Epic Weekend Part II: The race
I woke up feeling pretty good. The wind was 14-17 mph. Huge. The temp was perfect.
Swim was a point to point in Lake Eerie. We got going on the beach start and I was moving ok and feeling pretty comfortable. No chop but a strong current coming back into shore slowed the times down… Finished in 29 min and well positioned (Not fast but it was a strong swim in tough conditions)
I was filmed in transition. The guy ran up to me as I was dropping f bombs and struggling with my wetsuit. I tried to stifle the profanities to no avail. I have a sailor's mouth.
Shitty transition and I was off on my bike with my new race tires and slipperly specialized TT2 aero helmet. I took off like a bat out of hell and within minutes saw evotri teammate, Chris Sweet. He is an awesome athlete, so I knew I was having one of those days where things are firing on all cylinders. I was grinding the pedals in a massive gear but feeling super smooth and sort of floating. I smashed through the bike, despite pretty beefy winds and finished with the second fastest split about 3 seconds back of the fastest…I literally biked through field by mile 40. The guy with the fastest split passed me back and smashed the last 10 miles into a stiff headwind to earn the top split honors. Mad props to Alex Gonzalez. I got off the bike with an honest 2:21 (Awesome split given the wind and the placing).
I was in 2nd coming into T2 and down by no more than 30 seconds to Alex, who technically was 5 minutes back as he was in the 1st wave. I ripped through T2 and settled into a comfortable run pace. By mile 1, I was leading the race again! Short lived as about 2 minutes later Brian Kaminski moved by me pretty quick. He ran away with the race big time clicking off 6 minute miles easily. I was chipping through the miles pretty well and feeling comfortable…the crowds were amazing and kept me smiling. By mile 4, a young kid from the Canadian development squad ran through me… Great, I thought, now I am gonna slide back through the field. He put 30 seconds into me and I thought I would never see him again. I turned a corner at mile six only to see him walking. No nutrition, no water on him. Inexperienced Cannuck athlete but definitely strong. I figured I just needed to hang around until mile 9 and see what was what. He took several walk breaks and I chipped into his lead. I had accumulated some lady admirers on the run as the run weaved through town and they were encouraging me to hunt him down. It was America vs. Canada in the ultimate grudge match. President Obama was at an aid station, screaming expletives and spittling all over the place. Inspiring stuff. By mile 8, I was on his back. We stopped at an aid station and then started the duel. Toby Keith was belting out I love America ballads and losing his mind as I jumped off the front and blasted the next mile at 6:10. I looked back and he was gone!! I repassed!!!!! I took a piece of apple pie covered in melted American cheese at the next aid station but that mile had taken it out of me big time and I had slacked on drinking. I suffered back to the finish line but held a solid pace of 7 flat. I actually negative split the thing somehow. Victory for America, eh. Run: 1:33 for a 7:06 pace. Not great but felt really easy and ran smart...I had a ton left in the tank so I'm looking forward to doing another half distance race to really push the half marathon.
I finished in SECOND OVERALL in a legit 4:27! (might have been 4:26 as I think the timing was a bit off) Either way it is a PR in very windy conditions. The whole team was awesome. Charlie, his wife Lisa and the Sarahs were awesome out there and rolled through the race like it was pie. Robbie B led the whole race out of the water and finished strong. Chris Sweet, despite minimal training, absolutely smashed the race and ran through the field on the run to finish 5th! Absolutely ridiculous. Michele showed serious class and is going to tear up Kona. Team Evotri represented big time with a bunch of PRs and killing it overall. Also, Simply SSSSStuuu announced the race as master of ceremonies. He is amazing and I just love this team.
It was surreal coming down the finish line in probably my best result in a big race. I was praying the whole day and God answered my prayers letting me race to my fitness and stay strong and smart the whole day. I am so grateful to the people in my life who help me do this sport. My family, friends, and teammates allow me to have unbelievable experiences like this that just make me so incredibly happy. But the biggest thanks goes to Caitlin. She is the love of my life and keeps me honest in training. She bikes with me on my long runs, supports unwaveringly, and is all around my best thing going. After the race, I talked to her, my best friend, Matt Inch, and my Mom and I was just over the moon to tell them how it went. It was one of those days.