I have to give it a "D" but I'm not sure if I really deserve that. It's not an "F" because at least I did finish the race and it's not a "D-" because I had a really good swim.
So without boring you with too many details, well, ok maybe a few too many. Jerry and I had a nice ride down on a beautiful day with the top down on his Mitsubishi Eclipse. Got checked in and found our dorm we would be sharing with a nice group of people that Margo hooked us up with. Had a lot of fun hanging out and talking until bedtime. Great night to hang out on the patio.
We were greeted by a rainbow at sunrise as we made final preparations. I have only been swimming in my wetsuit twice before and once in a race and that was 6 years ago so I was a little surprised to be reminded how restricting it is to wear and no, I have not gained any weight since then. I just felt like it was hard to breathe in the thing. The water was just 2 degrees below the limit and normally I would have opted not to wear it but I felt I needed to practice since I will need it in Coeur D"Alene.
Once I got started on the swim I became more comfortable and soon settled into a good rhythm. My only problem was siteing the buoys since I had forgotten to pack my contact lenses. The water became a little choppy halfway through but I had no problem with that having grown up swimming in open water. When I finally found my way to the pier and checked my watch, I was about 1:30 faster than my prediction so I was very happy with that and began my long run over to the transiton area. It was here I discovered what I really need to practice. Getting OUT of the wetsuit. This turned out to be quite an ordeal and nearly had me giving up in frustration. I finally freed myself from it's rubbery grasp but it cost me several minutes with over 7:30 in transition time to the bike.
I started easy on the ride to allow myself time to get my breathing and heart-rate calmed down and then worked my way up to speed after about 2 miles. The course is very flat and I was making good time. The road was in good shape except for some unavoidable and jarring cracks for several miles on hwy 41. At 10 miles I was well ahead of the pace I was hoping for but we did have the wind at our backs. Once we made the next turn we would have a headwind or forward crosswind for most of the remaining distance. At first it was just a bit annoying and at 20 miles I still had a decent pace going but the work to keep that pace was beginning to take it's toll. I tried to pick up the pace but could only speed up a little for a short time and would be forced to slow again. The endless grind soon wore me down. There is no coasting on this flat course and with the wind if you stop pedaling you stop moving very quickly. To make matters worse my right quad was screaming at me the last 15 miles to stop but of course I had to ignore it.
I was very happy to finally make it back to transition. With no wetsuit to peel off, it went much faster and I was fairly quickly out on the run course. Although my goal time was already lost, I still felt I could have a decent time with a good run. Things started off well enough although a bit slow. I was running well for the first 4 miles but then it just went from bad to worse. My left hamstring kept tightening up on me to the point where I could not run more than 100 to 200 yards without having to stop and walk to keep it from cramping so it turned into a long, slow and painful death march to the finish.
Beside the fact that I am weak on the bike and the wind magnified that, I was also very dehyrated. With the wind, mostly overcast on the bike and not too hot, I never noticed I was sweating on the bike but that was not the only reason I wasn't drinking nearly enough. The main reason is I just do stupid stuff and then pay the price.
Bill and Margo came down and did the race too and both finished in front of me. It was amazing to see Margo run so well just two weeks after running the St Louis Marathon in sub 4 pace. Jerry was very strong on the bike as usual and so focused that he didn't even notice when he whizzed by me at about the 42 mile mark.
So thats how it went. Now I have to take the lessons learned and train hard the next 4 weeks.