Transition setup goes smoothly, I’m the first person in my rack and get a prime spot. Trying something new, I get my name written across my chest in black permanent marker. I had thought of this after seeing multiple marathoners with their names on t-shirts, this allows spectators to cheer them on by name. Somehow I allowed someone to convince me to have my phone number written on my stomach as well
After the short bus ride to the swim start, and a brief warm up swim, the cannon fires and the race is off. This was one of my best swim starts, not much tangling with others. However, midway through the swim, I did have several people swim into me, I’m pretty sure I was swimming straight though. Going into the swim, I figured a time around 19:30 would be good. I always tend to get passed by multiple females from the wave that starts 3 minutes back, this time I only saw one pink cap swim past me, so I knew I was having a pretty decent swim. Out of the water in 18:46, beating last years swim by over 2 minutes.
The problem with swimming faster, there are less people to pass on the bike. Passing people always gives me a small energy boost. After a slow transition, the first 2 miles of the bike were pretty rough. Finally, after getting up to the flat section heading towards Hwy 6, I got my breathing under control and got into a nice rhythm. Keeping track of cyclists passed, at the turnaround I had passed 7 and was in 15th place. Somewhere around mile 13 I had the worst cramp of my life. My right calf locked up and nothing I did could ease the tension. I tried keeping the pedals rotating, but I finally had to completely stop and timidly move my leg in an attempt to loosen up the seized cramp. After having briefly considered quiting for the first time ever in a triathlon, the pain subsided enought to resume pedaling. However, for the rest of the ride I held back to avoid another massive cramp. Despite the cramp, coming into transition I was told I was in 12th place. The second transition went really smooth and I was out in probably under 30 seconds.
Fairly quickly I passed 11th and took over that spot. The run seemed to be going well and the injured calf seemed to be responding fine. Heading out of the cabins, I caught and passed number 10. I could see 9th place about a 1/4 mile ahead, but wasn’t making up much time on him. Heading into the last mile, I was still about a minute down on the 9th place competitor. I was feeling decent so I picked up the pace a hair, just enough to catch him if he kept his current pace. Down to about 1/4 mile to go, he looked back and saw me and picked up his pace as well. So much for catching him…
Ted Zedrc was the overall winner, I had told him before the race I thought he would win. Mark Wilson took second and what suprised me most was Rodney Adkison taking third. Before the race I had hoped to beat Rodney, I had beaten him in the Sean Martin Duathlon, but hadn’t beaten him in any of the other races we had both done this season so he’s either improved all season, or he had a bad race in the duathlon. I finally broke the top 10 in my third NEMO after placing 32 in 2002 and 17th in 2003. My time improvement from last year to this year was only 41 seconds and most of that can be accounted for from the swim. This year served to re-enforce to me the importance of improving even more in the swim, to be able to turn in a faster time while feeling less winded when coming out of the water. I can’t wait for masters swimming!!