Welcome back to another episode of Tingle Does a Thing Then Writes About the Thing. This week’s Thing was the Lakeside of the Smokies Sprint Triathlon. It was a good day. When I finished it was warm (I’m not allowed to say “hot” because I complained about the cold all winter). So, it was warm.. And I was glad I hadn’t opted for the Olympic distance race. But I’ll bet you’re reading this because you want to hear about how I did with the swimming and biking and running. If you’re not here for that, then stop reading now. If you are, well here’s how it went:
Again, in the interest of not getting repetitive, we’ll jump in after the Pop-Tarts and talk about the race. I got to the race about 90 minutes prior to start. I racked my bike next to Speed Demon Bill Beecher in hopes that some of his fast would leech into my bike and shoes while they sat next to each other. I chatted with Bill and other friends as we got ready to start the day. It was a wetsuit race so about 20 minutes before go time I got the wetsuit on (correctly the first time today) and headed to the water to get a brief warmup. The sun was peeking over the lake and I knew once we made the first turn we would be swimming directly into the sun. I also knew that most likely there would be at least a few people around me so I hoped that would keep me somewhat headed in the right direction. After a brief race briefing the countdown was on and we were off. I went hard toward the first turn and stayed right with the lead pack. After rounding the first buoy, sure enough, blinding sunlight smashed my eye holes every time I tried to sight. I caught a glimpse of the next yellow turn buoy so I headed that way. I had Mike D next to me along the back straight. When we hit the second buoy I made the turn and headed for the next yellow buoy. It wasn’t there. I was confused but for some reason I thought if I kept swimming it would magically appear. Finally I came to my senses and realized the “turn” wasn’t actually a turn, but more of a “line adjustment”. I blurbled an obscenity into the lake and turned and headed back toward the course. I got back in the mix at the ACTUAL next sighting buoy and turned up my effort in an attempt to get back in the mix. I passed a couple people and finally headed to shore after rounding the last turn buoy. As my hand grazed the bottom I pulled myself up and ran toward transition. I ended up adding about 60m to the 750m swim with my detour but still came out of the water in 13:23 with a 1:31/100yd avg.
There was a long run up to T1 but that gave me time to get the wetsuit stripped down to my waist. After getting to my rack, I got the suit off easily then installed my headband, glasses and helmet on my head, my shoes on my feet and (after running the short distance to bike mount) my butt on my bike. The bike course climbs steeply out of transition before heading down to the highway where I put the power down. I knew I had made up a few spots with a quick T1 and after making a couple passes on the road I I knew I was in second with Bill ahead of me. On the back side of the bike course there were at least 6 dogs running loose in different spots. I got chased by a couple of Terriorists and barked at by some big grumpy fluffers and befuddled a big brown boxer but we all went our separate ways with no incidents. When I made the turn to head back toward T2 I still hadn’t seen Bill so I knew he was ahead of me I just didn’t know how far and if anyone else was in front of him. I heard My Manda yelling “you caught Bill! You caught Bill!” I knew I had put in a monster bike, 43:29 and a 21mph avg which was good enough for the fastest bike split of the day! I’ll take that!
I knew Bill wasn’t far ahead and I was fighting for an overall podium spot so I made short work of T2 and headed out on the run. I looked up as I ran out and Bill was probably 400m ahead of me. I knew it was going to be unlikely I would catch him but my legs were feeling good so I decided I would try to match pace and keep him in sight over the first part of the run and then see what I had in the tank for the second half. I held that same distance up through the first turn. We were running 7:20’s. I new I didn’t have much more than that at the moment so I hoped he was hurting too. At the turn he saw me and we exchanged mutual “Good work!” encouragement. It was also at that point he realized I wasn’t far behind. This is the point at which he engaged a running gear that I didn’t have at that particular moment and started to pull away. I tried to close the gap but it just wasn’t going to happen today. I knew I had a good gap on 3rd so I just held my pace around 7:10 and brought it home for a 2nd overall on the day. Run split was a 22:02 with a 7:15/mi average pace. Solid.
Lakeside was the first race of the year that I could compare data to see how my new training plan with my new coach is going. Sure enough, I made some major gains on this race cutting 3 minutes off my total time from last year coming in with a 1:20:44. I made the most of that in the water (even with my detour) and the run. I’m happy with how things are going but there’s still a LOT of work to do before OLY Nats and Kiawah later this year. Thanks, as always, to all you amazing people that support me: Podium Sports Medicine, LB Endurance, ORR Cycling Carbon Wheels, Stoke Signal, Cedar Bluff Cycles, Healthsource Chiropractic Knoxville, Infinit Nutrition, Harper Auto Square, and my family, friends and teammates. You guys are seriously the best!