I was 5th in line for the swim, and I knew where Tim and Eric were starting behind me. The first 25 meters I caught a cramp in my calf. Fortunately, I was able to flex my foot and it quickly went away and that was the only time it bothered me. I could tell I was carrying a lot of fatigue in the swim and I knew I wasn't swimming as well as I did in McKinney just a couple of weeks ago.
Into T1 I was surpised how quick my legs moved through transition. I hopped on my bike and started chasing down our Cobb Mobb-er Rachel Olson (who would place 2nd overall without goggles or contacts and won Overall female the day before at the half-marathon). We left the Institute of Healthy Living and started the bike on Judson Rd. We took a sharp right on Judson Rd. There were no cones or motorcycle lead out to protect us from the traffic. I wasn't even sure if I was on course. I kept looking back at Rachel to see if I could figure out what she was thinking. Finally, I said to myself, "If your off course it's too late now, just focus and pedal hard until you know."
A couple of miles later I approached an intersection and didn't see the officer until I got there he was sitting in his car, I'm not sure how he managed to control traffic. Rachel said she almost got hit. The bike course was a good one though. It was much hillier than I expected it to be even included some false flats, I had to keep my eyes out for the signs to make sure I stayed on course. Turning in on the other side of Judson Rd, the asphalt was rough. I hit the bump that I was warned about as there was no where to go. My water bottle popped out and I ran over it, almost going down but somehow stayed up right. I came off the bike with a total time of about 37 minutes.
I knew needed to run about a 19 minute 5K to get the course record. Eric had closed some ground and Tim was still close. I knew I needed to push hard. I didn't have quite the spring in my stride as I did at McKinney a couple of weeks ago, but my turnover was still fast and I came through the first mile under 5:40.
The course was supposed to be a T. The first mile was just short of the first turn around and we headed towards what was supposed to be the next turn around. There was no sign or volunteer. The cones rounded the intersection making it seem like you were supposed to turn right. After that there were no cones, but like the bike course I wasn't surprised. I got to the bottom of the hill and kept looking back to see if Tim and Eric were following me.
At the bottom of this hill is where we turned right on the bike course. There was a random arrow pointing left when running down towards it. I figured this might be it. I stood there for a little bit wondering if this was correct and crossed traffic.After taking a left down Judson road, there were no cones or volunteer around - I was for sure this wasn't it. I started walking back and Tim was running towards me. "I don't know where we're goin'", I said. He didn't either so we saw Eric had ran back up Judson Rd. towards the venue. I said, "Let's catch Eric so we can finish together."
We caught Eric and let him know we would just finish together. None of us were too happy at this point. I told them, "I think we should have went back the other way," as this road has significant more hills than the other road heading back would have. We jogged up Judson Rd. together, everyone was looking at us and thought we had a race going on but we crossed the finsh line together to keep it neutral at that point. It was kind of dissappointing, because we had a great race going before the mishap. I knew I was under pace to break the course record with about a mile and a half to go and increasing the lead. About half the field would end up going the wrong way too.
Despite this race turning out like it did, I still had a great follow up the day after the half marathon of what I know should have been a win and course record. The back to back weekend of racing served its purpose in my build up for my last two half irons for the year.
Praise to God for a great weekend of racing, despite the mishap. My Family! Cobb Mobb, Extremus, and Coach J for preparing me for a tough weekend. Thank you to all the volunteers and support that did help! I really hope that the IHL Longview triathlon improves and carries on for another year.