The hills are alive, with the sound of me cursing!
400M cold and rough Lake Swim, 12.4 Mile Bike, 5k Run
For my second race in 3 weeks, Logan and I drove on up to Prairie Creek Reservoir near Muncie, IN to compete in the first open water race of the year. I had spent the previous week and a half working on my open water swimming skills and was feeling really comfortable, despite the 62-degree water temps. Luckily on race day it was probably closer to 68, which is way nicer than 62. I rock a sleeveless wetsuit due to my broad shoulders, so cold water still feels pretty cold. Race weight was around 229, so still too heavy, but still not running. Pre-race, my hip hurt, and It would get much, much worse quickly. I asked a guy how the run course was, as I hadn't scouted it out prior to the race (rookie mistake), and he told me "it's pretty flat, some slight rolling hills." I guess that guy must have lived in Boulder, because his definition of "it's pretty flat" does not line up with mine.
I had two great warm-ups for this race, since I didn't pick up my registration prior to race day, I was running around that morning trying to get everything in line, and the distance between my rack, my car, and the lake was enough to get the blood flowing in the legs, so I had a nice sweat going. I got a decent swim in to get used to the chop, and then at the 5 minute warning I ran back in the water and did some quick sprints and accelerations. I was feeling great! I should also note that this was an age-group only race, so no Clydesdale. This really changed my perspective on the race, as I didn't feel any pressure to win. I should really have that mindset all the time, but I digress. SO THE SWIM....as usual, several people walked in front of me as I looked on in disbelief. No one respects the big man. Did I mention that the water was rough? It was rough. Within 50 meters two of the "expert" swimmers that jumped the line were just treading water, I smiled as I passed them. I rounded the buoys with and sighted with precision as I moved up the group from hip to hip, and I felt like I was flying through the water. The official results are not accurate on the swim and T1 times, but when I came out of the water, my watch said 4:30, and I was at the tail-end of the elite wave. Unfortunately, this wasn't a swimming race!
One thing I had felt from my previous race was that I could have gone harder on the bike, so naturally I decided to go harder on the bike. Unfortunately this wasn't the same course, and it was 2.4 miles longer, and hilly! There was a guy in front of me that I thought was kind of rude in the queue, so I told myself to stay with him. I had a clunky start to the bike leg and struggled to get my shoes on. As that guy pulled away from me while I was fiddling with my shoes, I overshot the first 90 degree turn and went off-roading for a second. As an aside, why do the police officers pull so far out into an intersection? I appreciate them stopping traffic, but its difficult to make that sharp of a turn without losing all of your speed. I can't be the only one that notices these sorts of things while racing, can I? So now I was well behind my target and the goal became to just maintain the same distance between him and I. However, he was a much better cyclist and triathlete than I was. I did keep up with him, and in fact I actually caught him in transition area, unfortunately I pretty much spent everything I had trying to do that. You should know what's next.....because I'm dumb! I did have a nice dismount though.
Bike Time: 35:43
Had a great transition. Got to the right rack and put the bike up without incident, slipped on my Zoots and was gone. I am digging the sockless shoe.
T2 time: 1:01
I am no stranger to pain. In fact, my tolerance for pain and being uncomfortable was one of the major reasons I had success as a wrestler. The pain I had in my hip during this race was agonizing. The first mile was slow. Not completely horrible, but it did start off with the aforementioned "fairly flat, slight rolling hills." Then it became all hills, and while not mountains, they were plenty steep for me. My first mile was around 9 minutes, and I was hurting. Half-way through the second mile, I was done. I was just barely moving my feet, and when I hit the turn-around, I was ready to quit. The problem with that was that I was still 1.5 miles away from the parking lot, so I might as well finish since I have to go that way anyway. As I headed back, I don't remember a time in my life wanting to quit something so bad. Mile two came in at a miserable 11 minutes or so. As I was wallowing in self-pity, I hear a very loud "SUCK IT UP BENNETT!!!!!!!" My lovely wife had hiked about a mile down the road and gave me a nasty look that I have seen "several" times, and I instantly stopped feeling sorry, and started running. I managed to finish the last mile around 7 minutes, with a pretty strong sprint to the finish, but my time still sucked, and when I was done, I was still in quite a bit of pain. What's that? Free pizza and beer? Sweet!
Final Time: 1:11.23 Official Results here
So the race was over, I felt pretty good everywhere except for my hip, which was literally on fire (figuratively). I wasn't sure how I placed, but with my run, I figured that I didn't, so I wasn't too concerned. There was pizza to eat and beer to drink, so I could manage. There was an olympic distance race going on as well, so they said they wouldn't give out any awards until they were done. Well, we had tickets to see Eric Church and Kenny Chesney in downtown Indianapolis that night, so after waiting around for 2 hours, we left. Later I would find out that I finished 3rd in my age group (sadly, out of 5), but I actually won the group because the guys that beat me finished 1st and 3rd in the race overall and were in the elite group. A win's a win though! Who am I to argue? The concert was great, by the way. The cortisone shot I got in my hip for bursitis was great too! There would be no more triathlons this year according to the Ortho.
But what does he know??????