Final time was an astounding 1:18:45 (19.4mph), which is a personal course record, and my 2nd fastest speed in all my triathlons (excepting that one when I had the race wheels). Really didn't expect that, considering that I really wasn't well trained for cycling. T2 went much better, 2:44, which is my fastest Olympic T2.
Finally the run... The only discipline where I really trained this year. I was coming off an amazing 7 minutes Half Marathon PR. I did all I have to do... long runs, tempo, speed work. So right now, my math centers of the brain were in overdrive, trying to estimate how much time I have left to get a PR. And the result was that if I run in 55 minutes, I should get not just a PR, but a sub-3 hours finish time, something that I never expected to happen on this course, but was a very long term goal for me.
55 minutes for a 10K doesn't sound like a big deal, except when the 10K starts after over 2 hours of hard racing effort. My standalone 10K PR is 48:13, however in Olympic tris I never went under 56 minutes, and the main reason is the heat that torments the racers here. Year after year, the run turns into a slow procession of suffering, sweaty, dehydrated people who walk and crawl over that open final 3-mile stretch. But this time, the weather was perfect, probably under 80 degrees, so I had all the conditions for a good run.
My first mile was way too fast - 8:21. After an 8:49 second mile, I settled around the 9-minute pace. And according to my calculations, I was on track to go way under 3 hours. But I wasn't exactly sure, so I had to keep going as hard as possible. Then after 3 miles around 9 minutes I decided to let it all out and not risk missing such an amazing goal. Last mile was 8:49 and as I sprinted to the finish line, those last .2mi were at a 7:30 pace.
Running time was 54:30 (8:47 pace), my fastest Olympic run by a large margin. And I went anxiously to the timing computer (this year, you could check your time, or anyone else's, in real time on the web), to find out that indeed, I broke 3 hours, more exactly 2:59:23. I was much closer to 3 hours than I had estimated, however the result still amazes me. It's more than 4 minutes faster than my previous PR, with a lot less swimming training, and in a worse cycling shape. Not to mention, on a course that is almost 2 miles longer!
Like at the LBHM, not only I obliterated my goal and PR, but I beat one of my long-term goals (that was 1:50 at the HM, and 3:00 here). I'm happy that I was able to peak twice just on time for the two big races of the year. Training cycle periodization is a complicated science, and I achieved almost perfection this year. I went through 2 hard cycles, and everything worked out perfectly.
The weather obviously helped a lot, assisting me in overcoming some training problems, but the swim, bike and run results are all outstanding for me. I can now say for sure that it's the best year of my athletic career, having PR'd by big margins in short-distance (5K) and long distance (HM) running, as well as in the Olympic triathlon. Taken separately, swimming and biking are very close to my fastest ever performances.
Again I have to appreciate the amazing work by CGI Racing, which puts out some of the best races around here. And I'm also thankful to the Tavern on the Lake in Hightstown, which sits on our way home and where we stop for beer and burgers every time we go to the Mercer County Park to train or race.
After all these PR's I don't think I can ask for any more from this racing year. Just hope to stay healthy and be able to continue to swim, bike and run strong.