After Ironman Wisconsin I took almost a full week off from structured workouts and just let my body (and mind) heal. I jumped right back into training the next week and I felt pretty good. The third week I started to feel really strong again and had the urge to race.
A training partner was already registered to race the Powerman Muncie Decathlon and it was easy and cheap for me to give the Olympic distance triathlon a go at the same event. I went in with no expectations and just wanted to see what my legs had.
The race was supposed to be a 1.5k swim, 41k bike, 10k run, however due to the very cold weather, strong wind, and rough water conditions they made a last minute call of have us only swim out to the first buoy and then swim parallel to shore to the swim exit, making the swim only 400M. Being a weak swimmer and strong cyclist/run I was ok with this!
The weather when we got to the race was 37 degrees with a 15-25mph wind from the north, making the wind chill 32! To make it more fun there were some strong wind gusts as well. On a positive note the 61 degree water felt better than the air.
Ironically I swam probably 500 or 600m to warm up and felt great. I was swimming close to the shore and the water was fine. Then they announced the new much shorter swim and we did a beach start. I took a solid kick to the face about 50m in, then got a mouth full of water the next two times I tried to breath. Then we made the first turn at 100m and the water got really rough really quick. At that point I was thrilled with the fact that this was the shortest swim I’ve ever done. I decided just to relax, catch my breath and swim in easy. I came out of the water in around 5th or 6th place.
The combination of a decently long run, numb feet, and putting a bike jersey on for some extra warmth make for a really long transition.
The bike was two 12.7 mile loops with about 3 miles each loop straight into the strong head wind. Of course we got the headwind straight out of transition. It was cold, so I just rode as hard as I could to warm up. The extra benefit of this was that within the first two miles I had moved into first place in the Olympic race, with only one person from the sprint race in front of me. My Zoot ThermalRx Arm Warmers were awesome, and wish I would have worn some Xotherm socks! The Ridley Dean RS and Zipp wheels helped me to have the highest average speed on the bike out of any pro or amateur in all of the different distance races.
This was a cluster, I went to pull my feet out my shoes and realized they were frozen and had trouble getting them on top of the shoes. I did a very ungraceful dismount at what I thought was the dismount line only to find out I was a bit early. Running barefoot on freezing concrete with feet that are already frozen is not fun.
Most of my body felt great leaving T2. Maybe it was just that we had a tail wind, the sun was starting to come out and I was happy to be off the bike so I could warm up. The only problem is my feet felt horrible and every foot step hurt as they were still numb. After a slow first mile the feet had feeling back in them and I got to work. The next few miles felt ok but I didn’t have any snap in my legs and couldn't really get going fast. I hit the half way turn around and took a split to see how much of a lead I had. I was thrilled when I saw that I had over 5 minutes on second place because my body just wanted to be done and I didn’t want to have to dig deep.
Sure it would have been nice to have warmer weather but now I can say I did a tri in under 40 degree weather. I did this race on a whim to “get back on the horse” after Ironman Wisconsin and for that it turned out to be perfect. I’m feeling good again now and ready to start planning next year out.
Good luck to all of my friends, training partners and team mates racing in Kona later this week. Remember to enjoy the full experience of race week while you are there. I'm looking forward to tracking all of you on Saturday.