This post will be kept fairly brief, as this race was my last tuneup to Ironman Coeur D'alene at the end of June. I decided to do the famous LA Tri Series (Bonelli) race only a few days before the actual event because I wanted to ensure a high intensity workout during my second peak week. Going into the race, my training had been pretty intense for about two weeks with shorter high-intensity workouts, followed by recovery days and then also a long and intense workout thrown in the weekend before where I especially concentrated on race-pacing on the bike. All of this is to say that my legs were pretty shot going into the race, so I was not expecting to perform close to my peak.
I arrived at the event a little later than usual, so had to rush to get everything set up. During this process I sprayed some anti-fog liquid into my goggles. It just so happened that I forgot to fully dunk my goggles before putting them on. Thus, five minutes into the swim my eyes -- especially my right eye -- started burning. That sucks, I thought, but was doing well drafting other guys so just stuck with it. Eventually I came out of the water in high 25-26 minutes, which was surprising because I had been drafting nearly all of the race. Oh well, I guess I didn't have my full power either as I had done a rough one mile ocean race the day before.
I was relieved to pull off my goggles upon exiting the water only to realize that my right eye was blurry and gray. I rubbed it several times but still no dice. Fuck. I ran over and got onto the bike and started riding, essentially with one eye. I kept hoping my eye would normal out but it became apparent that that would not happen. The bike is a three loop course (about 24-25 miles total with some hills) so I took the first loop a little more carefully than normal. I passed a few people on the first loop -- mainly on the hills -- but quickly realized I didn't have my normal power. However, my goal was to at least keep my heart beat above 150 bpm, which I did do for most of the race. A few miles into the second loop some guy with a disc wheel passed me, which was good, because I decided to dual it out with him and pick up the pace. We went back and forth for about a loop with him passing me on the downhill and flats and me passing him on the uphill. This often happens to me. About five miles from the end I gunned it up an uphill and kept charging leaving him and another guy in the dust. But in the end, my bike split was only so-so, coming in at 1:08, 16th fastest on the day. Normally, I think I would have been in the top three or four.
Moving to the run I began dumping water on my eye at each aide station. Of course, it burned but what else was I supposed to do. I kept up a decent pace and must have passed eight guys or so, the last one with just a little less than a mile to go. I thought perhaps I was in first place at this time because I hadn't seen anyone else on the out and back. As I came running into the finish line I continued to think that perhaps I was ahead, but it turned out I only managed 10th place, haha. It turns out Bonelli is a pretty competitive local race, as some big boys from around the area graced us with their presence. I finished in 37:20 or so, the third fastest run split. The winner I think posted a 34 or 35 10K run, which is obviously very fast for a non-elite. In total, my time was about 2:15, my slowest olympic/international yet, but also perhaps the longest course.
In the end, I did win my age group, which is always nice, but the real story was that of the anti-fog spray and how it affected my right eye. My eye was swollen and red for the remainder of the day and into the next day. Two days later things were mostly back to normal, but I definitely took a few days off of swimming. Be sure not to make this mistake!
By day I am a political scientist studying campaigns, public opinion, and race and ethnic politics. By early morning and/or night I am an endurance athlete.