My first two races were draft legal races in Florida. I like to start my season with the ITU race in Clermont. It is a sprint race and it is a fast/fun way to kick the season off. This year they had another ITU race the following week in Sarasota. I stayed in Florida for the week between for some warm weather training. The Sarasota race took place at a new park they are developing just outside Sarasota. The plan is for the park to be a world class facility for rowing and triathlons. Their ultimate goal is to host world class races in both sports. Both races unfolded in similar fashions. I had mediocre swims that forced me to ride hard to keep the race as close as possible. In both cases I made it into the second pack off the bike. I then ran through a few people from the front pack, but both races yielded sub par results. It was nice having my mom there as well as Greg, the Huffmans, and the Deckards. It always makes racing easier having a large cheering section.
The first weekend in April was my first non-draft race of the year, Nautica South Beach. This race was the first leg of the Lifetime triathlon series. This is the third year I have done this race. I enjoy the race, but Miami Beach does not get any cleaner as the years pass. Once again I had a rough swim. This time was a little different than the first two races though. The swim took place in the ocean, as it usually does, but this year the sea was angry. It was the first time in a long time that I did not know what I was doing in a race. The harder I tried to swim the slower I went. Once the group pulled away from me I settled in to a hard tempo pace that kept me moving forward at what I thought was the fastest rate possible. I did not have a terrible swim as far as time comparison goes, I lost 2:36 to the first person out of the water. Considering the circumstances, that was not too bad. But I was 20 out of 22 out of the water and 1:07 behind 19. That made the race harder that I wanted it to be. After chasing hard on the bike and run, I made it into 7th place as I crossed the finish line. It was a great start to the season as far as the bike and run go. I had the 3rd fastest bike/run combo, behind Ben Collins, who laid down a 51:54 bike split (2:36 faster than the second fastest bike split) and Richard Murray, who is an outstanding athlete from South Africa. I had the fastest run split of the day, which gives a little bright side to the race. It was great having Melissa with me. She did a great job at giving me updates as well as words of encouragement. We had a good weekend together and it was nice being in the sun and warm weather.
I have been working out well in the water, but it is not translating into strong swims in races. I understand there is a difference between open water and pool swimming, but it is frustrating to lose huge chunks of time in the water. I have accepted the fact that my current location is not the best place to swim open water, so hopefully it will warm up soon and I can get outside.
It is a long season, and I look forward to racing again!
Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy. ~Norman Vincent Peale