On August 16 I raced an Olympic distance tri at Linwood Park on Lake Erie. This was the fifth race out of six races in the Fit Family Series, and 4/5 so far as my participation in the series. Following is my race report and pictoral story.
Me being from Dayton, and the race being on Lake Erie, it was a three hour trip to the race venue. The Saturday afternoon prior, the collective opinion of my friends convinced me that getting a hotel that night near the race location was a superior decision to waking up at 2:00 AM and driving up. They were right. I got a hotel Saturday night.
Race morning was clear and calm. Perfect for a swim on the great lake. The park and surrounding community was well-groomed, and was quite relaxing. It would be a nice place to spend an evening or two on a vacation. The sunrise coming over the lake was spectacular.
I was feeling pretty good heading into the swim, and everything went decently. Lake Erie was flat and calm and lovely. I got into a good breathing/sighting rhythm, and that pulled me around the course. The only difficulty was coming back toward the rising sun on each of the two swim laps. It was difficult to sight the buoys, and I had to stop and take my goggles off a couple times to see where I was going. Not the best for the split time.
The bike was a two lap 40k course. It took me a few miles to settle down. I had to bring the heart rate down after the swim a little. The ride was decently flat, except for this punchy little steep hill that had everyone out of their seat and climbing, no matter what bike they had. On the second lap I ended up riding next to a guy who was a helicopter pilot from near Cleveland, if I remember correctly. We were going at the same effort level, and we cruised the second lap together chatting it up.
Heading into the run I felt pretty confident. A couple Wednesdays prior I had knocked out a 7:34 pace on a 3.5 mi run course after a similar distance bike. But this run was trouble right from the start. I went out too fast, and then it just got worse from there. I ran it so slow it felt like everyone passed me, and most did. It was just super tough, and people were passing me that never should have. I fell so far that I settled into an 11:00 pace. But I had put too much on the line to give up and walk, so I stuck it out in a painful, grindingly-slow way. In hindsight, I’m sure I had depleted my glycogen stores. My heart rate was low, so I wasn’t limited by fitness. I didn’t take any energy in during the race, only taking water on the bike and at the aid stations. It was a painful lesson to learn, but I won’t make that mistake again.
Overall it was a great race. It was a lovely day, and a good venue. I almost put together a decent race, but for the run. Just paying a steep price making deposits into the bank of experience!
(P.S. I was fortunate to have a friend along for the trip. He did a great job taking a lot of pics, and was a champ for driving me back after the race when I was basically useless. Thanks Stefan!)