Wow, it's been quite some time since I've put a race report up on there. And for good reason...it's been quite some time since I've been racing. :) The last major event I competed in was the Baltimore Ten Miler, and I did run in a 5K race the day immediately following that. In the meantime, I've been up to a lot of things, non-athletic related. But, as triathlon season was coming to an end, and I haven't raced in a while, the wife and I headed up to Newark, Delaware, to compete in the Diamondman Sprint Triathlon. We did this race last year, in it's 70.3 version, as our first half-Iron and were happy to move back to the sprint to round out this year, having already done a half-Iron this year.
We headed up the day before and went to packet pickup, which took all of five minutes. We then checked into our hotel, the Embassy Suites in Newark, Delaware, right on the outskirts of the University of Delaware campus, where I went to school and currently teach. We've stayed here each of the past couple years we've done this race and it's a good place, especially with the free Managers Reception every evening with tasty food and free beer. This year was even better since there was a wedding going on at the time and the free food was apparently the leftovers from that, so it was high-end! Anyway, we ate dinner with some good friends, all of whom were racing the half-Iron, and turned in nice and early.
After a really bad night's sleep, we got to the race start with just enough time to set up transition, walk the course a bit, and mentally get ready. The half-Iron starts first and then the sprint about 35min later. The wife and I (along with an old friend of mine who just got into triathlons a little more than a year ago) watched our friends, Rob, Heidi, and Mark all start their race. By the time I walked into the water to start, Mark had finished the swim and looked strong. We waded into the water (the start is a good 300yd or so from the shore and they don't give you much time to get out there...I've missed this start before) and got ready. 3-2-1, and we're off (me and Matt; the wife followed in the second sprint wave).
I had an AWFUL swim. This was probably one of the worst swims of my life. I couldn't stay straight, I felt like I had no energy, and I couldn't keep my body position right. This may have something to do with my lack of swim training in the past couple of months, but still. The course absolutely felt much longer than the advertised 0.6mi, which many of us discussed on the way out. Not cool. I then ran the 0.3mi or so back to transition. Yes, transition is about 0.3mi away from the swim start and end, and this time counts against your swim time. I know this, but still hate it. My transition was pretty quick and off I went on the bike.
I had a good bike ride. I felt pretty strong and worked my legs quite hard. About 10mi into the 16.5mi ride, a guy passed me and said that he had been about 100yd behind me the entire time and didn't think he was going to catch me. Oh well...I stayed right with him, also about 100yd back, for the next 3mi or so and then we switched places again. We finished at the same time and that was cool. Most of the ride was in aero (it's a flat course) and I was exhausted at the end...glad I pushed it, with no idea where I was in my age group.
Feeling good about my bike, but knowing my swim was horrid, I started the 2mi run. About 0.25mi in, Matt (who is also in my age group) was running in as I was running out, and then the guy that was between us in transition was right behind him. So, any chance of scoring a place was pretty much shot at this point. I ran my 2mi and finished, passing the wife at the time with her only about 1mi behind me. That was unusual, as I usually run these races much faster than her. I wasn't sure if I was really having a horrid race or she was having a great one.
Turns out...both. My race was bad, but my wife's was awesome. As the three of us (me, the wife, and Matt) were looking at the results board, Matt said "I think you may have won your age group." The expression on the wife's face was indescribable. The results board updated and, sure, enough, she did win 25-29 females. We hung around for a while and waited until the awards ceremony, at which point she got her gold medal. Amazing job on an amazing race to an amazing wife!
In the 70.3, Rob won his age group, Heidi won her age group, and Mark took third in his. Matt did end up in 4th in our age group in the sprint. So, while I had a bad day, everyone else had a great one, and I'm perfectly OK with that. And now I recognize the need to keep up with Coach Sue's swim training sets... :)
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