2005 Memphis in May Race Report

Memphis in May Finish Line

Boy how time flies! It has been over three months since my last post. A ton has happened… I quit my job in Kirksville at Truman State University where I had been employed for the last three and a half years in the computer department, I moved to Columbia, and I started a new job with the Missouri Lions Eye Research Foundation/Ultramax Triathlons. In addition, I’ve competed in multiple races in that time frame, but have been too pre-occupied to keep up with the race reports. I plan on re-visiting some of those races, but first I’m going to report on the one that is freshest in my mind…

It took me a while to decide if I really wanted to do Memphis in May, it wasn’t until late April that I finally signed up and I still wasn’t totally committed to going. Several weeks out, I decided I would go ahead and enter and find a spot to camp somewhere once I got down there. It wasn’t until a week before the event that I hooked up with a couple of CMC members, Greg Fields and Miki Bohon that were going down and the three of us ended up carpooling down. Once there, Greg and I stayed in the Naval Station which was a bargin…

The three of us met early on Saturday morning and headed down to Memphis. We arrived at race site around one in the afternoon and picked up our packets. After a brief dip in the lake, Greg and I headed out to bike the run course, while Miki proceeded to swim the full 1.5k swim, oh to be a former collegiate swimmer… Not only am I not a great swimmer, I was also experiencing shoulder pain during my brief swim that afternoon, enough pain I wasn’t sure I could make the swim the following morning.

We finished our time at the race site by driving the bike course after which we went to find some pasta. We found ourselves at a great pasta house that had already been discovered by a bunch of other triathletes. There was a little bit of a wait, but it wasn’t bad as there were plenty of people to meet and talk with. I ended up chatting with Mia Richter who had placed second the previous year at Halfmax. I tried to convince her to return to Halfmax this year, but she had other plans. Following my conversation with Mia, another triathlete who had overheard me mention Andrea Fischer when talking about Halfmax approached me. After she introduced herself as Desiree we talked for a few minutes and then she went back to the bar where she had been drinking. At this point a guy who had been sitting next to me leans over and says. “Do you know who that was? That was Desiree Ficker, one of the hottest professional triathletes out there!”

Race morning arrives and Greg and I arrive at race site by 5am. I had eaten a light breakfast consisting of instant oatmeal, a banana, and pop tarts. Once in the transition area, I was the first to rack my bike in my section and I got about the best spot in the whole transition. With plenty of time to spare, I had my area set up and then I just relaxed by reading “The Perfect Mile” next to my gear…

Exiting the water

It wasn’t long before it was my turn to enter the water. Thankfully my shoulder wasn’t as painful as it had been on Saturday, however, the water temperature had supposedly risen four degrees since the previous morning (which I think is a bunch of bull) so wetsuits were not allowed. I knew this would affect my time, I figured I would take about 26 minutes, however it ended up taking me 28:15. I never should have looked at my watch at the end, when I did I was really disappointed…

Once out on the bike I settled into a rhythm and tried not to think about the swim. While I felt like I could go faster on the bike, I decided a controlled effort would be better as I would still have something left for the run. After several miles, I caught and passed Steve Taylor which was a shock to me. For one reason, he had started several minutes behind me, so he had apparently passed me in the water. But even more so, I was shocked at the fact that I had caught him at all since he is such a strong biker, apparently he was having a bad day on the bike or I was having a really good day, probably a combination of both.

On the bike

My goal on the bike was to go under an hour, hopefully around fifty-five minutes. I ended up at fifty-nine minutes and ten seconds, my first triathlon averaging over twenty-four miles an hour. I went under an hour, but not quite as fast as I had hoped.

In the last major corner just before the end of the bike I swung the corner a little too wide. I stayed on the road, but in doing so my left calf muscle cramped up really bad! The last couple of minutes on the bike were spent trying to work the cramp out. Pulling into the transition I really concentrated on getting out of there with a really fast transition. I ended up with the second fastest transition in my age group.

Finishing the race

As usual, after the bike, the run took a while to get in a rhythm. My first mile split was 6:40, not terrible but slower than I expected. At the second mile split I had slowed to 6:41, however this included several difficult hills so I actually felt good about this split. Also, I was starting to feel comfortable and had passed several guys in my age group who had started after me; I was making up for time I had lost in the swim or on the bike.

I missed hitting my split button on the next mile marker, but at mile four I had 12:55 for two miles so my pace was down to around 6:27. Mile 5 was 6:34 and mile 6 was 6:20 with a final run time of 40:36 a 6:32 average pace. My total time was 2:10:28, an improvement by 9:10 over my time in 2003. I was 11th out of 138 in my age group. Once again, my swim was the deciding factor. The swim times of the guys in front of me on average were around 5 minutes faster. One more reason to keep working on that swim!

posted at 08:26:26 on 06/09/05 by Tony Rigdon – Category: Race