Off to the other side of the country all the way to Tempe, Arizona which is a pretty awesome city. I knew I had a lot of challenges to face. I had to fly across the country and deal with how flying affects my body. The time change could mess with circadian rhythms. I also had to make sure I get all of my sessions in with all of that travel. Oh, and I was racing the best guys in the country, but my fitness was looking really good, and I felt like I was one of the guys to watch out for.
I flew in Thursday with the race on Saturday. Coming from State College, it was 40 degrees when I left, and about 80 in Tempe. Talk about a shock to the body. I had only been out on the road a handful of times yet this season. So you could say conditions were less than ideal for me.
My workouts were feeling pretty decent the couple days before, just a little sluggish from the travel. I was feeling like I was going to have a good race.
Race morning came and I was really excited. I wasn't really nervous, just really ready to let it all out. The men raced second so waiting around until the girls were all done just added to the anxiety a little bit. I got in and was ready to go.
The gun went off and I went into that all out sprint of the beginning of the race. This was one of the rougher swim starts I've experienced. All of the best collegiate triathletes going in one wave was pretty intense. I started to get swam on top of. Getting out is definitely a skill I need to get better at. To show how crazy it was, I started on the left of my teammate, and at about 100m out, I was still next to him, just somehow on the right of him. No clue how that happened. After the craziness of the start I tried to settle in. I had a pretty decent swim, but know if I got out better I could have been 30 seconds faster pretty easily.
When I got on the bike things started to go downhill for me. The legs didn't seem to want to go. It felt like I was stuck in half-ironman pace or something. I just couldn't push them for some reason. The body was just saying no. I did what I could but probably biked at least a minute slower than I should have, maybe even more than that.
I got off the bike, and the feeling was the same on the run. I was running pretty fast, but didn't have that top gear I had in training. I was hoping to hold between 5:00 and 5:10 pace. I ended up at 5:25, which is that little bit I just didn't have. I think flying and traveling to a new environment seems to be hard on my body. It was the same feeling I had last year, so I think my body may be slow to adapt. I ended up 7th, which is still a decent result against some of the best triathletes in the nation, but when you know you are fit enough to battle for the win 7th can be hard to swallow.
I seem to be a bit of a perfectionist, so I was disappointed with the result, but I know that is still pretty solid. I have to thank all of my supporters. I wouldn't be anywhere near where I am if it wasn't for them. I have the best teammates a guy could ask for and parents who have always done everything in their power to give me every opportunity I could have. I can't thank them enough. I owe so much of everything to their hard work to get me where I am. I also have to thank my sponsors, Scott Running shoes, The Sport Factory, Made2Win, and Kiwami. Their support helps me get better every single day.