Once again, I trained hard until a few days before the race as I was still trying to see how much I could do and still push hard in a race. I didn't get much sleep the week before, because I was packing up to move from Wisconsin to Montana a couple days after the race. A little drama at my house in Wisconsin I'm renting out (well pump went out and tenant's didn't have any water) the night before didn't help either. I didn't get to bed until midnight Friday and the 4 am alarm hurt, but I felt pretty good after I got some coffee in me. All in all, I was just really happy to get the start line. With everything going on, I was happy with the opportunity to be able to concentrate on nothing but a race for 4-5 hours. My wave didn't go off for about two hours after the 1st wave, so I had some time to relax, drink an extra cup of coffee and get a good warm-up in. My goal for the race was to go under 4:20:00.
Swim: We had to walk a mile to the start line and when I got there and started warming up, I realized I grabbed the wrong pair of goggles. The seal over my left eye leaked badly, and it was completely filled with water for the entire swim. I had a little trouble sighting, but I don't think it really affected my swim time as much as me being a mediocre swimmer did. In any event, it was a positive swim for me. I got out of the water in 28:50, which was my first half IM swim under 30 minutes. I got into transition at 30:30 after the looooong uphill beach run.
Bike: My goal here was to get to the front of my age group by the end of the bike. I knew the better swimmers had 6+ minutes on me, so I had my work cut out for me. The wind was vicious, so I just tucked in and rode hard. I ended up getting to the front of my wave by about mile 50, had the fastest amatuer bike split of the day by 2+ minutes, and averaged 275 Watts for the ride. I was happy with this ride because the wind was getting stronger as the day went on. I was in the second-last wave so I had about the worst of it to deal with, and my legs were still strong near the end. It's always nice to come into T2 with completely empty racks.
Run: I needed to run a 1:29 to hit my overall race goal, which I'm capable of doing. My legs felt decent at the start. I did the first four miles in 6:30 - 6:35 pace, but that's when all the training and racing I've been doing really set in. No matter how hard I pushed after that, I just couldn't run a sub-7 mile. I got passed a couple times after mile 6 and a guy in my age group from the wave after also got by me on the run. I held on for a 1:33 run and 4:24 overall. That was good for 4th in my age group, 9th amatuer, 24th overall, and a spot at the 70.3 World Championship, which I had to pass on. I'm broke! I had a great time at the race, though. I traveled with some new friends from Team Gear Grinder out of the Milwaukee area, and that really made the weekend.
After the race, I realized a couple things. I need to rest for a couple weeks and I need to get my swim and run where my bike is, or at least in the same ballpark. I didn't really take any time off after IM CDA and have done two 70.3s and a sprint since then, but I learned a lot about racing in the last three weeks. My race season is over for this year. After I get my legs back under me and get settled in Missoula, it's time for an all-out assault on the swim and run for the next six months. Good luck to everyone in your races the rest of the season, and remember, make sure to take some time off before you start your second-half training.