By Team Trainright's Bill Plock
I found myself in a strange place on my run the other day at the Harvest Moon Triathlon. A place where I could've slowed down and not hurt so much. A place where going slower wouldn't have had any bearing on the final standings in my age group. But, it was a place I couldn't go because it just didn't seem right.
Early in the run, Philip from Westminster came upon me and slowly passed saying he remembered not being able to catch me at a Boulder race earlier in the season. I told him, "today is your day I guess" and he kept his lead and I just couldn't catch up. With three miles to go and Philip out of site, I looked back and saw nobody. The course winds around Aurora reservoir with small hills obscuring long stretches of the path. Bob from team Kompetitive Edge was just in front of me, but he was in a different age group so in theory I really had no reason to push hard.
I kept thinking, "Why push". But, why not? That’s why I train, and train hard. So I did and I passed Bob at the last aid station. With one mile to go I could hear Bob right behind and with a quarter mile left he kicked in strong, came by and gave me a high five and urged me to kick it with him. I tried to keep up but he edged me by a few seconds.
Earlier, on the bike I kept playing leap frog with Thom. After our third pass he introduced himself saying, "It looks like we will keep doing this all day, might as well know each other's name!" Truth be told, that was the last time I saw him on the bike. He rode a TT bike, giving him an edge on the flatter part of the course over my Trek Madone with aero bars. And just after our introduction, the course swung east onto a pancake-flat stretch of road between Watkins and Bennett. He ended up 30 seconds faster on the bike–but I ended up five minutes faster on the run and he was a distant 5th place. I was 4th and Philip was 3rd; he beat me by two minutes.
That is part of the fun part of racing. The cat-and-mouse of the chase. More fun, is interacting with other competitors, friends and teammates. Even while competing, athletes still encourage each other because at the end of the day, I find that as long as I'm giving it my all, the least I can do is help others give theirs.
My Team Trainright teammates all did very well. Malia won her age group and Jon and Randy placed 3rd. Amy posted a better time than last year despite having a nail go through her tire. Interesting note: she used an empty Gu pack as patch and she kept on rolling!
My other teammates, all part of the Denver Ironman Club which is more of a training group, put together a relay team and they finished 2nd! I kept trying to catch them but of course didn't quite do it. Another member of that team, three weeks after completing the Leadville 100 Run, did quite well too. I found his sub six hour race incredible on the heels of running for 30 hours at 10,000 feet. I guess we are all gluttons for punishment–some more than others!