To begin, when I moved to Boulder, I was a little down on triathlon. Races had not been going my way to start the year and I felt like I was stuck in a rut. That all changed upon moving here. Despite having a fairly rigorous schedule doing a PhD program in neurophysiology, training has been going quite well. With modifications, I can get training in before and after each ‘work’ day as well as a mid day short session. The new area to explore, and the incredible number of serious athletes & training groups (like Boulder Track Club and Boulder Aquatic Masters) training here exciting and it rejuvenated my passion. Furthermore, training with the CU Boulder tri team has been a nice way to have some fun in training and a great group of tri friends.
I was coming into Challenge Florida with high expectations as I had just run 32:40 off the bike at an Olympic distance race in Henderson, NV (Pumpkinman), and had a solid swim/bike well. I had a race plan to put me under 4 hours, but the conditions were quite hot, so the times were slower. In the end, I executed my plan fairly well, but still have quite a bit of room to improve.
Swim: 25:40- got out with Justin Metzler and Thomas Gerlatch. We were gapped by the fast moving John Kenny, Eric Limkeman, Sean Donnolly, Ian Boggs, and Kevin Ryan early, and were just under 45 seconds back of Sam Holmes and Matt Whistoff. I got into T1 quickly and was out in pursuit first.
Bike: 2:15:11- rode for 45 miles with Justin, Thomas, Sam, and eventually John Kenny in legal formation. I still am very apprehensive riding USAT stagger rules because I am terrified of getting a penalty. I was probably a bit over cautious, which caused me to eventually be dropped by the group at mile 45, and I also could not close the gap. I saw a penalty occur early on, and I desperately did not want one. The last 11 miles were a little bit of a struggle to stay positive as I have typically faltered at this point in 70.3 distance races. I just kept telling myself that I would have a good run and needed to focus on that.
Run: 1:25- oh man this was ugly. 90 degrees and dew point of 75 made this sticky and hot. There was also not much shade to speak of. I felt ok at first, running my first 3.5 miles at goal pace (5:40-5:45). After that, it turned into a bit of survival. Lots of athletes were hurting, and I made my way into 4th at mile 6. I was 10 seconds behind Justin at this point, but the next three miles were pretty tough for me. In the end, I never made the catch to Justin, and was able to hold off Sean Donnolly in a sprint to the finish.
Finish: 4:09:38 4th place.