The family and I went to the Memphis in May Triathlon held in Millington, Tn this weekend. We drove down on Friday and after eating at Lambert's (Home of the Throw'd rolls) that my kids absolutely loved we went to Millington. We arrived about 9:00 Friday night, unpacked our stuff and went to bed.
We woke up on Saturday with plans to go to Graceland before registering for the race, packet pickup etc.... however, Graceland was on the other side of Memphis. My coach Jennifer, Heather from the tri team and one of their friends was driving in that morning. We were all planning to meet around noon for a practice swim, and to bike the run course. Since they have done this event (and Jennifer has won it) I figured it would be good experience for me to tag along. So, time just didn't allow Graceland.
We met at the groudns, there was a sprint distance Tri that morning and it was BARELY wet suit legal. For those of you that don't follow triathlons, wet suits are legal to use if the water temp is less than 78 degrees. That morning, the water temp was 77 degrees so it was close. Wetsuits make you a little more buoyant, a little faster because they are slick and generally, a litter more comfortable. With temps getting into the 90's on Saturday I really didn't expect Sunday to be wetsuit legal. We did our OWS practice (as did Rene which was great) and then rode the bike course. During the ride my gears were slipping horribly in the climbs. Fortunately, this is wy you ALWAYS do a practice ride. When we were done, I took my bike to the onsite mechanic and they made some significant adjustments and all was well again. It would have been a horrible ride if I would have attempted the race with my gears in that condition.
Went back to the hotel, and NBB and KGB got to swim (it is all they care about anyway) went to dinner, back to the hotel, kids swam again, got the bike and everything ready for the next morning and lights out by 10:00.
We woke up and it was hot and muggy (75 with no wind). Again, I was sure there was not way we were going to be able to use a wet suit. Got to the site early (I thought) and so many cars were backed up getting in I ended up riding my bike to transition with my stuff while Rene parked. Got everything setup, got my picture with taken with Elvis and got ready to go.
To my amazement, it was wetsuit legal by .3 degrees. This was a time trial start meaning you lined up in number order (I was 857) and beginning with number 1 and proceeding every 3 seconds someone the next person went. It continued like that until all 1300 plus people were swimming. I set my Tempo Trainer to beep at me every 1.10 seconds and put it in my swim cap. The purpose of this device is to help you find a rhythmn in the open water. You can's see anything, you have no pool lines or visual cues to work off of in (like in a pool) you are excited because it is a race and it is sooooo easy to go out and swim too hard too soon and go to oxygen deprevation early in an Open Water Swim, panic nomrally comes next because you can't catch your breath, and you switch to survival mode. Not a good place do be in the middle of a lake at the beginning of a 2.5 hour race. The tempo trainer helps fix this by allowing you to focus on the beep. You take a stroke everytime it beeps , you don't over swim, you can concerntrate on form and all is good. My swim went off without a hitch and was the best swim I have ever had. Other than getting punched in the head once and kicked in the ribs once it was good. I shaved 5 minutes off my last Oly distance swim and felt strong the entire time. My swim time was 27:33 seconds and was comfortable.
T1: My transition was horrible. I was in the middle of a fairly large Transition area, had a bit of a problem wiht my wetsuit that cost me a few seconds. My goal was to transition in less than 1:30 and it took me 2:07. Bad
BIKE: The bike was solid. I set my bike computer to alert me if my power droped below 200 watts. I averaged closer to 207 watts so my power was great. My goal speed (that is relative depending on course, wind etc...) was 20.5 MPH average and I was at 21.3 MPH average. My bike was great.
T2: More of the same: My goal was 1:30 and I was out at 1:51. I had problems getting my watch on and needed some water on the way out. It was getting so hot and all I drank was gatorade on the bike. I needed something clear and water was it. I could have done a lot better in T2.
RUN: All of the time I gained in the swim and bike was given back on the run. The run was hilly and hot. There were a lot of people walking and just not doing well. I got to see Jennifer and Andrew (passed going opposite directions) on the run. The both looked focused and strong but you could tell them were feeling the heat. My goal on the run was 8:00 min/mile and I did 8:58 (My watch showed 8:30 wich is more accurate normally than course markings). My run was the most disappointing part of the day just because I couldn't push the speed. My legs felt great I just didn't have the aerobic capacity to push harder. My HR was throught the roof and although my legs were solid I just didn't have the engine on such a hot day. The finish was across the level for the lake that we swam in. People lined the levee, music was blasting and all I wanted to do is finish. There was no sprinting at the end of this one... Just maintain speed and cross the line. I ran down the finishing chute, saw Rene and the kids. Almost passed out from the heat. Drank some water and recovered.
RESULTS: My goal for the race was 2:33 with an over reaching goal of 2:30. If my run would have been solid I would have been close to the 2:30. My official time was 2:33:17. I am very pleased with the results. The heat and the course was challenging and my time reflects it. I finished 64/168 in my age group and my run was actually 55/168 meaining I improved spots on my run?!?!?!?! I guess that shows it was tough on everyone. I finished 275/~750 men: 106/168 Swim, 64/168 Bike, 55/168 Run. Overall it was a great race for me. My swimming is improving, my cycling is improving and my run - well - hard to tell but I think staying the same. My testing is showing improvement so I think it was the day.
I went to the med tent for a cold towel and to cool off and there I saw what summed up the heat. There was a woman that was screaming like she was being stabbed to death (I would guess) from cramps. She was cramping soo bad they had IVs in her arm(s) and she was actually screaming at the top of her lungs from the pain. I have heard that bad cramps can actually tear your muscles and this is what had to be happening to her. She had every medic in the tent working on her and it was horrible to watch. I dont know what her race number is or how she is doing but my thoughts are with her. I have never and hope I never see anything like this again. fortunately my kids didn't see / hear it, they would have freaked. Jennifer won her age group (no surprise there). We met up with the St. Louis Tri Club members under their tent, had a beer, swapped stories and at some great BBQ. The kids played games and we listened to the band. Went back to the hotel, showered and hit the road. One more stop at Lamberts for dinner and all was good. It was a long day but a great one. We got home last night about 8:30, un packed, cleaned up and went to bed. Other than a sore lat muscle and general fatigue I feel awesome. I am taking the day off today to recover and it all starts over again tomorrow.
Great race, I highly recommend it. I will post some pictures later. It was a great season kickoff and a good early season test.
Sorry this is so long....
Thanks for reading.