Distance: Sprint: 400 yard Swim, 11 mile Bike, 3.1 mile Run
Results: 1:05:03 – 23rd overall, 2nd place M55-59
I thoroughly enjoyed this race when I did it for the first time last year, so there was no hesitation about signing up again this year. Kari joined me for the race this year again too, doing the duathlon. We got up around 5am and headed to the race.
As soon as we walked our bikes into transition I was met by a lady who recognized me and said she had read my blog from a previous race. She follows the same local running group that I do, but I was surprised that she had read it. I only share it on my page, so I’m guessing someone else must have shared it. Anyway, I kind of felt like a celebrity after that!
We ran into many familiar faces and we shared race day strategies and advised each other on who to look out for! Seems like a very close knit group. Even my wife remembered some of the duathlon competitors.
SWIM:400 Yards, 9:31, 3rd in A/G, 68th Overall
The swim temp was 77 degrees, barely wetsuit legal, but I only saw one guy wearing one. I opted to not even bring it from the car. I had a really good swim. Last year I was a touch faster, but I remember laboring more too. This swim had zero contact and was issue free. Some commented post-race that they thought the course was longer than 400 yards. My watch showed 511 yards, but I forgot to hit my lap button as I exited the water and headed into transition. Official T1 time was 1:14, which isn’t too bad.
BIKE: 11 Miles, 30:53, Average speed 21.4 mph, 3rd in A/G, 25th Overall
Like last year, I opted for the full aero disc on my bike and went all out from the start. I was pushing hard through the whole 11 mile ride. I didn’t get passed by anyone this year, and I was blowing by lots of other riders. The wind was much lighter this year and it was also from the west, so it only affected a mile or two of the ride. Moved up several spots after the bike. Official T2 time was 1:27, slower than T1 because I sat down to put on socks.
RUN:3.1 miles, 21:56, 7:04 per mile pace ave., 2nd in A/G, 20th Overall
I had not trained for triathlon much this spring in summer. This time last year I was already 10 or 11 weeks into Ironman Louisville training. When I got off the bike and started the run, my legs were rubber. Very apparent to me that brick workouts make a world of difference, and I hadn’t done hardly any this year. But all things considered, I settled into a comfortable pace and just started catching the next runner ahead of me. I must have passed a lot of duathletes, because I only moved up 5 spots from the bike. I started pushing a little harder at the 2 mile mark and just kept up the effort until I finished. I was greeted by a guy named Mike, who I beat last year and he asked what had taken me so long. Oh well, try to get him next year.
Kari and I both got 2nd in our age groups. Kari’s group seemed to be having more fun.
Overall, a little slower than last year, but I was not as prepared this year as last. Very fun day.
Distance: Sprint: 400 yard Swim, 11 mile Bike, 3.1 mile Run
Results: 1:02:40 – 9th overall, 1st place M50-54
I expected to be underwhelmed with this race a little. There wasn’t much information to be found online as I looked into this race. The club that hosted it doesn’t really have a website or Facebook page that I could find, the host location (Manteno Sportsman’s Club) had just one post on their FB page, and the sign-up website didn’t list the race distances or provide a course map at all. I was kind of in the dark about it all. I ended up emailing the listed contact on the registration site and asked for info. A day later I was emailed the athlete guide. At least I now knew when packet pick-up was and when transition opened. When I did sign up for the race I asked my wife Kari if she would be interested in doing the duathlon. She committed and we joined the field.
I set my alarm for 4:30 am, but had a really restless night of sleep. I got up and got ready, while Kari groaned. We hit the road around 5:30 am and drove the 25 miles or so to Manteno, Illinois.
After arriving, we picked up our packets and walked our junk to transition. It was a rack it where you like transition, so I chose an end rack location not far from a large tree for ease of finding the bike.
Our bikes racked side by side
Kari, aka bundle of nerves
I decided to burn off some race anxiety and ran a couple loops of the run out course. After that, Kari and I walked around trying to stay warm on a somewhat cool 63 degree summer morning.
Race day water temp was 80 degrees, so no wetsuit. I did see one guy with one on, but he also had a white swim cap and I remembered hearing that a guy with a white cap would be in the water helping the unsure beginners in the water.
There were four swim waves – Men 39 and Under / Men 40 and Over / Ladies 39 and Under / Ladies 40 and Over. I was in the second wave and sized up my competition. I didn’t really see anyone in the M50-54 age group, but I knew there had to be a few. There was a guy in transition who was a first timer and I answered a few of his questions in transition. He approached me on the beach and asked more questions. I was glad I could offer him some advice. He was a little nervous. I hope he did okay. I didn’t see him at the finish.
SWIM:400 Yards, 9:07, Average pace 2:17, 3rd in A/G, 58th Overall
The horn blew and I waded into the water as others ran. The water was perfect. Smooth and a comfortable temp. We got to the one turn buoy in fairly good time, and I was feeling pretty good. There was some bunching up, and some minor contact, but it settled down and we all began swimming straight back into a blinding morning sun. I felt like I had a great swim, but was surprised to see my time in the results. I guess that includes the run to T1, but I know I swim faster than that. I got to T1 and spent 1:16 getting ready for the ride.
BIKE: 11 Miles, 30:14, Average speed 21.8 mph, 2nd in A/G, 10th Overall
I got to T1 and decided to go without socks. I got ready as fast as I could and took off running out to Bike Out. Once on the bike I took off. I hit 27 mph leading out of the event site and was amazed how easy it felt. A few turns later I was out of the town and in cornfields, passing numerous first wave starters and most of the duathlon competitors. I got passed by one guy on the bike, right around the 0.5 mile mark. He and I left transition together, but he mounted his bike before the bike mount line and the referee told him to dismount and mount after the line. I wonder if he got a 2 minute penalty. But he blew by me, and I was still doing 25 mph at that point. He must have been ticked.
The course had two hairpin turnarounds, which weren’t that big of a deal. I had to slow for a slower rider at the second one, but I ramped it back up quickly. The day had started to become slightly windy, but there were enough turns where you weren’t dealing with a headwind for a long stretch of time. There was a cop standing at the bottom of the hill with a radar gun. I went by him at 27 mph. Later on at the awards ceremony, they crowned the faster rider at 35 mph I think. They gave him an award.
I hustled back to T2 and made the quick change to running in 1:14.
RUN:3.1 miles, 20:46, 6:42 per mile pace ave., 1st in A/G, 8th Overall
I started running and immediately wondered if my heart was going to explode. It didn’t and I quickly settled into race pace. I passed a guy about 1/2 mile into the run and he said I was crushing it. He probably thought I was crazy, because I certainly did. But I just started going and picking off runners one by one. It wasn’t until about the 2 mile mark that I saw two guys running together in my age group. They said I should join their old man group and run with them, but I gracefully declined. I kept my pace going and they didn’t try to match it. I’m glad they didn’t, because the results showed that I beat them both by 19 seconds.
FINISH TIME: 1:02:40, 1st in A/G, 9th Overall
After finishing, I recovered with some water and walking around. I found friend Brian Swift, a para-triathlete who had done the swim portion of the relay, while his kids did the bike and run. Very inspiring to watch him do the swim.
Not long after that I grabbed my camera out of transition and went to watch Kari finish the race. We cooled down and had great conversation with a few others we knew and some new triathlete friends we met.
After getting some pizza and a banana, I decided to check the results and was shocked to see that I had finished 1st in the age group. At the awards ceremony, I took my place on the highest podium, a first for me, and received my award, a drinking glass etched with 1st place on it.
Even with my questions about how well run the race would be, it turned out to be a great day. The venue was more than adequate, the lake was very nice, and the bike and run course was all on pavement that was in great shape. And Kari confided in me later that she actually had fun! I would definitely do this one again.