only a 400 meter swim didn’t bode well. I was passed by someone about 150 meters in and I even had to abandon doing flip-turns because I couldn’t catch my breath. I was passed by another two people in the last 100 and knew that my time was slow, but I was not prepared to see HOW slow. When I got out of the pool and started to run down to transition, I had to look at my watch three times to make sure I was seeing it correctly. It was easily a full minute slower than I thought I would do. Not a good start to the race.
400 meter swim
10th out of 25 in my Age Group
75th out of 290 Overall
I had a pretty fast transition. Socks on, helmet on, then ran my bike to the mounting line. Only issue was the visor on my helmet was fogged up from the dew. So I had to wipe that off as I started riding.
5th out of 25 in my Age Group
19th out of 290 Overall
The first mile of the bike course takes you out of the Spindletop property. I used this time to get my feet in my shoes and to get my visor cleared off. I then settled in once we were out on the main road and began setting my sights on riders up ahead of me. I picked them off one at a time. I was only passed once and I caught back up with this guy shortly after I was passed. The course is pretty flat with some rolling hills. I stayed in the big chain ring the whole time and stood up to push it over the hills (opposite of my Ironman bike strategy). I peddled hard and only let up on the turns. I was breathing heavy and my legs were burning. I forgot how much a Sprint race hurts. I was pretty happy with my bike, but I would have liked to been better than 5th in my Age Group.
13 mile bike
35:48.6 (21.8 mph)
Nominal Power = 252W
5th out of 25 in my Age Group
14th out of 290 Overall
The second transition was very fast. I racked my bike, pulled my helmet off, slipped on my shoes, grabbed my race belt and was gone. No hat, no sunglasses. For a 5K, I can suffer with the sun in my face.
1st out of 25 in my Age Group
7th out of 290 Overall
The run was three out-and-backs. Since it was a sprint, I started out fast and kept pushing it. I passed a few guys early, then didn’t get anyone else. The out and backs allowed me to see how far people were ahead of and behind me. I was gaining ground on the runner ahead of me in the last mile, but never did catch him. The last two miles of the run were difficult. My legs and lungs hurt. I just pushed through and counted down the quarter-miles until the end. My last mile was my fastest (6:27), so I was encouraged by the fact that I had enough left in the tank to push it to the finish line.
5K (3.1 mile) run
20:29.2 (6:36 min/mile)
3rd out of 25 in my Age Group
16th out of 290 Overall
|Copyright David Robertson|
My goal was to finish in the top two in my Age Group. The bad swim kept this from happening. I didn’t lose ground on anyone on the bike or run. A better swim and I would have met my goal and qualified for the 2014 National Championship. I picked a very competitive race to try and qualify. Finishing 12th Overall in a race with almost 300 people and only 4th in your Age Group is tough to swallow.
4th out of 25 in my Age Group
12th out of 290 Overall
My swim times were slower this year than the last in almost every race…I need to get back into a weekly swim group and get my speed back!