Got up around 5 so we could head over around 5:30 to transition. My ride was late and we end up not getting to transition until 6:15. My wave is the third wave, so this is going to be a rush job. Organize my stuff real quick and start heading over to the swim start. Had to walk the mile to the start because the line for the bus was way too long and I knew I would never make it on time. Ended up jogging the last 1/4 mile. Got in the port-o-potty line at 6:45 and my start was at 7:12. Did my business and heard them sending off the second pro wave (women). The physically challenged athletes were next, then my wave. Got my chip and started to put on my wetsuit. Got to the start line just as they are sending my wave into the water, not how I wanted to start my day. Then I can't get my wetsuit zipped because of the tri top that I had to wear because of the nipple rule. Had to ask a volunteer near the start to zip it up. Get my goggles on and get wet and then they send us off.
Ran what seemed like the first 150 m until it finally got too deep. Let the fast swimmers get out ahead and then settled into a groove. Swam near this one guy for what seemed like the whole race. Drafted off him a few times, but he wasn't quite fast enough to stay ahead off me when I was in his draft. I would pull beside him, but could never leave him behind. Got out of the water and my watch gad around 37 minutes. Let them strip off my wetsuit and got to transition. Official swim time was 38:40, which includes the trek up to transition.
My bike was on the opposite end of transition from the swim. Had to run what seemed like a 5k across the parking lot that was transition. My feet were getting hammered by little rocks. Finally got to my bike, got ready and headed out. T1 was 3:09, but that was due to the long run across the lot with no shoes.
Nothing eventful except for slight quartering tailwind on the way out and large headwind on the way back in. I checked the wind report the day after and confirmed. We had a 7-8 mph quartering tailwind for about the first 1/3 of the race and then the last 1/3 had a 16-18 mph headwind. The middle third was a combination of the 16-18 mph as tailwind and headwind. Needless to say, the last 1/3 sucked. Going into a 16-18 mph wind on the last 16 miles was not fun at all. Tried to keep my heart rate down in the 150 range, but couldn't manage it on the headwind portion. Finished the bike in 2:58:34. 18.8 mph average which is right below the 19 I was hoping for. Think I could have done it without the headwind. Hit T1 with a heel that was already hurting from the bike. Got off the bike and immediately knew my heel was not going to hold up.
Now I had to run the 5k back across the parking lot to get to the run exit. At least this time I had shoes on. Still took me 3:12 though. The wife was waiting on me at the exit and I told her it was going to be a long run with my heel.
Made it to about mile 1.5 before I had to stop because of the heel pain. That was the story of the run. My heel combined with my fatigue made it a fight. Did a combination of walk run the entire time. Not much to say except that people passed me by the hundreds. After that first 1.5 I only ran one other section from aid station to aid station and that was mile 6-7.5. After that I was screwed. Resorted to running 10 minutes and walking 2 minutes. That got me about a mile each time. Was never so happy to see a finish line. The number of people was amazing and the finish was electric. Wish I just would have felt happy coming down the chute about my race. Ended up with a 2:34:26, which blows. 11:47 average sucks for the training that I did. Even though I only ran like 10 miles a week the last 4 weeks due to my heel, I should have been able to run sub 10 min miles. Race total was 6:18. No goals met except for my "C" goal of finishing. Had so much promise to start. Came out of T2 in 3:43 total for the day to that point. With a 2:02 half mary I had my "A" goal. With a 2:17 I had my "B" goal. Sucks the feeling right out of you as you realize you will not make it.
All in all, despite my heel and run issues, it was a great first race for New Orleans. At this point, I don't think I am going to do it next year, as the price is a little steep. May just volunteer and go do lonestar in Galveston. About $50 cheaper and way less people. We'll see.