Saint Anthony’s Triathlon as it Happened
One of my big goals for 2014 triathlon season was to start the year off big. I've wanted to race at Saint Anthony’s for years, and decided late last year that 2014 would be it. My sister Jane lives 35 minutes away, and my brother Steve not much further. No more excuse needed.
Flew in several days early to welcome some warmer temps, and have some relaxing time with my sisters and brother. Got in some practice swimming at Holmes Beach, which was my father’s favorite vacation spot and one of mine as well. Need a bit of practice when open water swimming in Indiana is unheard of till at least mid-May. The only reason I have avoided this particular race so far.
My sister Jane and I went over on Saturday for packet pickup and drop the bike in my transition spot, number 1004. Took a good look at the swim course then headed out for a nice dinner with the family. Jane, Sandy and Steve all decided to come with me for the race even though we had to leave at 5:15 a.m. that morning. Nice to have a supportive family, not everyone would do that.
Started in the 13th wave at 7:44 a.m. with a group of around 100 guys in the 55-59 age group. Don’t know many races you can see that many of us in one place. Lined up in the middle of two start buoys, that turned out to be a bad idea. At the start everyone moved to the middle and quickly found no room in the inn. Decided to move hard right and swim right on the line with the buoys, which was much better. First half of the swim follows the shoreline and was relatively smooth. Then we did a hard left into Tampa Bay and that was where the rolling began. Thankfully the last 300-400 yards I drafted off another guy in my age group till the swim exit. That made it a little less crazy, exiting the water in 31 minutes and change for the 1500 meters (just shy of a mile). Received a nice pull up the steps from a volunteer which I greatly appreciated as I exited the water, love those volunteers! Sandy, Jane and Steve were cheering for right at the swim exit.
Made a quick transition and out on one of the best bike courses I can remember. The course is flat, scenic (not that I was looking), and featured plenty of competition to race against. Had a really smooth ride and just keep a steady hard pace without pushing into the red zone and paying for it on the hot run to come. I finished the 24.9 mile ride in 1:07 or about 22.1 mph. It was downright fun.
Made another good transition to the run and got out in short order. Could tell right off I the heat was taking its toll having come off the worst winter I can remember back home. The run course is also flat, and scenic. All during the run I didn't feel competitive at all. While I missed a couple of months training in the winter with a minor injury, I think it was more the heat than anything else. No whining, I got through it okay, and the season is young with plenty of time to improve. Came into finish and received a colorful finisher’s medal and a couple of cold towels. Can’t describe how good those cold towels felt. Did I say I love the volunteers, I meant that. The run was about 50:14 (8:05 per mile) so the total time was 2:31:56. Walked out of the finish area and gave a high five to Sandy, Jane and Steve. It was a great day even if it was a bit off pace.
After all was said and done I finished 12th out of 98 in my age group, and 289 out of 1702 finishers overall. Must say I really thought I could do better, but that was all I had on the day. Congrats to those 11 guys who served me up some humble pie. Hopefully I’ll get another shot at this race in the not too distant future. It was just an awesome event, pretty much everything I thought it would be.