Like I tweeted after this race, this was one of the events where I woke up, knew I shouldn't race and went anyway. I think after the the hell that was the start of the Boise race I've decided to always ignore the excuses my mind throws out to stop me from doing something and push through as I will rarely regret it. That's fine in the face of shitty weather conditions but when it's an injury that has you doubting yourself its probably good to listen every now and then. It's not a full-blown injury, although I may have turned it into one, but more of a nagging problem with my ankle that has dragged on all summer. It had flared up again the week going into Harvest Moon and although I was trying to ignore it I knew in the back of my head that the run was going to be a problem.
Race morning was like any other. Get the gear set up and wait for the start. Swim was a direct out and back with the first half straight into the sun. As usual I got off course going out and lost time. As much as I complain about this issue every race I obviously need to do something about it. Probably too late in the year with only one race left but there will be a concerted effort next year to work on the sighting issues. Honestly the only good thing about this race was T1. I finally nailed the whole standing and stripping the wetsuit off your legs with no hands while putting your helmet and race belt on. Probably my fastest wetsuit swim transition ever.
The bike was a boring, rolling square course with some punchy climbs and questionable pavement in places. The wind was gusting all day so for the first half of the bike it was a tailwind and a crosswind with the second half headwind and crosswind. The crosswind felt fine although I should have realized the headwind was going to be awful when I hit 28 miles in 1:02 on 195 watts. Once the turn was made into the head wind it got pretty tough. Speed dropped dramatically and I finished up with a low 2:20 something bike split. Coming back in I was thinking about pulling out after the bike and not risking hurting my ankle more with Leadman coming up but judging from the bikes in T2 I was at least in the top 10 overall if not higher so I decided to keep going.
First 2 miles of the run felt fine but the ache started up shortly after and progressively got worse. This was an out and back run so once you made it halfway out the only option to get home was to finish the race. By time I had hit the turnaround the pain was bad and affecting my stride. If this were Leadman I likely would have said fuck it and kept going but with the increasing pain I was worried about further damage with Leadman coming up in 2 weeks. With the decision made to call it a day the only option left was to walk/light jog the remaining 6+ miles back. Not a position I've ever been in before and it sucked being passed non-stop the entire way back but it was the right decision. Final time on the half marathon was 2:23 something and 5:21 overall. My slowest race ever for both counts. Learned a lesson on knowing when to do the smart thing for your longterm race plans. Fortunately as of today the pain seems to be subsiding although I still can't run without pain so Leadman looks like it will be fine. Run will probably suck but since it's the last race of the year it won't be the ankle slowing me down, probably just the 140 miles on the bike that proceeded it.