Last Saturday I did the Lobsterman Olympic Tri in Freeport, Maine. My racing schedule has been up in the air all summer. I had initially planned to do the Martha's Vineyard Tri on September 9, but family events, and work obligations got in the way. I enjoyed Lobsterman last year, so I was happy to do it again. I really can't say enough nice things about this race. The swim course is in a sheltered cove. The water is chilly, but not frigid, and there are plenty of sighting points, both bouys and on shore. The bike and run course are challenging. There are lots of turns, and sharp rolling hills (it is, after all, the Maine coast). I had a great day. Overall, I was six minutes faster than last year. Most of that was due to the swim. I don't exactly understand my swim times. They range from slow to unbelievably slow. This time was unusual. I stayed with the pack through the first turn (500 meters or so). This is unusual. Then going around the buoy, I got panicky (as I often do, and had to flip over on my back to calm down). This happened once more, over the next minute or so, and then I settled down and swam the rest of the way at a good pace. Even with the two "breathers," I was six minutes faster than last year. On the bike, I resolved to hammer on the hills. The result was a bike leg two minutes faster than last year. I averaged somewhere between the 20 mph (on my bike computer) and the 19.3 mph that the scorers assigned my time. Either way, that's not too bad for a hilly course on an old steel bike. I really did work hard on the hills. The result was that when I hit the run I paid. The transition was fine, and I ran the first two miles at a quick clip. Then, well, I don't know whether I was paying for the bike leg, or my failure to eat during the bike leg, or my pre-race dinner of a McDonald's quarter pounder with fries, but my glutes simply announced that they were done. I gutted it out, but I gave back the two minutes improvement on the bike.
All in all, a good day.