It was a perfect day. A little chilly when I left the house, but beautiful by the time the race started. We couldn't have had better conditions.
The Swim (800 metres):
Same course as last year, straight out & back along the shore. Because of this it's really shallow the entire way. My strategy this year was to be more aggressive and get towards the front of the pack. I was near the front, but really didn't settle into a good rhythm until the second half. Even though the lake was very smooth, I kept swallowing water and, for some strange reason, my goggles decided that today would be the first time they leaked. So I had to keep emptying them. I felt good the whole way, a decent effort, tired but not too tired. Here's where things get weird. I got to the timing mat and hit the split on my watch, 14:30. What? Two full minutes slower than last year. Very strange.
I did some looking at the results and compared times of big name people with their times of last year. Almost everyone, including the pros, was about 2 minutes slower. So, it seems a little fishy that everyone would slow down by nearly the same margin. I can see myself slowing down that much, but not the pros. There were some world class racers there and it just seems impossible that I would slow down by the same amount as they would. My conclusion is that either this years swim course was too long or that last years swim course was too short.
Anyway, I was now two minutes behind schedule and had ground to make up. After the swim, here is my placing:
14:30 - 40/161 overall & 1/19 age group
As I'm running up the beach the swim cap and goggles come off. Last year they had kiddie pools to wash your feet of in (I slipped and almost fell), but there were no pools this year. Fortunately, I had planned to wash my own feet off anyway. I got to my bike, sprayed one down, put one sock on and slipped on one shoe (thanks to my YANKZ laces, highly recommended), then repeated the process on the other foot. Voila, I've got my shoes on all I have left to do is get my shirt on. Somehow I managed to put my shirt on half inside out and got stuck. So I wasted about 30 seconds wriggling out of my shirt, getting it the right way and finally getting it on.
Time: 1:54 (1:13 faster than last year).
Bike 30 km:
There's not much to report about the bike. I worked hard and kept the pace as high as I could. We were blessed with a tiny headwind for the first half, but I knew that the would be a tailwind for the second half. I was drinking gatorade every ten minutes and took a GU energy gel after 30 minutes. I think that I ended up over doing it on the bike and had too much stuff in my stomach for the run. Oh well, lesson learned.
My time on the bike was:
55:45 (32.3 km/hr) - 71/161 & 12/19 (18 seconds slower than last year).
Put the bike back on the rack, take off the helmet, start running.
Time: 43 seconds (15 seconds faster than last year).
Run (6 km):
I knew I was a much stronger running this year. It showed right away as I really didn't feel too bad off the bike and ran with a good stride immediately. A few people passed me in the first couple of km, but after the halfway point, I did not get passed once and must have passed a dozen or more people. I was running stronger as they were fading. In the last 2 km, an older gentleman and I were running together and started picking off people ahead of us. We hit the 5 km marker and I picked up the pace again, he was a few seconds behind me at the line. Turns out he was Richard Kniaziew, a local man who once did the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii. His daughters have both been very successful triathletes. One of them, Blaire, place eight in her age group at Hawaii last year. Clearly I was in good company.
I was very happy with my splits:
4.28 - 13:44
4.18 - 13:13
Total run time:
26:57 - 51/161 & 7/19 (1:08 faster than last year).
The official standings have me at:
1:40:03 - 58/161 & 9/19 (3 seconds slower...)
They say that the clock doesn't lie and I won't argue what the clock says, but I know something is not right. Initially, I was disappointed about the swim putting me so far behind, but I figured that with the amount that I actually swim, the result was fairly predictable. But now I know that something was different from last year, either way I know I improved. I'll just have to go out and crank it up another notch next year.