The race was called the Neosho Sprint Triathlon and was a fundraiser for their local animal shelter. The race was held at the Neosho YMCA located near the Crowder College campus. It included a 300 yard indoor pool swim, 13 mile bike, and 5K run. I drove the 30 minutes to Neosho on Friday night to complete packet pick up. I got a course map at the pickup table and decided to drive the bike course before leaving. I checked the roads and noticed that they were a little rough in spots.
Race morning dawned and it wasn't pretty. Pretty much the entire area was in the path of rainstorms and the temps were chilly at just 54 degrees (perfect running temps but not so much for the bike.) The rain was just a drizzle as I left my house but the closer I got to the race site the more the rain picked up. There was even lightening off in the distance...not a good sign. I got out my umbrella and headed to the athlete check in to get body marked. The volunteers were all huddled under the set up tents trying to stay dry as best they could.
After body marking, I returned to the car to get all my gear for transition set up. I had a shocking discovery...in my haste to leave the house I had forgotten my tire pump. Luckily another racer nearby had one and let me borrow. Way to save the day! After pumping up the tires, I headed into transition and made a rack selection. I had packed some trash bags and used those to cover my running shoes and socks to try and keep them dry. I also covered my entire tri bag with a big trash bag so that it would stay dry.
Set up didn't take long so I headed inside to check out the pool. The pool was a six lane, 25 yard pool. We would be swimming in a snake formation and then exiting through the play area of the pool via a handicap ramp. There was a door near the ramp that led outdoors for the run into transition.
The race director provided an update that due to lightening the pool was closed and warm up would be delayed. This was going to push back the start time by at least 30 minutes. The race would be further delayed another 30 minutes to allow a strong storm cell to pass by. I hung around with some athletes from the Springfield area and chatted to pass the time. About 10 minutes before the new start time, I hopped in the water and did an easy 100 yards for a warmup. Then I got in the lineup for the swim start.
The swim was a self-seeded time trial start. I normally can hit 1:30 per 100 yds in my workouts so I decided to seed myself in the 4:30 - 5:00 group. There weren't very many racers ahead of me...I think maybe 7 or so. The timing group provided instruction to each racer for the start. They were giving about 15-20 seconds between each racer which was great for my pace because it meant there was about 1 length between each swimmer. I finished the swim strong and felt like I pushed my pace throughout.
I eased myself out of the pool and began to move towards transition. I took it easy because the floor was wet and once outside the ground was wet and muddy. Once I got to my spot, I picked up my helmet to put on and the water just poured out of it. I put on my sunglasses and they quickly fogged up so I discarded them. Next was the tri shoes and a lightweight running jacket. I struggled getting the jacket on my wet arms but I knew that it would be beneficial on the bike.
I ran out of transition and hit the line to get on the bike. Not only was this my first ride outdoors since August, it was also raining. I hate to ride in the rain so I took my time to get clipped in and get started. I took the first turn nice and easy to gauge the slipperiness of the roads. My entire time on the bike I was focused on riding within my heart rate and taking things safe with the rain and wet roads. I knew the roads were sketchy from my preview and the rain made it worse. There were so many potholes and cracks in the road hidden by the puddles and standing water. I just took my time and did my best to avoid the bad spots. I won't lie...I said a few choice words on a couple spots of the course. The course was two loops so I felt better on the second loop since I knew where some of the roughest spots on the course were at.
I was super happy to make the final turn after the second loop and return to transition. Let the running fun begin. I had stored my running shoes in a plastic bag and thankfully they were still super dry. I ran into troubles trying to get my socks on since my feet were so wet and cold from being on the bike. I finally got them on and headed out on the run. I took it slow and talked to myself about running steady. My foot felt a little stiff but once I got warmed up the stiffness went away. There were volunteers at all the turns and they were great. I smiled and cheered on all the runners that were on the return trip of the out and back course and soon I was at the turn around myself. I really wanted to walk during the return but I fought through it and kept running. I found a little steam left and managed a very strong finish.
|You can tell by the puddles just how rainy it was during the race.|
I was super cold at the finish and very thankful that the YMCA was allowing racers to use the locker room facilities. I cleaned up my transition area and returned my gear to the car and then took a nice hot shower and put on dry clothes. Shockingly by the time I got outside the sun was out and shining in full force. How unfair! They had a great spread of post-race food including hot pizza. It was great! The awards ceremony was fun since there were so many first time triathletes competing and many had done really well.
My time was 1:26:34 which was good enough for second place in my age group. I was racing in a new age group with this race. That's right... I aged up to the 35-39 year old age group this year. Oh the joys of triathlon and having to race a year older for pretty much the entire triathlon season.
|I'm on the right rocking my Tough Chik Gear Love Hoodie.|