Since my last entry, I was meant to have had two triathlons but, as it turns out, I ended up racing in a triathlon, as well as my first duathlon.
The triathlon was the Devilman Half Lite, which is between an Olympic and half-iron distance race and comprised of a 0.8 mile swim, a 40.3 mile bike and an 8.8 mile run. I was using this race as a good test heading into my first half-Ironman of the year in June, so my race plan was to really push the swim, be aggressive on the bike and then see what I could hold on the run. Unfortunately, just before we hopped into the frigid lake, my wetsuit decided to develop a rather significant hole in it just below the zipper. This really put a damper on my spirits as I could tell it was going to create a lot of drag and probably have a big impact on my ability to do well overall in the race. Thankfully, my darling wife, Alexis, kept her head in the game and thought to get some duct tape from the race organizers. While it wasn’t pretty, a few feet of tape later (including a lovely duct tape belt) and the suit was patched up and I was ready to go.
With all of the commotion around fixing the wetsuit, I didn’t really get warmed up appropriately so when we started swimming I didn’t start getting a good feel for the water until a good bit into the race. I decided to save some energy and just sit on a guy’s feet for the swim and regroup for the bike. I ended up coming out of the water third, which wasn’t too bad for me, all things considered. The bike went exactly as planned from an effort standpoint but I did have to deal with some really strong crosswinds, which tried to blow me off the road for most of the race. As I headed out onto the run, another competitor immediately flew by me at an insane pace. Thankfully my coach was there to let me know that he was the reigning National Duathlon Champion and that I shouldn’t even think about sticking with him. I started off just going by feel at a pace that hurt but I felt I could maintain for the whole run. As I saw my split each mile, I was pleasantly surprised by being about 15 seconds ahead of my goal pace. This was really exciting for me as the run has historically been my weakest leg. This isn’t to say that my run is amazing yet compared to the other athletes out there, but I’m definitely heading in the right direction. I was able to keep that pace going for the whole race and even picked it up a little for the last mile into the finish line. I ended up placing 6th overall and 1st in my age-group, which I was really happy with given the strength of the field competing that day. The results for each leg were really encouraging heading into my half-Ironman in a couple of weeks.
My second race, over Memorial Day weekend, was supposed to be a sprint triathlon, but with my wetsuit out of commission and the water temperature in the 50’s, I made the decision to switch to the duathlon. This race consisted of a 2 mile run, a 6.3 mile bike and a 3.1 mile run, so significantly shorter than the first one. The game plan for this race was go as hard as possible for as long as possible, then try and hold on. In an effort to make it just a little more “fun”, the race organizers had put about 1.5 miles of the run on the beach too, just to get that extra burn in the calves. I started out with a small group of runners for the first leg, but after a really quick transition to the bike, I was able to build a lead on the field during the 6.3 miles. At that point, I just had to hold on for the last 5km, which I managed to do for my first multi-sport overall win! Who would have thought it would have come in a race that didn’t involve my strongest leg – swimming…
On the horizon are a couple of my bigger races for the season – the Eagleman 70.3 in early June and the TriRock Philadelphia Triathlon (Olympic distance) in late June. I’m looking forward to Brian loosening everything up later this week as I start my taper for Eagleman and thank him for keeping everything in order over the past month, especially between the two races as the body started to rebel against all of the hard work.
If you are racing this month, I wish you all the best, and if not hopefully you’re able to get out take advantage of the nicer weather that is finally coming our way.
Have fun out there,