My second triathlon showed the marked improvement I was looking for, though there is certainly still room for improvement. My largest time cuts were realized, most notably in the swim and 2nd transition where some adjustments and better prep were evident yesterday. I also managed a better pace in the run and posted a solid bike performance as well. There are a couple of things that happened that should certainly not have and cost me a few seconds here or there like my tool pouch jumping out of my back pocket on the way out of the 1st transition and trying to run out the bike entrance for my run portion. That said, I'll take my 9th overall placement for now. I unfortunately just barely missed the top three in my age group coming in a close 4th to the 8th place overall competitor.
The swim went fantastic in comparison to the last one. I felt much more comfortable swimming in the group and I must have had a bit better control of my heart rate because breathing was far less of a problem. I was still breathing every other stroke but I was not panicking for breath. The water was very choppy and it was a salt water swim so that was a bit new but I swam consistently and relatively efficiently with long easy strokes. Overall I came out of the water in 27th place so I'm not too disappointed with that. Room for improvement by far but a good base to start from.
The 1st transition was a bit sloppy but still was a solid 2 minute job. I may need to look into some shoes that are easier to put on and may want to practice wetsuit removal. I also think the pre-clipped shoes may be something I should look into.
The bike was a nice flat course with some somewhat strong headwinds that hurt me a little bit. For the first half of it I battled it out with two other cyclists, each of us taking turns passing each other but not really able to put each other away. After about half the way through heading into some headwinds I began to fade back and slowly faded away from the two of them. I held on though, passed a few more riders and held off any other potential advancers and finished with the 10th fastest bike time overall.
The bike to run transition I dropped over a minute off my time from the last race, mostly due to the zip tie shoe laces. I did however have a bit of a brain fart and started to try to run out the bike lane before a spectator yelled at me and got me back on track.
The run started off very poorly as both calves started to cramp up big time. I was actually thinking I wouldn't be able to do much of anything and actually stopped a couple of times to message my calves and try to work out the cramping. After a couple of minutes however they loosened up and I was able to open up my stride again. The biker that finished first of the two I was battling earlier was not as strong a runner as biker so I picked him off almost immediately. I passed a few others and had my sights on the other cyclists from the group for the remainder of the run.
I ended up finishing just behind him though despite my initial closing of the gap, he held a consistent lead through the finish line. My run time was 12th overall at a 6:30 something pace. I know I can do better then that and I'm a bit disappointed once again that I didn't dig deeper for this final section, but once again here lies some more room for improvement.
It's a bit of a disappointment as well to have come so close to my mental goal of at least placing in my age group, though in my own defense I was thinking about races with the Elite category (I know, a bit of a cop-out but still). I know where I need to and can improve so that is the important thing. One thing that I really enjoyed was being one of the "toppish" contenders out there. Running by the leaders, knowing I was only a short distance behind is a pretty good feeling which I certainly don't get from my usual road running races at my average guy pace. It's cool that my combined slightly above average abilities can produce a near top result too...