Well I made it through last weekend despite having the slowest swim of my life! I will back up though so I can take you through the whole weekend.
Race check in and packet pick up were on Friday so I took the day off from work, drove Memphis to Vero Beach and proceeded south to West Palm Beach. I found a really good parking spot close to both the expo and transition. Transition was located at the end of Clematis in downtown and right by the intercoastal waterway where we were to swim Saturday morning. I checked the bike in, put garbage bags over it as rain had been coming down all day and would be overnight, checked out the dock and swim portion and then proceeded to the Ritz Carlton for the night.
The following morning I was up at 4:00 am to get dress, check out of the hotel and drive back downtown. I felt pretty good having gotten a good stretching and yoga session in at the hotel’s gym the night before. My neck was still sore but I was trying not to think about it. I had no issues parking and getting to transition. The race didn’t sell out so there were around 650 participants or so.
Once transition closed, we all headed to the large dock where we would wait for our swim wave to take off. The race director tried to explain the course to us but no one understood what was going on, mind you this was the first race in WPB ever. The half-iron distance athletes went first and then I jumped into the water for the first wave of olympic distance athletes. The swim start was an in water start so we had to swim about 50-100 yards to get there so I used that as my swim warm up. As I swam to the start I heard the countdown already being announced so I tried to hurry up but wasn’t even to the start when they said go. I then began my longest swim ever. I knew I hadn’t been swimming and wasn’t in the best swimming shape but this should have been better. There were a lot of legs and arms going everywhere and eventually other waves caught up and passed me. The course was in a large upside down triangle. Sighting was extremely difficult as there were only 4 buoys marking the course. This is completely unacceptable in such a long distance swim. Many of us were treading water or doing the breast stroke to figure out where the heck we were supposed to be going.
I eventually made my way through the gasoline smelling water and climbed the ladder, thankful to be out of the water and on to the rest of the race. I saw my dad as went to transition and just said how awful the swim was.
Not only was it slow and hard to see but I came out of the water with black griminess all over! Gross! Total swim time: 47:41 (38:00 at St. Anthony’s with a stop to workout a cramp)
T1 was quick and I was out on the bike. It was a simple bike route with just a few turns to get you out of downtown and onto the main road to take you west. I started out slow but for each 5 miles, my split times dropped and at one point I think I found a new gear even so that made me happy. I felt good climbing the highway on ramps (Florida’s version of hills) and obviously felt even better going down them! Total bike time: 1:23
T2 was almost as quick except I found that my race belt was upside down and I was having trouble figuring it out for some reason. I blame it on the swim.
Headed out on the run, I was pacing with a girl doing the relay so she had fresh legs. I eventually dropped her and ran well for 5 miles despite the relentless heat beating down on us. I used plenty of water, sponges and ice cubes to keep cool. I also drank both bottles of my Heed formula on the bike so I knew I was hydrated but I was still terribly hot especially on my face and arms. Total run time: 1:03
As I neared the finish line area, I knew we had a little bit more to go but I didn’t realize we still had another 1.5 miles left. My new Garmin 910 (thanks mom and dad!) tracked the course at 6.7 miles, .5 miles over what it was supposed to be so that didn’t help mentally. During the last mile, I walked for about 45 seconds which I hate doing but it was just so freakin’ hot out that my body needed a cool down plus I knew I wasn’t setting any records. I made the turn around and finished strong. I was glad to see my dad several times with his camera. We packed up my stuff before the thunderstorms came back.
Overall, this was a good race. There are definitely a few things that need to be tweaked on the race side but I’m happy with how I did especially since I had not done any significant training for about 4 weeks. Total race time: 3:18
This Saturday is the BFAST Sprint Tri Series Race #2 at Micklers Beach. I’m looking forward to the short, fast race and hopefully will have a time around 1.5 hours.
I have been planning and prepping for another half-iron distance race. There are 4 races in October and November here in Florida so I will be choosing one of those very soon. I hope you all got a run in yesterday as part of National Running Day. I was forced to do mine on the treadmill at the gym as we have had an enormous amount of rain recently. I believe we are at 10″ right now and it is pouring as I type this.