I had a good swim and a great bike and was running along fairly steadily when at Mile 1 I was caught by a guy who, after a quick glance at his age on his calf, was in my age group. Steve and I chatted as we ran along for the next mile and discovered we lived about 2 miles from each other. At mile 2, he said he'd like to stretch his legs and pick up the pace a bit. I had earlier stated that I thought we were probably in 4th or 5th place and I let him lead out. I was feeling a bit tired as just a day earlier, I had a 8 hour flight back from a vacation in Ireland. Steve pulled ahead and I could still see him after the last turn down Orange Avenue to the finish. He finished about 21 seconds ahead of me. I probably could have stayed with him but just took it easy, figuring we were too far back.
You can probably guess the outcome; we were not in 4th or 5th. I was in 1st when he caught me and if I pushed it, I would have run with him for a big charge to the line. However, Steve's focus is mainly running (this was his second tri) and he may have just rocketed away from me. The point is I took it easy and defeated myself. I learned a valuable lesson that day in my second place finish.
The picture above is of Steve and I at the awards presentation.
A postscript occured at the first sprint tri in Clermont, Florida in 2009. I caught a fellow competitor on the run with about a 1/2 mile to go. I felt sure he would repass me if I went past him so I hung back while making sure no one else was catching us. He knew I was there and began picking up the pace as we neared the finish line. We were fairly flying when we crossed the first readout pad in the finishing chute. The announcer called his name first and I surged past him in the 20' to the finish, beating him for second place by one second. Lesson learned; never give up!
Footnote: This hasn't happened yet but I continue to push hard through the run now because though another competitor may finish 1:45 minutes ahead of me, the possibility of a post-race 2 minute penalty may put him 15 seconds behind me. Another reason to never give up!