Well...what can I say? We had ideal weather conditions at this years Apple, but I did not put in an ideal performance. I actually lost exactly 20 seconds from last years Apple Du. I did have one highlight: I pr'd run 1 by putting in an 18:27 5k time. Its the fastest I've run a 5k--ever. Can that count as my 5k PR???? Prior, it was 18:48 at a 5k only race.
The field at the Apple 2009 was stacked and my age-group was the most competitive. That is not my opinion, that is Jerry McNeil's opinion from MN Tri News: "On paper" the deepest men's division is 35-39: Beversdorf, Shelp, Kevin Sampson (Overland Park, KS), Troy Vargas (Hudson, WI), Mario Minnelli (Kasson, MN), Dereck Podratz (Lino Lakes, MN), et al. 45-49, 50-54 and 55-59 are also stacked. Actually, Troy can be removed from the above as he is in the 40-44 (and he won that AG). However, you can add Tony Tousley of Golden, CO, who took 4th. Jerry is pretty accurate as the 35-39 top 10 were:
1- O'Connor, Kevin
2- Beversdorf, Mark
3- Shelp, John
4- Tousley, Tony
5- Sampson, Kevin
6- Podratz, Derick
7- Minelli, Mario
8- Mortensen, Jeff
9- Gambescia, Joey
10- Westrup, Jesse
Considering who I was up against, I don't feel too bad. After all, O'Connor and Shelp usually race Elite when an Elite wave is offered. Why didn't they do that at 2009 Apple as Shelp did in 2008?
I did some rookie things prior and during this race. Mistake #1: Didn't know the start time. For some reason I thought the first wave was at 9am. I don't know why I thought that. I even told Carin that the race starts at 9. So, 8am rolls around and I'm munching on my "1 hour prior to race-start snack". I thought it was strange that there was a sudden increase in the amount of people warming up right about then. Finally, at about 8:15 I ask a transitions volunteer what time the race starts and he says: "In about 15 minutes, at 8:30am." I hadn't run/warmed-up at all yet! I calmly exit the trans and start warming up. The Clif Bar I just finished didn't bother me at all and I had a good opening run. My best actually. Mistake #2: Allowed myself to be Mentally Beat Up at the Line. I get in the start chute with my field and end up next to Kevin O'Connor. I see John Shelp a few guys over. I step out of the line up because this has to be the Elite field wave. I say to a spector, "I don't think I want to race elite." He says "That's the 30-39 wave." Right then, my heart sinks, I swallow hard, and duck back under the tape. What are O'Connor and Shelp doing here? Shelp raced elite in 08 and I think O'Connor has held his Elite license at one time. I see Podratz (was in 30-34 in 08, but now a contender for this AG) and Clif Owen (2nd in 35-39 in 2008 at Apple)--I know now that I am in the right wave. I figure now all I can do is give it a shot and see how it plays out. However, I was a little discouraged and it played with me mentally. I did my homework on Sampson and Tousley and knew they were contenders for a top 3 finish so with the 4 guys I already mentioned you throw in a couple more and I'm now hoping for a top 10. Mistake #3: Too many calories too close to Run 2. I was worried a little about bonking so I took one e-Gel at about mile 2 on the bike--what was part of the plan and usually works well early on after run 1. With about 5 to go on the bike, I took most of a second gel. This was not good. It didn't have enough time to digest and circulate. The first half of run 2 was miserable. My gut was burning and I couldn't breathe deep without getting that stabbing pain in the side. I was passed by 4 guys through the first 2 miles--two in my AG (Podratz and Gambescia). Gambescia was later penalized--probably for some trivial reason, so his pass didn't matter in the end. After he passed me and got up a couple yards or so, I maintained my pace as I was feeling better by then. I was actually gaining on a younger guy who passed me so I was feeling pretty good by then. However, I couldn't make up enough time to put in a better run 2 than last years. Run 2 was almost 30 seconds slower than in 2008 (20:41 v. 20:15).
Wow--- I sound negative. However, I am not going to dwell on the bad. I had a great first run, had the 5th fastest bike split of my AG, 24th fastest bike overall, and feel that I was competitve to some degree in my AG. I need to focus on the good and improve where I can. Full Apple Results HERE.
Next up is the Pigman. 2008 Pigman was my first try. I had a solid bike and run, but hope to improve my swim by 90 seconds. That's a big goal, but I think it's do-able.