So yesterday was the big day. The Marine Corps Base Hawaii Sprint Triathlon. In the days following the Lanikai Triathlon, I vowed to take this one seriously and drastically improve my time. So I actually trained all the way until race day this time around. I swam somewhere around 2-3 times/week and ran 3-4 times/week and biked to work everyday and then did one long ride per week. It wasn't the most grueling training schedule ever, but it was an improvement over last time. Then Friday and Saturday before race day, I carbo-loaded by eating lots of bread, pasta, pancakes, and fruit. Then my co-worker and I went out for a massive pasta dinner at Buca di Beppo (map) on Saturday night and stuffed our faces with some delicious food.
Sunday morning rolled around and I felt good. I felt prepared and ready to do well, which was a much better feeling than the one I had last time. There was just one problem: the weather. We pulled onto the military base and there was heavy cloud cover, strong wind, and it was cold (Hawaii cold...so around 68-70 degrees). At least it wasn't raining...yet. It looked like most people were setting up their transition stations in sweatshirts and all I could think about was how cold that water was going to be.
As 7:00am rolled around (start time), everyone was standing on the edge of the water ready to go when the gun went off. There was a mad dash in the water and while most people were probably focused on getting to the first marker, I was just thankful that the water was really warm. The swim is still my weakest event, but I found that I was much stronger this time. Of course, the waves were incredibly choppy because of the strong wind so it made it that much tougher to plow through the water. Then about halfway through the swim, it started to downpour. Hard. The rain reduced visibility to zero, the waves were knocking people all over the place and no one was going straight. I'm shocked there is still water in Kaneohe Bay b/c I thought I swallowed it all. Nonetheless, I got out of the water and beat my former swim time by about one and a half to two minutes.
It was still raining as I got on the bike and started to pedal. Part of the bike course was on the runway and there were massive gusts of 20 mph wind coming right at our face. I was pedaling as hard as I could but wasn't going anywhere! Everyone was struggling to fight the wind apparently because at the end of the race that's all people were talking about. The best part of the bike portion was that I passed my co-worker about 10 minutes into it and never gave back the lead.
Now, I haven't made the plunge to get clip-in bike shoes so I wore sneakers. And because of all the rain, they were SOAKED. The water from the tires splashed up and the rain poured down. So as I took my first steps in the run, not only did my legs feel like bricks from all the pedaling, but the water in my shoes and socks made it feel like there were weights in my shoes. The running course was nice, though. For the most part it was flat except for one really steep hill that was just a nightmare. At one point in the run, though, I looked back to see if my co-worker was closing in. I saw someone maybe 80 yards behind me who had the same shirt on and the same type of dark shorts and was convinced he was catching up. So I took off running harder to try to keep my lead. In the end, however, it wasn't my co-worker...because it turns out I beat him by 7 minutes.
Ultimately, I did not win my age group. However, I improved my time by 13 minutes and finished close to my goal of 1:10:00. I didn't beat my goal, but I was happy with my improvement. Next comes the Tinman.