Wednesday, September 10, 2008

South Carolina’s Largest Triathlon, Greenville Sprint – 10th overall, 1st age group

The Greenville Sprint Triathlon, August 17, 2008, was the largest triathlon in South Carolina according to the race organizer. 700 entrants. Hard to believe you can squeeze that many people onto a sprint triathlon course, but Set Up Events did a great job as always. I had a pretty good race, finishing 10th overall and 1st in my age group.

South Carolina has been in a severe drought for several years. I can’t remember the last time I trained or raced in the rain in South Carolina. But wouldn’t you know that at 5:00 a.m. race morning the rain was pouring down, with lightening and thunder. At 6:30 the race organizer announced that the race would switch to a duathlon if it did not stop lightening by 7:00 a.m. Fortunately, the sky cleared as the sun rose and the swim was on. 700 athletes, some experienced, but it looked like a lot of the usual nervous first-timers trying a sprint triathlon. The Westside Aquatic Center in Greenville, SC has a huge 50 meter pool with 8 lanes. We would start 2 athletes every 10 seconds for 4 laps, 400 meters. I had an okay swim, about usual for me. I much prefer open water swims. Unfortunately some athletes exaggerate (lie?) their projected swim times to start ahead of the field, so I encountered the usual groups of tired swimmers clogging the lanes as I made 8 swifts laps up and down the pool. The swim was over before I knew it, about 6 minutes, and I was out the door and onto my bike.

The bike course is a hilly 15 miles, about 3 miles longer than most sprint triathlons. I was a little nervous about the dangerously wet roads so I made sure to play it safe and cautious on the turns and descents, and push hard on the climbs and straight sections. I was pleased with my bike split, 37 minutes, 8th overall and 1st in my age group. Again, it felt like it was over in a flash and suddenly I’m back at the transition for the run.

Since I race mostly Ironman and Half Ironman races, I really like Sprint and Olympic distances races because I can go all out all the time, no worries about pacing, hydration, nutrition, or even my blood sugar. My legs felt great on the run and I worked hard to keep my pace at maximum. 5k, 2 laps on some road, and gravel and dirt trail. I was truly doing a “sprint” on this run. My run split was just over 19 minutes, about a 6:20 per mile pace, 2nd fastest in my age group. I finished 10th overall out of about 700, and 1st in my age group by over 1 minute, so I was happy with that. Even better was the award – a bottle of wine. Now that’s what I’m talking about. Definitely worth the 1 hour of effort. My good friend and Hincapie Finish Line Vision teammate Dan Moss won the overall and set a new course record.

Next is the Tugaloo Olympic triathlon September 13. It’s the Georgia State Championship so should be a lot of fast guys from Atlanta. Last year I got something like 17th overall, and 3rd in my age group so I’m hoping to better that this year. Should be a couple hours of good painful fun!

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