A couple of months ago Mary Ann Sedor, co-founder of INTENT, said "The best race is a boring race". Simply meaning, the best race is one were everything goes perfect with no equipment or nutritional issues. To put it simply...this race was far from perfect.
Flash forward to the week of September 4th and it was time to race the Muncie Sprint Triathlon. After previously doing this race in the spring, not have my best performance, I was excited to see the work that was done over summer working with Coach Guy and the awesome INTENT teammates. After some confusion about driving during the week, I decided to work on Friday, then drive down alone when work ended. Due to personal reasons over the last couple months, I would have rather repeated the drive home the day after Collegiate Nationals in Tempe, Arizona, hungover and dying in the back seat, then travel to Muncie, Indiana. However, after a semi-eventful drive of attempting to outsmart Mapquest and a monstrous thunderstorm, I arrived at the hotel were Bob Jones let me sleep on his floor.
Race Morning: After a night of tossing and turning in my sleeping bag, we got our wake up call at 4:45am and out the door by 5:15am. A forecast calling for rain had me kind of nervous the race might get delayed or cancelled. After arriving and getting checked in, it was still dark out and we had a couple hours until the start so I took a quick 15 minute nap and relaxed in my car before heading out to do a warm up. At 6:45am I asked the volunteer checking athletes in what time it transition closes. Her response was, "Transition will close at 7:45am", so I thought "Perfect, more than enough time to get a good run and bike warm up before a swim warm up". Going out onto the run course, I ran a mile down and it started to have a misty rain so I went under a pavilion and did some calisthenics to loosen up. Running back the mist stopped so I went out onto my bike around 7:10am. After coming back into transition, the volunteer(who at times was friendly, others not so much) was telling people transition closed. Fortunately, there was a handful of us who had gotten the incorrect information and still had to set up transition so we quickly got in and got out. With the National Anthem playing, I was unable to get a swim warm up in so I had my wetsuit and tri kit halfway on while waiting for the start.
With the multiple races going on at once(Tri, du, aquathon, 5k, mini marathon) I was under the impression we started after the olympic, so I started talking to some people from ISU and a couple other people. A triathlete from ISU, Abby, was competing in her first triathlon, which means the pre race excitement was at an all time high. Watching her bounce with nerves and anticipation not only led to great entertainment for the people watching, but it gave me confidence in the work and coaching I have had over the last three months because I was not nervous at all, simply confident that I'd have a good performance.
Race: After half of the olympic athletes started the race, the announcers quickly said they were starting the sprint race, although half of the olympic athletes were still waiting. After hearing this I sprinted down to the start line to be in the first wave and as I was zipping up my wetsuit, the zipper wouldn't move. 10 seconds to start and neither a man I asked or me could get it to zip. I quickly ripped off the wetsuit, another guy took it, and I ended up starting about 50 seconds after the beginning wave(My time doesn't start until I cross the start line). Two dolphin dives in, I suddenly feel my timing chip come loose, in about 7 feet deep of water. Instantly thinking about a youth triathlon when an INTENT Youth Team athlete forgot to take his helmet off when heading to the run. Coach Rick, the other co - founder of INTENT, just yelled at Jasper to drop his helmet and keep running. Quickly grabbing the chip, I decided to keep swimming and held it in a fist in my left hand. Because of this, I was left with only my right arm getting a pull on the swim. Although this was a bummer for the swim, I was able to catch up to the back half of the first wave and then pass four or five others in transition. (400 meters: 6:53 w/out wetsuit and one arm)
Bike: For the bike, the ground was wet with a slight wind in every direction. I had known the course from racing previously here so I knew there was some rolling hills but nothing to be overwhelmed about. After the first mile, feeling awesome, I was going over a bump in the road and BAM! A bracket on my aero bar cracked and was just barely hanging on. After this previously happened to my other aero bar(due to a callback on the brackets last year), I knew there was a chance of making it back to T2 for the run if I don't put to much pressure on it. Going half aero/half upright, I was able to hold ground on the bike and started the run in 9th, not including the :50 second delayed start. (12.5 miles: 22.3 MPH)
Run: After a quick T2, I was feeling solid for the run, something I have been working on over the summer. Although I won't say specific workouts (you'll need to stop by the INTENT Training Facility to get those), I will credit my performance to great controlled workouts and the added strength component to our training regimens. Seeing a couple other runners and feeling strong, I had the mindset I would be able to outrun and if needed, outmuscle several athletes on the run. After running the first mile in 6:05 and passing a couple others I took a little off while trying to keep the pressure on. After a second mile at 6:27 the pain started to come throughout my body, so naturally, I started singing "Bring Sally Up, Bring Sally Down", thinking of how we have been through more pain and harder workouts at the training facility and that I would get through this last mile or so winning my age group because of it. After a 6:10 third mile I still had to get my timing chip out of my back pocket so while fumbling around for that I finished the 5k in 19:58.
Overall, I am happy with my performance, 1st AG/6th OA, and to have qualified for the USATriathlon National Championship in 2015(Lets hope it's in California!). Way to go super stud duathlete Bob Jones on your 2nd place finish in the olympic distances duathlon, congratulations to ISU athletes Andrew Seipol on winning the aqauthon and Abigail house for completing your first triathlon this weekend. I would like to also congratulate an INTENT athlete Kelly Puah and my future roommate, Coree Woltering, who killed it at the 70.3 World Championships today. Also to INTENT teammates Brandon Engle and Jon Smail, who are currently rocking Ironman Wisconsin.
Thank you to the entire INTENT organization, SKINS, Skratch laboratory, and FnA bicycle shop for all of your support. Happy training to everyone and hope to see you this week!
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter - @MattJennings9_1
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