This race was one of a combo of races in the same location this weekend. The Half IM was Saturday and the Sprint on Sunday. What was really neat was starting the sprint triathlon at 10am, allowing for a little more shut-eye than usual on race morning. That’s my kinda race!
At packet pick-up I noticed that the number of women in the elite field had grown to 4 from 2, which was awesome. Always love to have more company! I didn’t really know much about these ladies as I do those that I’ve been racing in my home-state the past few years, but I knew Shannon Summerlin and Jessica Foschi came with strong swimming pedigrees. Krista Schulz I didn’t know anything about except that she was from Maryland. Oh well! New faces is part of the fun!
My plan was to work the swim and try to minimize the damage to the true swimmers, then push the 18-mile bike and practice hurting on the run for White Lake Sprint in a couple weeks. WL Sprint will be filled with really fast running women, so I’ll need to be ready to dig really deep if I want to finish near the front of that race.
Back to Kinetic. The race takes place out of Lake Anna State Park in Virginia, which is a bit northwest of Richmond. Really pretty area with similar terrain to what I’m familiar with. They had some recent snow, however, so the lake water was in the mid-50′s. Pretty chilly! They suggest getting in the water before the race to get a layer of water between the suit and body and to get the initial shock over with. It was shocking all right!
Strange how race adrenalin changes everything. I barely noticed the cold during the race. The start was rough with my position in the middle of the pack. My goggles were kicked loose a couple of times and there was a lot of swimming on top of people as everyone crushed in towards the buoys. I remember feeling really calm during the swim and wondered if I was working hard enough, but my raspy breathing indicated I was. Things broke up some past the first turn, thankfully, and I passed a couple people and finally found a steady pair of feet to follow into shore. The feet belonged to a guy that bounded out of the water so quickly it made it look like I was standing still by comparison. But I wasn’t!
I transitioned well enough without any major mistakes and headed out of the park on my bike among the now strung out elite field. There was some jockeying for position and I even had a few stern words for one of the men that didn’t drop out of a stronger guy’s draft after being passed. After catching up to him over the previous half mile, I had already entered the draft zone and had to complete the pass and with him speeding up in someone else’s draft made that more difficult. My yelling made him hesitate just enough and I came around legally and well within my comfort zone effort-wise. I then passed the one female ahead of me out of the swim (Summerlin, I’m pretty sure) and still had Benji Jones and another guy still in sight as I exited the park. I was pleased that they weren’t dropping me as rapidly as the “fast guys” usually do. I felt strong on the bike– not sharp, no snap yet, but it’s too soon for that. A few more guys passed and I kept David Glover in sight (he is a total tri-stud, but had done the half the day before) and even caught back up and passed him a few miles from the finish. I finish still feeling strong but wonder how the run will go. Only one way to find out…
I transition OK and fumble with my shoes a bit as Glover flies by me in T2 and then bounds up the little rise up to the road. He is moving so fast and appears so effortless, I wonder if I’m moving backwards. Why am I working SO hard to be barely moving? The first mile is up hill, which is pretty brutal and my asthma gives me a little trouble. The super volunteers offer water at the aid station and I wish they were handing out oxygen instead! I was feeling a little less than great at this point of the race, but I expected the hill, so I grit on up the hill and keep my eyes peeled for any women coming in on the bike so I can get a sense for my gap. I finally see a couple of ladies– first Shultz then Summerlin. Shultz looks like she’s out for blood and I think she looks like she’s a runner, which it turns out, she is. So I have no choice but to get my head screwed on straight, focus on my run form and turnover and know the asthma will subside and the hill will eventually end, which they both do. The middle mile feels OK and the last mile is downhill, which is pretty nice. Being an out and back run, I had the luxury of seeing I had a good gap still by halfway so I could focus completely on running my race and finishing strong.
Ironically, all that downhill running with some odd turns and bends in the course at the end leave my legs feeling better at the end than that first mile. Not that I wanted to turn around and run back up that hill. No way! Instead, I took my shoes off and stood in the cool lake to give my legs a good numbing. Great for recovery!
Fun day, great race, great venue.
Finish time: 1:19:33