Thursday, July 26, 2007

Festival of Flowers: Where's the Damn Flowers?

I ran my second race of the year, the Festival of Flowers Olympic Distance Triathlon. It is a big race, since it is a Southeast Region qualifier for USAT Nationals.

Christa and I went down Saturday, so I could check out the course and pick up the packet. When I went into the Chamer of Commerce in Greenwood to pick up the packet (which was a different location than the race, a big pet peave of mine), I asked about the Festival of Flowers. My wife likes flowers and that is how I conned her into coming with me to packet pickup. They told me that the Festival will be another weekend. So there were no festivals or flowers for my wife to see at the Festival of Floweres Triathlon.

I got to the race on Sunday, set up my transition area and said hey to a few friends. After drinking the last of my liquids, I headed to the swim start. Lake Greenwood was a little choppy and the swim was a big C shaped affair, plus it was a non-wetsuit race. The first one of those I have raced in a while. We got in the water and the starting horn went off. While I was swimming, it felt like my timing chip was ready to fall off. It made it hard to fall into a groove. Then at one point, I got mixed up with a group of swimmers that got off course. I just felt disoriented the whole time I was out there. Overall it was a bad swim.

Transition one was fast, since there was no wetsuit to strip. I got on the bike and went. I had to hurry up, since I just had a slow, sucky swim leg.

The bike was a nice big one looper. It's hills were somewhat rolling, but I have certainly raced on worse. I could not take my eyes off the watch, as I wanted to finish the race under 2:30, without killing myself on the run. Toward the very last part of the bike leg, I got passed by the women leaders of the race. That usually happens earlier in the bike, so I was feeling pretty good. I finished the bike in a decent enough time and a heck of a lot better than my last race.

In Transition Two, I took it pretty easy, finished the liquids that were on my bike and took off. It's the first time Transition One was faster than Transition Two.

For some reason, I thought my time was good enough on the bike, that I would not have to kill myself to finish under 2:30. My run start was a little too casual and I just buzzed right along. Plus, my slow swim and so-so cycling abilities gives me a lot of people to pass, which I did. Passing so many people gets me too complacient at times. When I got to the turnaround at the 3 mile mark, I realized that I screwed around on the run and I was going to have to kick it into high gear for a decent race. After turning on the heat, I started passing many folks in my age group, including the current leader of my age group in the S.C. Triathlon Series and the guy in my age group who beat me at Langley Pond. At the end of the race, to my horror, I realized that I did not finish under my goal of 2:30. Instead, I ran it in 2:31:03. I still got 10th out of 34 guys in my age group, which qualified me for the USAT Nationals!

The drive home was long. I had to stop at a gas station and splash water on my face and I even drank caffiene. This race really took it out of me!

Here is the stats from the race, for you number geeks:

Transition 1
Transition 2

10th place in my age group (35-39) out of 34 competitors
74th place overall out of 192 male comptetitors

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