The race opens with a 300 yard pool swim. I seed myself at a 5:55 pace, and have a pretty good swim that finishes at 5:44. This was just 15 seconds behind last year. I passed one or two other swimmers in the pool and was passed by none. At this point things are looking pretty good.
Next up is the 10 mile bike through the hills of Montgomery. I find a good groove and I push--or perhaps as Coach Michelle said, I PUSHED!--and I kept on PUSHING. Some of these hills felt tough, especially at this effort level, but but I kept it going. I finished the bike in 30:05 and feeling pretty good. This was just 24 seconds behind my time from last year, so I know things are going better than expected.
Now the run comes up and I take off giving my best effort. Most of the first mile is paved before running along grass fields and then through wooded trails. Because of the drought the ground is cracked in places and I have to watch my footing in places. Although the run feels tough in spots, I keep PUSHing and finish my running 23:05--31 seconds faster than last year. Now that surprises me more than any part of this race!
When you factor in my transition times being slightly slower this year, my final finishing time is 1:01:11, just 36 seconds slower than last year, which is also quite the surprise to me. Clearly I am farther along in my recovery than I was giving myself credit since I was hoping to finish within a couple of minutes of last year's time. This year, however, my age group included a much faster athlete who blew past me early in the run and finished about seven minutes ahead of me, but I was able to finish 2nd in my age group this time around. Given this result I am feeling more encouraged as I continue to go forward in my recovery. Perhaps even more important than that, I have been considering moving away from triathlon recently, feeling like I have lost my drive to keep going in the sport. For now, this race seems to have rekindled my old spirit somewhat, and I hope I keep feeling that way.
Now for some past race photos:
|Karen and I. She won her age group.|
|Getting my award from the race director.|
|A fun photo with several of my teammates. Will (far left) was 3rd in his (and my) age group, Sasja (left) was the overall female winner, Lori (next to me) was first in her age group, and myself on the far right. We had a lot pf fun after the race!|
Next up for me in four weeks is the USAT Age Group National Championships in Milwaukee. I'm looking forward to going out there and doing my best, and having a lot of fun.