First triathlon of 2018 for me was this past weekend at the Parris Island Sprint Triathlon. The race is held at the military training facility adjacent to Beaufort, SC and is touted for being “Where it all begins”. This being in reference to it frequently being the first race held every year as well as where military life begins for many fresh recruits. This was the 20th year of the race being held and would be my 4th time racing it!
The last time I raced here was 2 years ago and I pulled out a win and course record despite it being an interesting weekend to say the least. I may not be training for short distance races anymore, but I would overall consider myself a better athlete than a couple years ago. So I had hopes to not only improve overall in the race, but hopefully in each individual leg of the race.
Since Rebekah’s family lives in Beaufort, SC we typically use the weekend to stay the night and get to see them. This year was no different and we arrived a bit later and just in time to hit the bed. I ended up waking up before my alarm and we made our way to Parris Island to get set up and ready. For being a “local sprint” triathlon, this race has a large field that participates and sold out with well over 400 athletes racing. Many of these athletes travel from the Columbia area and I got to see a lot of friendly faces the morning of the race as I prepared. After some short warmups, everything was in order and they began getting everybody lined up for the time trial pool swim right on schedule.
I was seeded to start 3rd behind stud swimmer Jason McCormack and time crunched med student Mike Mauhar. I focused on not going too crazy on the swim and held a consistent, quick pace while trying not to waste much time on the turns and switching lanes. I caught up with Mike about half way through the 500 meter swim as I could tell he was starting to fade which left only Jason left ahead. I came out of the water and crossed the transition mat at exactly 7 minutes, which turned out to be precisely 1 second faster than 2 years ago. Not much, but I’ll take it and I was ready to nail the bike!
After my bike getting bumped around and throwing my chain off, I was forced to take a few seconds to get things sorted out before mounting the bike and getting to work. I had to pass a couple cars that decided to make their way on the course and then I was able to settle in and start reeling in Jason. I came by Jason somewhere between mile 1 and 2 before the first sharper turns. After that, it simply became a matter of pushing hard and taking the turns aggressively to waste no time. I ended up drifting into the grass once as I refused to brake for a certain turn, but at least I didn’t lose momentum! As I continued my solo, super flat time trial around Parris Island, I was finding it difficult to put down as much power as I would have liked. My quads were on fire and I could tell that I need to dedicate more time to working in the aero position after a long period of only riding the road bike. Regardless, I was staying super efficient and eating chunks of time out of the field. I ended up coming into transition well ahead of second place and hoping my legs would behave for the run!
As soon as started running I could tell that my legs very much hated me. They felt super heavy and did not want to react quickly at all. For so short of a race, I just told myself to suck it up and slowly turned up the throttle. Throughout the run I doubt I was a very pretty sight. I was sucking wind like there was no tomorrow and time seemed to be crawling by. After the turnaround, I eventually saw some other athletes heading on their way out and I tried to encourage them. Unfortunately, this frequently probably came out in some sort of primal noise that likely scared people more than motivated. Unless they were motivated to get away from me. I eventually made my way to the finish line with the only slight uphill on the course in a time of 48:13. This was about 5 minutes ahead of 2nd place Peter Kotland and a little over a minute better than my time from 2 years ago.
After spending a minute to digest the hard effort, I proceeded to get my things together and start cheering for athletes on the course and talking with new and old friends. Two of my coached athletes (I call them Feighathletes) were racing as well as many of the athletes that participate in my cycling class! Matt Page ended up taking 7th Overall in the race and a 1st in his age group while Nick Foster shaved a whopping 26 minutes off his time from the previous year while getting a bloody hand in the process (that gator won’t be messing with him again). I’ll also point out that Julia Norcia and Brian Mallon (both regulars at my cycling class) ended up on the podium on the back of strong rides! I could go on with how awesome everyone did at the race, but I’m afraid I would be listing 400+ people. And while everyone is awesome, it is approaching my bedtime!
I’m not sure what the next race will be for me at this point, as we’re now entering into the time of baby showers, family plans, and eventually the birth of Charleigh Gene Feigh! Thanks for reading and enjoy the official start of “tri” season!