Freakin Rain @ Evergreen Lake

EvergreenI have never gotten up so early before in my life.  4:00 AM is what time my alarm when off.    I turned the coffee pot on and microwaved my oatmeal.  I jumped in the shower, got dressed, poured my coffee and ate my oatmeal.  I was out the door by 4:30. 

Evergreen Lake Triathlon is just north of Bloomington, in Hudson, IL.  On the drive over I had a few rain drops hit my windshield.  I didn’t watch the weather the night before, I just assumed it would be hot and sunny.  I pulled the radar up on my phone.  Freakin Rain (yellow), was blanketing the mid-west.  It took me 1:15 minutes to get there.  The rain had stopped, long enough to pick up my packet and setup in the transition area. 

I was planning on going for a short run to warm up.  Then the rain came down.  It was pouring out.  Looking out over the lake, it was almost white out conditions.  I was kind of lost on what to do…

EvergreenI decided to go take my jersey and running shoes off and put them in the transition.  No warm up (I will regret this later…)  I stood by the side of the lake, under a tree, shivering with no shirt on.  The rain and let up a little, but it did not look like it was going to stop anytime soon.

They started the waves for the international distance.  I was in wave 7, the first of the sprint distance race.  It was a 500 yard swim, and I felt somewhat confident with it.

The wave started and I was off.  I wanted to start of slow and easy, so I was toward the rear.  I was getting clobbered left and right.  I couldn’t get a solid stroke.  Within 50 yards I was on my back gasping for air.  Thoughts of tuning back were in my mind.   What the hell was my problem.  I started off again my goggles where fogged and I could not get a good breath without taking in water.   I turned my head even farther.  I was not sure how I would make it to the turn around. 

I kept thinking about my laps in the pool.  Lifting my elbows, rotating my body taking a breath.  I must have gotten a few good strokes in because I made it to the turn around.   I was still battling for position in the water.  No mater where I went I seemed to be kicking or hitting someone. 

I made it back thinking this is the worst swim I have ever done, I was not sure if I could recover the time on the bike.  I exited and ran up the boat ramp dodging rocks on the ground.  (You would think they could sweep or blow the area clean?)  I got to the transition and my time was 13:23. (64th place)  It wasn’t as bad as I thought, but it was not my goal of 11:00 minutes.  (I have really got to take this swim thing more seriously.)

EvergreenThe transition area was very long and narrow.  The swim entrance was right in the center.  They had all the Sprint folks at the far right end.  I put on my jersey, and new Rudy helmet and ran my bike to the exit on the far end.  My shoes were clipped into my peddals and I opted not to put my socks on.  It seemed like a good quarter mile to the exit and the transition was also sprinkled with rocks.  (Can someone get a leaf blower out here???) With the long run to the exit my T1 time was 1:31 It was the 13th best time and put me in 47th place (that is 17 placed I moved up in the T1). 

The bike course was the same distance for both the sprint and the international race.  It was a 40k (That’s 24.85 miles, for those not on the metric system).  It was still raining and this was probably to my advantage on the bike. 

I think there was a slight cross head wind on the way out.  My speed and cadence was steady.  The turn around could not come soon enough.  Man… 25 miles is a long way!  On the way back in My speed picked up and varied between 28-30.  I would call that a tail wind.  I was blazing. 

I made it back to the transition area and had a little trouble in the dismount.  I about went over the handle bars (that would have been embarrassing)  but recovered and ran my bike that “quarter mile” across the transistion area.  My bike split was 1:03:33, which gave me a 23.5mph average.  I was now in 6th place, which means I passed 41 people on the bike.  That felt good after the close drowning experience in the lake.

I slipped my shoes on, and headed out.  It was about 5 steps before I remembered my visor.  Shit!  I turned around and grabbed it.  I had to have that in the rain.  I exited out of the center, where the swim came in.  My T2 was 1:23 and I lost two places.

My legs were spent.  I could feel my quads cramping already.  It was going to be a painful 5k.  I felt like I was running 9 minute miles.  My legs would not move.  I came to the first mile marker, 7:19, I thought that wasn’t bad, but I would have liked to be way under that.  It was the long hard ride taking its toll. 

EvergreenI kept my eyes open the whole time looking for the green bib numbers (sprint).  I started counting them as we crossed paths.  My position looked pretty good.  I ended up passing one person during a water stop.  He got water, I didn’t.

My second mile was 7:20 and the rain really picked up even more.  I looked forward and back and didn’t see anyone.  I was just glad I wasn’t doing the international distance in this crap.  I came up to the transition area, I was looking for the finish…  They pointed me to the left.  There was a shoot the length of the transition area, and the finish was all the way at the other end.  Damn them!

I crossed the finish line in 1:42:31 (a terrible 22:40 5k).  7th place overall and 1st in the 35-39 age group.  It was kind of redeeming after that terrible swim.

The rain was not stopping anytime soon, so I cleared my stuff out of the transition area and headed back to the jeep to put some dry clothes on (thank God for the dry race t-shirt).  I had some coffee left in a thermos from the morning and it was still HOT.  Man, that tasted good! 

EvergreenI headed back out with my umbrella in search for food.  The registration tent had turned into a cafeteria.  They had a full spread including pulled pork sandwiches cookies bagels and drinks.  It really hit the spot.

It took a while before I was able to get out of the Park.  There was only one road in, and both sides were being used.  Bikes on the left and runners on the right.  Before long I was headed back to Springfield.  And wouldn’t you know it.  It was hot and sunny.

I pulled everything out of the jeep and put it in the hot sun on my driveway to dry off.  Everything was completely soaked!

Now, all I could think about was a shower and a nap. [Sprint Results]