Lancaster is without a doubt my favorite triathlon of the year. My affair with this race began in 2002, when Lisa, Larry and I headed up to Lititz, PA, in early September. Lisa and I did a relay; she did the swim and I did the bike and run legs. We did pretty well. 2003 and 2004 I was injured, but made my comeback to the world of multisport events by going back to Lancaster in 2005. Lisa and I again did the relay, and again she swam while I rode and ran. For it being my first event in over 2 years, I felt I did pretty well. I rode my brand new Orbea and rode pretty quick.
Things that made me appreciate Lancaster were the grassroots efforts of the people and community, just seemed like an old school race. They gave out horrendous sweatshirts that I love, little things of honey and after the race lots of Turkey Hill Iced Tea and Lemonade. Most importantly, the weather has always cooperated to make for a great day out in Amish country.
So fast forward to this year. Due to the cancellation of Annapolis, I was worried people might found out about this race and so I signed up before race day for the first time ever. Then, the days leading up to the race were clouded by an alleged tropical storm making its way up the East Coast. When I woke up Saturday morning it was pouring here, and I thought ugh, great, and made my way up.
It wasn't raining when I got there and I was pretty psyched. I figured we lucked out. I went to warm up, and my knee didn't feel terrible, which was good. Ever since our long run at Greenbelt I've really been hurting. It feels like my meniscus, and it's definitely impeding my ability to run. I was dripping with sweat and had to squeeze into the wetsuit, which I probably didn't need as the water felt pretty warm. I followed the line of buoys as close as I could, and felt pretty comfortable. I didn't know my time when I exited the water, but it had to have been decent (23:16, 28th). I ran through transition but as I did one of my shoes came unclipped, so I had to run back into transition to get it.
Out on the bike and I felt alright. I once again elected to ride the trusty Orbea. I was just being a baby and didn't want my Cervelo getting all wet. I made my way up the hills and thought I was riding okay, but I wasn't putting my all into it. The rain and wind just really started to annoy me, so I just rode.
I shut it down and sat up with about 1k to go on the bike, and came swiftly into T2. I did take the time to put on socks because I knew my feet would get ripped up in the wet shoes. On the way out of transition I felt strong, but that feeling was quickly replaced with a not-so-good feeling in my knee. I hit 1k in 4:12 and did the quick math: it was going to be a slow day. I struggled in the first few miles, which are actually very hard. The hills are longer and steeper than most of what you find at Columbia. I went 6:45-6:44-7:06 for the first 3. Then you roll back down, with just a couple of lighter inclines. 6:40, 6:40, 6:31 for the next 3, with a 1:11 for my last .2 miles. End time was 41:38 (12th) so at least my run split outranked my bike for once this year. It was, however, over 3 minutes slower than Columbia, and well over a minute slower than 2 years ago.
My final time was 2:15:15, good enough for 11th place out of 169. I was technically 13th out of 182, but there were 13 relay teams, 2 of which beat me. I was supremely disappointed with this race, but won't hold it against the event. I was surprised though - no more sweatshirts, instead they were heinous technical tee's. Honey was still there, as was the Turkey Hill, but no more pewter plate awards! Instead we received cycling jerseys, which I guess is kind of cool.
I finished 8th with a 2:15:38 on a nice day in 2006, out of almost 300. So this year there were fewer people but more competitive parity, since the times weren't all that fast. As I'm beginning to think about 2009 I may take this race off the calendar, but then again it (usually) doesn't hurt to jump into an OD race.
My knee is still not feeling good, not sure what will make it feel better. Crashing on my bike last night certainly didn't help. I've never fallen off my bike or crashed until last night on my way home from the O's game. A few blocks from my house I guess I moved awkwardly and my backpack slipped off my shoulder and before I could catch it, it went straight into my front wheel. Bike locked up, I went flying over the handlebars, landing on the street. It HURT. Amazingly enough my clothes were fine, and I had mostly superficial injuries. Cut on my left elbow, cut on my ankle that was bleeding pretty bad, and then the left hip was really hurting. In fact it hurts pretty bad. It may further impede my already impeded running.