Hey folks! Sorry for the delay in posting but I was only home for a few hours before I had to go on a business trip this week. The Pumpkinman was last Sunday at Lake Las Vegas and included International & Spring lengths. My wife did the sprint and I did the Int'l.
Let me start by saying that I have decided the official name of this event should have been..."Hey Fat Boy! Go back to the golf course." Wow! Was this course hard (for me anyway). I should also add that I had been pretty tired from training and over the last two weeks I didn't do many workouts because my body had been complaining (knees, ankles, etc.). OK...enough excuses...on to the event.
I don't think that anyone who raced on Sunday was actually from Nevada. When setting up my transition space, I met a few people from Boston, New York, Chicago, New Hampshire, and a good number of fellow Californians. For you people in colder climates. I think this is a great end of season event that gives you an excuse to come to Vegas for a few days.
SWIM - The swim was in Lake Las Vegas which is a shallow man made lake. The water was about 68 degrees and the course was a simple, swim along the shore for 5 buoys, turn and swim toward the other shore, and swim back. It was an in-the-water start and there were only about 40 people in my wave so it was a very low stress start. I decided to go without a wetsuit and was definitely in the minority. Most people were complaining about how cold the water was (and they WERE wearing wetsuits)...I found it to be very comfortable. The horn went off and I settled into my easy stroke...as usual, my direction looked something like __/\/\/\/\/\__/ rather than ---------. I exited the water (up a wooden ladder to a temporary dock in 39:41 (19th out of 20 in my age group). I was really surprised when I looked at my watch because I thought I was going faster than that. Maybe I was taking it TOO easy...or maybe it was because I probably swam 1.2 miles instead of 0.9. Anyway, I was pretty disappointed when I was running into the transition area.
T1 - As expected, not wearing a wetsuit was WAY cool and I quickly made my way through the transition in a time of 57 seconds...which by the way was the fastest in the race I picked up one place because of it and headed out on my bike in 18th place.
BIKE - This is where the race sank its teeth into me (and most people it seems). One loop around the fairly hilly resort and out onto Lake Mead Parkway. I must say that this was a pretty cool road to ride on...nice smooth asphault for the most part and a two-lane road that reminded me a bit of the Queen K in Kona. The problem was that it included nearly 3,000 feet of climbing in 24.8 miles. The downhills were awesome and according to my computer, I hit 43.8 mph at one point. The uphills weren't quite as awesome. I passed quite a few people but only one in my age group (and got passed by another) so I was off the bike still in 18th. The lowlight of this leg was when I turned around at the wrong place (the Sprint turnaround). I remember thinking, "Wow, that was fast." After about 1/4 mile or so, it occured to me..."Crap, I turned around at the wrong place!" Oh well, it probably cost me a couple of minutes...it could have been worse. The outbound leg rolled downward so the inbound leg rolled upward. By the time I reached the resort entrance I was pretty shredded and then I was hit in the face with a nasty wind. I guess I didn't notice it during the route since it was crossing but the last mile or so was brutal. My time for the bike was 1:38:52 (just over a 15 mph average). Before you guys get too down on me, the guy who won the race averaged less than 19 mph and the fastest biker was 20.7 mph. This was not an easy course.
T2 - Let's put it this way...if I wasn't such a stuborn pain-in-the-ass, I would have quit right here. I felt horrible. I wheeled my bike into the tranistion area, sat down on my towel, and slowly put on my running shoes. 2:03 later, I loped out onto the run course....really wishing I had signed up for the relay.
RUN - After plodding along at about 10 min pace for about a mile, I hear my wife yell "Yay CJ" as she is coming the other way. I don't know why for sure but it totally broke my spirit. I remember thinking "Aw man, she has one mile left and I have five." Shortly thereafter, I was in walk mode. The run course also included rolling hills and I managed to run down a few but quickly slowed to a walk on the flats. Then at about 2.5 miles a guy who was about 50 with a grey beard caught me at the bottom of a hill and started to walk. I said to him, "Don't let me slow you down." and he said that he walks up all of the hills because it takes too much energy to run them and he doesn't go much slower anyway. I don't know how but he got me running along side of him. We continued side-by-side jogging the flats and downhills and walking the ups...talking about family, weight loss, whatever. It really helped me and I started to feel a lot better. At about mile four, I could tell that he was fading and he made a few statements about just wanting to finish. I could have easily gone on but it just didn't seem right. If it hadn't have been for him, I would have walked the entire way. Now it was my turn to help him. In the end, we shuffled through the finish side-by-side (although my wave started 3:00 later -- so I beat him My 10K time was 1:30:54 (3rd slowest in the event).
FINISH - My final time was 3:52:29...nearly 50 minutes slower than my last Int'l...I'm telling you, this was a hard course...the winning time was 2:18...top 10 was 2:35. I was DFL in my age group. I guess I'm a little disappointed at that but at least I beat six people overall...not including the 30+ DNF's. My season is over and I think I've earned a few weeks of rest. Weight loss is going to be a key focus when I get going again. There is no way I can haul this frame through a 1/2 IM in June. This race was a good reality check and will serve as a good motivator.
Hopefully some of you are reading this because you are interested in doing your first tri but are uncertain. About 17 months ago, I couldn't walk a flight of stairs without getting winded. 14 months ago, I was in a bike crash that sidelined me for 10 weeks. If I can do this, anyone can! Get our there!!!
I'll try to get my wife to post her experience in the Sprint...right now, she's upstairs making a pasta dinner...YUM