Is it possible to be both happy and frustrated? I think I am. The Gulf Coast Triathlon was my second race of the year, another half ironman distance race. I had some expectations of improving on my performance a few weeks earlier in New Orleans. I was confident I would run better and I was hopeful I would swim better.
The Gulf was rough, but so was Lake Pontchartrain 3 weeks earlier. I was eager to get in the water and I felt like I swam well. The comfort level in the water was great the whole way. My navigation between buoys left a little to be desired. I think I probably swam about 1.5 miles which is good except that the actual swim course is only 1.2 miles. That being said my time was almost identical to the New Orleans swim so I was disappointed, but times don't mean everything and I swam a lot better. The time will get faster eventually.
I've been setting the bike leg bar pretty high. That is undoubtedly my strength and I was hoping to go faster than 23 mph. The course was windy so at times it was a struggle to keep the speed above 20 mph and at time I was doing an easy 26 mph. I did everything I wanted to and more in this part of the race, a time just a few seconds more than 2 hours and 24 minutes and a average speed of 23.3 mph.
Coming off a stress fracture my run training has been lacking. Simply put I haven't been able to put the mileage in necessary. I increased it a good amount in the two weeks leading up to this race but was nowhere near where I needed to be. That being said coming off the bike I felt good. My pace three weeks earlier was in the 9-10 minute range, this time I did 8 minute miles for my first two and only slowed slightly there after. It wasn't until about mile six where I began to struggle. During the run you are able to see a lot of the competition, this is a bit of a boost. I saw my friends John and Chad, both running far better races than me. I tried to pick it up but some things are just not meant to be. I still feel very optomistic about this run. It showed a lot of improvement in just a short time. Give it a couple of months and I might get real fast. Total race time was a few seconds more than 5 hours and 23 minutes, that is about 5 minutes short of my PR. Next time I do a half iron distance race I will set a new PR, I guarantee that.
The next race for me is Buster Britton right here in Pelham. It is a short sprint distance race but since its so close I couldn't pass it up. I'll be cutting my rides and runs a little shorter and doing more work on speed for the next two months. I have reason to believe that it could be a good rest of the year!