I position myself in my usual spot in front and outside. The horn went off and four of us broke away quick and early. Then it was just two of us just about 300 meters into the race. I decided to drop back and draft off of his right side but the water was so murky I decided to fall back to his feet and draft from back there. Our pace didn’t feel blistering but I was pretty comfortable and knew we were all alone and pulling away from the others. We made our way through the water as I gathered huge amounts of seaweed all over my face. I now know how women must feel when they don’t were a swim cap. I would just leave it there till it fell off and then a short time later I would pick more up, a little uncomfortable but just kept plugging away. About halfway to the first turn buoy I felt that he was starting to slow so I started to toy with him. With every stroke I decided to smack his feet and with every smack he would kick like a mad man. Perfect. I did this for about 200 meters than had to stop playing and focus again, so I decided to make the pass. I took off and never looked back. I knew there was no one else around but on my way back I decided keep the same pace. I started to think that maybe the pack was going to start catching me because I felt so smooth and everything was going easy and never really hit the huge masses of other swimmers from the previous waves. I decided to just keep my pace going. I exited the water and stumbled onto the beach, almost falling on my face. I passed on the wetsuit strippers and made my way to T1 which was about ¼ mile away.
I ran right passed my bike but quickly located it tore my wetsuit off through on my helmet and started on the bike course. The course was a big loop with lots of hills and serious climbs for the first 12 miles. We drove the course the day before so I could see how the course was laid out. It actually made me unsure as to how to tackle the course. In the first 12 there was definitely going to be some significant climbing before a long descent which would lead us into a bunch of rollers and false flats. I was surprised that when we were driving the course the number of people trying to climb the steepest sections of the course during the hottest part of the day. If you don’t have your climbing legs by now then this last ditch effort can only hurt you, I thought. Crazy!! So I head out of T1 to conquer the 12 mile hill and start climbing. I decide to start strong and just stay steady. My plan was to stay in the saddle so I wouldn’t push too hard to soon. I made my way up the first significant hill with ease and continued on with the climb, big confidence boost. During this first 12 miles I passed a lot of people struggling to make it up the hills. When I finally got to the top I was pleasantly surprised how easy it seemed to be and how fresh my legs still fresh. I made my way to the rest of the course and kept my pace going and continued to push hard. By mile 35-45 I decided to try and conserve energy. I kept my pace but decided to back off on the push I was giving to keep knocking people down. So at my mile 45 the final stretch of the bike leg I decided to pick up the pace a little bit and continued to push. I got up out of the saddle at one point of this final push and realized my legs felt pretty good, good news for the run. My nutrition plan paid off drinking two bottles of GU Brew, One bottle of water, three GU Roctane Gels, two packs of Fig Newtons, and three salt tablets. With 2 miles to go to T2 I entered a no passing zone and got stuck behind three athletes going super slow over the remaining set of rollers. A guy from my age group (#917) came up on me and started yelling for me to move it and I yelled back at him in frustration that we were in a no passing zone. It was pretty ridiculous, lost some pretty valuable time but just hoped that the leaders experienced the same problem I had.
I made my way into T2 and had another smooth transition. I headed out on to the double loop run course that was full of rollers and to get to the turnaround had a 1mile climb that was pretty steep in two sections (reminded me of the course in Puerto Rico but about 15 degrees cooler). I was stride for stride with #917 and we were in 4th and 5th positions. He wanted to hold a conversation with me so I kept running behind him then he would slow a little and I would speed up. I can’t talk while I’m running. I felt good my nutrition from the bike worked well for me and now I had to continue to play that game smart for the run. I got water at every aid station and also cups of ice that I poured down my shorts. The water on the course was very warm and nasty but I needed anything. I took 6 salt tablets throughout the run and ate a pack of Honey Stinger Gummy shots. I plodded up the major hill on the first loop just staying steady and got my first glimpse of the leader that i was trailing by about 3 minutes. As I made my way back to T2 for my first loop I was feeling really good. I started to think that maybe I could catch the leader. So I turned it on dropped #917 and made my way to go get the others. I felt really good hoping to negative split the second loop. I made my way to the steep section and just did what I could with it and again saw the leader but not the others. I must have passed them somewhere on the way back on the first loop. I was still about 3 minutes behind the leader, pretty sure I wasn’t going to be able to catch him I turned it on anyway wanting to close the gap as much as possible and also wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to be caught. When I made it back to the main road with 2.1 miles to go I really kicked it in and started to sprint when I entered the park with about a half mile to go. I finished in 2nd place in my age group (podium finish), 7th overall amateur, and 26th overall. I was thrilled with that performance; I feel like I keep racing smarter and am getting faster with every race. I want to keep this momentum going for the rest of the season.
I was excited for the awards ceremony but most of the athletes had already picked up there awards and had left. I was the only one from my age group that was there so I was a little bummed about that. What are you going to do? I qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada later this season which I will be competing in. Vegas here I come. This was a great race with great volunteers and good fan support throughout the race. I would definitely do it again. The only thing it lacked in my eyes was a big race feel.
I want to thank Jodi my wife for supporting me at the race and through everything. We had a great race experience together. Also to my parents who have supported us so much through this adventure so far. My sponsors Bridgeton Group, Walabax Construction, Pop Eye 21, Easton Outdoor Company, PX Triathlon, GU Energy Labs, Honey Stinger, and Champ-Systems. Special thanks goes out to all my family, friends, Rodale Aquatic Club Masters Team who tracked the race and have supported me so graciously. Finally my coach Todd Wiley of TWiley Sports for getting me physically and mentally prepared for the race. This was great race and would recommend it to anyone looking for a challenging but fair course.
View Pictures From Event: http://www.k17sport.com/the-k-krew.html