Finally. Race day. Two months of work comes down to this… And it was a blast. It’s a lot more fun to push yourself when there is someone just ahead of you to catch. And with 338 particpants this year, there was always someone just ahead of you. This year we had 7 people not finish – almost double of last year. Perhaps as the race grows in popularity you get more and more people not realizing what they are getting into. On the flip side there were 3 kids (yes they are kids ) in the 11-12 age group that not only broke the 1 hour mark they were under 50 minutes grabing the 37th, 39th, and 40th spots overall. 40 year olds fine, women ok, but it’s a little disheartening when an 11 year old is leaving you in his dust.
As for my race, I was glad the water was surprisingly warm. We’ve been having a uncommonly mild August and honestly my biggest concern going into the race was that the water would be freezing. Thankfully this fear was misplaced. Going into the swim, I positioned myself at the back of the young-guns wave i was in since I would be doing the breast stroke and didn’t want to get in anyone’s way. The funny part was the fact that while all but one of us started off with the great speed and effort of free style swimming at about the 100M mark about a third of the young guns rolled over to either their back or side to continue. Most would roll over again when i came to pass with my slow and steady approach, but then would soon be back on their side or back as i waved good bye. I ended up passing 13 of the 54 people in my wave (20-29 year old males) of which I am quite proud. I had gone into the swim event with my strongest stroke to avoid fatigue not win any medals, so smoking a few young guns was a nice bonus. Also of note is that 2 of the people in my wave that smoked me on swim speed never finished the race… peak to early guys? :D
As for the bike portion of the race, it had quite the transition area: a nice uphill run to the bikes was quite different from exiting stage left at the neighborhood pool. I was quite happy with my pace of 17 mph that i maintained on this flatter course. I came within 7 seconds of my goal of a 30 min bike time. I did have one minor mishap where I dropped my water bottle and had stop and grab it — i guess that was my seven seconds. ;) I ended up beating 7 out the the 38 people in my age group (25-29 year old males) in this event.
Finally running. I’ve always hated running, but when i thought about Triathlons i figured 2 out of 3 wasn’t bad. Though I must admit the one of the best parts about a trathlon is the 2nd mile running. Not the first. It hurts and sucks, but by the second mile your muscles have switched over and your in a groove and the endorphins have kicked in and you think to yourself: “Is that all you’ve got Tri course?!” and you step it up a notch and then another and another until you are actually sprinting down the final stretch to the finish… I did have another minor incident as I couldn’t find my running shoes after parking my bike, but I would guess that this only cost me 10-20 seconds as my support crew was able to direct me to them quickly (Thanks to everyone on my support crew for all the help and cheering that made such a fast finish possible). Again i was very happy with my time in this event. While i only beat 3 people from my age group averaging 9:20 miles isn’t bad after a swim and a ride in hilly conditions.
Overall, I end up with a 1:07:23 and a flashy T-shirt to help me brag about it. This put me in at 264 out of 338. Not where i intend to finish next year but all in all a respectable finish for my first time. I would say beating 74 people meets my standard of “not embarrassing myself”. One nice thing that i had failed to account for was the fact that I was in the young guns starting wave, meaning that I had between a 5 to 15 minute head start on other people in other waves. Giving me the appearance at finish line of me beating like 100-150 MORE people than i actually did. Awesome. :D