Waking up to a 38-degree thermometer at 4:30 in the morning was a little nauseating. I threw on a hooded sweatshirt and some sweatpants and put on some coffee and had a bowl of cereal.
I arrived in transition around 6:20 and it was already bustling with activity. I thought for sure I would be one of the first crazy folks down there. I should have known better.
They have not published the splits yet, so I can only guess what my times were. I think I had a PR on the swim though. I looked at my watch running to transition and I had 24 minutes. As I was exiting the water my long-time training partner, Adam Groom was right behind me and gave me a complimentary "nice job Marco!" "Hey—you too," I responded. Turns out, we had been swimming right next to each other almost the whole time.
I passed a lot of people early on the bike who were probably still trying to regain their breath after a "brisk" swim in the barely 50-degree air. I believe the water temperature was about 62-64 degrees. How is that for a little motivation to swim fast? My bike was okay. My legs, knees, and feet were still very fatigued from the marathon the week before. I averaged around 17.8, which I thought was pretty slow for me. I had done that course earlier in the year and averaged near 20. The run was the most worrisome. I had been thinking about it the last 6 miles of the bike. How was I going to feel? When I arrived in transition, I downed a couple of more Hammer Endurolytes with some water and I was on my way to find out. I made it through the first 3 miles without stopping. Half way through the second loop I could feel my knees tightening up and I tried to convince myself that it would pass. I had to walk off the lactic acid, or the residual pain I was feeling from the marathon (which I am convinced is the case.) I finished with a time of 2:36, BUT I looked online today and it appears I received a penalty for mounting my bike incorrectly. Man! That would have been my first top 10 age-group finish. It effectively moved me from 9th to 13th place. That is a major bummer. I do not think I actually did anything wrong, but that is part of racing. If one of the race officials said I did, then I will have to honor that ruling. Still, this race gave me great confidence going into next season. I know I have a 2:26 in me yet. If I can put together my swim yesterday with some improved running (and run penalty free) I know I can do it!