We are all very close in abilities, David the swimmer, me the runner, and Justin, the unpredictable...As the race approached, predictions were made. Justin did not have a chance, a father of 3, Justin could not put in the training as the rest of us. The race would come down to David and me.
The Patriot half is a fantastically well organized race. I loved it. There was so much energy and excitement in the air. The day was beautiful and the water temperature was perfect. I was nervous and excited all at once.
The swim was perfect. I found a pod of wetsuits to swim with, following their draft as best as i could.. After about 40 mins i popped out of the water to realize David was right next to me. Sweet! This was apparently David's best event. I hollered over to let him know i was ahead and hurried to my bike.
I moved ahead on the bike maintaining a solid 22mph avg pace. I was feeling good and ready to put the hammer down on the brothers. Though, at about mile 45 my hip started tweaking. Having only 5 weeks to train on the new tri specific bike, I wonder if my joints had the opportunity to fully adjust to the new bike. Regardless, I finished well ahead of the brothers and in 50th place overall. They were just entering the transition as i was cruising onto my strongest event, the run. I felt good, time to close the deal.
Maybe my over confidence got the best of me. Maybe it was poor nutrition, hammering the bike too hard, a new bike or a lack of mental toughness, regardless, by mile 6, my goals begin to crumble. My legs cramped, really cramped. My left knee, the one that went through a cash years ago and since then has been symptomatic began to give out. I was dehydrated in the now hot sun. My legs and mind were toast. In my 15 years of racing, I walked for the 2nd time ever in a race(the first due to a massive sprained ankle on a 20 mile trail race). The next 7 miles was torturous, physically and mentally. Geoff Rose, ultra endurance runner extraordinaire, talks about succeeding in endurance races by surviving the low point that happens in every endurance race. I felt like I barely survived. The physical part was hard enough, but mentally, i gave up on running. It was the low point i have not gone through in some time.
Needless to say the Dearys caught up and passed me. Justin took first of the three of us in just over 5 hours. the brother with the least training, but then again that is why we call him the "unpredictable". David, was not too far behind Justin. I came in around 5 hours and 30 minutes.
It took some time to recover, but now as i write this, my mind has forgotten the pain and discomfort of the run. With pain gone and redemption in mind, I will be signing up for the 2012 race. I just hope I can bring back the Deary brothers for a rematch.