Overall (2:18:34, 1st AG, 11th Overall)
This is a 2 min personal best on a course with a 41 km bike leg instead of the traditional 40 km distance and a very long run from the end of the swim to the transition area, about a minute extra. This is also my first age group win and highest ever overall finish. So you can probably guess I’m very happy with this result and all my hard work the last few months has been paying off.
I stayed at a condo in the Sea Colony resort and was able to watch them setting up the swim buoys the night before so I had a very easy morning.
I still got up at 5:30 so I could eat breakfast and give it time to settle before the start of the race. And then I rode my bike the short 1/4 mile to the other side of the resort and transition area.
Swim (23:38, 5th AG, 54th Overall)
The swim was point to point so everyone had to walk a mile down the beach to the start line.
This was a good swim and was about a 5 personal best for this distance. The swim was with the current so that had something to do with the time improvement but I’ve been doing a lot more swimming lately so I’m sure that played a big part.
The swim started on the shore with everyone running in and swimming 50 meters to the first buoy. The swim was crowded getting to the first buoy with lots of kicking and running into people.
But after turning left to swim parallel to the shore I got into a good rhythm and passed a lot of people and things thinned out until turning toward shore at the last buoy.
Then it was a run out of the water and up the beach.
T1 (2:25, 2nd AG, 25th Overall)
It was a long run from the beach onto one of the condo decks and then through a fresh water shower.
Nothing to exciting happened and I was off on the bike.
Bike (1:06:22, 1st AG, 13th Overall)
I had a very good bike ride averaging 23.1 mph for the 41km (just over 25 miles). The course was pancake flat but had some challenges with some wind and a stretch of 3 miles on some not so great roads.
I had a race plan to stay in a specific heart rate range for the first 15 miles and I settled in and was cruising along comfortably at 21.8 mph with some headwinds during that section.
The plan was to bump up the heart rated for the last ten miles and with a little help from the tail wind at sections and an increased effort I flew into transition averaging 25.7 mph for the last 10 miles!
I passed a ton of people on the bike and when I passed someone 3 miles from transition I didn’t see anyone the rest of the ride and all the volunteers at the intersections seemed surprised to see me. I was thinking I might be in first place overall, but when I got near the bike finish I could hear the announcer saying I was 7th overall.
T2 (0:50 1st AG, 7th Overall)
I have been practicing my transitions the last two weeks and felt comfortable enough to doing the “flying dismount” coming into T2. This is where you slide your feet out of the shoes and then swing one leg over the bike so you are balancing on one side of the bike. Then you brake a bit and hop off running into the transition area. It’s much quicker then the alternative of stopping, unclipping your shoes and running into transition and then taking the shoes off. Here I am reaching down to slip one of my feet out.
Run (45:23, 4th AG, 21 Overall)
The plan for the run was to start out at lower heart rate and build into a harder effort later into the run. Unfortunately I got a little too excited and ran a 6:30 min/mile pace for the first half mile which was faster then I should have.
Being at the front of the race made the out section of the out and back course very empty but any local spectators and the people working the aid stations were very enthusiastic and cheering. I could see the guy ahead of me but he was about 1/4 mile ahead and pulling away from me so I had no chance of catching him. Also on this section I got passed about 2 mile into the race by someone not in my age group and he was going fast enough that it wasn’t worth trying to keep up.
After the turn around I was able to see I had about a minute on a group of about 3 people behind me.
After the first two miles I was suppose to bump up the heart rate but because of my over excitement at the start and increasing heat (it got up to the high 80’s) my increased HR just meant I was staying at the same pace instead of speeding up.
The back section of the course was tough and I was putting out a lot of effort and the crowds of people starting the run were very encouraging with good things to say. I did get passed by two more people in the last 2 miles but they had the 2nd and 3rd best run splits on the day and neither was in my age group so I don’t feel to bad about that.
The finish line was nice with a clock over the finish and a small grandstand with spectators that was filled up.
I stuck around to check out the results and saw I came in 11th and won my age group. Another benefit of staying at Sea Colony was I had enough time to go upstairs and drop my stuff off, take a shower and still go to post race picnic before the award ceremony.
The award ceremony was very nice, the race supports Make-A-Wish and before they gave out any of the race awards they recognized the top fundraisers. Some people raised more then $40,000 which is awesome. And for the awards they had Pearce give a speech about her wish granting experience and how much it meant to her. She also gave everyone their awards which was a nice backpack with the race logo and finishing place.
I went back to condo to drop things off and then spend the rest of the day at the beach.