After a great Memorial Day weekend, I started my work week with a Tuesday night race out in El Reno, OK. It was the state's first officially sanctioned aquathlon and served as a warm-up to this weekend's Route 66 triathlons. I really needed to get in an open water swim so this was a perfect excuse to get out and swim with a group. I would say there were about 60 people total at this race so not too bad of a turnout for a Tuesday evening event. The race consisted of a 500 meter swim in Lake El Reno followed by a 2 mile run on the roads near the boat docks. Water temps were about 70 degrees so it was wetsuit legal and I say about half of the people wore wetsuits and half did not. I opted for a wetsuit swim because Kansas 70.3 will likely be wetsuit legal next weekend. I needed to make sure the wetsuit fit still and it was nice to remember how it felt to be so buoyant and "fast". Swimming is so much easier when you have 5mm rubber all over your body!
The race for me was really good actually. My swim was surprisingly smooth and a bit faster than I expected. I ended up getting out of the water in 9:23 which brought me in 18th overall. I was pretty pleased considering how average my swim is most of the time. Transition was basically just having someone rip my wetsuit off me and then putting on my run shoes. In and out pretty quickly and it was off to the races. My run started off a little sluggish as I shook off the swimming uneasiness. I always come out of the water a bit disoriented so it takes me a little while to get my bearings back. After about 1/4 of a mile all was well and it was time to run. My legs felt great and I knew 2 miles would be over pretty quickly so I let myself run a fast pace for myself. I passed 7 people on the run and ended up logging the 11th best run of the night. I was very happy with my run and still believe it will be my "strength" in triathlon if I don't sabotage myself on the swim or bike. Best of all, I ended up placing 3rd in my age group for my first ever age group award! I've never placed at a race before this week. I guess I need to either get faster or start going to more of these small events to get some hardware. I took home a cool license plate and put it in my office at work for display. The best part is I beat a guy who normally places ahead of me in races. He may have not considered this a race, but I did and it was cool to finally finish before him. I'm still very happy to see my progress at races. I feel like I'm getting faster all the time and the hard work is paying dividends when it counts.
Sunday will be my first aquabike event and I'm really looking forward to it now. At first I was a little indifferent, but now it's something I'm excited about doing and hope it goes well for me. The race starts at 7:30 AM on Sunday so the wind shouldn't be an issue on the swim and the bike should be over before the heat and wind decide to show up in full force. I know I need the work in the heat, but I won't complain about a little reprieve from time to time. It's been nasty hot here that last week or so. Temps in the mid-90s and very high humidity for Oklahoma standards. It's been good prep for the months ahead.
Unfortunately I had to take an unplanned rest day today. My left Achilles is starting to get mad at me so I'm laying off my run for the next few days and will focus on swimming/biking. I'm hoping a few days off will take care of it before it gets too bad. Right now it's just achy so nothing too crazy. I'm trying to prevent that full-on pain from showing up anytime soon. At this point I'm not gaining anything on my run for Kansas 70.3 so I'll focus on getting healthy. I'm outta here for now. Time to finish up laundry so all my race day gear is clean for this weekend. Run happy friends!