I wasn't in a big rush to head to Cambridge Saturday. My cousin was coming up with me and we ended up staying at his parents beach place in Fenwick. I didn't realize it was as far away as it ended up being, but didn't turn out to be a big deal. I went to my daughter's soccer game in the morning, and then the family went to the pool. I took the opportunity to get a few laps in with a couple hard 50s thrown in. Nothing major, but I felt like I wanted to swim a bit. The swim ALWAYS gets me worked up...I have no idea why because this is definitely my strength in a tri, but I think this is because I always got so nervous pre-swim race as a kid and it has just carried over.
I headed home to pack the car about 1:45 or so. My cousin got to our house shortly after, and eventually I had everything packed up. We finally got on the road at about 2:45 and were rolling. We went straight to check in and were there by 4:30 and got to see Mirinda Carfrae heading out as we walked in. Good stuff ;)! We didn't stay long, although my cousin bought himself a new tri-kit so I had to wait for him to try it on. Also talked with the Aero Hammock guys since I had a hard time getting my bottle back in at Columbia. He recommended a quick and easy way to drop it in and come race day, it worked like a charm!
We then headed to transition to rack the bike. I get to the entry to transition and I can't get in without my sticker for my bike. Good times. Back to the car to get sticker and then back to transition. Finally get bike in and racked. Walk over to the water to check it out - looked pretty calm, always good - and then back on the road. I figured we'd get to my aunt and uncle's place by 6, but it ended up being closer to 7 - definitely later than I wanted/planned. Had a good spaghetti and meatball dinner (with some Italian sausage thrown in for good measure), a piece of cherry pie, and eventually made my way to bed (after 10 - NOT GOOD). As is becoming custom pre-tri, terrible nights sleep. I mean I think I may have gotten an hour total. I could be wrong, but I felt like I was up forever.
At 3:45 the alarm goes off. I get up, get my bottles ready, eat a banana, make bagel with natural PB, bathroom, and hit the road. Getting back to Cambridge was a breeze and a quick stop at a gas station for some coffee and back on the road. Amazing, just the aroma of the coffee seemed to get my digestive system pumping. We parked at the middle school and jumped on the shuttle. Very easy parking and shuttle system and it seemed very efficient. I did get to give everyone some good news on the bus - the race would be wetsuit legal! That went over very well with my bus mates. Columbia Triathlon Association sent out a tweet early Sunday morning with the status and I was pleased this would be the case! Jumped off the bus, dropped my stuff in transition, and headed over to the bathroom lines. There were two very long lines for the bathrooms, but I think this made it more effecient and they moved very quickly and I didn't stand there worrying about choosing the wrong line as always seems the case. Took care of business, set up transition area and only issue I had was the night before I fooled with one of my cleats so I had trouble getting it on my pedal and eventually said screw it and decided I'd just run with shoes on out of transition. I finally was done just as transition was about to close and I headed out to sunscreen up and relax/hydrate for a bit...and also see the pros hit T1. Cool watching them come in and roll out!
Swim: 30:41 My swim wave start was at 7:34 and it seemed to be that time in no time. Put my wetsuit on as late as I could because it was already so warm. Zipped up, saw a couple friends, and hit the water. By now I was feeling pretty good and just figured I would "cruise" the swim. The gun went off quicker than I'd expected, and we were off. I had lined myself up in the front in the middle and not many had been too close at the start. This made things pretty calm through the first couple hundred meters. I was a bit more "left" than I had wanted to be throughout the swim, but I hit the first turn right at the bouy and the second as well. I didn't do much drafting and I'm not sure I like it. I know it's supposed to help, but I don't like making contact and I don't like being contacted either. I also don't feel like I know if I'm going fast enough because I feel like I'm just waiting on the person in front of me. So for the most part, I swam alone with only some contact with other swimmers here and there. My fingers finally found the floor of the water and I stood up to run out. Looked at my watch and it said what I thought was 34:XX - 4 minutes faster than last year. My watch had been sketchy the last day and not showing all the lines on the numbers, but somehow I realized it was 30:XX! EIGHT minutes faster than last year. With that said, last year I think may have been long and also non-wetsuit so I'm not sure how legit those 8 minutes are... Also not going to complain either!
T1: 2:22 In and out of transition in 2:22 (not too bad with the full wetsuit on and putting on bike shoes in transition) and on the bike.
Bike: 2:43:46 As is per usual post swim, my heart rate was HIGH. It stayed in the mid 150s for a while. I wanted to keep the heart rate much lower (low 140s) for the first hour, but I'm guessing it was probably closer to 150 for that first hour (still have to upload the Garmin and figure out if I can edit it because I didn't stop in when I came back into transition). Through 3 miles I was only behind my goal pace of 20mph by 30 seconds or so and figured I could get there if the winds cooperated. I eventually got my overall pace over 20 and began to bank time. Through 40 miles or so, I was well on track and looking forward to heading home. While I was still getting passed quite a bit, I did feel like it wasn't nearly as bad as it had been the previous year. And much fewer women this year :). My wife can still kick my ass in running so I'm ok with getting chicked :) I even caught a few people towards the end that had passed me earlier on. As we got to Egypt Rd though, my pace definitely slowed and a bit of a headwind hit. I had trouble staying above 20 at this point, but I tried to press on. One bonus of this is my Garmin was a full mile behind the 10 mile markers by 40 miles so that was a nice bonus to see and I was soon at the final turn and heading in...15 minutes faster than last year! 20.5 mph average too!
Bike nutrition: 2 bottles of EFS with half scoop of Pre Race, 1 EFS Liquid shot, 2-3 bottles of water.
T2: 2:02 I will say I had a very good rack spot this year so transitions were easy in and out. I had slipped out of my shoes on the final stretch of the ride and I racked the bike, turned on my garmin 305 (was going to put this on as I ran out), shoes on, helmet off, hat on, and we're off...20 feet later I realized I forgot the 305 at transition. I just decided to say screw it. Since I didn't have the Garmin to gauge heart rate anyway, I took it off and threw it down just outside the finish line so hopefully I'd be able to grab it post race.
Run: 1:45:54 As I ran out, my cousin yells that if I can run about a 1:42, I had a chance at breaking 5 hours. This was my HUGE goal. The plan was to go out at 8 min/mile pace for the first two miles and adjust to a faster pace if I could. Well, that idea went out the window with no Garmin to "pace" me so I just ran by feel. I saw my buddy Big Al Navidi a half mile or so in and he tells me he'll see me in an hour...YEAH RIGHT! Soon after I hit the 1 mile marker at 7:30. Ok, faster than I planned, but feeling good. Mile 2, 7:36...ok, still quick, but pace feels good. This continued through the first half and the miles became a bit slower each one by 10 seconds or so, BUT I ran through all the water stops through the first half and never walked the water stops until after mile 8. I figured it was important to hydrate as much as possible and to ice up as well. I carried an EFS Liquid Shot with me on the run, but just couldn't stomach more sugar. I forced myself to start taking Gatorade and I had decided pre-race I was going to try Coke this time to see what happened (or Pepsi in the case of Eagleman). I wanted to wait until the second half before I made the move and decided at the water stop at mile 8 I would pull the trigger. The thought of sugar had me nervous, but I decided to water it down and drink it. This was probably a good idea and I felt pretty good post Coke. This continued through the remaining run stops and while I was very hot and tired, I felt relatively "good." I finally got to the final mile and tried to pick it up. I saw Big Al again with a half mile or so to go and he asked me what I thought my time would be. I told him if I could hold on, I had a shot at sub 5:05. I worried I'd lock up or something with just a few hundred meters to go, but it never happened. I was moving well, but not trying to kill myself and I knew, unless my watch was really jacked up, that I was going to go under 5:05. I come into the final stretch and high five every kid/adult that I see with a hand up and someone yells for me that I can catch the older gentleman in front of me. Well, I know I'm going to go under 5:05 and I could catch him if I wanted to, I figured I'd let him have the spotlight as he finished and I'd be able to be solo as I crossed. Well, about 10 yards from the finish, the guy stops running! Well, I'm not stopping and I run across, hit my watch and finish in 5:04:45! The run was almost 15 minutes faster than last year too! So close to sub 5 hours, but I'm not complaining!
Overall, a great day. No cramping issues and only real problems post race are some blisters and chafing from my saddle and probably being soaking wet on the run (really not sure why I was having saddle issues since I've felt great on it all year, but whatever). Didn't get to do too much post race as I had to get home for dinner with the in-laws, but I wanted to get in the AC anyway and sit! Now, time for a bit of a break, and time to start thinking of the next 70.3 and SUB 5 hours!