Age Group Nationals.. 45-49 group..
The race went very different than I had planned. For the week leading up to the race I felt tired, bored, and bummed that I was driving for 5 hours by myself to a race instead of having my buddies with. After a couple of days off and watching ITU London race on TV I started getting motivated..
The morning of the race was pretty motivated, you could see the intensity in everyone's faces.. You could see their talent on their Jerseys literally (USA Team members wear the USA race bibs - pretty cool).
I decided to take a different approach with the swim this time.. we had 3 minutes of warm up before the in-water start.. Instead of going all out for the first 200 meters.. I decided to think long and smooth for clean for the first 200 meters and let my body and lungs progressively warm up into the swim.. This made the swim more enjoyable and equally as slow - boy i can figure out what the people swimming 1500 in 20 min, i finished in 29 and change.. With some luck spending some time in the endless pool with Coach Cliff will unlock my inner fish :-)
I was determined to earn my stripes on the bike, so according to plan and coach Cliff ("I want you to test your fitness here"). I started the first 5 miles warming up the legs and waiting for them to come on-line, for the next 3 miles I increased my tempo and started dropping the hammer, I continued to increase my speed and effort for the next 6 miles (passing a lot of people and 45-49ers along the way "not in the water now are we?! I kept thinking) all the way to the turnaround point (where the downhill fun would start). I passed one more person, made the turn around, started to crest the last hill before the downhill started.. At the top of the hill I shifted to drop down to a heavier gear and start picking up speed - to my surprise the shifter didn't work, i tried again and again and again. As I started going downhill I consciously thought about the pros and cons of stopping, waiting for a mechanic, and how much time i would lose.. I decided to spin 140rpms all the way into town. I was able to get to 23-24 mph down the hills and 20 on the flats as people passed me at 35 mph (Ahhhhh!!). My back got a little sore but at least I wasn't crying on the side of the road (ok, I cursed for 5 miles on the bike before letting it go and becoming committed to running fast). I ended up with 1:14 for the 25 miles. I dismounted determined to run fast.
The 15% grade beginning of the run course was not what I was looking for to get my legs going, and without my friends around i had no rabbit to get me running fast.. By the end of mile 1 i had all the motivation i needed, the 25-30 age groupers starting running by (more like sprinting by at 5:45s). I stayed focused on leg turn over and what Coach Cliff said "Test yourself, if you blow, you blow - and that won't be as bad as you think!". I stuck to the game plan and increased my speed to 7 min/mile pace and kept it there, I was even able to accelerate all the way to the finish line.. PR: 7:03 min/mile pace.. Pretty cool..
It was a great motivating and humbling experience.. lots of good work done, lots more to come.. Evolve !!!