Sunday, July 31, 2011
I needed this race so badly. It came at a time when my faith in myself started to crumble. When it looked like everything I've worked for was going down the toilet. It may still go down the toilet but I'm not giving up easily.
2010 (previously my best finish time on this course since I started racing here in 2002)
This Year (based on cheepie watch splits because the official timing grouped transition time into the bike and run splits)
Total: 1:12:14 (official finish time, 15/55)
My parents came out to watch which is only the third time they've seen me race triathlon in 11 years. Mom's comment was "but last time didn't it take you over 2 hours?" Yep. Last time she saw me race at this venue was Escape from Ft. De Soto 2002. The current was so bad the Coast Guard put out an appeal to local boaters to help lost swimmers. Can you imagine what went through my dad's head that day? He was fishing offshore when he heard the call for help. But they knew better than to try to stop me. :)
Today was not like that. Definitely a victim of head games before the race but when the horn sounded, it was time to focus on the moment. Rather than worry about swimming "fast" I focused on getting a good, firm handful of water on each stroke. Turnover doesn't count if there's no catch. Oh, and I stayed out in the open water. I don't like fighting for space. Finished in a solid time for me. Close to the 1/4 mile swim at Heartland so no complaints. Enjoyed the scream team on the sand.
Ran all the way to transition through the sand. Left the shoes on the pedals this time so all I had to do was throw on glasses/helmet and run to the bike mount line. OK, it was not as easy to slide my feet into the shoes as it was in practice but at some point I need to move from practice to real.
The bike was solid. Much windier than last year but my focus was to hold the effort high. I wanted to feel like I was chasing the front pack in the group ride. Mission accomplished. The downwind sections felt almost like I was riding a rocket. No idea how fast I was going but it was definitely a negative split on the watch. Saw Mom and Dad with another more experience set of tri parents who told my parents where to go, when to be at certain points, etc. They all gave me a big cheer as I screamed by on the downwind. Slid my feet out of pedals before reaching the dismount. Go, go go!
Ran all the way through T2 with a brief pause to throw on the shoes. Hat and number can be applied while in motion.
The run is always challenging on this course. Out on the paved bike path. Back on the not-quite-hard-packed-sand. The goal was to stay focused. Make time on the pavement. No walking on the sand. My neighbor (local tri coach) gave me moral support which was awesome. The last 0.1 is back on the pavement. My goal was to increase turnover because I'm not having stalkers catch me in the last few meters. It worked so well that I almost caught the girl ahead of me (14th beat me by 14 seconds). If only I could have seen her.
Overall it was a good race. I would have preferred 1:10 but the PR speaks for itself. Improvements on all levels with room to grow. Now if I can just hold on.