|Smithville Lake on a perfect day!|
The race took place about an hour from my apartment, so I had an early wake up and drive to the race. Rach and I got there around 6:15am to get everything unloaded and set up. For some reason, I felt out of sorts this morning, and had a tough time sequencing what I normally do. For example, I almost forgot to pick up my timing chip, which is usually the first thing I do. I felt like I was wondering around more than I normally do before a race, and ended up not having enough time for a pre-race bike ride to make sure everything was functioning.
|All of my crap...|
After briefly talking to some race officials about the swim course and the path to transition, I headed down to the water to get in line for the time trial start. I positioned myself 2nd from the front of the 8:00 minute group, about 10-12 overall.
|Scoping out the course|
The first swimmers took off at 7:00am, and I was in the water about a minute later!
My goal for the swim was finishing in 8:15-8:45. At the start, I sprinted into the water as far as I could before I started swimming. Because of the low water level, my guess is I sprinted about 50 feet into the water. My best start yet! I quickly found my groove, and started passing the 2 in front of me. Once I got to the first turn buoy, I got a glimpse of where the 7:00 minute group was, and realized I could catch and draft off of some. I picked up my pace, and soon got on the heels of the last 3 members in the group.
|Highsteppin' almost to the first buoy|
The timing mat must have been at the entrance to T1, which added AT LEAST a minute to my swim time (Honestly, probably more). I was happy with my time and effort!
Distance: 547 yards
If my T1 time included the run to transition, this would have been lengthy... My rack was the second closest to the swim entrance, so I had a short run once I got there. I struggled with my tri-top for about 30 seconds, but quickly got my shoes on, helmet on, and took off. I will definitely be purchasing a trisuit that I can where during swims for next year.... I'm sick of struggling with a top while I'm soaking wet.
|Hey my shirt's on!|
Believe it or not, I actually held back pretty well the first 3 miles! I made the conscious decision to do this for real based solely on the rough road conditions heading out of the park, so I knew I had a good reason to pace myself. After mile 3, the road began to smooth and I began to hammer!
|Just getting started....|
The 10 mile ride really seemed to fly by. It was the quickest one I can remember, and I really just focused on keeping a good tempo throughout. I did get passed a bit initially, but I was able to reel in a few later in the ride. One thing I was disappointed with was the blatant drafting by a few members of the Wolf Pack racing group from KC. Tisk risk....
I never really looked at my pace for the ride, and I wish I would have. I began coasting into transition and spinning out my legs a bit earlier than normal, and I wish I didn't because I would have had my first 20 mph average for a race!!! So close!!!! Overall, I was VERY happy with this ride, especially following my crappy ride on the course the week before.
|Coasting in to transition|
Distance: 10 miles
Overall: 55/257 (damn...)
The usual. Fast, smooth, and efficient. Rack bike, bike shoes off, running shoes on, helmet off, grab belt, PEACE OUT!
|Let's do this...|
The run was on a paved trail the ran along the lake, which meant that it was mostly flat. Thank God... I quickly found a good pace with a solid leg turnover, and nailed my first my split of 7:15, my goal. Descending from there was much more difficult... Mile 2 seemed to really drag on, and my legs began to feel heavy. I quickly began wondering if I pushed too hard on the bike, but decided I would just do what I could. At the start of the 3rd mile, we began going down a slight decline, which helped me get in a better frame of mind. I began pushing a bit harder, started counting my steps to get my mind off the pain in my legs, and started passing people.
Eventually, I rounded the final corner to head to the finishing chute, and had something weird happen. There were a bunch of kids holding tiny American flags on sticks, holding the stick-end out on the course. My oxygen-deprived brain thought the kids were going to poke me, so I drifted to the other side of the trail. The kids started yelling at me to take one! Duh!!!
|Avoiding the "hoodlums"...|
|"They were FLAGS!"|
I grabbed my flag, and turned up the finishing chute, waving the flag like crazy!
|"Why are finishing chutes soooo long....?!"|
|If this isn't awesome, I don't know what is...|
Time: 22:13 (new in-race PR)
Total Time: 1:02:57
This was the most dedicated race I've ever done. I felt like the entire community turned out to either volunteer or race. It was absolutely amazing, and a great way to honor their fallen friend. I thought the race itself was top-notch, the volunteers were fantastic, and the venue was awesome (other than the park roads, which you can't do much about). I was happy to place second in my age group, but really that took a back seat to the purpose of the race: To honor Mr. Mason. It turns out his parents handed out the awards to each winner, something that I'm sure was difficult for them. But I hope that they were able to see what an amazing event the race was.
If you are looking for an event next year that all proceeds go to a good cause AND you get a great race, please consider this one! I definitely will be again!
Thanks for reading!