As for the race, this was one of the toughest races I've ever done. The conditions were hard (about 90-95 degrees for the run) but they were hard for everyone. When I say the race was tough, its difficulty proved to be more mental than physical.
Swim: The swim went well, I got off to great start and swam with the leader all the way into T1. In the final few meters I came through to the lead and exited the water in first.
|56 Mile Bike through the beautiful hills of Lake Steven's Washington.|
I kept my 6:30-6:40 pace for another mile and half and then came mile 8. There's a steep hill at mile 8, and my legs were done. There was no power to run up the hill and my stride turned to a shuffle. At this point the real difficulty of the race came to the forefront. I began (i) to worry about the guys behind me and (ii) to doubt my ability to finish the race. I am not sure if I failed to consume enough calories, or if I exerted too much effort on the bike, or if it was simply my body not cooperating. To prevent a complete melt down, I kept telling myself, you've got second overall, stay focus and keep it together (at this time I still had at least a 5 minute lead on third and fourth place).
I was struggling. The great cycling commentator Phil Ligget once described a cyclist as "he looks like he has died a thousand deaths," and that is how I felt and looked. I kept shuffling through the mile and trying to stay focus and positive. At one point, I slowed to a walk. It's not often one of the leaders of the race is walking, but this time, it was me. I used the walk to compose myself. I took the 10 seconds to remind myself, hey it's 2.5 miles, run it in 16 or so minutes and get this race finished. I knew the guys behind me were catching up but if I could put together two reasonable miles I still had a top 2 finish and an age group win.
Total 4:26:44 (2nd AG 4th Amateur Overall)