This was my 2nd year doing the Stansbury triathlon. Last year it was held in the dead heat of summer and this time I felt it was a perfect time of year for one last open water swim.
I arrived around 6:30am to start my ritual. US Tri Sports had 2 different packet pick up times-1 on Friday night, and 1 on race day morning. Their security in transition was tight with volunteers asking to see your wristband. I loved that they did that!
The air had just a little chill to it, yet the water temperature proved to be a little warmer than a swimming pool to which many would choose to go in the water with a wetsuit even.
At 8am (with the temps in the high 60’s) the Olympic distance athletes started and I used the next 15 minutes to stay loose and warm up. The water was murky although not as bad as
I exited the water and ended up taking off my wetsuit on the grass instead of transition (which gave me the fastest T1 time of everyone!). The Stansbury bike course is nothing but flatness followed by more flatness. The course was well marked and my only concern was that there was a park that we had to pass and baseball games were going on at that time which made for a lot of traffic. That was no fault of the Race Directors, as that is just on of the things that happen on race day. The course is a quick out and back and I was able to get some really great speed with some of the false flats that were out there. Out of the corner of my eye for much the bike I could see an athlete closing in on me. I pushed as hard as I could to keep him away but he finally charged at the turn around and overtook me. We played cat and mouse for the next 4-5 miles and he finally over took me leading into transition.
In last year’s race I ended up taking 2nd in my Age Group by just about a minute or so. As number 285 and I left T2 together I couldn’t help but think I recognized him from last year maybe? As far as I knew there were about 6 or 7 people in front of me on the run, and some I knew I could catch, but others I knew the effort was futile and I ran as hard and efficient as I possibly could. As flat as the bike course is, the run course is even flatter. Coming out of T2 you are greeted with some ice cold water and again at the half way point.
During this time in 2010 I was training for an Ironman race and my swim & bike times we’re considerably faster. On race day this year I was 1 week away from doing a marathon, so if there was something that I knew I could do, it was run like hell. I looked down at my Suunto and it told me I was running a 6:00 pace coming out of T2. I know that I would soon blow up, and I slowed it down to a 6:30-6:40 and within the 1st mile I caught 2 people and I could see 1 more person about 100 meters ahead of me. I just could track him down as it felt that every time I pushed, he pushed with me. While running my first ½ marathon I remember my friend/pacer saying to me “you have 2 miles to go and I want this to hurt like hell”. Whenever I get to the last 1 or 2 miles of a race I always think of him and I dug down as deep as I could knowing that I only had to endure my pleasure and pain for about 6 more minutes.
The finish line for the Stansbury Tri is located right off a golf course of all places with a huge pavilion where family and friends can hang out before and after the race. US Tri Sports puts on a fantastic race and they really have Stansbury dialed in. It was had an awesome turnout with triathletes and spectators alike. I’ll be back again next year, will you join me?