Jun 9, 2009

MiltonMan Triathlon 2008

Two summers ago I'd be stumbling home at this time. My clock read 3:53...I didn't have to wake up until 3:55. It's amazing how our internal clock can be so accurate. I didn't sleep very much, maybe 4 hours.. This was about to be my seventh race of the season. It almost seems more natural to be up at this hour on a Sunday morning. Since the Morgantown Half Ironman, I have been trying to get back into a groove. My mileage was high this week, but I didn't feel that great. I went a little too hard on Wednesday and the rest of my week suffered. It didn't matter though...I've been training too hard for too long. It is time to race...this is the point of the season where everything is supposed to pay off. I met my dad at National City Bank at 4:50. He was nice enough to give me a ride to the race. It was early and we didn't talk much, but it was nice to spend race morning around family.... it always calms my nerves. We had about an hour drive to the race start...it was dark and gloomy the entire ride. I was hoping the rain would hold off until after the race. We got to Lake Milton around 6:00...plenty of time to get ready to race. As I was setting up my transition, I got to meet Christian and Nate, my teammates. It was nice to have someone to talk to before the race. My warm-ups went normal and I slid into my wetsuit at around 7:00. As I was walking to the beach for swim warm-up, I ran into Adam Kuncel. He is a really nice guy and great triathlete. So far, he has beaten me every time we have raced against each other. Read my report on the Cleveland Triathlon last summer. I raced in his shadow for 2 hours. I watched him run 20 feet in front of me. He beat me by 30 seconds... It took me months to let that race go...I felt like I had no heart.The lake water felt gross. It was really warm and murky. It reminded me off Lake Erie by the city. After the horn sounded, I swam out front with Christian and one other guy. They dropped me after 100 meters. Then, 200 meters in, I was passed on the left. I tried to catch the draft. I was dropped after a couple hundred meters. Overall, my swim was labored and slow. I felt very overheated the entire time. Tactically, it was my worst swim this season. I exited the water in 21:40...4th place. I was tired and very hot. Transition was quick and I was soon on my bike. Adam passed me two miles into the bike. I felt like he blew by me. My legs weren't there. I didn't feel as strong as I usually do. Over the next 15 miles, I was able to pass two guys. But around mile 20, the kid I racked my bike next to passed me. He had swum a couple minutes slower than me. He was tearing up the bike course. This pissed me off even more. I should be able to ride with these guys. I couldn't figure out where my power was. As I cam back to transition, I had already mentally decided I wasn't having my best day. My bike split was 1:04:55. Even though I averaged 23mph, I was two minutes slower than Deer Creek...the first race of the season.I had a really quick transition and was able to exit with the kid that passed me at mile 20. Right off the bat, he tried to drop me. I don't think he thought I would be able to drop the first mile in 5:35...we did. As we approached the turn around at mile 2, we saw Adam cruising. He had started the run 2:30 in front of us. He was not about 1:30...we were closing the gap. At the turn around, I started to pick up the pace again. I was able to run away from that kid. When I got back to the start of lap 2, my pace had slowed to about 6:15. I was trying to conserve a little energy. I was now only 30 seconds off Adam. I kept pushing and was able to catch Adam at mile 4. I put the hammer down and started cruising at 5:30ish pace. I knew I couldn't hold it...but all I needed to do was get away from him. When I hit the turn around at mile 5, I had increased my lead to about 30 seconds and for the first time in the race I felt pretty damn great. It was windy and pouring on us. I was loving every second of it. I was so excited to cross the finish line that I dropped my last mile in about 5:25. I had so much more left in me... I ended up having the fasted run split of the day. I ran a 36:27 10k. That is roughly 5:52 per mile.I’ve been dreaming of winning a race since I started racing in September of 2006. It's always on my mind. I have come close before, but I never seem to get it. The feeling of finishing first will stay with me for a long time. Even though I didn't feel great during the swim or bike, I toughed it out and had a great run. I finally feel like I raced well. My overall time was unofficially 2:04:50. It was a PR by about 5 minutes. I still think I am capable of much faster times, but I will just have to leave that for next time. On a separate note... Champ Racing put on a really good race for the price. I will definitely do another one.

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