This has come to be one of my events of the year so far. You can stay at the Verranda Hotel which is located off site from the casino, so it's still a quiet hotel. You can then walk down to transition from your room, which makes it real nice come race morning to have a place to relax before the race started. I arrived on Saturday afternoon and checked in. From there, I have not had the opportunity to swim much lately due to work trips, so I swam for 30 minutes. Open water swimming is not my strong suit, so more chances to swim in the open water the better for me. After the swim, I cleaned up and then met some friends for dinner. At first, we were going to go the Paula Dean buffet, but after seeing the line that was over an hour long, we decided that somewhere else may be better. We tried the 37 restaurant, but couldn't get in there until 9! So, it was onto the 3rd choice which was the Blue and White restaurant which was 10 miles away in Tunica. There I had some chicken alfredo. The meal did take awhile to get. It turned out to be an ok meal. Next year, we will make sure to make a reservation at a restaurant or go somewhere earlier before the dinner crowd arrives.
My goals for this race were around a 30 minute, 1 hr 8 min bike, and then a 47 minute run. I didn't get a lot of training in April due to travel and work, so this was reach, but I had set a goal somewhere.
The great thing about the swim for this race is that it is a time trail start. It allows for a less hectic start. A racer was sent off every 3 seconds which allowed the field to spread out a little bit. I was number 355, so I had to wait about 16 minutes before the start which comes faster than you would think. I was off and my swam began. I started feeling pretty well. I was able to site the buoys well and was actually able to swim with no contact until the first turn buoy. There was a little contact around the first and the second which came up quickly. After about half way through the swim, I could tell that I was getting tired. No long swims over the past 4 weeks caught up to me. I was slowing and hips were dragging. I pushed through on the second half. I came out of the swim in 37:55 min. Oops already off my goal time!
I come into transition and head to my bike. Grab the sunglasses, helmet, and bike and head out of transition with no issues! I jump on my bike and head off. The bike course is one 40k loop that heads south, then west, back, south, before heading back north to transition. The bike is flat and fast. I knew the wind was supposed to be out of the south on race, but was hoping that it would be light while heading south. I could feel the head wind going out. I was able to average about 20 miles an hour going out. I finally turn back north and now it is time to press forward. I start to push the pace and was able to average 24 back into transition. Coming in off the bike, in 1 hr 8 min 13 sec. I was pleased with the result. Now, can I hold a great pace for the run!
After my great bike, it's time to run. Shoes on, race number on, time to hit the run. I start off and could already feel a cramp come on. I was running around 7:30 pace for the first half of the run while trying to fight off the cramp. Hit the second aid station and throw water on myself and get something to drink. After the first mile, the wheels started to come off. I hit around 8:30 pace for the next 3 miles. The 5th mile was around 9 minutes! I was hot and could tell that no long training was having an effect. I'm still going to push through and finally on the last mile I start to feel better and finish with a 8:27 pace! My final time was 53:10 for the run which is one minute slower than last year when the run was a 1/2 mile long!