The Harvest Moon and I have had a bumpy road. From a DNS to a DNF and two 2nd place finishes! This triathlon has given and taken from me in incredible ways. This is really the only Half distance “local” race in Colorado, so it has great appeal. It comes in September, at the end of the summer season so it’s a great race to jump into with big fitness.
The Harvest Moon course is a little short. About a 54 mile bike and and a a 12.5 mile run. It’s not taking much off the 70.3 distance but somehow I seem to be able to get really good times at this event. So it’s fun to go hard and see what you can put out on the day.
I knew I had podium potential at this race, but it really depends on who shows up. I had not gotten a podium this year so it was something I really wanted to check off the list. The main purpose of this race was the last big training day for IRONMAN Chattanooga, which was 8 days latter. Normally I would have like to have 2 weeks, but the schedule worked out this way so we’d see how it would work out.
Since I was in the mist of IRONMAN training there really wasn’t anything specific I was doing for this race to prepare. The volume was there and maybe I was laking a little of the high end speed on the run. But give most of the run course is on gravel, which always slows me down, I new I wouldn’t be going quite all out anyway.
I decided to try something new at this race. The Maurten Bicarb System. I know they say you should never try anything new on race day, but I had bought some and forgot to give it a go in training. So this was the perfect opportunity to see if it would help my performance. The catch is, that it has caused gastrointestinal distress for many people. Basically it’s a hydrogel that you min in these mini baking soda tablets into. Baking soda has be shown to help buffer lactic acid improving athletic performance. So did it work. Well I’m happy to report that I had no stomach issues and I feel that it was effective. Can’t exactly quantify it, but no reason not to take it.
Race morning went well, got up early and made the trek to the Boulder Reservoir. I got to transition prepped my gear and warmed up. I got in a mile run with some strides and a few minutes in the water. It was a little cooler than it had been in the morning, but the water temperature was perfect.
I pushed myself through the swim and felt good about my effort. I knew I wasn’t having one of the best swims ever, but it was a strong effort. I got out of the water and headed into transition. I’m a sock guy so I put on socks before the bike. It took a little longer than I would have liked, but I got it done and headed out on the bike.
The bike and this course in particular is my domain. I know the course, and I can really push it. The first half of the bike course I just passed people. I was passed once or twice, but then I would take the lead again. I was feeling good about this effort.
Towards the end of the second lap on the bike, one of the guys who had passed me before did it again. I let him go, but kept him in my sights. He as in my age group so I knew that was going to be a race. I didn’t really have any idea what position I was in. I knew I had a good bike, but there could have still been many guys ahead of me.
I came into transition and headed out on the run. I was feeling good! My pace was slightly slower than I was shooting for, but I was comfortable and knew I could hold what I was doing. Just out of transition the guy that passed me on the bike was making his way on the run. I passed him and didn’t look back.
I’m not a big fan of the run course. It’s mostly on gravel and can be very uneven at times. We recently had some rain which meant spots of mud as well. The good new was it was manageable though. The worst section was the furthest out and back. But the way back was slightly downhill so it makes up for it.
Out on the run I saw what felt like a lot of people ahead of me. I started to really worry about my position in the race. There were a few people who were absolutely flying. But I knew all I could do was run my own race and put in the effort that I could no the day. And I did just that.
The main purpose of this race was to put in one last big effort in preparation for IRONMAN Chattanooga. I was feeling good which gave me a lot of confidence looking at the race next weekend. As I made the final push towards the finish line all sorts of emotions went though my head. I had accepted the fact I may not podium, but I knew I felt ready for a longer distance. Then there was relief to almost be done.
I crossed the finish line and was happy to be done. Excited to see how I placed I walked over to the machines that print out your time. I got my time, but no place information. I knew I had a good race with a good time, but no idea where I was in the standing. Eventually I saw they had a board with the places on them. I walked over and nervously took a peak. 2nd! Oh thank god. I was relived and excited to see that result.
I got to stand on the podium at least once in 2023, that meant a lot to me. I work really hard in my training and it’s such a great feeling to see things come together in races. Everyone out there is doing something amazing, pushing their bodies to the limits. It’s not that I wan to be better than anyone, it’s that I want to see what I’m capable of. Others just keep us accountable.