Swim: 35 min.
T1: 2 min.
Bike: 1 hour 14 min. (20 mph average)
T2: 2 min.
Run: 56 min (9. min/mile average)
Total: 2 hours 50 minutes
What REALLY Happened:
Bike: 1:14:09 (20.1mph)
T2: 53 secs
Run: 51:02 (8:14 min/miles)
Total: 2 hours 33 minutes
Now, for the rest of you...
On Saturday afternoon, Jennifer and I loaded up the 4runner and teardrop with all our gear and headed out on the 2 hours drive north to Muskegon, MI. We were pretty excited about the weekend, and I had started the OVER-hydration process. I had to pee ALL day!
There was one big change to the course because of the road construction, and it only affected the bike course. In fact, they completely changed the bike course from what it was to a route that was BEAUTIFUL! It went down to Lake Michigan and then north through Muskegon State Park. There was only one major difference in topography which is known as Blockhouse Hill. Jennifer and I decided to drive the bike and run course to check it out, and I wish I had snapped a picture of the Blockhouse hill, but I don't think it would accurately describe the grade. It looked like a monster! I instantly got worried about my bike goal of averaging 20mph just because of this hill. Other than that, the bike course looked beautiful as it was an out and back that was mostly shaded and very smooth roads. The run course was perfect too as it was a 3.1 mile loop that we would do twice. The swim course looked like a great lay out. Bear Lake was a beautiful setting with a sandy beach. We would have to swim one lap around the buoys set up in a triangle, get out of the water, run 50 yards, get back in and swim the triangle again. Then, we'd have to run up through the sand "path" to the top of the hill where this picture was taken. The transition zone was about 100 yards behind where I was standing...
After checking out the course, we headed toward our campground. We made it to our campsite without any problems and checked into site 91. Then, it was time to eat!!! We were starving, and it was about 6:00. I didn't really want to eat much later to give everything a chance to "work through the system" before race day.
We woke up at 5am to get ready and make a little breakfast. We weren't too hungry, but I had a bagel with peanut butter and a cookie! :) We left for the race site by 5:45 and made it there to get a great spot on the front rack in the transition zone. It was perfect! We had about 10 yards from where our bikes were racked to the mount line, so that was a plus. After we had everything laid out, we still had quite some time before the pre-race meeting at 7:40. The first two waves started at 8am and 8:05am, and they were for the Sprint Triathlon. My wave started at 8:20am, and Jenn's started at 8:25am. Right before the meeting started, Jenn and I decided to get our wetsuits on. As we went to the 4runner to get them, I panicked, because I didn't know where my goggles were! We looked through everything, and we couldn't find them!! I ran over to some local person and asked where the closest Walmart was, and they said it was 15 minutes away. That wouldn't give me enough time to go get some, so I had to resort to the next option, borrowing from someone else. I knew that if someone in the sprint was a fast enough swimmer that they could pass off their goggles to me. I decided to look for someone that had similar goggles to mine, and I found them! They were hanging around a big dude's neck with his arms crossed. I didn't have much of a choice, so I walked up to this guy and asked if he was doing the sprint. He said he was, and he was very willing to let me borrow his goggles. Whew! That was close! After the pre-race meeting, we went down to the water and watched the sprinters begin. I watched and waited till Alex, the guy that was giving me his goggles, came out of the water. He had a good swim and passed his goggles to me with about 3 minutes till I started. I quickly adjusted those babies and went over to the start.
(I like how Kevin Neumann gives himself grades for each part, so I'll do that too -- thanks, Kevin)
The swim start was a beach start where we had to run quite a way out into the lake before we could actually start swimming. I didn't panic AT ALL. I just swam my own pace and didn't worry about hanging with anyone. My sighting was perfect! I didn't do any zig-zagging. The water was 68*, but my wetsuit rocked. I absolutely loved the swim. The run on the beach and back in the water was fine. I liked it because it broke up the swim just a little bit. I gave myself a B+ because I feel like if I could do it again, I would push a little harder. At one point, I thought, "Well, this is pretty easy. I might as well go faster." So, I picked it up a little bit. I ended up blowing my goal of 35 minutes out of the water with a 23.5 minute swim. The time didn't really start till I crossed the transition mat at the top of the hill. Overall, I thought the swim went really well!
T1 was ok. I had my wetsuit down around my waist as I ran in, and it wasn't too terrible getting off, although it did slow me down quite a bit. Then, as I put on my helmet, glasses and jersey, I reached down and realized that I hadn't unbuckled my bike shoes. What an idiot! 2:19 later, I was out on the bike course.
Because we had driven the course the day before, I knew I needed to crank anywhere I could to get my average up. I hammered it the whole way, but always in an easy gear to save my legs. Blockhouse Hill wasn't too bad at all. I didn't try to smoke the hill and made it to the top just fine. Then, it was down hill to the turn around and then back. I passed two people, and two people passed me, so I guess I was even for the day? I am super pleased with my ride yesterday and was a little surprised to see that I got my average and more with a 20.1 avg. The nutrition was perfect. I ate some Gu chomps after the hill and drank Powerade and water
Everything went off and on without a hitch. It was pretty quick at 53 seconds. I grabbed a water bottle and headed out for two laps.
The run was a lot of fun. I felt great the entire time and never once wanted to quit. I had seen Jenn once on the bike, and on my second lap of the run, I saw her coming in on the bike. I amped the pace up the last mile and ended up running 8:23s. The official results said 8:14s, but the course was only 6.11 according to my Garmin. I feel like I could have pushed just a bit harder and had a better time. Does someone want to teach me how to run faster, or do I just need to suck it up and RUN FASTER...
Forgetting to bring your goggles to the race? Are you kidding me? That's ridiculous. Forgetting to unbuckle your shoes? Seriously? C'mon, Matt! Next time I'll do better.
Even though everything might not add up to an A-, I feel like I deserve that for the entire race as a whole. What an experience for my first Olympic triathlon. The Bear Lake Triathlon gets my highest recommendation. It was so well-run. Everything was super detailed and done perfectly. Everything was marked well. The police did a nice job protecting us. The race director was great. If I was going to live in Michigan next year, I would TOTALLY do it again.
Placement: 3rd in age group
There were 8 guys in my age group, but because the top two did so well that they placed overall, I ended up placing third in my age group! That may sound pretty good, but in reality, I only beat three guys in my group. Who cares? I got a medal, and that's all that matters!!!
To my blog readers: you guys rock! I thought about you all the whole race. You gave me motivation, because I didn't want to report a crappy race. I thought about ya'll training and racing like Fave in the IM CDA. Thanks for the "push" to do well. I feel like Steelhead is going to be really fun, and I'm starting to feel prepared. Bring it!