Madison, WI – Sunday marked the kickoff to my racing season. I competed in the Capitol View Triathlon held at Governor Nelson’s Park in Madison, WI. The forecast showed a 60% chance of rain the whole week leading up to the race. We lucked out; race morning was beautiful. Temperatures were in low 60’s with overcast skies and low humidity. My goal was to finish in the top 3 of my division.
I was signed up in the ‘Elite’ heat which was first in the water to kick off the triathlon at 7am. I knew in advance the field was stacked with some good swimmers, 2 of which were good buddies of mine at college who swam 4 years for University of Wisconsin-Madison. I knew I wouldn’t be able to match their pace so I planned on trying to minimize the gap as much as I could (planned is the key word there). Things don’t always go according to plan. For whatever reason (being overwhelmed, butterflies, starting out too fast), I had some anxiety during the first stretch of the race. I pulled my head up multiple times to look around, catch my breath and try to slow down my heart rate. At this point the majority of the field had passed me. There has never been a race that I have not finished, and I came really close to it yesterday, but I was not going to stop. I had all but given up on my top 3 goal. I flopped along in the water the rest of the way, coming out of the water with a big smile of relief on my face. Whenever I can pull off a smile during a race I know that my good spirits are still intact. I shouted at the race spectators, ‘That was not fun at all!”
Running into transition I knew I was in 9th place and a good 6-7 minutes back of the leaders. If I wanted to make up some time it was going to be on the bike. The first 10 miles of the course was pretty easy and we had a little bit a tail wind. My heart rate was still jacked from the swim, at one point I looked down at saw swore I saw it in the 30o’s (not really, but that’s how I felt). Through 10 miles, I was in 8th place, having only passed one other person. There was a short lollipop with a big climb which allowed to me to spot 2 other racers up ahead. I passed 1 on the climb and the other shortly after. There was a strong headwind the last 10 miles of the course. I was thankful to have my new Specialized TT2 aero helmet! I managed to slowly grind past 1 more racer before coming into transition.
The headwind took a lot out of me on the bike, but I knew I had to push myself in order to get close to the leaders for the run. I was in 3rd place starting the run. My heart rate was back up again coming up the bike, 200+ bpm. I knew ahead of time that the run course is very challenging, through trails and prairies, and had plenty of hills. I started off the first mile at 6:22 pace, although I was trying to slow down my heavy breathing and heart rate. I ignored how my legs felt. I saw the leader at what I estimated about 1 mile ahead. I thought I might have a decent cushion on 4 and 5th place, but at the 3 mile U-turn they were right behind me. That lit a little fire in my ass and I pushed my pace a bit through some of the trails. I could only hold the 4th place runner (who happened to be one of my buddies) off for another 2 miles, he
passed flew by me with about 1.5 miles to go. I crossed the finish line at 2:11:21, 4th place in my division, still a whole 6 minutes behind the winner.
Overall, I am a little disappointed with the race but I have to keep in mind my main focus of Ironman in September. I’m going to think of this race as a good training session and use it was a learning lesson for the future.
My main focuses leading up to my next race (Door Country Half Ironman):
- Work on staying calm/comfortable in the water (while still holding a good pace)
- Increase my leg strength on the bike (felt weak in the hills, slow on the flats)
- Get healthy (get my knee taken care of)
- Increase my running speed
Thanks again for reading my blog and keeping up with my journey to Ironman Wisconsin this fall! I feel very blessed to have all my family, friends and even strangers giving me encouragement on this endeavor. Thank you, your comments and kind words don’t go un-noticed.
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