First major race of 2009; Florida 70.3

It has been a while since I have last posted but am going to try to stay a bit more current now that the season has started.

  I just got back from my first major triathlon of the 2009 season, Florida 70.3.  Overall I was a bit disappointed with my result, but considering my training this offseason it wasn’t too bad.  I was 12th overall with a time of 4:04:42.  Hopefully this can be a good race to build on.  It has been that way in past.

  I went down with my wife, Megan, and our oldest son, Jack (2.5 yrs) and was using the race as an excuse to take Jack to Disney.  For the second time in his short life I may add. We stayed at the Nickelodeon Hotel ( which was a great hotel; unfortunately Jack is about 4 inches to short to go on the water slides.  Despite that Jack loved the hotel. 

  On race morning we driving to the race and I was driving the same way I went the day before to check in.  We were getting close when we noticed cops had blocked off the road going to the Fort Wilderness.   We were already a bit late so this was not good.   We now had no idea how to get to the race.  After driving around Disney for a bit we were able to find the parking lot near For Wilderness.  I had about 1 hour before my wave was to start and the parking lot was 1+ mile away for transition.  So as my warm-up was running down a paved trail in the dark with my backpack. 

    With the race about to start my goal was to try and stay with the main group.  When the race started I got caught behind some slower swimmers and lost the main group at the start.  After about 500 yards I found myself in a small group of about 3 other swimmers.  I swam in 3rd at very comfortable pace.  I got out of the water in 30:04 and was 5 minutes down from the leader and about 3 minutes down from the main group. 

  Starting the bike I was with a few other guys, one being Alex McDonald.  I had a tough time settling into a rhythm and I let him and a few other go.  Hindsight being 20/20, I should have pushed a bit to stay with them.  There were 3 out and backs on the bike course so I could see where I was in the race.  There were about 15 guys riding together in the second group.  I have to say that they were riding very legally every time they pasted me going the other way.  I have done a few other races were this group tends to look more like a bike race.  I rode nearly the entire bike alone and struggled keeping my power numbers where they should be.  I was about 15-20 watts less than what I was hoping to ride.  Most of the time during the bike leg even if I struggle in the lst hour I seemed to get a second wind in the second hour, but it never seemed to come.  My quads were really hurting with 11 miles to go and the end couldn’t come soon enough.  

  I got off the bike and had no idea what to expect.  I had only done a few bricks all year and they were normally after 90 minute rides and were only 4-7 miles.  Also my legs were toast from the bike.  I started the run and felt really slow and tired.  I was hoping this would go away. I looked down at the mile marker and ran a 5:35, which was very surprising.  I felt just as bad during the next mile and it was again in 5:35.  I started to feel much better after that.  Miles 3-8 I felt great all in about 5:40-5:45 pace.  I even found myself holding back during miles 6-8.  My plan was to start pushing it at mile 9.  I looked down at mile 9 and saw I just ran 6:00.  I picked it up and started pushing; hoping to get back to 5:45 pace, the next mile was 6:00.   Then I realized that I was starting to fall apart.  My left quad was cramping along with my right calf.  I no longer focused on running 5:45, but just making it to the finish.  I don’t know what the last few miles were since every time I looked down at my watch I couldn’t remember what my watch read at the last mile.  I also had really blurry vision so it was a struggle to read my watch. 

  The combination of the heat/humidity and lack of training contributed to my slow finish.   My run time was the 5th fastest of the day in 1:17:20, which was surprising considering my melt-down near the end.   My bike time was 2:13:40 (2 seconds slower than 2 years ago.)

  After the race we left and went back to the Nickelodeon hotel to hang out at the pool.  On Monday we went to Magic Kingdom at 10:00am and went on nearly every ride and show that Jack was able to go on.  Even though it rained for some of the day there were no lines at any of the rides.  Jack went non-stop until he fell asleep watching the parade at 9:30pm.  His favorite ride was the Barnstorm roller coaster that he was just tall enough to go on.  We went on it 4 times right in row since there were no lines.  Tuesday we went to Epcot and Wednesday we flew home. 


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