If you get a chance - do a race at a Lutheran Bible Camp. There are more rest rooms than athletes and lots of hand sanitizer. Yea-hoo Camp Lutherwood.
Racing in the NW definitely has changed since I last raced here. For a pretty small sprint race there were 230 people packed into a small transition - I think the last tri I was at in this area has <100. I wasn't sure how many fast folks would show - but a few were there, assuming people with Cervelo's with disc wheels were fast. Usually this is true, sometimes they're punks but most of the time this far away from a major city - they're there for business.
I have been pretty tired lately - moving and getting settled into a new office and home hasn't done much for my sleeping - it's been pretty poor sleep and combined with a good training block - I've been pretty knackered. I skipped doing the local crit on Thursday night in hopes that a easier 2 hour ride would do more for my legs and a 1 hour crit. It sort of helped but not completely.
I got to the camp early enough to get the #1 bike spot in transition and got the basics set up. I'm still shocked by the number of things people have in transition - of course I used to bring EVERYTHING just in case and had a suitcase next to my bike - but not now. Small towel, shoes, number and visor (even the visor is sort of unnecessary). I saw people with 2 pair of shoes, beach towel, sun screen, water bottles, gels, bars, etc...
Normally I would have run 5k before the race -nice and easy but I had left a few things in the car (helmet, bike shoes) that ate up the extra time - I should have just kept running and cut it close but I didn't.
I got into the water with about 10 extra minutes - where I waited instead of swam a decent warm up. Needless, the 'good' swim I had in me was frittered away and I came out of the water almost 6 minutes down on the leaders who swam 11-12 mins. Sad because it was ONLY A HALF MILE SWIM. Despite my prayers for a respectable swim, there was no extra help for the non-Lutherans in the water. I should have back stroked and sang some of the unforgettable tunes from vacation bible school (why they call it school is beyond me - "hey kids, I know you're on summer vacation and all - but how about going to BIBLE SCHOOL?" No. Don't call it school. I never got the no out. I went and now know the songs). Maybe that would have helped but I was too busy drowning horizontally. I think I had the 75th best swim. Can I even say that?
I had 14.75 miles (I think .5 miles were gravel road you had to run on barefoot, just as the Lord would have done!) to ride as much into everyone in front as possible. I was on the bike and probably fidgeted with my shoes for 1 mile because of the rocks in my feet which were now in my shoes. Then there was a little headwind, then I saw a guy who was at least 60 or more who was ahead of me (All men started together). I had the 5th best T1.
I rode about as hard as I could but I left my race legs at Vineman. No caffeine nor prayer nor taurine would be helping me today. So I went from pushing as much as I could to recovering for a few seconds and then back at it. I was a bit better towards the 2nd lap on the course and just flew - passing a pack of 4 guys riding team time trial style. I made sure to pass them about as fast I could manage to show them that training beats cheating any day (unless that cheating involves a subway ride, in which case, cheating is faster). I think I was going 30mph then and they were about 22mph. Jerks. I had the #2 bike, 2nd to the guy who won.
Then T2, which I'm good at - but the mount/dismount line that is normally there wasn't there when I left on the bike but suddenly is was there when I came back -so I went screaming across it and then got off the bike. I probably had my fastest T2 in a long time - but not as fast as when I tied Macca at UVAS (the highlight of my triathlon career I think). I had the #2 T2 time.
The run started at the camp and went right up the steepest and longest hill I've ever seen on a run course ever. Then the other side was even steeper (which meant I'd have the please of running up it on the way back) - so you couldn't really let it fly and coast out the downhill for fear of beefing it on the lose gravel and dirt. I just ran a tempo I felt comfortable in - not the pace I do on the track, but ok for a half marathon pace - unfortunately, I was racing a 5k. I saw the leader who still held his 6 minutes on me and a few other guys. I was in 7th and saw one guy who was close enough to reel me in. I picked up the tempo a little but the long and steep hill back would be the end of my 7th place and Mr. Skinny runner caught me with about a .4k to go. (I realized these were K markers on the course when I went by the (1) at 4 mins and the (2) at 8 mins).
I should note - that I raced (again) in my favorite shoes - they're tied for my favorite shoes of all time (a pair of pink/grey Nike Air Span II from 1989 - I also had them in grey/yellow) - my Under Armour Spectres. I've got the 2nd version of these too - but really enjoy V1 still. I ran about 2 miles in the before the race and another 2 after the race. As far as running shoes go - Under Armour makes the best sole I've ever had for running on any surface. They run best on pavement but I would use these in a trail race they get such great grip on the loose stuff. I've tried Nike, Brooks, and KSwiss, off-road but UA are all superior - regardless of the model -they've nailed a killer tread and material. I put Yankz in them - but nothing else. With the footsleeve and the Yankz, they're comfy barefoot and super fast to transition into - I've had multiple top 5 T2's using these!
I finished in 8th - but got chicked due to the 1st woman finishing about 2 mins behind me on the course, she started 3 mins behind. So besides being chicked, having the 19th fastest run and drowning while in the hands of the Lord - it wasn't great. I had hoped to do better than a top 10 (top 5 would have been nice) and have a little swim confidence going into Timberman 70.3 in <2 weeks.
I did get some free chicken after and I beat the average time by half an hour. My mom never let me be average. So there.
Here's the pasty-legged drafting cheater. Jesus forgives you but I don't. He doesn't forgive your dumb race kit either. Cheater.