Pace: 19.46 mph
I was happy with the effort. My goal at IMMOO is a 20mph average on the bike and in race conditions I think that's doable. Once I get a taste of the hills on the course we'll see if that goal is still realistic. I finished the ride shortly after 11:00 so that gave me plenty of time to recover, nap, and watch the Tour.
Next up, the Midnight Madness 10k at 8:30 that night (a misnomer, I know). I parked a few blocks away and then ran a little over a mile to warm up along one of my old running routes from when I used to live downtown. The legs felt less than spectacular, but slightly better than dead. I walked the rest of the way to the start line and arrived with about 2 minutes to spare.
So the strategy for the race was to go out hard and see just how long I could hold on. There was a clock at the first mile marker and it read something like 6:10 when I got to it. Whoops! Not that hard. I know I can't hold that, especially with the first hill coming up.
Heading up the hill, my friend Henry pulled up alongside me. This was another sign that I went out too hard as he's usually pulling me along during group runs. We chatted for about a minute then he took off. Eventually I hit the first turnaround and started making my way back toward downtown.
They were a lot of spectators along this part of the route, which is helpful. I heard a few people call out my name, which surprised the hell out of me. Hey, I’ve got fans! It was a couple of people I knew from my tri training group.
I hit the 5k mark at 20:53, which I was okay with. The goal was 42 minutes and I was right on track. I just needed to hold on for the last half of the race. I did the loop around downtown again and noticed the temperature at the bank had dropped from 86 to 77 in the course of the first half of the race. Sweet! Why do I feel like I'm burning up still?
The second loop was tough. My legs were starting feel it, especially up the hills. Suck it up, Sally, less than 5k to go! I kept chugging along. At one point some dude pulled up along next to me and struck up a conversation.
Dude: I hope we're still in the running for mugs.
Dude: Yeah, top 100 finishers get mugs.
Notice my one words sentences? Yeah, I couldn't manage much more than that. When I hit the turnaround I was happy that there was just a little over a mile left. As I started approaching downtown I knew that 42 minutes was going to be awfully close. I managed my best sprint to close things out.
Finishing clock had me at 42:07, garmin at 42:09, official time: 42:14. What? Oh well, still finished in the same place. I got handed my mug and was a little disappointed to find out it was a coffee mug. I was thinking beer mug. Hmmm, I wonder where my mind was! I guess I can use it to make Irish Coffees.
Run Time: 42:14
Pace: 6:48 / mile
While I definitely didn't have my best racing legs, it was still a solid effort. I didn't feel all too bad afterward, but now it was time to see how well I would recover for round 3.
The morning came quickly enough and upon waking up my legs were a little tight, but not as bad as I thought they'd be. I hopped in the car and was on my way to the Iowa Games Triathlon in Ogden, IA. The race was a short one: a 440 yd swim, 13 mile bike, and 5k run.
I drove to the race site in pouring rain. Oh goody another wet triathlon! I parked my bike in one of the middle racks right next to one of my friends from our training group. I chatted with him and a few others I recognized to pass the time.
I decided it would be in my best interests to warm up in the water a bit since I hadn't swam for over a week. I swam the whole course and the water felt great. I was good to go.
I positioned myself in the second row, hoping to get on the feet of some of the faster swimmers. That didn't work out so well as there was quite a bit of contact at the start and I couldn't get clear. At one point some guy started climbing up my back, which is fine because I expect that sort of thing to happen. Then I felt a palm on the small of my back and the a-hole shoved me straight down. I was pretty much vertical in the water at that point, but I managed to get going again. Try that again, d-bag, and I'm kicking as hard as I can. Sure enough a couple of seconds later the hand was pushing on my back again. My feet connected with something solid, more than once, and he let up. See you later.
The swim cleared up after that. I rounded the turnaround without incident, surprised at how many people I was passing after the first couple hundred yards. Do people really gas themselves that much in a 440 yard swim? Maybe I just had that rough of a start. Anyway, I made it to the boat ramp and headed into transition
Swim time: 6:59
Swim pace: 1:35 / 100 yds
OA rank: 34/295
AG rank: 3/17
T1 was a quick 29 seconds
So about a hundred yards from the mount line is a hill. I've complained about this hill before and I'll complain about it again today. It's not that it's all that big, it's just the positioning of it. You can't use the downhill on the way back because of the dismount line. What a waste!
Anywho, some goofball passed me at the crest of the hill, but then he struggled to get his feet in his shoes and I took off and never saw him again. Time to catch some swimmers!
I tried to gauge how my legs felt in the early miles. I could tell they weren't all there, but I pushed as hard as I could regardless. The roads were wet and it may have still been raining but I don't really remember. I caught a lot of people on the way to the turnaround, including most of the "elites" that started in the first wave.
As I approached the turnaround I started counting heads coming back the other way. One.....two......uhhh....really? I'm in third? A brief deluded vision of reaching the podium danced through my head. Hold on, Neal, the fast old dudes (35+) started in the wave behind you. Don't get ahead of yourself.
There was a slight headwind on the way back and I could feel my legs start to falter a little bit. I was passed not once, but twice with about a mile left to go to transition. The second guy was in my age group. Grrr! I kept him in my sights until we were back in.
Bike time: 34:25
Bike pace: 22.66 mph
OA rank: 8/295
AG rank: 3/17
T2 was a quick 22 seconds, but I made a little mistake by accidentally grabbing my goggles
I pass over the timing mat, throw on my visor, and as I start to put on my race number belt I realize I accidentally grabbed my goggles at the same time. Fudge! Maybe after not swimming for a week I subconsciously wanted to go for another dip
I wasn't sure what to do so in my confused state I backtracked to the timing mat (careful not cross it again and mess up my results) where there was a volunteer to ask what to do. She said to just toss them on the ground where I could find them afterward. Well that sounds logical. Bye, bye goggles. Okay, off we go a second time. How much time did that cost me? 10, 20 seconds? Oh well, let's run.
At that point in time I could still see the guy in my age group in front of me and I had visions of running him down. After the first mile when we hit the first turnaround area I could tell that wasn't going to happen. If anything, he was widening the gap.
Okay, consolation goal: don't let anyone pass you. I estimated the nearest competitor was at least 30 seconds behind me at that point. I continued to push and coming off the second turnaround point I saw that the guy behind me was gaining. Crud!
He passed me before the long hill about a half mile from the finish line. I held on for the last little bit and finally crossed, pretty spent for a sprint race.
Run time: 21:12
Run pace: 6:50 / mile
OA rank: 24/295
AG rank: 3/17
Finish Time: 1:03:29
OA Rank: 8/295
AG Rank: 2/17
The goggle mistake bugged me. I was only 5 seconds off of 7th and 25 seconds off of 6th. This may have been the difference. Quick side story that is a point of comedy for family and friends. Former Iowa Hawkeye and stud NFL kick returner Tim Dwight competes in this tri every year. I was finishing my post race food when he crossed the finish line some 8 minutes after me. I'm not sure why, but it's just fun to say I beat Tim Dwight at an athletic contest of some sort.
I waited around for the awards. I was given "1st" in my age group due to the fact that the guy who beat me was 3rd overall. Darn, I was hoping for a clean age group win before aging up next year.
A shiny gold medal!
I'm pretty sure that if I had not ridden a century and run a 10k the day before I would have moved up a few spots in the overall placing. All in all I am pleased with the finish (my best in a tri so far) and extremely happy with how my body responded. The weekend was quite a confidence booster for IMWI.