Saturday I raced the Hummingbird Triathlon in Sierra Vista, Az. A fun little sprint distance (800yd swim, 13mile bike, 3.1mile run) race. I was starting as the defending champion.
I went into the race untapered, on tired legs as part of an 18 hour week. This was just a day of speed work since there are bigger fish to fry later in the season…Superfrog in Sept and Ironman Arizona in November.
I woke to my alarm at 3am after a night of little sleep. Ate a quick breakfast and jumped in the VX for the 1.5 hour drive to the race site. After arriving I sat up my transition area and picked up my race packet. I found out I was in wave 5 of 6. That gave me plenty of time to hang out, talk, and make the final trip to the mens room. I then went for a warm up run. The legs felt bad at first but after a couple of miles started feeling pretty good. I then grabbed my goggles and headed to the pool. I had enough time to get in about 10 minutes before they called us to the start area.
Once the last of the 4th wave exited the pool it was our time to jump in. About 15 seconds after entering the water we got the “swimmers on your mark…GO!” and we were off.
I felt good throughout the entire swim. I had faster swimmers on both sides of me. I was lapped 3 times by one and 1.5 times by the other. I got out of the water in 3rd, 1:38 down from the leaded. I ran quickly into transition. Ditched the goggles, buckled up the helmet and mounted my bike.
The bike course is an out and back, slightly downhill going out and a false flat returning. Once up to speed I slipped my shoes on, then started to hammer out the pace. I caught 2nd place within the first couple miles. At the turn around I checked my watch and had made up about 20 seconds on the leader. Things were looking good. As I approached the transition I slipped my feet out of my shoes. Swung my leg over the bike and hit the ground running. I racked the bike, removed my helmet, slid on the running shoes and grabbed my hat, glasses and number belt. And off I went in search of the leaded.
The run is a “lollipop” shaped run consisting of small rolling hills. constantly going slightly up or slightly down. I set out at a strong pace and felt surprisingly good. Not knowing how far off I was I just went hard from the start and maintained my pace. The sun had started warming things up and the humidity was in full force. I was never able to get the leader within sight. He was setting a blazing pace and put a couple of minutes on me. I crossed the line in 2nd place overall/1st place 40-49 agegroup with a time of 1:06:39.
I got to follow that up the following day with a nice 4+ hour bike ride!
Living and training on the west side of Tucson I often run into some of triathlons “top dogs”. Most recently it has been at the track. During my Tuesday workout Miek Twelsiek was going through his paces. That was followed by the college track team doing some drill work (Man, those guys have incredible leg speed…and they are “just” Jr. College athletes!). On Friday I was “joined” by Ironman World Champion Miranda Cafrae. It just so happens we were both running 800’s. Surprisingly our pace was dead even…of course I was doing Vo2 pace and she appeared to be well under that level, I only had 3 to do and she was doing 8+ and her rest interval was half of mine.