Alabama Coastal Triathlon Race Report

Sept 3 - Sept 9
S:  7,005 yds - 1hr 51min
B:  56.67 mi - 2hr 58min
R:  10.65 mi - 1hr 17min
Total:  5hr 56min

Whew, what a week.  The volume may not seem like much, but the week really did drain on me.  Monday was an "off" day, but it was spent driving the rest of the way back to Birmingham and recovering from Hy-Vee.  Honestly, I don't think I've ever been as wrecked as I was after Hy-Vee.  I don't think I fully recovered from it until maybe Thursday but during that time I developed some sort of cold/upper respiratory infection.  Crap.  Oh well, it's not like I was planning to race again on Saturday...oh wait...  Anyways...so Thursday and Friday were spent resting up for the race and trying to battle a congested chest.  On Friday, Lori and I loaded up my car and headed down to Gulf Shores for the Alabama Coastal Triathlon.  We met fellow Accelerate 3 athlete James Haycraft at packet pick-up to get our stuff and then headed to his parents' beach house where we would be staying for the weekend.  On Saturday morning, the 3 of us awoke early to head over to the race site.  The race was to be a 1500m swim, 40k bike, and 10k run.  Conditions were humid and very hot...a good recipe for a "fun" day:

Swim - 17:32 (11th)
Firstly and obviously, this swim was a short of 1500m.  The course was a first for me, as we had learned the day before that it was going to be a 2 loop swim.  So, swim 1 rectangular loop, get out, run on the beach, and get back in for another loop.  This is fine and all except that the waves were of decent size and getting in/out of the surf was a little tricky.  Nonetheless, I started right behind Lori and right in front of James.  I knew James would be my main competition for the day.  The first loop went by smoothly and as I was running in for the second loop I could see James just diving in about 20-30 seconds ahead.  The second loop was slightly more congested with slower swimmers, but I thought it went well and I exited the water and made my way towards T1.

T1 - 2:21
After a long run up the beach, I quickly stripped off my speedsuit, put my helmet on, and ran my bike out.  The mount was good and I was off.  No mistakes here.  I didn't know what position I was sitting, but I figured there were 3-4 guys in front of me.

Bike - 55:34 (2nd)
I really didn't know what to expect on the bike (being somewhat sick and all), but I knew I had to crush it to make up lost time on James.  James is a superb biker, so it was going to be a tough job.  Surprisingly, watts were about where I expected them to be in the 270-280 range, although my legs didn't feel as good as they did the previous weekend.  I passed 2 guys on the way out and at the first turnaround I could see 2 more guys.  Within a couple minutes I passed both of them and really picked up the effort for the next few minutes to completely drop and demoralize them.  At that point I was in 2nd position with James sitting in front of me just out of sight.  The return trip of the bike was AWESOME because we had a monster tailwind.  Anytime you can average 28 mph for 15 minutes...that is FUN.  Near mile 17 was a short out and back section which allowed me to see the gap that James had on me.  I figured it was around 1.5 minutes...the rest of the race was going to be tough.  The last 2-3 miles into T2 were with a huge tailwind so I used that opportunity to let my heart calm down because I was still going 29-30 mph.

T2 - 1:23
No mistakes here, just a quick in and quick out.  It was nice to hear some cheers from a few Vulcan Tri members who were spectating.

Run - 41:35 (5th)
One word: sufferfest.  Coming out of T2 my legs felt super tight but I just told myself to push through it.  After a mile or so I started to feel a little bit better but it was getting HOT!  Right before the turnaround I saw James and could see that he had it in the bag.  After the turnaround was when things started to get tough.  I could feel my body temperature rising, my head getting light, and my heart rate rising.  Miles 1-4 were a solid 6:33, 6:30, 6:30, and 6:38.  At that point I was hurting bad and started slowing down, but was able to salvage out a 6:52 and 6:56 final 2 miles.  It wasn't pretty but it did the job.

finishing the run

Total - 1:58:24 (2nd Overall)
James crushed it for the win and I finished around 3.5 minutes behind him.  Third place was another minute behind me.  I felt good about the race; no huge mistakes and I was definitely aggressive and left it all out there.  After looking at the results, everyone suffered on the run.  I would have loved to run 38-39 minutes, but you can't always expect that in 90+ degree heat.  It doesn't matter though...nothing I could have done would have bought me another 3.5 minutes, and a $200 check is always a good way to end a race!


What was even cooler was that Lori ended up getting 3rd overall female for a $100 check, and with James taking the title for $300 we took back a total of $600 and half the prize purse to the Haycraft beach house...not a bad way to start the weekend!  The rest of Saturday and Sunday was spent playing on the beach, drinking coffee, eating good food, watching storms roll in from a porch rocking chair, having community, and just living the good life!

morning view

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