Let's just start with the weather!
Thursday's high was mid 70s. Friday's high was upper 60s. The water temperature on Friday was 69.
Rain overnight and overnight lows in the 40s = Saturday water temperature at 61.7 with air temperature of 48 degrees!
Now most people would have turned around and gone home - no, actually most people wouldn't even sign up to torture their body like this on a normal Saturday! But I'm not most people, and race day is no normal Saturday!
With a sold out race, the lines were long, and with many people still in line at 7:30, the race was officially delayed 30 minutes to not start until 8:30. It certainly couldn't be because of the temperatures, so I figure the fog on the water was only possible rationale.
Nonetheless, 8:30 comes and the elites are off, followed by the sprint tri athletes and I didn't hit the water until 9:00. When my face hit the water it was a bit of a shock to the system, but honestly, swimming was pretty good for my body temperature! Afterall, the water was warmer than the air, so everything was going well. It was certainly not the swim I had hoped for, but I never felt bad, I just never had that "fire in the belly". When I hit the beach, my watch was 34:16 at the mat.
Transition is a good jog up the hill, and stripping the wetsuit was not easy. Once I reached T1, I took my time stripping and layering up with warm dry clothes, the most important of which was my new REFUEL windbreaker jacket. Spent way too long in transition, nearly 4 minutes.
Once on the bike, I just could not get comfortable, took a gel, and drank some water, but my hands were freezing. My trisuit was still wet and drying in the wind, so there was nothing I could do to gain warmth. I was pedaling, but just couldn't push. I think Chuck beat me out of the water, and I beat him out of T1, but he caught me by mile 3 of the bike, and was out of my sight by mile 7. After one lap, I was ready to be done, but quitting was not an option today. I don't think I had a single mile over 20 mph, and the wind seemed to pick up on lap 2. I'm also convinced that my great looking windbreaker was acting more like a parachute. It was anything but aerodynamic, but it was keeping me warm! I developed some pain in my lower back late in the ride, but nothing I couldn't work through. The bigger issue was frozen and numb feet! As I dismounted and started to head to T2, I could feel nothing in my shoes! My bike was a sad 1:29 which is only 17.3 mph average. Not even close to where I was at this time last year.
T2 wasn't terrible, but again, as I jogged out I couldn't believe how painful my feet felt! Once on the road, I just wanted to run the first mile. As I climbed a little hill to the first aid station at mile 1 I caught a guy who had stopped to retie his shoe. When he popped up he was right with me and we were running the same pace. So Phil from Indianapolis who is in the medical device sales field and I ran together through mile 4 when I finally had to let him go as my quads were locking up like never before. I could finally feel all of my toes around the turnaround aid station, and even though the legs were telling me to quit, I was determined to run through it...and I did! My first sub 10 pace on the run - 1:01:44. I could not be more excited to finish the run without walking. Maybe it was because I didn't spend as much energy on the bike as I formally had, but I'll take it.