A couple days ago I headed to Aurora (read:Kansas) to race a local Half Ironman (Harvest Moon) that's been around for the last ten years. Since I primarily race Ironmans, I sometimes go long periods of time without racing. With four weeks to go to Kona I felt it was appropriate to get out there and remember what it feels like to not be in control. I felt up and down all day. I came out of the water about two minutes down on the group, but I felt I could make that up very quickly on the the bike. However, I found it difficult to find any sort of rhythm until 30-40 minutes into the ride. At that point I started to slowly ride through the field and eventually made it to 2nd position. I hung out here until the end of the bike and started the run about 2-2.5 minutes behind the leader.
I started the run and really felt out of sorts. I was cranky and irritable so I knew I needed to get some sugar into me. A bad attitude is usually directly related to where my blood sugar is hanging out (remember that the next time you are fighting demons on the race course). After some sugar and few miles I started to relax and let the miles tick by. At the turnaround it really didn't look the gap had changed much so I just kept ticking away in my own little world. Finally with 4-5 miles to go I actually started to pick up the pace and the gap to the front came down dramatically in the final 5K. With one mile to go the leader was in my sights and I started to dig to try and get closer.
Unfortunately it was too little, too late and I finished in 2nd 15 seconds down from the winner. Nevertheless, it was a good way to finish the day after having a bit of an emotional and physical roller coaster up to that point.
I'm now in the final preps for Hawai'i. I have another 9 days here in Boulder before I leave for the big island on the 23rd.