Because I don't expect you to stay with me for the entirety of this self-indulgent novel, I wanted to be sure I put my shout outs right up front:
Jen had a super race day and I was crazy happy for her. I had my encouragement speech all ready to go as I waited for her to finish. None needed. She had a great day and deservedly so. Her hard work and training diligence manifested itself in the form of a 5-minute personal best at that distance. I also wanted to give a shout out to Dare2Tri Chicago Paratriathlon Club. The had a sizable group with them and it was great racing with everyone. Lots of great performances, effort and enthusiasm. Seriously inspiring.
I don't quite know how to preface this race report. Central casting has me playing the role of Iron Spouse this season so I didn't set any real race goals for myself other than to have a solid half IM in a few weeks. That said, Pleasant Prairie was kind of an "eh" for me. I took away some good things but I also made some terrible rookie mistakes. The latter completely overwhelming the former. So lets get to it shall we.
Did all the usual morning of routines - up at 3:50am to go for a short run followed by just a wee bit of coffee and a some carb intaking to get the insides percolating. What I left off the morning menu were the morning of and pre-race enduralytes or salt sticks which I normally pop to get some instant sodium/potassium into the system. I've worked really hard the last 4/5 years to get the right nutrition/supplement balance to ward off muscle cramps and stomach issues when I race. This brain fart proved costly later in the day. We also kinda misjudged our departure time and I left myself with no warm up other than the walk to the start. Not such a bad thing for me. It was kinda chilly and getting into the water and then having to stand around all cold and shivering would have gotten me too tight and tense. As it was, I had little time to think and was totally calm and relaxed when my wave went off.
Swim = 28:30, 1500m
Sadly, this was an Olympic distance swim PR for me. Appearances to the contrary, I am tug boat slow in the water. My cover says swimmer but my book reads slow as sh--. Self defacing aside, I am kinda geeked by this. I hit a training wall in May with my swim but the last few weeks I've been feeling a lot more confident and responsive in the water.
Notes: Got absolutely jacked at the start - a right hook from the guy to me left - like total slo-mo movie fight my head all swiveling violently to the right. In addition to the shock and the skewed googles now full of water I also got that tingly feeling in my nose...the feeling you get right before all the blood gushes out. Thankfully that wasn't the case but I wasn't seeing quite right for the first 200 or 300 meters. Overall my sighting was really poor the first length of the course. My time may have been better had I not been consistently pulling so far right. For the last two thirds of the course triangle though I was right on the buoy line and I even got on the feet of some faster swimmers. Overall take away was positive.
T1 = 1:51
Terrible. This is free time and I gave a lot back - probably 45-50 seconds. Got totally hung up in my wetsuit. Frustrating.
Bike = 1:12:07, 40k/24.8miles (20.63mph ave.)
Another rookie mistake right after the timing mat. I'm a wannabe so I have my shoes already clipped in to the pedals pre-race. That way all I have to do in transition is get out of the wetsuit, slip on the sunglasses, pop on my helmet, grab the bike and then once over the timing mat a quick hop onto the saddle and I'm off without ever stopping. For the sake of this long anecdote I will also note that I have rear mounted bottle cages. For this distance I only use one 24 oz bottle. Because I hop and swing my leg over I ALWAYS keep my bottle in the seat post bottle cage until I get going. That way I don't kick it when I swing my leg over -- wha, wha, whaaaaaa. Guess where Schmitty put his bottle? And I totally booted it. It hit the guy next to me and it spun across the road. I just looked at him and said it was my first race. What are you going to do? Wasted a bit of time chasing down the bottle and avoiding being hit.
The course was fine but we had a couple false flats into the wind. Not much wind but any amount on those topographical conditions and cycling physics works against me. Most of the ride went fine but I could never really get comfortable in aero. I was all over my saddle and wasted a lot of energy in that respect. Turns out my handle/aero bars were just the slightest bit loose and were gradually tipping down the entire ride. Didn't even notice it until I put my bike up when we got home - like a 30 degree down angle. Nice.
T2 = :51
Rocked it. Best. Transition. Ever. Slipped my feet out of the cycling shoes while entering the final stretch, swung the leg over and hit the dismount line running. Sounds stupid but that :51 was the best part of my day.
Run = 46:22, 10k/6.2miles (7:29/mi)
Felt awesome.....for the first half mile. Then cramping set in fast on both quads. Locked both legs. I stopped to stretch quick and stagger started myself moving again but was stopped dead again after another quarter mile. More stretching and trying to to self massage both legs. Once I was able to at least move again I had to work through this almost cramping state the rest of the run. I was never able to go as fast as I wanted to. Frustrating because I felt really good coming off the bike and this course sets up nicely for me. I really expected to hit low, low numbers. I kinda blame it on not having my enduralytes / salt tablets tablets in the AM. My nutrition on the bike was otherwise solid and should have set me up for a perfect run. Crap.
So here's the damage:
Eh, I really should be able to break 2:20 on this course. Not going to loose sleep.