This was another colder overcast race day with a morning temperature in the low 60's and a water temperature around 68 degrees. Water temperature that cold makes me nervous, didn't want it to hinder me or slow me down. We were all gathered at the waters edge looking out over the chili water being one of about three other athletes without a wetsuit. The signal was given to swim to the start line so a little apprehensive I slowly made my way into the water. It was really cold. The freezing water definitely woke me up and the gun went off. The washing machine started and I felt like I was in the middle of it. With fogged goggles I quickly became disoriented and spent a lot of time trying to orient myself and zigging back and forth. The swim was very disappointing coming out of the water in about 25th, exhausted from swimming who knows how much extra, and numb from the cold water. The K-Krew once again strong in numbers, entails: Wife, Smitties, Mom and Dad, older brother and his girlfriend, were yelling words of encouragement, place and distance behind leaders, very helpful. I found myself pretty far back and legs that felt like concrete. From T1 to mounting area was an uphill climb then flattened off were we hopped on our bikes.
The bike course was a challenging course with constant elevation changes. It had long climbs, generous downhills, and numerous false flats. I made my way through the course pounding my pedals on the ups and tucking to become as aero as possible on those long downs. By about halfway through the bike leg I finally started to get my legs back, I think they finally thawed out. For much of the course we were in the shade under tree cover. When the feeling came back to my legs I tried to push my pace and entered T2 on the heels of another athlete, with my dad yelling "third, you're in third." I was like "Wow, I made up some time. Hopefully I have enough left for the run." With the 2nd place athlete still in transition I made my way smoothly to the exit with out a glimpse of first place.
Knowing there was somebody on my heels I found a comfortable strong pace and soon was running stride for stride with him. This course was a little like a trail run some ups and downs throughout the two loop 6.2 mile course. At the turn around of the first lap we got our first glimpse of first place which was pretty far ahead and also saw the charging pack behind us obviously a group of strong runners. By the second lap I was running solo as the athlete next me kicked it up a notch and I was trying to hold on as best as possible. Then the charging pack made quick work of me and ended up finishing 5th in the wave and 7th overall.
NOTES: Definitely need to get a wetsuit, would of definitely would of helped keep me warm. Work more on open water swimming and try something to help prevent the goggles from fogging up. Pace my run a little better.