At about 9:00 Chad, Aaron and I got out for about a 20 minute run. It was nice to get the legs loosened up after the long car ride. When we laid down to sleep my big fears were lived out. I had been feeling sick since Wednesday and it was culminating with coughing attacks on Saturday night. I couldn't lay down on the bed without coughing uncontrollably. I went to the Wal-Mart next door and bought a nice supply of cough drops and some nightime cough medicine I hoped not to use since that always makes me feel really groggy and hung over in the morning. After trying to get the coughing to stop for about 30 minutes while those guys were trying to sleep I caved and took the NyQuil. That didn't do a bit of good...I was coughing so hard and so often I could not even come close to settling into a sleep. I was really worrying about keeping those guys up before their first ever race and this was not a big race for me so at 12:45 after about 2 hours of laying there coughing I decided I better move to my car. I went out and reclined the seat and locked the doors and actually fell asleep pretty quickly. I woke up at 3:00 am and decided I would try to move back to the hotel since I was no longer coughing. The second I laid down the coughing continued. I couldn't believe it. I was coughing so hard I couldn't even keep the cough drops in my mouth. I was worried one was going to fly out and hit one of the other three guys trying to sleep. At 3:45 I moved back to the car and the next thing I knew the sun was up and it was 5:30. I rushed from the car to the hotel room to make a quick breakfast of Wheaties Fuel and yogurt knowing those guys would want to be leaving soon. My stomach was not feeling good at all. The Pizza Ranch Gods were having a good laugh at how my stomach was feeling. I relieved it twice at the hotel but the Pizza Ranch continued to swirl.
We made our way to the race venue and set up in transition. The race had a sprint and Olympic distance. Josiah and Chad were competing in the sprint while Aaron and I were doing the Olympic race. The transition area was first come first serve so I found a spot Aaron and I could both put our bikes not knowing that racking next to Aaron would later nearly lead to sabotaging my race. After setting my stuff up I went for a 1.5 mile run and then waited in line for the porta-johns because the Pizza Ranch was giving me a really bad feeling again. After that I put on the wetsuit and asked a race official if I could swim to the race start. They were taking athletes around the lake to the start by shuttle bus even though it was only about a 400 yard swim to the spot they were shuttling to. He told me I could not swim to the start but I went down to the lake and when I saw people warming up nearly half way to where I was standing I jumped in and swam my way to the start rather than wait for the shuttle. This turned out to be a great idea since Aaron, Josiah, and Chad didn't show up for about 25 minutes. I got about 1,000 yards swimming in but I had a major problem brewing. Pizza Ranch was swirling around in my tummy and it felt like a ticking time bomb. I knew it was only matter of time before Pizza Ranch came out and it didn't care if I was in the middle of a race or not. My options were limited. There was no bathroom that I could see on the side of the lake we were starting on. I decided to think I would use a bathroom at an aid station on the run but Pizza Ranch continued ticking away and I knew I would not have that much time. I kept thinking about professional triathlete Jordan Rapp who had to take a DNF at Ironman Arizona after admittingly pooping his pants during the race. I did not want the same fate so I made the decision to unload right there in the lake. I unloaded first and then took my wetsuit down while hiding in the deeper waters of the lake away from anyone else. I washed everything out and made my way back to shore so I could put my wetsuit back up...this was not a pleasant experience nor is it something I ever want to happen again. Pizza Ranch is officially off my pre-race menu...NEVER AGAIN!!
SWIM: I went out in the 5th swim wave. The first 3 were sprint waves and then there was one wave of collegiate club men and women doing the Olympic distance. When the horn sounded I took off at a good pace on the outside of the group. I wanted to get out hard because I know the pro starts get out super fast and I wanted to simulate what Kansas will be like. After 100 yards or so I looked around for feet I could get on and saw some to my right. I made my way over and connected on. I stayed on the feet for about another 400 yards when we were joined by a 3rd swimmer. He was moving a little faster than us so I wanted to make sure if he pulled ahead I could switch feet. We swam as a group of three until just after the 3rd bouy which was about 1/2 way into the swim. At that point the 3rd guy that had joined us took off. I was able to see it before the gap was too big and I focused on breathing every three and kicking a bit harder and was able to make the gap up. I stayed on his feet until about the last 100 yards when he started to get away. He got out of the water 4 seconds ahead of me. I was thrilled with my swim. I knew the time wasn't good when I got out of the water but you never know how accurate swim distances are in open water especially on a windy day like we had...oh yeah I failed to mention this was a very windy morning...15-20 mph with gusts over that. When I got the results it was confirmed to me I swam really well. My swim was ranked 4th and the fastest swim was less than 3 minutes ahead of me and he was a guy who swam for the University of Iowa. After that the gap was 1 minute to 2nd fastest time and 4 seconds to 3rd. My swim time on the long course was 26:16 and that included about a minute run up to the transition area.
BIKE: I knew it was going to be a windy bike ride. I had looked at the forecasts ahead of time and decided to ride my brand new Zipp 808 Firecrest wheels. I opted to go without a water bottle and filled my Specialized Shiv Fuelselage with GU Roctane Tropical Fruit drink. I also wanted to practice filling the Fuelselage since there was one bottle exchange on the course. The ride was windy as expected. The gusts made it very difficult to get comfortable. In the sprint distance race Chad Uhde crashed after catching a huge gust of wind. Thankfully he was able to get up and keep going. I had riders from the wave ahead of me to catch so that was nice to have out in front of me. I put out a big effort on the bike. There was one HUGE hill going into a valley. I topped out at 48.6 mph going down it which scared the Pizza Ranch out of me considering the wind gusts that could come at any time. Up the other side I was barely able to hold 10 mph. I had passed all the guys who started 3 minutes ahead of me by the turnaround except for one...the super swimmer from Iowa. After the turn the ride got very tough as we were mostly into headwinds. Going back down and up the hill again was torture. I was biking at 9 mph going up it into the wind. Despite that I was making up time on the rider ahead of me. My legs did not feel particularly good and I felt like I was riding very slow. I passed the last rider ahead of me with about 3 miles to go. I finished up the bike leg with a split of 1:03:23 which was the fastest ride of the day.
here. This was my first race in my new Kiwami Prima top and bottom. I loved the new jersey. The front zipper is very long so on hot days at Ironman branded events when you can't take the top off I'll be able to open it up and I can even pull it up if needed since it's a 2 piece suit. The pockets were easy for me to put my GU wrappers in on the bike.
I was super excited to watch Aaron finish and find out how Chad and Josiah did. I learned of Chad's crash but then heard that he still managed to win the Clydesdale division of the sprint race and Josiah finished 3rd in the Clydesdale division. Aaron finished AWESOME! He went 2 hrs. 32 minutes and won the Olympic distance clydesdale race by 30 minutes. He ran a 7 minute/mile pace on the tough 10k course. He had one of the worst bikes at the race...sorry Boris (name Aaron gave to his bike) but I have to be honest here. I was saying prayers for Aaron and Boris when I went down the huge hill on new Zipp Firecrest wheels that are 100% true because I saw the wobble on Boris' wheels the day before when I spun them. I can't imagine that wobble at 40+ mph. Aaron's blog is a hilarious read and is here. I was most excited that those guys had a blast in their first triathlon ever and I was glad I could share the day with them. By the way...my race belt...was around Aaron's waste when he finished. He put on MY belt before getting onto his bike! I told him with my luck last year the time I spent looking for it would have cost me the race. Half the fun of the sport is getting in great shape. The other half is enjoying the training and seeing it pay off. These guys have gotten to experience both of those. Up next will be Pigman Sprint if I hear about getting in by the end of the week. If I don't hear I'll scratch it and train like crazy next week since Friday is my last day of work for the next 3 months. I can't wait for summer training and racing to begin. 2 races in and 2 wins but the level of competition goes to a whole new world in June. I am excited to see how I stack up.
I almost forgot...the most exciting news of the weekend is that Super Mom traveled to Rockford, IL to run a 1/2 Marathon on Sunday morning. She drove up the morning of leaving the house at 4:00 am and won th race earning her a paycheck of $350.00. Her time of 1 hr. 22 minutes was well under the course record earning her a bonus $175.00 so her total pay day was $525.00 which is a new Paul family record. She told me afterwards she eased up in the last few miles so she wouldn't have a difficult time setting the record again next year! She has taken a commanding lead on me in terms of race income earned this year...my $50.00 at Bluff Creek didn't compare. Jen is selflessly donating all her race earnings this year to her newly engaged sister Shanna's wedding fund so Shanna was pretty excited the result. I really need to place high in a pro race if I want to catch Super Mom on the money list. She's incredible. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!!