I thought I was prepared to race in almost any weather. I was so grateful that my buddy flew over for the weekend. He drove us to the top of the Lucky Peak Reservoir and we walked for about 10 minutes. It was in the low 40s and raining. I was actually wearing my helmet to keep my head dry. We arrived into transition around 1100AM. I walked over to my bike and starting setting everything up. My hands were getting cold. My friends were not faring as well. As we were walking down to the car, they announced the bike was going to be cut to 15 miles because of the winds/rain. We sat in car with the heat on full blast for 30 minutes. I think everyone was ready to throw in the towel. I am fairly certain I would not have started if we didn't have a car. There was no shelter near the transition area and it rained the entire time.
While warming up, I put on my XTERRA VENDETTA and my swim cap. As we were walking uphill back to transition, several athletes were taking their bikes and pulling out of the race. I decided that as long as I could maintain body heat, I would swim and then go from there. The pros were already half way done. I took off my shoes with 5 minutes before my wave started. It wasn't a lot of fun standing on wet concrete with cold temperatures.
SWIM - 29:32 without run up into transition (GARMIN 910XT had it at 1.27 miles)
It was a one loop course, clockwise. I lined up slightly to the left of center. The water was COLD, 57 degrees. We were off. I felt like I had a good line and in no time I caught up to swimmers from the previous wave. It was hard to tell where I was at my age group. After the last turn buoy, I spotted another orange cap. We basically swam side my side until the last 100 meters. He picked up the pace. I ended up 2nd out of the water in my wave. I peeled off the XTERRA off on the way to the bike. I saw wetsuit strippers and used their help to get the wetsuit off. As I stood up, my left hamstring kind of cramped up.
T1 - 2:28
I put on my helmet, stuffed all of my swim gear into the bag, grabbed the LYNSKEY, and headed out of transition. I saw Jared and Guy and gave them a quick nod.
BIKE - 35:24 (GARMIN had it as 14.07miles)
It was a 1-2 mile descent. I was very conservative. I saw a guy in my age group fly by me on the way down. I passed him back, once I started pedaling and never saw him again. We had to take a bike path for a few hundred feet. Just as I enter the path I pass a guy. He yells, "Hey no passing!" I did not respond. I was thinking really. You started how many minutes before me. On the path we had a hard right turn. There were several athletes from the other waves in front of me. One of them clicks out and stops at the turn, so all the rest of us come to a near stop. I luckily stay upright and finally maneuver my way around the turn. Once off the path, it was time to start riding. It was hard to gauge how hard I should ride knowing that a half marathon was still to come. I decided to ride as if it were still 56 miles. I made sure to drink several times because of the cramping earlier.
T2 - 1:41
I racked my bike and ripped open my run bag. I grabbed the NEWTONS and had no problem putting the right shoe on. I could not get my left foot in the shoe. I finally looked down and saw my pinkie toe on top of the shoe with all the other toes in the shoe. My feet were that numb. I finally got my foot in. I grabbed my visor and water bottle and headed out.
RUN - 1:26.02 (6:34 per mile)
I felt good at the beginning of the run. A few of the pros were coming through onto their second lap. I settled into a nice pace. A few guys went by me. I had no idea which age group they were in because of the compression gear. After 3 miles I started picking up the effort. I caught up to a guy wearing a Mark Allen Online (MAO) jersey. I ran behind him for a couple of miles. He picked up the pace on a decline and put 10 feet on me. I stayed in a groove and slowly brought him back. A couple miles later he put on another surge. This time he pulled a few hundred feet away. It was perfect timing on his part because I was starting to hurt. My left foot had a hot spot. It felt like a blister forming. My slowest miles of the race were 8-10. Oddly enough, I started to real MAO back in again. I passed him at the aid station as he went to get nutrition. He tucked in right behind me. I just finished all of the nutrition I was carrying in the bottle. I started thinking about strategy now. I tried to increase the pace slightly. The foot steps were still behind me. I grabbed a cup of Powerbar Perform at miles 11 & 12. He was still there. I decide that I do not want to sprint at the end, so I pick up the pace. The foot steps slowly start to fade and I have broken away. I tell myself I only have a few more minutes. It ended up being my fastest mile of the race, 6:14 and 15 seconds faster than the previous mile. I was running up last few hundred meters toward the finish line and I see Guy cheering me on. I hear foot steps and think MAO is back. Can it be? It ended up being someone else who was charging hard. I tried to match his pace, but it was too much. I crossed the finish line exhausted. I had no idea where I finished or even how fast I ran. I scroll through my watch and see my half marathon. I was shocked. It was my fastest ever half marathon. I hadn't even run that fast in a stand alone run race.
FINISH - 2:35.34 5th Age Group/53rd Overall
I qualified for the World 70.3 Championships in Vegas.