Troika is a half-Iron that took place in Spokane, WA on Sunday August 5, just 3 weeks before IM Canada. This was the 27th year for the race and they had it all pretty well worked out, although the run course could have used more porta-potties beyond the one at the 6.55 mile turnaround.

In a variety of ways the night before the race was just as eventful as the race itself, and could have prevented me from racing at all. On our way to dinner Saturday night I wasn't watching where I was going (although bright sunlight directly in our eyes and being deeply involved in a conversation contributed as well) and I walked into a low-hanging boom for a crane. We hear a loud thud and then I find myself sitting on the ground, dazed and confused. One of the people in our dinner group is a neurologist and suggests that I get the wound looked at, because it may need stitches and if it does I may not be racing in the morning. It was bleeding profusely so we first stopped the flow and then walked across the street to the urgent care facility. Thanks to both Steve Small (my carpool partner) and Eric the neurologist for going with me to the medical facility. The ER nurse & doc clean it and after poking around a bit decide that it doesn't need stitches after all, so they give me the OK for the race and send me on my way. Later that night I would wake up with what felt like an asthma attack, something that is so rare for me that I usually forget my inhaler. It passed but I would have another mild one just before the swim start.

The swim was clockwise, 8 buoys and then a final turn for shore. The mirrored lenses on my Blue 70 goggles really helped cut down the sunshine glare and I sighted well until the last turn for home, where I went a bit wide to the left. Swim was slow, with a 2:50 T1.

HR was high getting on the bike (about 160), but settled down after 10 minutes and stabilized at 148-152, with average power stabilizing at 201 watts. I felt great and I think this has to be one of my favorite bike courses. As my coach suggested, I used this as an IM-paced ride so I didn't go any harder but still moved up 120 places on the bike. I went through a total of 3 bottles and 1 Powergel, and several electrolyte capsules per hour, exactly according to plan. No cramps or digestive issues. 2:54 bike split (19.3 mph avg speed), about 1/2 hour faster than Grand Columbian last year. 1:50 T2.

The run was getting warm and the first half unfolded just a little slower than the plan - I quick-walked through the aid stations, getting a sponge on my head / neck/ face. I hit the turn-around in 1:07 instead of the 1:05 or 1:06 I had planned. My legs felt good, HR was at 152-154, no cramps or other problems. At mile 7.5 an unexpected and urgent trip to the bushes cost me a bit of time, but the biggest and recurrent problem that hit just past the turnaround was the return of the severe foot pain that plagued me during the Grand Columbian run leg. As before I had to stop every few minutes to take off my shoes and massage my feet until the burning stopped. My 2:15 run slipped to a 2:30 or so, with a 6:21 finish, 34 minutes faster than Grand Columbian.

A trip to my podiatrist this morning yielded a diagnosis of the problem as inflamed 2nd metatarsal phalangeal joints, not the nerve compression I had last year. A shot of cortisone into each joint (and a recommendation for different shoes for pavement running) will (I hope) take care of the problem before Canada.