Saturday, June 04, 2016

Grandman 2016

The storms began around 1am. The sky cracked in half and debris crashed outside my too-thin window until seconds before my alarm rang at 4am. Right then and there, going home seemed like an infinitely more enjoyable option than racing. But quitting isn't in my blood. And too many people expected to see me at the finish line. Couldn't let them, or myself, down by not at least trying to race. So, protein shake, pack, and hit the still-dark road by 5am. And get to transition as the sun peeks above the horizon at 5:30am.

Thankfully there was no rain in store for us. Transition setup was uneventful. And a practice swim revealed that we could easily stand-up just past the half-way point of the course. While not particularly worried about drowning, it was soothing to know the water wasn't particularly deep.

Being #360 had some interesting consequences. Waiting to start the swim took forever. And any "warm-up" was gone by the time my turn came. The water felt just right. The crowd wasn't very thick, even near the turn. And there wasn't much wrestling this year. (As opposed to last year when it was almost a slobberknocker at times!) Swam up very close to shore. Hit the ground running. And finished with an average of 1:35/100. Unfortunately too many zig zags resulted in nearly 100 extra meters of swimming and my total swim time was 11:59. Well beyond my plans...

Hit the bike, conquered our favorite hill, and settled into aero for the duration. Starting in the middle of the line-up resulted in passing lots and lots of folks during the ride. A bit surprised at how many people had to be admonished for riding in the middle, or even the left side of the road. But passing folks helps me pass the time and strokes the agressive part of my Lizard Brain. So it was go go go for Your Humble Narrator.

To the best of my recollection, only two people came around me during the bike ride. Felt good about that. Slowed a bit during the last mile. Had trouble getting the Velcro undone on my shoes, which ruined my attempt at a quick dismount. But otherwise it went well and my moving average turned out to be 20.3MPH, which is a new personal record!

Then came the run. (sigh) Way way way off my pace. Couldn't settle into a comfortable position and kept stressing about my stomach. Maybe it was too much water. Maybe not enough water. Maybe it was the heat. Or the long uphill climb. But by the second mile, it was a struggle not to completely stop and the final water station did result in 30 seconds (or more) of walking to collect my breath. Run time: 33:42.

Total race time: 1:42:17. Last year was in the 1:38:XX. Swim was actually better than last year. Bike was better than last year. Run clobbered me. But it is what it is, not too terribly bad, and still early in the season. There's plenty of time to focus on the run.

Afterwards, stayed to watch several of my friends and team members finish. Very proud of all of them, but a big shoutout to my favorite Athena: Wendy! She struggles with the voices of her lizard telling her that she can't do it and she's not good enough to finish. She pushed through all that though and finished without puking, crying, or dying. So we'll mark that up as a victory and keep working towards a sub-2hr finish.

And then there is Mi Amigos Locos: Charlie & Alvi. Two big Clydesdales with families and full time jobs and additional struggles of their own. Alvi's knee was TOAST and Charlie's been too busy running a business instead of running on the road. But they also crossed the line without any ill effects. And we're all smiling because it is over with!

Hopefully the rest of the season goes a little better. Only one way to find out.


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