Looking at last year's results, it was hard to tell if the competition would have much to offer at this optimist sprint race. Scott and I would find out there was plenty, but nothing we couldn't stay in the mix with.
The swim is always my favorite part. Some wave starts are a bit more feisty than others, especially when you're in there with a bunch of other 20-24 year old males. (I suspect the aggression level is toned down quite a bit in every other age group). But when our wave went, it was Scott and I straight to the front. Out was no big deal, but coming back was straight to the sun and it was everything you could do to forget about sighting and just keep your head down and swim straight. Lots of vegetation out there on the swim, too. The more you fought, the more it felt like the lockness monster.
Our swim times ended up being two seconds of each other. I was 6:13 and Scott 6:15. A decent run to the mat after the water's end made it interesting - I really wanted the swim prime. I would actually get it, but they gave it to the overall race winner. He and I had the same split, but I was just a bit faster on the official results page. Weird.
Transition was a buster. Trouble getting the wetsuit off and over the timing chip. Then the velcro on my shoes stuck to the wetsuit. When I flung the suit to shake the shoe, the shoe went flying. Finally made it out of there in 1:09 - same as Scott.
Easy clip in on the bike, and up the first hill I get passed. Scott was really pressing the pace. I couldn't answer. Actually, nothing about my bike leg was impressive. Legs felt heavy, and I kept wanting to scoot back on my seat - probably means it is too low. The same MSU guy, Alan Finder, passed me, just like Scott. He had the fastest bike split on the day. And surprisingly, even though my legs felt dumpster I still was 23.9mph for 6th on the bike.
Wondering how it might turn out on the run, I struggled plenty in transition. Shoes, pre-tied, just wouldn't go on. But as soon as I began, I pulled the usual routine. Quick steps, turn it over, work out the kinks. By mile one I could see I had gained quite a bit on Scott who had started the run a minute ahead. About 1.5 in, he and the top runner in the race were just inside of maybe 30sec ahead. Getting passed by that top runner throwing down 5:40s at 18 years old lit a fire under my ass to see if I could hold him within range. I did until just short of 2mi and the flame faded. At that point it was everything I could do just to keep Scott in my sights. With a big hill about 3/4 mile to go, I tried to gun it, but redlined. Finished feeling very fast, but the run split didn't suggest I was. At 6:37 miles, I was slightly disappointed because I've run way faster for 5mi last year at Terre Haute than I did today for 3.5. 9th overall, about a minute back of Scott. Interesting thing was, the MSU dude Scott beat went the exact same time as he did a year before. To the second. 1:05:27 for my time, and if I do it next year I want to flirt with as close to an hour as possible.
To my delight and worry, I have ambitiously signed up for Muncie 70.3 which is in two weeks. Haha. Oh man. I haven't run more than 10mi since early March I think. Should be quite the show.