Off the bike and into T2, I was feeling good. Surprisingly good. I had a few things on my mind, mostly blister prevention. In T2 I changed to dry socks and slathered Blister Shield onto my still numb-from-cold toes and took off. My time was about 4 minutes. It was about here that I realized that while my Garmin 305 was running, I had forgot to put it into multisport mode and things would be weird when looking at the data. Alas, it certainly wasn't a day ender.
On course my legs adapted fast to running. More brick workouts and a tips like standing and pedaling the last mile of the bike course to pull blood from my quads and put it into my hamstrings must have helped because I had zero of the usual leg heaviness I usually experience. Sticking to my bike nutrition plan meant I was well hydrated and ready to run. My heart rate was where it needed to be, my legs felt fine and I was still moving past people. I settled into about an 8 minute mile average.
Then it started.
About mile 4 I noticed that my knees were aching. Not hurting, but aching. It was like this for about a mile and then it mostly ceased. I ran up the bridge over the Snake river at a sub-8 mile and passed a couple of people. I flew through the park, looked at the cute picture Smarty Pants had drawn for me, and started the second half of the run feeling awesome.
Then it continued.
At about mile 7 my right knee really started to hurt. Really hurt. By mile 8 I was limping and really slowing down. I was gonna finish, but the 8 minute miles were over. It was a good time to finally take that poop break I'd been needing and thought some rest would help my knee. Now, I have a storied history with GI issues and racing. Without going into detail, it's bad and can last for days. Not this time I am happy to say. Just a good ol' fashioned crap. The one my body wasn't prepared to do before the race. But enough about poop. . . The break did not help my knee. But I was going to finish and thus began the longest 5.5 miles of my running life.
Not only did my knee hurt like hell, but this section of the course was an out an back. Literally down a seemingly endless false flat two-mile long straight road to a turnaround and back. And it sucked balls. I could see the guys in ahead of me, some looking much more worn out than I was. But I couldn't go any faster than the 10-12 minute miles I was hobbling out. I got passed by one guy. But I passed three more struggling with stomach cramps - my usual nemesis. Still, it was a bitch knowing that I was so close.
Eventually I finished. Below are my numbers.
5:31:38.237 - Total
32:02.844 - Swim
6:48.143 - T1
2:50:18.365 - Bike
4:25.205 - T2
1:58:03.680 - Run
5 of 10 AG
19 of 73 OA
Despite the knee issue, I have nothing to complain about and there is no use lamenting what could have been. I achieved every goal I had for the race. I finished the swim under challenging conditions under 40 minutes, Sub-6 overall time, Sub-3 bike, Sub-2 run. I paced well. I ate and drank for nearly spot-on nutrition. And I learned a lot. Because of the bad knee luck I am stretching more and that will have nothing but positive benefits in the future.
What's next? Well, I'm writing this post two days after I solid XTERRA Sprint race. But long term I am not sure. An Ironman is the next logical step. I also want to ride LOTOJA again. They sort of go together, but I am not sure I could do them both unless I did an IM early in the year and, living in Utah, that's tough to do unless you really like training indoors (I don't). But an IM is a life goal that I'll get around to. Maybe not 2011. But maybe 2012, you know, before the world ends.