I wanted to take this race a bit more serious in the preparation parts of it to make it as similar as possible to how I want my Ironman prep to go.
I was up 3 hours before the race start in order to get my breakfast eaten early enough to digest it a bit before racing. I got to the race site about 1.5 hours before the race start to make sure I had plenty of time to get my transition setup, run through how I wanted transition to go, and make sure to get a good swim warm up. During my run through transitions I practiced nearly everything besides jumping on the bike, but I did include practicing putting on my helmet, sunglasses and bike shoes. Then I practiced taking them off and putting on my run gear. I felt confident in my transitions and it ended up being ideal since my transitions went really well!
I had my rubber swim pull bands with me so before getting into the wetsuit I did a quick set of swim pulls to get the muscles warmed up. Then I got into the wetsuit and into the water about 20min before race start. I did a nice warm up that I read in one of Matt Dixons books of 50 strokes easy, 50 hard, 40 easy, 40 hard… 10 easy, 10 hard. I really liked that as a warm up, I felt primed and ready to go but still a little worried about how well the swim would go since I haven’t raced open water in a while. I was also wearing a full sleeved wetsuit which I haven’t done in the past, but I wanted to give it a chance and see how I felt.
Swim: 23:42 (2nd fastest swim in a long swim ~1700m)
Pretty stoked about that swim. I knew the swim was going to go out fast as it always does. So, I told myself I would give myself ~30 hard strokes before easing back into a sustainable pace. This ended up being perfect as 30 strokes got me and the lead group to the first buoy with one guy already way in front of us (he would either win the swim by a lot or blow up, so I let him go and focused on the group near me). When I made the turn on the first buoy and eased back just slightly, about 20 strokes later I was all alone. I had dropped the pack and just had to focus on doing my thing. So, I just settled in and focused on strong form and tried to limit any stupid mistakes and it worked out well. I exited the water in second and when I looked back while running to transition I had a good 45-60” on the next group.
T1: catch the guy who beat me.
T1 went really well! I got out of there super fast! Got out of the wetsuit quickly and into my gear to try and chase who ever beat me out of the water.
Bike: 1:09ish (8th fastest bike)
Not an easy bike ride at all. Probably could have gone just as fast with just a normal road bike. It was just constantly changing elevation, but it was a good challenge and I know my weakness is pushing that high end for that long compared with some of the guys out there who only do Olympic racing. I tried to accumulate as much time in Z4 as I could as that was the goal but with the rolling hills it was hard to ride any type of steady power. I raced most of the bike in 2nd place then got passed a little over half way into it putting me into 3rd but eventually caught up to the guy who exited the water first and we played leap frog for a while before he put a huge surge in at the end going to T2. But I figured I would see him on the run, so I let him go as I got ready to head into T2. I slipped my feet out of the shoes on the last downhill before T2 and this made it super simple getting off the bike quickly.
T2: Catch that guy as fast as possible while playing it smart
I got through T2 very quickly again with no mistakes and good practice for IM. I grabbed a small bottle with fluids, my belt, hat, and glasses and headed out and started putting that all on while running.
Run: 39:34 (2nd fastest run)
That may have been my first time breaking 40min in a 10k. But I have also not ran one in over 3 years so not like it matters much. But this was a hilly run so pretty happy with that run anyways. I got out of T2 quickly and caught the 2nd place guy within the first quarter mile and he wasn’t moving so I was only focused on the first-place guy hoping I would be taking time out of him. I ran strong and relaxed as possible pushing strong up the hills and trying to open it up a bit on the down hills. I was averaging about 6:30/mile on the first couple miles and would have liked to run faster but there was never time to settle into a steady pace to do that with the hills. I made it to the 5k turn around about 1:00 behind the first place guy, I knew I had taken time out of him but didn’t know if I could get another minute out of him over the next 5k. I then saw a guy maybe 20” behind me coming fast and prepared to be caught and when that eventuality came I tried to go with him but that lasted maybe 10 steps before I realized I wasn’t going to be able to hold onto him as he was moving fast! At that point, I was in 3rd place and very much on my own so I just held on and tried to continue to push it in hopes to be empty at the end. I finally got to the end and went hard to the finish and ended in 3rd overall.
This was my first time on the podium and overall, I think it was a good race given the fact I don’t train for Olympic tri’s. It was great practice in transitions and just getting into race mode. I am in a good mental place given the fact IM Canada is in 3 weeks. I am ready to get there and race!