The night before the race I went out to the park to rack my bike and pick up my packet. There are a lot of different views on leaving expensive bikes out overnight, but I figured it’d be one less thing for me to worry about the next day. Besides, the forecast was excellent and I was assured that large, scary men would be guarding the bikes.
When I arrived at the park a friend met up with me and told me that I had been placed in the Elite Wave. I was surprised to say the least. I assured her she must be mistaken. I had the confirmation putting me in Wave 2. She was right. An error had been made. The race coordinator offered to let me stay in the Elite Wave, but I passed. I have NO business in that wave. And that’s not me being humble; it would literally have been a joke if I had been a starter. The change was made. Then I got my bib…
I was thrilled to have number 1. Everyone hopes to have it. But people also expect whoever has number one to be at a certain level in the game. The same is true if it is just running. My friend Clint warned me that I’d be getting a bunch of crap for it. And I did. My friends did not hold the jeering, which I can’t fault them for because I would have done the same. And then I had a few people I didn’t know come up and ask me about my times and who I was. Overall pretty fun. And my mentor, Ross, literally laughed when he saw my number. Still, no way I would have given it up!
I’ll speed through some of this so this post doesn’t become a short novel. It will still probably end up as a novella.
My bike was racked.
I got a good spot right neat the end. VERY close to the area where you run your bike onto the bike course. This is my area set up for transition. The night before I had laid out my gear for the race.
Starting in Wave 2 at 8:03 a.m., the swim went pretty well. I only got kicked in the chin once. My goal was to stay to the outside to avoid most people, but since I still can’t swim in a perfectly straight line, I ended up drifting to the inside. Not a bad thing, since it means swimming less distance, but more people to fight. I had a couple times when other racers tried to swim over me, but some spirited kicks ceased that.
My time for the swim, 600 yards, was 13:22. Pretty on target for what I had predicted.
As soon as I got out of the water I stripped my wet suit half way off, jumped down in front of a wet suit stripper, and had them rip it off the rest of the way. Much easier than doing it myself. And I didn’t lose my shorts in the process. No free shows today!
A barefoot run on asphalt, quickly throwing on some cycling gear, and I was off on the bike–still wet from the swim. Transition time 1 min 55 sec. My one “big” mistake on the bike was made right here. I had planned to drink some Gatorade before the ride started, but forgot in the rush. Tough because I still hadn’t mastered drinking while riding. I figured it out. It was learn or deal with dehydration.
The bike course (20k) was pretty easy. Not excessively hilly. It was hot and windy, but not unmanageable. I really need to work on taking turns without slowing down. I’m still a little timid, so I use the brakes more then I want. No problems with passing or getting passed. The bike was pretty uneventful. Bike time 40:46.
The run (5k), the part of the tri I expected to be easy, was damn tough. After jumping off the bike and changing shoes (2 minutes and 2 sec) I was off on the course. I am still not used to the lead legs you get during running right after riding the bike. And it was really hot. I was also pretty tired from the rest of the race. I’ll admit there were a couple times when I considered taking a 10 second walk or so. But I reminded myself that it was !@#$ing 5k , and I wasn’t going to walk during a 5k no matter how awful it felt.
I got into a foot race with number 33 as we both charged the finish. He won, dammit. I’ll beat him next time though. If nothing else the competition made me work harder at the end. Total run time 25:53. …Man it frosts me he beat me. I don’t usually get passed at the finish. That just illustrates all the more that I need to turn the training up a few notches to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
After I crossed the finish line I stretched and went over to the food tent where I got a free spinal adjustment from the chiropractor on hand and followed it up with a massage. (I should be good for another 3,000 miles or three months, whichever comes first!) After which I gorged myself on the gondolas, bagels, fruit, pizza, barbecue, cookies, water, pop, and bacon that was provided. Gotta replenish those depleted calories!
My overall time was 1:23:59.6. I’m pleased–for a first race. The whole experience has been great. The training program by Rebecca Franks was well worth it. I’m faster, stronger, and more knowledgeable than I was. Now I can look forward to my next triathlon in July. I might even try to do the olympic distance. It’ll be harder, but if it wasn’t challenging, it wouldn’t be worth doing.