Significantly different from last year, which started off with a 70.3, this years first race was a sprint.
Doing a sprint after an ironman is like doing a 5k after a marathon. You know it's going to hurt, and otherwise don't really give it too much thought.
True to the spirit of the sprint, I went hard and just held on.
I had one of my better swims, and for the first time didn't look up to see myself 50 yds off course. I came out of the water in 9:19, which is about right for me, even if it is ridiculously slow in comparison.
The bike was a 10.5 mile out and back loop, with the wind blowing straight at us for the first part. I kept my heart rate right at the edge of zone 5, not wanting to go too hard and having a complete melt down on the run. The return trip was fun with the wind at our backs - it's nice being able to go 24-25 without too much effort.
After a quick transition, I started at a reasonable pace on the run, planning on a slight negative split. Since I haven't been running much lately, I didn't want to go too overboard. With a 1/4 mile to go I was running at a pretty fast pace - at least for me - just under 8 minute miles, when someone from my age group passed me.
OK - the race is on :)
I stayed right on his heels until a couple hundred yard to go. He was a faster runner than me, so I had one chance to beat him to the line - mentally.
I sprinted out in front of him as hard as I could go, at a pace I could only keep up for a little bit, and it was just enough - I heard a sigh of resignation behind me - I held that pace just long enough to give me a gap, and crossed the line a few second ahead of him.
I don't have the athletic talent to be competitive in my age group, especially at shorter races, so I'll enjoy the little victories instead.