What an incredible country and great place to have a holiday, it was a long trip but well worth it. Definitely the highlight of the trip for me was the race and all the training leading up to it made experiencing the hot humid conditions bearable. The first couple days Amber and I took in the the expo and after dealing with having our bike boxes ripped through by the stupid US transportation security administration and them not putting it back together properly, we got our bikes in working order. It was great being at the expo, we bought a lot of stuff that is usually hard to get at home this time of year and after swimming in the lagoon and biking the run course we were ready to go.
The race was an age group wave start which is fantastic when you're up against 1600 athletes and it made the swim bearable in the small Condado lagoon. Swimming in salt water is always an adjustment but I told myself that I was going to race smart, not hard. I stuck to someones feet for the first 700m and although I thought I could have been swimming faster I stuck to my strategy and stayed with him until he started to fade. The turn around was at that 700m mark and I found someone else with a similar pace and stuck to his feet for another 700m, he must have been cursing me because I was tapping his toes most of the swim and I was not going to pass. With 500m left to go you swim under a bridge and the waves from the ocean knock you back so I saved my energy until that moment and then I took off. It was a great swim and I finished in 31.24. There was a 400m run to transition and I came out of the water sprinting as hard as I could to the stadium where our bikes were parked. I ended up I missing the bike rack and I was looking for my ride for a little while.
The bike course was fantastic, very fast on the way out and very windy. I was continually passing people and I felt like I was having a great ride. I stayed on top of my nutrition, took 5 gels, 10 salt tabs, when through 4 bottles. I started to fade during the last 20kms but with no outdoor riding leading up to this race I think that was to be expected. I finished the ride in 2:22.23, one of my best times ever for a 90km bike and I still had legs to run (for a little while). I don't normally wear a cap when I run, I find the hat tends to trap the heat on my head and does more harm than good but it was just soooo incredibly hot out there I had no choice. I was either going to suffer some serious heat stroke or find a way to run with the hat.
The run was a lot more hilly than I expected and I was dumping water and ice on myself whenever I had a chance. I started out strong running 6:04 miles but slowly the course and the heat wore me down and I faded to 7:30 miles and finished out-on-my-feet like a boxer that's just gone through a 12 round war. A 4:29.18 is fantastic for me during March and it'll give me something to build on for the rest of the season.
The remainding week Amber and I spent soaking up the sun, eating and drinking too much, recovering from our race and checking out Puerto Rico. It is a very populated country (4 million people on one tiny island) but we had a great time and will look at doing something just as fun next year. We were both kind of eyeing the 70.3 in Oceanside for 2012 but there is a lot of time to decide before we commit to a schedule next year. I'm glad we took a winter break and now we're both re-energized to get back to work and be productive members of society again.