Pigman Sprint (.5K swim, 25K bike, 5K run)
As much as I love the super sprints, they still make me a little anxious come race morning. There’s NO room for error and its 110% effort from the start. When I checked in Saturday afternoon, I noticed Jenny Garrison from IL was on the start list. Knowing her accolades, I immediately assumed that the equalizer was between her and Daniel Bretscher. Deep down however, I held a glimmer of hope-I figured this was not a focused race for JG, so if I kept it together, there was a slim chance I could do it… It was amazing to me that despite all my years of racing, the nervous butterflies were out in full force. I hadn’t felt like that in a long time. Like I said these sprints put me over the edge. The women received ~ 9minutes head start over the elite men.
Once the race started, I took off like a madwomen to find open water. I was truly expecting JG to come out of the water with me, so when I got though T1 by myself I was stoked. I hammered the beginning of the bike in an attempt to get out of sight to those in pursuit. I know it’s much easier to turn it up another level with a target in sight. It was fun to be following the lead vehicle through the rural IA roads. There's a short out and back section towards the end of the bike about mile 12 of 15, and I noticed there was nobody close behind and the chase group (I think there were 4 or 5 pretty close together) was about 2.5 minutes back. I tried to ease up a little to get my legs ready for the run, as I really wanted to put together a strong run. The run course is an out and back on the bike course, so I had another opportunity to check in on the chase group as I started my run. I figured I had a good cushion, but I still wanted to work as hard as I could in an attempt to hold off the fast charging DB for the equalizer bonus. My legs felt pretty good initially on the run, but about 3 quarters of a mile into my run after stopping for ~30-40sec (I had a really good reason) I had a little more difficulty getting my run stride back. I tried my hardest to dig, and I didn’t feel overly slow, but got passed by DB within the last half mile-This guy made up around 4min on me in a 5K. That’s embarrassing!! I was initially disappointed with my run split, but in the end, I took away so much more from that race then what’s posted on the results page. It was a super day.
Manitou Sprint (.5mile swim, 13.5 mile bike, 3.1mile run)
Race morning conditions were PERFECT, but for some reason I could not get myself fired up to GO GO GO. I was truly in a deep fog all morning: A mix of fatigue and nerves I guess, but luckily shortly before the start I snapped out of it. Due to extremely low water levels in White Bear Lake, RDs decided on a two loop swim. This was actually quite fun for me. As always the Elite start was rough-Those boys are tough, but they also provide great drafting potential. I wanted to get on Kevin’s feet, but I lost those pretty early in the frenzy. First person to make the turn-MW obvioulsy carved his way through the weeds. Kerry as always having lots of fun out there.
I came around the 1st lap on Kevin's heels, but I managed to get through the masses a little easier (the 2nd wave had already started so we had to swim around them). I ended up coming out of the water a few steps ahead of KO, therefore I knew I was in good company. I eagerly busted through transition, jumped on my bike and started to hammer…Well I tried to hammer, but my legs and probably mostly my mind could not get it going. I had difficulty finding the right gear…caught between the big gear grind and not working hard enough. I had borrowed KO’s Zipp Power tap Disk, so I was interested to see what kind of watts I could put out in real race conditions. Well, it was not pretty folks. I have no excuse, but my race day power was almost 15 watts less than my half ironman goal wattage. I’ve been doing long rides with 3x30 at stronger wattage than what I did yesterday!! Anyways, my legs had no gusto-Simple as that! I was also feeling my right hamstring tighten so I was starting to get worried for the run. I tried to stay mellow (relatively- It’s a sprint after all) through T2, and slightly ease into the 5K. I felt pretty good at the start, I focused on my form and came though mile one around 6:09. I was pretty happy with that, and wanted to hold that pace. Again, this is an out and back run course, so I had an opportunity to check in on the race behind me (I love out and backs). I was confident I could hold my position with a strong pace though the finish, and in the end I picked up the win. Also, there’s nothing that makes a race day more enjoyable then having the opportunity to watch my favorite triathlete in action. Due to the wave structure Kerry started almost 50 minutes behind me, so I was able to see him come into T2 and I was able to cheer in multiple sections during the run. For the third race in a row, Kerry made it to the podium in his AG! AWESOME.
Now, I’ve already been told by several people that I need to work on my champagne popping skills. Maybe I never quite came out of my morning fog, but I couldn’t get the darn thing open until all the guys made it up to the podium, and the gals had taken their seats…or maybe that was planned. Spare the ladies the alcohol soak and leave the boys with the sticky clothes…hum…I like that excuse. CHEERS
I want to commend John, Dan and Kris from SCS Multisport for a super event. I also owe major photo credit to Erik and GC from Triathlete.com and Greg Fleck for all the photos. Also, for your viewing pleasure, Christine Wood takes the most amazing photos... and if you're racing with Curt, you may be lucky enough to get caught behind her lens. Check them out at her blog.
NEXT UP: Buffalo Springs 70.3 in two weeks. I’m still so intimidated by that distance, but very much looking forward to the challenge.