So many thing were different, and I think in the end it affected me more than I thought it would, and even more than I thought it was while racing.
It was the first race I have ever done “alone”. By alone I mean I had no “support crew”. No family, no friends, only one person there I even knew. It’s makes more of a difference than I thought it would, mostly because I am just not used to it. It was also one that I had to get up at home and drive to the race before racing, which was a bit unnerving to the point that I slept very restless hoping I wouldn’t oversleep. It’s not that I live a great distance from the race site (about 90 minutes) but still different experience for sure.
I entered the water pretty calm and had no issue with the swim the whole way. It did seem that there was a bot more jostling than last time, and a bit of a current on the left turn, but all in all it was a good swim. I thought. When I stood up to run to T1 I glanced at my watch and it read 13:05. 13:05?? I wasn’t across the timing pad yet and I was already 2:00 slower than the previous race. “That can’t be right,” I thought, so I just hit the lap button to go to T1 and kept going.
But it was right. I ended the swim with a time of 14:01. Race 2 was 11:17. Almost 3:00 slower. Not a good harbinger for the rest of the race.
Again, I thought I did pretty good in T1. I changed up one thing by putting on socks at this point instead of after the bike because I thought it added too much time before the run due to jello legs. I guess this was the difference. Race 2 was 5:26. This race was 6:23. WAY too slow for a sprint.
Once again, I felt really good on the bike. The hills were there again but I felt I got up them stronger and didn’t feel as if it took me longer to recover after the climbs. I was making mental notes the whole way about when I could push etc., but felt like I was moving much smoother and faster than I did the last time. I was trying not to focus on my watch, but each time I glanced at it I was moving well over 16, and actually was over 22 for a good section of the middle portion.
Yet, my time was 51:03, and 11.8 mph pace. Race 2 was 45:52 for a 13.1. I have no idea what happened. I guess I was not as fast as I thought I was, or maybe though the hills seemed easier the climbs were still very slow and that ate too much into my times.
The only part of the race that was fast, and probably because I didn’t have to fight the socks and sit down. Still slow, but 4:42 is better than 5:09.
The first thing I noticed while heading out to the run was that my legs felt better than they had the last time, so I was positive in the beginning. I did my usual walk for the first portion, but I could run a bit and walk a bit. What I started noticing after the first 1.5 miles was that I could run, but not for long. Last race by this point I was doing my normal 2/2 split but this race I could only manage 1 minute runs at the most.
I finished the run, again, slower than the previous race at 57:52 (previous was 56:03). Pathetic for a sprint race, and much more pathetic for someone with 4 years experience doing this.
So my finishing time was 2:13:45, a full 10:00 slower than the last one.
So I have to wonder what went wrong … what was different?
I can list these:
- Very little sleep followed by an early (3 AM) awakening and a 2 hour drive to the race.
- Racing alone.
- Mind and Heart not in the race … thinking about things out of my control.
- Not enough bike work. Actually NO bike work since the last race.
- Orange Theory Fitness making the quads and shoulders a but more sore than I am used to, but that will get better the more I go.
- I did the race. I got up at 3 AM and drive 2 hours to a race site knowing my head nor heart was in it.
- I felt stringer on the bike and the run, though the times did not show it.
- I had a nice conversation with fellow back of pack people, including a 69 year old guy (that I beat), a 73 year old guy (that beat me), and a woman on vacation from Bahrain that was doing her first ever official triathlon (we sprinted with each other the final .25 miles to the finish, and I let he go ahead at the end because her husband was there cheering her on).
- Kick ass medal, which was the same shape and size as all the people that beat me. 🙂
- I was not last. I was 16/18 in Clydesdale and 277/288 in men overall.
As usual, plenty of room for improvement, but to be honest I have lost the JOY and FUN of doing this at the moment. I have faith that I will find it once again as I progress through the changes that have happened in my life. After all, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.