Finally I GOT MY REVENGE!!!!
This race got the best of me last year. It chewed me up and spit me out. With a whole new artillery of resources at hand I decided to have another go at this race. This year I was in much better shape, more specifically about 25 pounds lighter than last year, and looking to do some damage.
Once again I was one of the last waves to go off so I was able to see all of the pros finish the swim as well as most of the age groupers. I took a look at the finishing times of the pros and determined that I wanted to be within 2-3 minutes of their swim splits when I got out of the water. Canon went off and so did I! I took the first 200 meters of the swim like it was a 50 meter sprint, and yet one guy in my age group still got out ahead of me. No biggie, I would just find my rhythm and keep moving forward. I didn't have any problems and was out of the water in a reasonable amount of time and currently second in my age group.
Whipped through transition and hopped out on the bike same time as Ed Van Zandt, a teammate of time that started a wave or 2 ahead of me. We exchanged some encouragement as well as went back and forth passing each other several times. My plan was to ride with an average heart rate of 163 and that's what I did. It gets tough to stick to the plan when you don't feel like you are working that hard and you are getting passed by fellow age groupers. The good news is I knew exactly where I stood at all times. I rode in second place, caught first, then got passed by third, (was still in second) and stayed there until the end. The entire ride I was doing math in my head figuring out what I would have to run in order to break 4:30 (the ultimate goal). Once I got to T2 the math took a back seat. I arrived in T2 right behind first place in my age group, and after confirming that we were in first and second, we both took off for the hill run course that Providence had to offer.
As I was going through mile 1, I was getting my garmin adjusted and trying to figure out what pace I was at (even though it was staring me right in the face! a little bit of a brain fart if you will) 5:30! SLOW DOWN!!! My race execution plan that Coach Tim had put together said to head out at 7:05s and eventually settle into 7:20s. First mile 6:24, second mile 6:30...uh oh this is a little faster than the plan! I checked my heart rate and it was right where Tim said it should be so I decided to maintain that pace as long as I could. I backed off a bit going up college hill, then picked it up a bit on the flats and downhills. The great thing about this run course is that it is spectator friendly. That came into play as I got to see Kara 3 or 4 times over the 13.1 mile course. With constant boosts of confidence and encouragement from her I was able to maintain my pace, and ended up averaging 6:41s!
I stayed in second place in my age group and finished in 4:34. I was thrilled, it beat the hell out of my 4:58 last year. My time this year was good enough to qualify for the Half Ironman World Championships in Clearwater FL in November, however because I am already signed up for Ironman Florida (one week prior to worlds) I passed on my slot.
Over all I am thrilled with the race and very grateful to have Kara supporting me the entire way. Up next is a vacation followed by the Park City Mossman Olympic in Bridgeport CT in August (one week before my wedding!)