Ok, now I'm a day away from the event and have had more time to process the race. I got up this morning with fellow Outlaw Miguel and we headed back down to the race venue at Fool's Hollow Lake to watch some friends do the Xterra. I was a bit amazed and a little sorry to see a couple guys throw in the towel after swimming about 50 yards, actually one made it about 50 and the other made if about 100. The 50 yard guy was very heavy and did not look like he would have had any hope of finishing an Xterra. My impression is that an Xterra is a much less forgiving race because there are so many opportunities to go down hard on the bike and if you do not have the basic fitness to do all the climbing and rock/log hopping the a lot of your "bike" just becomes a run while carrying a mountain bike - called "hike-a-bike" I learned this morning. The 100 yard guy was elderly and at about 50 yards he came up on shore and took off his wetsuit and tossed it to someone. I can only imagine he was feeling freaked out by the open water swim and was hoping that it was actually just a wetsuit that was too tight.
Anyway, on to my own deal. I am feeling considerably better about it today though am still frustrated with the course and its description on the website. It turns out that was the 5th Clyde out of 9 but get this, the #2 Clyde...I found out this morning that he left the Xterra pro ranks at some point in the recent past, we spoke with his girlfriend both yesterday and this morning, she did the half too...he went back and did the Xterra this morning but didn't do so well. He seemed to have another great swim and I saw him return from the bike and he looked like he was hurting, he said something like "Jesus Christ!" when he came in and then he went off on the run looking less than energetic. My hat is certainly off to him...he's one tough guy. However it begs the question, who in the heck was the 1st place Clyde who finished in 5:09:05! I would never presume to estimate that as a possible finish time for myself at the flattest half...maybe 5:10:00.
Anyway, the #1 and #2 Clydes were in their own class. Number 3 I think did very well and then there was #4 and me and #5 who I think are probably more representative of the kind of "regular guy" triathletes you find at most races. This is good to think about, I am a regular guy triathlete who isn't particularly talented but just gets out there and gives it what I've got. Actually, now that I look at the results, I saw the #3 guy when he was at about mile 11.5 or 12 and I was at mile 9.5 or 10. He was hurting, I thought I would catch him honestly but I just spent too much time walking and he was too far ahead. I'm amazed that the #4 clyde didn't pass him. That guy passed me and he was running pretty well and taking few walk breaks. I tried to keep up with him but we still had about 5 miles to go and I just couldn't hang. But you know what...I just know that if I would have backed off on the bike I could have finished somewhere closer to him, maybe even beaten him.
Speaking of the bike, I think that my average pave of 18.7 mph is not so bad considering the climbing and my malfunctioning bike. I really think that is within my realm of ability so I'm comfortable with calling it a good bike split though I do wish I would have had a better idea of what those "hills" were actually going to be like because i would have done more hill training and would have backed off a little more during the early part of the bike. I am also happy with my swim. It turns out that my average pace was 1:55 per 100 meters. My all time best swim is 1:49 per 100m and that was in an Olympic and my best half-iron swim pace is 1:54 per 100m.
As for the run...I don't know what to think really but here is what I was thinking a lot yesterday and also today. I read in "The Lore of Running" that marathoners legs are long and lean with more wiry muscles because that is just the way that slow twitch muscles grow and develop it's not just about low body fat. On the other hand a sprinters legs are stout and powerful looking, heavily muscled because fast twitch muscles bulk up when you exercise them. My legs are pretty bulky, I do my best racing in sprint distance races...maybe I just have too high a preponderance of fast twitch muscle to ever be more than mediocre at the long course stuff. You know what, I'm fine with that too. I don't earn my living doing this it's just recreation but what I do need to get past is the EXPECTATIONS that I keep holding out in front of myself, the same expectations that caused my blow-up at IMAZ.
So, my next lesson to learn...How to hold out higher goals for myself on the long course stuff without succumbing to my own driving expectations?