Shortish version is below, the long version follows. I recommend only reading the short one:
Pre-race: Arrived around 6:10 for a 7:15 start. Helped change a girl's tire in the parking lot. Racked bike and went to the swim start.
Swim: Asked the lifeguards about alligators. Was assured there weren’t any but I didn’t believe them. Couldn’t swim straight. Arms hurt after the first buoy. Seventh out in my wave (open/elite), 10thoverall swim. Slow transition since I couldn’t get my shoes on.
Bike: Passed a few people early. In second around the half-way point. Came in with three other people in fourth place (2nd – 4th). Had the second fastest bike split. Transition was better, second out on to start the run.
Run: Tried to stay smooth. Ended up running like Stevie Wonder (head back and bobbing side to side). In third place with half a mile to go. Finished in fifth when two real runners dusted me. I had the 16th best run and finished fifth out of 340 total.
Post-race: Watermelon, cookies, brownies, more cookies, diet Coke (needed diet after the cookies), trip to IHOP (breakfast sampler with 2 strips of bacon, 2 sausage links, 2 pieces of ham, 2 eggs, and 2 pancakes). Ate significantly more calories than I burned.
This was my first race since the Wilmington YMCA sprint last September so I was looking forward to getting back into the action. After taking about a year off from any serious triathlon training, I was able to get in a few decent workouts over the past month. Jessie reminded me that just because I’ve been training for four weeks doesn’t mean I’m in great shape, I’m just in one month’s worth of shape. She was stating the obvious, but it needed to be stated.
Pre-race: Jessie’s sister’s husband, Kevin, was doing the race with me. We arrived at about 6:15 for a 7:15 start and were able to park close to the transition area. As we were taking our stuff out of the car a woman was having trouble changing a flat tire. Feeling like I could use all of the good vibes I could get, I helped her out and then we were all on our way. Other than the flat, nothing really of interest before the swim. I did a pretend run warm up in order to find a secluded spot to pee in the woods and I did a similar pretend swim warm up in order to have an excuse to pee in the lake. This lake was pretty nasty so I don’t think my addition to the water level did any harm.
Swim: There were 19 in the open wave. I started off to the left and took out the first 100 meters pretty hard. By the time I reached the second 100 meters my arms were screaming in pain and my stroke was rapidly deteriorating. I was kicked a few times, swam off course repetitively but I eventually made it out the lake. I was a bit off the lead and only one woman beat me.
T1: This wasn’t my best effort getting onto the bike. My shoes didn’t want to go on my feet and my helmet didn’t want to strap around my chin. Next time I think I’ll leave my shoes on the bike and try to figure out how to get my feet in them while at least making forward progress.
Bike: The course took us around the lake, out of the park, towards
T2: This is my favorite part of the race since I think I look pretty smooth taking my feet out of my shoes and dismounting from the bike. Realize that this is smooth for me, so it’s still fairly clunky.
Run: I was dreading heading out in the heat and humidity for the run. I tried to relax and run steady (I feel like I’ve heard that saying before…) and to stay within myself. If I went too hard too early I think I would have blown up in a big way. I went through the first mile in 6:20 and felt pretty good. I thought I picked it up for the second mile but it was 10 seconds slower. By this point I was in third place, about 30 seconds out of first. I tried to pick it up again, but I don’t think anything was really working. The final section of the run is an out and back, with less than half a mile back to the finish. I was in third at the turnaround and then I was passed rather quickly by two people before finishing in fifth. My 5k split was 19:52 and my worst placing of the morning, so there is definitely room for improvement. Overall I finished in fifth place, only 35 seconds out of first. Results are posted here: http://www.setupevents.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=event_detail&eventID=1343
Post-race: I was able to meet a few local triathloners and we cheered on Kevin as he finished. Once we were packed up we tried to hit a local place for breakfast but they were closed so we ended up at IHOP. Full details are reported in the short version.
Overall I’m satisfied with my placing. As usual, I feel like I could have pushed it harder at points and that might have gotten me a few places higher in the standings. I lost a bit of time to a couple of people in transition and I know I can run faster. Of course I also could have easily blown up with two miles to go and then been forced to walk to the finish. I’m doing the fourth event of the series in two weeks so I’ll have time to get in more training. With a bit of sandbagging in mind, I’ll likely have tired legs for the event since I’m looking towards two other races later in the season.
If you’ve made it this far, I’m impressed. Next time I write one of these I’m thinking it will be in verse. Stay tuned and start getting excited!