I lined up for the 400 meter pool swim with the 7:00 group. While I knew I could swim as fast as some of the people towards the back of the 6:00 group, I would prefer to pass swimmers than get passed. Once in the water my placement worked out well as I wasn’t passed and I had passed 3 people by the end of the swim. I wasn’t real excited about how I felt in the water, my lack of focus on the swimming aspect of this sport has definitely affected my abilities, but I was confident that any time I lost in the water would be made up with my increased focus on the run.
After the long run to T1, I quickly grabbed my bike and headed out on the bike course. Things were really windy and I had to keep reminding myself that everyone else was suffering through the same wind. The bike course for this race is quite technical, staging a triathlon in the center of a city the size of Columbia doesn’t allow for a lot of options, it’s a wonder it can be safely pulled off.
It is a two loop course and towards the end of the first loop I had managed to get my average speed up to 22mph, at least until I got to the “wall” after which my average proceeded to drop some. This decline in my average speed continued up Old Hwy 63, another nice hill, not quite a steep but a longer hill than the wall. Once back on some flat and downhill stretches I managed to get my average back up above 22mph, but I knew I had to ride the wall one last time plus deal with the technical aspects of the course on the return back to transition. As I rolled into T2 I saw 21.5mph as my average, not as fast as I had hoped, but not terrible either.
I really thought I would excel on the run, but it turned out not to be my day. Not to come up with excuses, but from talking to others there was a really high pollen count that weekend and apparently lots of people had problems with allergies. My deal was that I couldn’t take deep breaths. Instead I was forced to take small shallow breaths, if I tried to breath deeper I couldn’t due to pain in my chest. I’ve experienced this before and have wondered if I have exercise induced asthma, I had never considered that it might be an allergy issue. In the end I ended up averaging 6:43 per mile over a course I expected to run 6:00 pace or faster.
I ended up in 4th place in my age group, back by 1:36. Overall I was in 15th place, around 8 minutes behind the winner. Definitely still some room for improvement!