Being that this race was only 7 days after the half iron and the fact that I had planned on competing at the Port Hood Triathlon the following weekend, I had no intentions of racing in Ingonish. I was going anyway because Lisa was participating, but I had decided I wasn’t racing. That all changed when Port Hood was cancelled due to lack of registrations. I then had a decision to make. Would I go into Ironman with my only warm up race being Epic Dartmouth– a race that couldn’t have gone much worse? I had until midnight on July 3rd to decide, and at 10pm I decided to register for the sprint distance. I chose the sprint because I thought a 5k run would be easier on my hamstring than 10k.
Swim: 12:00 (750m)
This was probably the best triathlon swim I’ve had to date. The time was good, but that’s not why I was so happy. For the first time ever, I was able to successfully draft during a triathlon swim. For those that are not aware, you can swim significantly faster and save energy if you swim very close to another swimmers feet. I had been practicing this and was thrilled to be able to get the job done. I exited the water faster than I ever have at the sprint distance, and because I drafted the entire 750 meters, I was a lot fresher than I normally would be.
Swim to bike went a lot more smoothly than it did 7 days previous. The length of transition was at least twice as long as the week before, but I was able to get out of T1 13 seconds faster. I got to my bike, whipped off my wetsuit in no time, grabbed my bike, and didn’t look back. Considering I exited the water in 4th place, I was very happy to be starting the bike in the lead.
Bike: 38:58 (23k)
Because I was hoping to take it easy on the run, I had full intentions of going hard on the bike. I was able to average 290 watts on the bike, which is in the range of what I was expecting.
Determined to not make the same mistake again, I made sure to have my feet out of my bike shoes well in advance of the dismount line. I then ran in my bare feet (a lot faster than with bike shoes) to mount my bike., grabbed my running shoes, and proceeded onto the run. This was the first time in a few years that I didn’t wear socks in a triathlon. It saved some time in this race, but I would never go without socks in any race longer than a sprint.
Run: 19:26 (5k)
By the time I got to the run I had built quite to lead on the closest competitor. This allowed me to run a bit slower than I normally would and ideally, prevent any flare-ups with my hamstring. I average 6:19/mile, which felt hard, but comfortable.
At the end of the day I was very happy with my decision to race. It left me in a much better frame of mind with only three weeks to race day. I not only felt great about my swim, bike, and run, I felt great about my transitions as well. Many athletes underestimate the effects of the mental side of sport. This race left me feeling strong both physically and mentally.
Total time: 1:13:34 (1st)