It was a pretty “epic” day in Pleasant Prairie. I woke at 3:30 am to pouring rain – my father-in-law said it had rained about 3 inches over night.
Mary and I arrived in Pleasant Prairie right around 5:00 am and took the shuttle bus from the parking area to the race site. When we got there transition was close to empty – only a few brave souls were there setting up their gear. We heard a few people mentioning that the race director had delayed the race start and a decision on the status of the race was going to be made around 6:30. Mary and I being a bit nutty, stayed out in the rain getting our gear set up – I really really didn’t want the race to be cancelled because then I’d have to motivate myself to go home and ride the trainer for three hours. Plus I was really looking forward to using my new LG Rocket aero helmet for the first time.
After setting up, we went inside the fitness club that the race takes place at and hung out in the gym. Around 6:15 the RD announced that the race was on and was going to start at 7:00.
Closer to 7:30 the gun went off for my wave sending us into the water for a mad dash. I started off hard and was alone pretty quickly. I made what felt like a pretty straight line for the first turn bouy, and as I made the turn I saw 3 or 4 people a couple yards behind me. I kept up this same pace going to the second turn, and as I made it I saw that my chase group was down to 1 and was no about 20 seconds back. I was actually surprised at how smooth and strong I felt in the water. I finished up exiting in 18:44, my best swim time by over a minute – I was shocked to see that on my watch.
I ran hard to my rack doing my best to get my wetsuit off as much as I could – I knew that both Blake Becker and Michael Boehmer were somewhere behind me and I needed to get out on the road quickly. As I was leaving my rack the second swimmer out was Blake – which shocked me. Earlier this year at Rockman I beat him by ~2 minutes in a HIM swim, so to only best him by 30 seconds here was a shock, he’s really put in some yards.
I got on my bike and hammered. For the first 5 miles or so I was really suffering, then my HR started to settle and I was able to really work a good effort. I hit the half way point of the race right around 33 minutes – which was a bit discouraging, but also motivating.
Things kept going good until around mile 15 where I hit a bump or something and my left aerobar extension came loose – and started to rotate very easily. If I put any weight on it, it would turn and my arm was basically resting on the basebar. So I kept having to twist it as far to the right as I could – gingerly place weight on it – hit a bump – twist it again. I repeated this for the last nine miles of the race. I don’t think that it really slowed me down, but it was definately annoying.
I came off the bike in second place, about 2 minutes down to Blake Becker (he passed me around mile 6), and about 45 seconds to a minute in front of Michael Boehmer.
My only goal for this race was to have a strong run, after having very subpar runs as my last two races – I needed to get a good confidence boost about my run – this meant a sub 40 10k. I hit the running trail telling myself that I couldn’t quit or slow down no matter how much it hurt. I’m happy to say that although I was passed by Michael at mile 1 and Chris Wichert at mile 5 – when both guys went by me I did my best to key off them and hang tough. I’m happy to say I did that.
In the end I crossed the timing mat in 2:02:55, a huge PR by 4:55 and good enough for 6th overall. It broke down as (S/T/B/T/R): 18:44 – 1:02 – 1:02:10 – 1:18 – 39:43 – both the swim and the bike were huge PRs for me, and the run was my best run since Rockman in June.