7 and 7

Stoneman_IronAbe 051The last two weekends I have done a sprint triathlon, finishing 7th both times. What are the odd of that?  The Stoneman sprint played to my liking, I just wish I could swim.

I showed up to the Stoneman about 6:45.  I thought that was more than enough time.  By the time I walked my bike to the transition and found my rack, it was almost full.  I felt myself spinning around, none of the other racks were this full.  The sprint doesn’t go off for another hour and fifteen minutes?

I was able to find enough room and organize my gear.  I then headed out for a run.

On the road I caught up with Eric Sommer, the transition king.  I asked him about wearing my Tri Club jersey for the swim.  He said to definitely wear it, or don’t wear one at all.  That cleared my mind, now I just needed to try it out before the race. 

I went back to the transition after my warm up.  I neatly placed my Zoot shoes and my scrunched up socks.  I had gotten blister the week before at Evergreen Lake, but was still not convinced on wearing socks. 

I grabbed my swim cap and goggles and headed to the boat launch.

The race had started for the Iron Abe, they had to swim 9/10 of a mile.  I looked out at all the buoys, damn that is a long way.  I am glad I signed up for the sprint.

Once all the Iron Abe participants were gone they opened the water up for practice.  I went out for a short swim.  It is always that first hundred feet that kills me.  I got my stroke down, and even did a little back floating, just for practice…  When I got out, whooo, my shoulders were stiff.  I am so glad I was able to get that out of the way. I was now ready.

2008-07-27-AM-08-18-194My plan was to start in the front of the heat.  I thought I might not get as beat up as I did the previous week.  The gun sounded (maybe a horn or maybe just “go”, I don’t really remember) and we were off.  I took a couple of blows to the arms and legs but I put my head down and swam.

It seemed like an eternity out to the turn around.  I would take a site and put my head back down.  I stayed calm and took it nice and easy.  The turn around came and I could only think, hey I can do this!  My head stayed down and my stroke was there.

I exited the water with a time of 11:23.  Not a Springfield record by any means.  But I took 2 minutes off my time from last weekend and even a good 20 seconds from last year.  I must be doing something right.

I ran into T1, grabbed my helmet, skipped the socks, and ran out with my bike.  I got past the mounting line, placed my foot in my left shoe and with a hop and a skip I rode away. 

I quickly got up to speed and settled in.  I love the TT bike, it is like a Lazy Boy recliner.  If I could have only closed my eyes for and extended period of time.

Stoneman_IronAbe 187But before I knew it, there were some turns and some hills. I was able to see all my competition after they hit the turn around.  I looked to be in a pretty good place.   

On my return, about 100 yard from the transition, I took my feet out and road in, on top of my shoes.  I made a running dismount and headed into T2.

Ok, where is my rack?  I started looking a the numbers on the paper plates hung on the outside of the rack.  I kept thinking of the balloon idea to mark my spot (maybe next time.) Oh, here it is.

I hung up my bike, took off my helmet.  Ok shoes.  I started to put my right foot in,  my leg didn’t want to bend, I did some sort of half kneel, and got it in.  Left foot.  Grab hat.  Grab race belt, water bottle.  Run!

I ran up the hill out of the transition area. My legs felt surprisingly good.  I guess the 12 mile bike wasn’t as tough as last weeks 40k.  I made it to the first mile marker.  6:50.  Not bad, but I needed to get that down.  A couple of guys passed me. One of them had a 38 on his calf.  He was in my age group, damn it!  He flew by me.  I needed to pick up the pace, if I wanted to stay in contention.

After the turn around I was looking for the second mile marker.  I never saw it. But before I knew it, I was on Lindsay Bridge, the home stretch.  I could hear all the people yelling.  I put everything I had left into it.  I rounded the corner to the finish, and sprinted (or at least it felt like it.)  I crossed the finish in 1:02:52. Good enough for 7th overall, and 2nd in my age group.

Now where is that beer I so desperately earned?

Thanks for the Sam Adams, Bill Winberg!  Thanks Tom K, and Jason for taking all the great photos!