Oddly, one of the most memorable moments of the 2007 St Anthony’s triathlon, (my best performance in a long time) was the night before the race. I will never forget how I felt. It was late and I was comfortably wide awake with only my thoughts… My wife and I were lucky enough to stay with Shirley, who at 68 had the energy and look of someone in their 40’s. This was to be her 20th St Anthony’s race! She housed a number of professionals but since Hortense came with me, we got the ‘penthouse sweet’ as Shirley called it. The room was upstairs and had its own bathroom allowing for a very comfortable stay. Not to mention it was only 6 blocks to the race venue. Hortense was not tired either and she watched a movie on her laptop, The Last King of Scotland. I opted to meditate. I don’t usually consider myself the Dali lama when it comes to meditation but on this night, I was on par with the best of them. It was the most lucid, calming, serene, state of being I had felt in a long time. I did not want it to end. Euphoria. Here I was, healthy and doing what I love to do with my favorite person in the world there to enjoy it with me. It was powerful feelings of being ‘right’ with my place in the universe. I knew the next day was going to be fun.
We awoke at 3 am MST to prepare for the 7am Eastern start. I felt pretty good considering that I was usually enjoying some serious REM sleep at this time. My circadian rhythm was a bit out of whack the rest of the day. At about 6:30 I got in the bay and warmed up. In hindsight, I should have swum much harder than I did.
I lined up to the far left for the beach run start and was calm before the start. GO! Game on! Finally, racing at the elite level for the first time in almost a year! In the second photo I am in the upper right corner, farthest away; diving in. I think I know why all those guys line up on the right? Maybe it is shallower for a longer distance. Because it looks like they run farther out? I’ll have to test out that theory next year…
I knew I was going to have a good race because I was healthy and my training had been going well, but the way I felt the first 800 meters of the swim had me wondering why I felt so awful? It wasn’t until half way through the race that I got in any kind of rhythm. It makes sense to me now, 1st race in 10 months, early start, and a lethargic warm-up. The second half of the swim was pretty smooth; I could see the 4 leaders just ahead of the pack I was in.
I had a good neutral T1 where I didn’t gain or lose anytime. Once on the bike I felt tremendous. I pushed a hard pace with reckless abandon. I felt I was in good enough shape to get away with it and it paid off. At mile 10 I was with the likes of Greg Bennett, Chris McCormack, Craig Alexander, Brian Fleischmann, and Richie Cunningham. It was satisfying to be able to bike with these guys and be at the front of a triathlon with such great competitors. We were under the constant supervision of 2 and 3 marshals and I never saw anyone abusing the 10 meter drafting rules. Everyone was very careful, swerving and maneuvering to stay out of draft zones. As Macca said, “…we are weaving around so much to avoid a penalty I think I rode 41 kilometers today!” Somewhere past the 20 mile marker Andrew Starykowicz was the only rider to pass me on the bike never getting more than a few seconds up and being the 2nd racer to start the run.
I thought I was going to have a great run as the bike was no where near a max effort. But I think I may have been a little over confident, assuming a fast run time would just happen for me….it didn’t. My big mistake was not even trying to stay with the elite runners I was just biking with. To have that fighting mindset would have helped the rest of the run. Not that I could have ran with them but I should have tried to keep them close. I felt good for the 1st three miles and past mile four I was still running in 8th place. Alas, my mental strength was not where it needs to be and my pace diminished greatly after getting passed and hearing some footsteps. The humidity took a toll on me, being a desert dweller who trains in dry air all the time. But I finished out the last half mile strong and enjoyed the cheers of the crowd signifying a successful completion to my race.