As I'm prepping my bike on race morning, I realize that my magnet for the speedometer is missing. Oops! I walk over to one of the mechanics on site and asked if he had an extra magnet. He looks around, looks at me, looks around again, smiles and says, "No, sorry." I look at my watch, and BOOM! It's not working. Great, now I've got no data for the bike or the run. And to make it even worse, there were no mile markers on the bike course. None whatsoever. I like to take in nutrition every 20 minutes, but since I had nothing, I pretty much had to guess. I figured that if everything I had on my bike was gone in a timely fashion by the time I got into T2, I was good to go. It worked out pretty well for the most part.
I never seem to acclimate well to cold weather. 100% of the time, I just suck it up and go on pure grit. I'm walking around race morning as it's still dark, watching everyone's breath through the crisp air. I'm thinking, why would they hold a triathlon in the Poconos in late September? I started to exhale obnoxiously just to poke fun. It was nearing 7am, time to head towards the swim start. When it was time, the pro men and women were directed to head in the water for some warm-up. The announcer said that we had 4 minutes. About 30 seconds later, we were called back for the start. What the fuuuuuuudge. The gun goes off and my body goes into total shock mode. About 50 meters into the swim, I'm short of breath and unable to get my body to relax. It didn't ease up, so I eventually undid the velcro around the neck of my wetsuit. It helped a little bit, but nothing drastic. My arms felt like lead, my body feeling like I was dragging along an extra 50 pounds. It was a dreadful, cold swim. What seemed like a decade, finally ended as I ran through T1 and mounted onto my bike.
Since I had no working speedometer or watch, I easily distracted myself with a bunch of questions and thoughts going through my mind. Was I going out too hard? Was I not going hard enough? How would I know when it's 20 minutes? My Power Bar initially too hard to bite into, my sunglasses all fogged up. There were two turnaround points on the bike course, so maybe if I had figured out where they were before the race, I would've had some idea of where I was throughout the race relative to those two points. But no, I didn't look into the course that much. My mind was going nuts because I had no data. Nothing! T2 comes around, I rack my bike, and my right quad cramps for a few seconds. I grimace in discomfort, shake it out, and head out for the run.
I had trouble catching my breath for the first couple miles; the cooler temps taking over my body. My legs felt heavy early in the run, but started to feel better the latter half of the first 10k. Then it hit me with about 4 miles to go. You know when you're climbing a hill really hard on a bike, and your quads tighten up, pool with lactic acid and burn, and you're just waiting for the top of the hill so your legs can relax, recover, and dump the lactic acid out of your legs? Yea, well, my legs were still climbing really hard the last 4 miles. My strides shortened, every step sending sharp pain through my legs. I tried to distract myself by focusing on my breathing and running form. My quads were screaming to stop, but I knew that if I stopped, my legs would seize. No matter how good or bad your race is going, the last couple miles always seem to take forever. I crossed the finish line, looked at my time through the chute, thought, "Hey, not too bad," and I immediately went to the med tent. "I need to sit down" was the first thing I said. I eventually got to lie down; I was given fluids and some drugs while one of the docs took my info. They also took my HR-100 and BP-107/72,...the only [useless] data I had for the day.