The race definitely challenged me on swim, bike and run like no other races I’ve done! So glad I survived and met my goal time.
The most intimidating part of the race was the swim. Swimming is my strongest of the 3 sports but for some reason jumping off a boat into 60deg water and swimming in ocean with strong current with changing sighting targets just seemed like a lot to process.
when it was time to go, everyone just jumped right off without hesitation and I did the same. As I started swimming, it was as chaotic as any mass swim start. People were swimming over each other legs and arms in your face. It wasn't until after about 1000yards out before I had clean water. Only analogy I can think off is the starting scene of saving private Ryan where it was every man for himself. Swim conditions was hard and it wore on us physically and looking back not rationalizing it in my mind was probably the best way to conquer it with 1 stroke at a time. The swim ended up longer for most including the pros for this year. When I was down on the stretch parallel with the bay, it still seemed forever before I got to swim exit. Once I got out, it was time to start thinking about transition! Phew!
the bike leg was no cake walk either even though it was only 18miles, there were quite a few steep climbs. As Ben kanute puts it, think of it as 7 intervals.. sure we've all done that or more. Honestly, I think I enjoyed the bike leg most on the new bike. I ended up coming in quicker than expected with great power number. Having ridden the course a few times before the race definitely helped.
Getting into transition, I felt good mentally that I've comquered 2 thirds of the race and time to focus on the run. On the way out, I stayed on pace target but was overtaken by several runners but I stuck to the plan to make sure I save my legs for the stairs and sand ladder. The stairs weren't as bad but after getting to the top and coming downhill, my left hemi started cramping and I had to stop and stretch it. Fortunately it went away and never came back. Next up, sand ladder! Ran thru a tunnel and trails and finally ended up on beach towards turn around. Upon turnaround, I could see the sand ladder we were running towards. The loose sand on steep 400+ steps was no joke. I tried to get up as quickly and passed a few people. I had to make sure I wasn't redlining as I still needed to run up another 0.5mile after the sand ladder. Made it up and overtook a few people and now it's all downhill. I used as much help as I could from gravity but wasn't going that fast after all. Prob in the 7min/mi range. Got to the flat and I knew I'm almost done. Picked up the pace and crossed the finish line in 3:09! Felt good finishing and saw my family when I got it. Overalll very satisfied with my performance in a well run race!