In what is probably my last race this summer, I entered today's competition with some serious doubts. My training has taken a backseat over the past month, due to our plans for moving to Philadelphia, roofing, work, etc. I typically would have gotten all of my training in anyway, but not this time.
To compound matters, I let my nutrition go to shit. I've been taking the lazy route of eating crap instead of quality meals that had helped me get into great shape. As a result, I gained about 7 lbs. in the past 3 weeks or so.
Needless to say I was a bit skeptical of how well I'd perform today. Add that to some strong competition in the form of Jim R. and Ryan J. Still, I toed the line and was ready to go bright and early at 7:30am, supported by my wife and father.
My plan was similar to the last race. Run 1: stick with the leaders the best I could, Bike: get after it hard, Run 2: hold on for dear life. Ryan is a strong runner and had been logging crazy bike miles, so I figured him to be the one the rest of us would be chasing. Jim and I have been neck and neck for the past few races, but he is definitely stronger on the runs. The bike leg was much shorter (11.5miles) minimizing my strength, so I'd have to make the most of it.
Run 1 (1.88miles/11:31/6:08): As I expected, Ryan got away from us about halfway through the run. I tried surging a couple of times to put some pressure on Jim, but he hung with me. The out and back course was mostly flat, with just a bit of incline before turning back into transition. I entered transition in 2nd place with Jim right on my heels.
T1 (:46): 6th fastest. Jim and I headed to the mount line stride for stride.
Bike (11.44 miles/29:13/23.5 mph): I had a few issues getting my shoes fastened coming out of transition and Jim got away from me for a bit. I caught him at about the 3 mile mark and set my sights for Ryan. I really didn't think I had a chance to catch Ryan, as I figured him to be slightly better on the bike. Much to my surprise, I caught and passed him around mile 5. I had a slight scare at the turnaround. It was a sharp 180 degree turn and my back wheel skidded a quite a bit. We had a pretty nice tailwind going out (averaged 26-27mph), but into the wind on the way back in only allowed for 22-23mph. Every once and awhile, I'd take a peek back and see Ryan, a few bike lengths back, expertly marking me. He passed me about 1/2 mile before transition and it was on!
T2 (:35): 2nd overall. Ryan and I headed out of transition in step with one another.
Run 2 (1.92/12:43/6:36): Heading out of transition in step with Ryan, I knew I was in trouble. I hung with him for about 1/4 mile, before he pulled away. My mind went back to my original plan of hanging on for 2nd. I glanced over my shoulder and saw Jim only about :3o behind me. Double trouble! For the next 1.5 miles, I surged forward whenever I could convince myself to move faster and otherwise tried to maintain pace. The second half of this run actually wound up being faster than the first half. I was able to hold off Jim for second place, by :12 (:24 out of 1st.) Heck of a race!
All things considered, I must say I'm pleased. Of course, only out of 1st by :24 and right there at the final transition got me thinking over the next few hours, "what if?" Days like this do wonders on getting me refocused on training. I'm looking forward to getting settled in our new city and seeing what new racing awaits.