Here it goes again! Another sprint with this one being hosted at Furman University. I’ll start with saying training has been going decently lately with some longer distance training while still incorporating the speed. This basically means for me adding in the occasional long workout just because it sounds like a good idea at the time. Most notably, when my sister and mother insisted I join them for a day at the beach the day before the race, I decide to say “I’ll ride there to meet you!” Leaving from my house in West Columbia this essentially meant a century (100 miles) to get to Charleston. I decided to cut that a little short to 95 miles to meet them in Goose Creek to avoid the bad traffic and bridges entering Charleston. The entire route consisted on one left turn for me in the entire 95 miles as I took Rout 176 the majority of the way before turning into Ye Olde Ice Cream Shop to meet the family. My legs were nice and beat for the race the next day and the sun decided to keep it warm for me the last couple hours as well! Luckily my Aunt, Bev Gunter, is the owner of Soothing Sessions massage in Lexington, SC and took pity on me to give me a short quad massage before heading back later that afternoon.
Surprisingly, the legs felt good the following morning and I set out with Rebekah and Timmy (our support man for this race). The start list included all the normal quick old people such as Peter Kotland and Jeff Brandenburg who would of course attempt to turn this into a bike race rather than a triathlon. After a quick spin, a short run with Timmy, and a 25 yard sprint warm up I was ready to roll.
Somehow despite being bib number 5 I was pushed to the front of the line due to many people not knowing how to properly seed themselves by swim time or division. After being told I could go whenever I jumped in and began the 250yd swim. I kept the pace pretty easy as I knew the swim wouldn’t account for much time anyways and it would probably be smart not to spike the HR immediately. A few minutes later I jumped out and headed to the bike for the longest portion of the race, the bike.
Last year when racing this event I performed very well other than the fact that I went off course not once, but twice. On the bike and the run. Needless to say I scouted out the course intensely this time a couple days before using Google Earth. I had it down. There was no way there would be a repeat of the 2014 debacle. I pushed the pace high from the start after some mishaps with getting my feet in the shoes. Nothing too exciting happened until with a couple miles to go Peter came around to take the lead. After letting him get up the road 5-10 seconds I kept the damage limited and started prepping the legs for the run.
I got off the bike feeling pretty good and knowing I would have a good run. Within the first minute I had caught up to Peter who commented that I did not have the lead yet. He was correct as this was a time trial start format, meaning he could be 20 seconds or more ahead even as I passed him. This didn’t bother me though as I immediately surged to show that my legs were feeling superb. Shortly after a lead biker came up to show me the course to prevent any wrong turns which was much appreciated, though my scouting ensured that I knew exactly where to go. The first mile showed a 5:42 which was right about where my pace was the previous year before the wrong turn. The second mile included some very short and steep climbs to drain the legs and dropped the pace. The last mile felt as good as the first as I continued to attempt to put more time in and finished with an 18:08 5k for the win! Shortly after came Peter and Jeff to round out the podium. Also worth mentioning is 17 year old Miles Fowler placing 5th Overall and should put up some good competition in the future for us older guys.
I greatly enjoyed this race and did much better performing in the heat as I’ve been forcing myself to acclimate. The countdown is 1 month to Lake Logan Olympic where I hope to lay it all down!