I was excited about this race. I was hoping Jessica would get to compete alongside me as we have done, but it wasn’t going to work out this time. I prepared all of my goods the night before, food, clothing, triathlon equipment, everything I needed. My bike was all set up with race wheels and any unnecessary equipment removed to save weight. I put the bike in the car the night before so it would be ready. I did my Compex stimulation prior to leaving the house, that usually gets my legs in pretty good condition to go fast!
I woke up Sunday morning feeling good. I made sure I ate a banana, a salt pill and went to the bathroom before leaving the house. I drove to Lake Worth with no traffic and parked in a great spot right near the stairway up to transition. I saw John Reback arrived shortly after me we were one of the first groups of people allowed into transition. It didn’t take long for me to realize that preparation I had forgotten my aero helmet in its little black bag. I saw Brian and Lisa Smith – and asked them if they had a spare I could use. Luckily, Lisa was not racing and she had her home in her car. I borrowed her all white road cycling helmet and make small adjustments so it fit perfectly! I met some of the guys in my transition. I did a short jog up-and-down the parking lot to loosen up.
I went down to the water and saw that they swim course was probably longer than a quarter-mile it should have been. I ate one more salt pill to help me retain fluids. The water was very clear, very flat and without a current. I swam out to the middle buoy, loosened up my arms and kept drinking water. My wave of 50-year-old man & older was the fourth group to start. I knew I wanted to be towards the front – especially getting to that first marker. I learned that in the Frank Cook triathlon, it’s way easier to swim outside the main crowd of people. I swam well, noticing that Paul Reback was next to me. He is a good swimmer so I worked to stay next to him. Another guy in my age group from OYM bikes was on the other side of me. The three of us swam together to the pier, turned right and then made our way into the beach. I commented to Paul upon exiting the water, “ I know I’ve done well if I’m getting out of the water with you today!”
I ran up and had a smooth and quick transition to start the bike leg. Once I left transition and headed towards the Lake Worth Bridge, I immediately noticed my Cateye computer was not working. No speed and no mileage readout. There was only a slight tickle of a breeze coming from the north. Conditions were really nice and I knew that once out of the water I had to catch as many people as possible in 11 miles of cycling. I had no idea how fast I was going, which may have worked to my advantage. I stayed as low and aero as possible and try controlling how my legs felt while still giving a significant spin and push for speed. The course has changed a small bit since I last did this race, but I enjoy it! I didn’t see another competitor from my age group until the final turn around. I passed him not knowing that I had just taken the lead for my age!
I came back into transition thinking I had people to catch on the run. My transition #1 and transition#2 were the fastest in my age group for the day. I began my run on a course I enjoy. After making the first left turn to head towards the bridge, I saw someone running rapidly from behind me. When I got to the bridge, this person went past me. I looked down at my watch and saw my pace was 6:12 per mile. This guy had to have been doing 5:30 pace per mile. Thankfully, I noticed he had an “R” on his calf muscle – he was a relay runner! I made good progress off the bridge and into the park. Now I was passing people and seeing more runners ahead of me to catch. I kept imagining that the “guy in the blue shorts” or the “guy ahead of him with no shirt” were in my age group. I saw Carl Z. on his bike cheering for me in the Lake Worth neighborhood. He said I looked good, but doesn’t everyone say that to all competitors in a race? I knew if there was anyone left ahead of me in my age group that I had to pass them on the bridge or on the small road leading to the finish line. Time to empty the tank! I saw Linda and George on the bridge taking photos, that was nice! I came off the bridge running downhill and made the turn for the finish line. There was one guy ahead of me but he was 44 years old and not moving too quickly. I passed him and went up to finish in one hour and five minutes. I learned 15 minutes later that this was an age group win for the day!
What a great experience I had when I finally saw the split times. I learned that I was 3rd in my age group out of 13 guys to finish the swim. I was first in every other category! And my run was 18:06? Obviously the course was not 5k or even just 3 miles, but that was a great way to finish! This was the most “in control” of all three disciplines I have ever felt in a triathlon. All of my concern about speedometer and catching people on the run was actually fueling a margin of victory of over five minutes between myself and second-place. I can definitely attribute some of this performance to better eating habits. I did the Purium Athlete transformation in July and has stuck with many of the healthy habits I learned. I am 5 to 6 pounds light, which I don’t enjoy. This equates to a lean and fast performance in Sprint distance events. I will continue training, and eating well to keep this level of performance alive! I thank Jessica for encouraging me to swim more than I normally would. I enjoy doing workouts with her because she is very focused and always looking to improve her technique. I like to work more with Elizabeth Kennedy and have her critique my swim stroke.
All of this finishes out my 2015 triathlon season. I didn’t enter plenty of races but it is good to see that with the right preparation, awesome results ensue!