Anatomy of a Race Gone Well
Race morning I’m driving in to Hawthorn Park at 6:00 AM being one of the first ones on site. Not playing race director for the first time in 10 years so I decided to help work packet pickup for a while before it all gets going. Nice chance to catch up with so many friends I have doing the race. About 7:30 I walk back over to transition, get everything set and hang-out with Troy Charters and Forward Motion teammates till it is time to head to the swim start.
Have a seat next to my mother in-law Judy at the beach house, and try to keep the nerves down for a few more minutes. Decide to jump in and swim around the first buoy just to get the feel of the water and headed back for the beach start. With the two at a time start I figured I would slot myself in around the mid pack. Line myself up with another guy to the left and waited our turn. My father in-law Paul is at the timing mat waving us to the start line. Off we go and I run into the water a little over knee deep and do a dolphin dive and starting swimming. Bumped into the guy next to me and decided to move right and headed straight for the first buoy. Hit each of the buoys going out very straight and was swimming fairly easy. Decided in advance I was going to sight ahead every other stroke so I would swim straight if nothing else. I made it around the turn buoy at the end of the lake then around the second turn buoy to head back straight for shore. Very uneventful swim till the last couple hundred yards where I got stuck behind a crowd so I moved left which made the swim a little longer, but got out to some open water. At the finish my brother in-law Jim and race director Ethan gave me a lift up out of the water and then headed full speed up the grass to transition 1. Ended up taking 11 minutes 43 seconds, swim must have been a bit short this year.
Got to my bike just in time to see Troy head out for the ride which gave me some encouragement to get going and try and catch him. It took me several miles to make the catch then eased around and I gave him a shout of encouragement really for the both of us. There were 3 us riding about the same pace which makes for a really fun ride. Several miles later Troy eased back around me and we stayed back and forth within a few hundred yards of each other the whole ride. I could not have asked for better company. We yelled encouragement to each other to ride harder, and If I were to script the ride it wouldn't have been as good as this one turned out to be. Heading up the last hill to Hawthorn Park I was behind about 15 seconds, but was able to head out of transition 2 quick enough so that Troy and I were side by side to start the run. We both rode 22.9 miles per hour for the 40k (25 mile) course.
Troy was definitely running faster than I was, but I felt decent so no worries. Saw my wife Sherrie directing runners down the path so I did a little flirting with her as I ran by. Hope the guys around me knew she was my wife J The run down the Heritage trail and back was more like a social gathering than a race. I probably know close to half of the athletes so I made it a point to say something or give a low five to as many as possible. A person can’t ask for more fun than this. End up making it back to the finish in 37:11 or about 7:29 pace. Overall I finished in 1:56:20 which is faster than I did it 11 years ago before my race director stent. I was 2nd in my age-group to Dr. Frank Troiano which is no shame since he is just phenomenal. Overall I was 29th out of 140 finishers.
If only every race was as enjoyable as this one was. God has been kind to me and feel very blessed to still be participating in this sport for 25 years with hopefully several more years to go. To all my friends, teammates and family participating, I’m very thankful for each and every one of you. What a great day.