Returning to Muncie for the 4th time in 2 years has made this triathlon course very familiar to me. With this being one of the last races of the season my expectations are always to do better than I did the previous time on the same course. But I was still having to deal with one small foot issue that I incurred in the previous race I did 4 weeks before. I rested is much as I could and focused on bicycle and weight training. With everything pretty dialed in I was confident that I would have a good race.
So comparing times from last year I did really well in the swim and had a personal fastest swim time on this course. I beat my previous time by approximately 1 minutes. Which was nice, but the real accomplishment behind that time was the fact that the last swim buoy had drifted to the right of the course and I swam straight for the finish area. And the rules state that you must pass on the right-hand side of the buoy. To my dismay the swim Marshalls flagged me down and told me I had to go back and go around the buoy! So the swim would have been substantially faster had I not had to swim an extra 75 yards. Which might not seem like a lot, but after you have already swam 1.5k (or just under 1 mile) adding extra swim time is not ideal in a race. I was able to finish the swim in 29 minutes. My fastest swim ever was at the nationals with a finishing time of 25 minutes. And obviously an open water swimming there are lots of variables when taking your time and consideration. One of the biggest things is to actually swimming in a straight line, which is harder than it seems.
The bicycle segment is normally my strong point, I personally think it’s because of the training I do and how I prepare the bicycle, but I was a minute slower than last year. I tried to use my new HED rear disc wheel on this course for the first time. This course has just enough rolling hills that a non-disk rear might be a better choice. So I’ll have to see the next time I go back to that course with a different rear wheel if that holds true. As I look back it might not have been a wise decision to go on 2 different group rides the Tuesday and Wednesday before the race. Even though the group rides are supposed to be somewhat relaxing they are generally spirited rides. Inevitably somebody wants to ride fast and putting in approximately 80 miles between those two rides might not have been a great idea. But I do enjoy them and they are great exercise and practice. So I can do little but a time in the swim from last year and lost a little bit of time in the bicycle section compared to last year. And that’s how triathlons go sometimes, if you could just link all your best times together you could have one heck of a race result. But that is what I’m learning to do and I have learned a lot racing at a higher level this year. I finished the bicycle section in 1:08.
And to finish up with the run was my big concern, because of my ankle injury. As I started the run I try not to focus too much on if my ankle hurt or not and just started to run. Getting off of the bicycle and trying to make different muscles fire that are required for the run versus the bicycle is a challenge in itself. I did use a pair of shoes that had a bit more support in hopes of keeping some pressure off my ankle. The run did go well and I did not have any major issues with my ankle which was a relief. And the last two races I have done, I have started to incorporate new tactics during the run section which have really helped. Now all I need to do is learn how to actually run a bit better and I should be able to consistently be at the 7 minutes a mile mark no matter what the course. I would like to be closer to the 6 minutes mile for the 10K distance (6.2 miles). I was able to finish the run in 46 minutes, with an average pace of 7:25.
Capping everything off compared to my previous races at this course I was able to achieve a personal record of 2:26. That is very encouraging considering I was slightly slower on the bicycle and had to swim the extra distance. My new goal for this course will be to beat the 2:20 mark. With this time I was able to finish 3rd in my age group and 8 overall. Which is a great improvement from the spring race when I managed an overall finish of 23rd.
Thanks to all the sponsors and everyone who came out to cheer on all the triathletes!
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