I came I saw I didn’t quite conquer, this time…
The trip started for me on Friday before this Sunday race. When I woke up that morning I was crazy congested which was concerning, but no big deal if it passed quickly. I still had two days before the race to get rid of it. After a quick drive to Ft Lauderdale and an hour and half delay for plane repairs, we were off. As we started to descend the pressure change pushed all that congested into my ears. The right ear was starting to sting a lot but finally cleared walking through the airport. I stayed at the Condado Hilton which is where I stayed two years ago also. It’s about a 15min walk to the host hotel and transition area. Not a bad spot with a Starbucks right there and a Denny’s for pre race day pancakes. They’re not the best pancakes I’ve had but unless they’re burnt it’s hard to mess up pancakes. I woke up for quick swim and jog before heading to pancake breakfast. Luckily as I walked in I saw some friends from Naples and talked race plans as we carbed up for Sunday. The plan was to go for a short 45min ride but leaving my helmet in my car changed my plans a little.
I ran down to the expo to the Rudy a Project booth and told Heath about leaving my helmet. These guys are amazing! No problems at all, they replaced me with a brand new wing 57 TT helmet and I was back in business.
After a quick death defying ride through San Juan traffic, it was back to the hotel to kick the feet up and get ready for Sunday. At this point I was concerned about the illness that I’d been dealing with, it wasn’t getting better. I decided to pick up a decongestant at the hotel shop and give it a try. Sunday morning the temps were nice, around 70 with a light breeze and I felt pretty good warming up for the swim. As usual, the gun fired and we were full gas to the first buoy. I’ve been working hard on my swimming lately and have dropped substantial time in the pool so I knew this would be a good swim for me. At the first buoy I couldn’t believe it, I was in the front pack of swimmers. Right about that time I started having trouble breathing and just couldn’t exhale very well. I lost focus for 30 seconds and that’s all she wrote when it comes to hanging with a group of fast swimmers who had now gapped you significantly. I refocused and kept swimming, although my sighting wasn’t great either and was corrected a few times by paddle boarders. Transition was smooth, the new helmet fit perfectly, and it was a lot easier to breathe out of the water. I lifted my watts for the first 30-40min in hopes of bridging up to some other riders but eventually settled into my goal watts and rode steady the rest of the way. My heart rate was really low and looking back, I should have lifted the average power and rode a little harder. T2 again was smooth and I immediately felt my running legs were good. The plan was to not make any moves until after mile 7. It was warm and humid, but also a very hilly and tough run course. It is a great course. Views of the ocean, old San Juan and around the walls of an old Spanish fort, very cool. I passed one pro guy on the bike and a few on the run but mostly had no one to chase and get the extra push for placing. Swim position dictates so much of the pro race and not being in the mix, I was out of the race early. With the swim improvements I know I’ve made and will continue to make, when I’m healthy there will be different outcome. I ran into a swim buddy from Magnolia Masters, Scott Lile after the race and got to meet future triathlete superstars Gracie and Jake Lile too. After the race I was talking with Tim Floyd and he mentioned the war zone that happened on the bike course. That was the first I’d heard of it! Seriously?! Two age groupers were shot in a supposed drug/gang crossfire. The girl who was hit was apparently hit in the leg but doing ok. The man, a doctor himself, was hit 3 times and not doing as well, but was in stable condition. Puts things in perspective. Since the race I’ve started antibiotics mixed with a lot of rest and I’m starting to turn the corner on this sinus infection. The plan is to get healthy first, get on to the next block of training, and be ready to rumble for IM Texas in May.