My first Triathlon
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World Triathlon Corporation
87F / 31C
= 10h 48m 19s
Age Group Rank
Woke up at 4 and hopped out of bed. Jess
(Tri Take Me Away
) and Andrew
) were both waking up and I was in the kitchen making a PB&J begal. Browsed BT for a few minutes before putting my contacts in and grabbing the last of my gear.
Got to transition and was body marked using stamps rather than sharpies. Awesome. Stood in line while we waited for transition to open.
Got to our bikes and aired up tires, filled water bottles, clipped on shoes, etc. Ran into Jim and Mary
(teammates of mine
) and David
(another one of my coach's clients
Found Andrew and we bumped into Mike
). Headed out to find Jess but she was no where around. Waited before I had to go and get in line for the porta-potties. Came back, no Jess. So Andrew left and I waited...no Jess.
Finally we had to head down to the swim start or we'd be at the very back. Walking along guess who we ran into: Jess! Apparently she didn't think that we'd wait for her. Heh.
Started puting my dry clothes in the bag when I realized that I forgot to put my gel flask on my bike. Thought about walking back, but decided that I'd let Jess find a volunteer willing to put it on my bike.
) a quick call, said good-bye to Jess and got in line.
Took a good 45 minutes of waiting before they finally started letting people in the water, but from their it was surprisingly quick. Finally we walked onto the dock and got ready to go.
1h 10m 1s
01m 49s / 100 meters
Looked up at the clock and I was getting into the water 20 minutes after 7. At least that would make it easy to do the math and figure out where I was.
Started my watch before holding my goggles on snug as I jumped into the river. Didn't think about what to do from there, just put my head down and swam.
Started to settle into a rhythm and tried to keep an eye out for a faster pair of feet to hop on. Unfortunately with a FCFS start you have no idea who will be around you. So I just relaxed and swam along. Not thinking about the 112 miles I was about to bike. Not thinking about the marathon I was going to run. All I was doing was swimming.
Came to the far end of Townhead Island and looked up to find that we had to swim out for a few buoys before we turned around. This is where you finally started to feel all the swimmers come together.
In the channel we were fairly well spread out and it was nothing like a normal IM swim. Now that we could see the turn everyone started to come together and fight for the shortest line.
Coming up to the turn I tried to take an outside line. This is where I felt the current for the first time as I was pushed sideways right into the mix. So I took a hand to the back of the head, heel to my quad, all the usual swim beatings.
Sprinted after the turn to put some ground between me and the guy holding onto my feet. I pushed myself out a bit from shore and tried to slowly correct this over the next few 100 meters.
Drafting went much better on the way back in. I would jump from swimmer to swimmer but never found anyone that was going the speed I was looking for, or at least not for very long.
Came past the edge of the island so now I was on the final stretch. Crossed under the rail bridge and transition came into view on my left. Okay, time to remind myself that I'm going to go for a bike ride today as well.
As the exit stairs came into view I looked for some open water and cut sharply so the current wouldn't push my past the stairs. Locked onto an open spot and swam until hand hit the step.
Caught sight of the race clock... 1:40?!?! Glanced at my watch...1:09. Whew! Scared me for a second there. Okay, race clock minus 30 = chip time.
Overall position after the swim: 444.
What would you do differently?:
Skin suit could have given me a bit of time back. Considering the difficulty in seeding yourself near swimmers similar to yourself and the water temperature being WAY to high for wetsuits, this was a pretty good swim.
Ran toward transition and heard Jess on my left. I looked over and found her but then noticed a girl holding a cup of water ahead on my right. Drank what I could at full speed and started going over the checklist in my head.
A volunteer yelled out my number as I ran toward the rack with my T1 bag. I yelled it again just for good measure but it didn't matter because I made it to the rack before a volunteer had a chance.
Their was rain the day before so I had knotted the drawstrings to keep everying from getting soaked. Ran into the changing tent and found a spot at the far end. Not one to waste time I ripped the bag open without even looking at the knot.
Filled my back pockets with gel flasks and tubes of salt tablets and I was off and running again. A volunteer said that he'd get a new bag for my stuff so I just left everything in a pile under my chair.
Got to my bike and was relieved to see that my forgotten gel flask was sitting in my helmet. Sunglasses on, helmet on, run.
What would you do differently?:
5h 31m 28s
Ran up to the mount line and got up and onto my shoes before the majority of people around me. Stopped my watch as soon as I could. The total memory is only 10 hours and I wanted to get all my splits on the run. Also, I'd have no idea what my total time was at any given point without doing alot of math which I considered a good thing.
Turned onto River Rd before finally climbing into my shoes and really started to ride. My HR was near the very top of my training pace. So I found the gear that was the right for this road and went one easier to let me HR calm down.
The passes were almost constant in the beginning as the field tried to sort itself out. The swim start had really spread people out. I found a rider ahead with a disc wheel and used him as my mark. He was two or three riders ahead so I just tried to keep pace.
He'd pass a rider, I pass a rider. He stopped pedalling as we went around a curve, I stopped pedalling. Eventually he pulled away from me but my HR was still at 140. 135 was the middle of my training zone so I just stayed where I was until I got at least that low.
First aid station looked like it was staffed with high school football players so I pointed at the fastest looking of the group and he ran beside me as he handed off a Gatorade bottle. 30 minutes in and I can finally start the rest of my nutrition plan.
Starting up 42 traffic was stopped all around us. I was at least glad to see that the people were standing outside their cars and cheering rather than just being mad that we were in the way.
Came to the largest climb of the day and quickly cycled through my gears until I was in my easiest gear on my small ring. Sat up and slowly spun my way along. I actually passed four or five people on the way to the top.
Then we finally got to start the rollers. This was the section of the course I had rode the other day so nothing was a surprise. I definitely had a better feel for my gears than I did the other day so speed was much more consistent.
Less than an hour in and I made the turn onto the out and back loop. Coming the other way was nice organized packs of riders. 8 guys here, 5 guys there. All riding 4 bike lengths apart but no more. They were the guys who knew how to race smart and that's where I should have been. With a mass start swim, I might have had a chance.
Coming down a large hill I was able to stop pedaling for a minute and enjoy the ride. The road was lined with trees and very well shaded, but with the rain the night before the road wasn't completely dry here. I tapped my brakes once or twice to keep things from going too fast when I hit the bridge.
Saw all the pot holes coming and had no problems crossing the bridge. Immediately started the next big climb. Again, got into my easiest gear and just spun my way up. Finally reached the turn around and got a good look at 3 of the guys in my AG I had passed in the last few miles. They weren't far back and were fighting their way up the hills. Good. I won't have to worry about them on the run.
Bombed down the next descent and then started what was probably the steepest climb of the day. Finally came out of the darkness as I approached 42 again and could see the middle of the pack ready to start their out-and-back.
Nutrition was going along fine. Water, salt, water, gatorade, water, gatorade, water, gel, water, gatorade, water... it was a nice little rhythm and after the first hour it was automatic and one less thing I had to think about.
Got onto 393 to start the loop and my HR was finally down into the lower half of my training zone. So I dropped a gear or two and opened up the throttle a bit. Headed down and then up some nice hills before the next aid station. Pointed directly at what I wanted and who I wanted to hand it to me. The volunteers were awesome and much better than I expcted for the first year.
Made the left turn onto 146 and was feeling great. There was a car here and there that were stuck in the flow of cyclists. Thankfully most would hug the center stripe if you waved at them and that gave you plenty of room to get by.
On a climb just before the viewing area Sean
) pulled up beside me and introduced himself. Chatted for a bit before we hit the top of the hill and had to go back to work.
Going through the viewing are was awesome! The crowds were 4 and 5 deep on both sides of the street and it was just a tunnel of cheering and yelling and cowbells.
As we turned on to Ballard School I started to take note of the people around me. There were at least 4 or 5 guys I had seen several times today. If we start the 2nd loop together then I can use them to my advantage.
Took things easy through the next set of hills and sharp turns. Came out on Sligo Rd which was somewhere near mile 40 or 45. This is where the first pro lapped me! This guy was absolutely flying! Very good motivation at that moment.
Took inventory of the guys in my AG I had passed and I was up to at least 8 by now. Started the rolling hills on the back side of the loop and was just killing the pace. These hills were nothing after you built up your momentum and picked the right gear.
Hit mile 56 and was on pace for a 5:40 bike split. A little less than what I'd like, but a 5:40 bike + 1:10 swim + :08 for transitions would have me starting the run at hour 7. A best case scenario run could have me in at 10:30. Smile. Pedal. Drink.
Starting the 2nd lap I was dying to pee but hadn't had a good long downhill in a while, but this time I had my hill all picked out. The crowd had thinned out quite a bit so I let the guy behind me pass so he wouldn't get sprayed.
Just as I had finished and the terrain leveled out, one of the referees pulled up just ahead of me. I was the only person around so this made my heart skip a beat thinking that I was about to get pegged for something. The ref sitting on the back turned and looked squarely at the number on my helmet. A second later they pulled away and that was that.
Somewhere along this road I heard someone yell out BT or Aaron. I have no idea who it was but it happened 3 or 4 times on the bike. So thank you whoever the 3 or 4 of you are!
2nd lap was much more relaxing than the first. The field was thinner and we were all moving along at fairly similar paces. No crowds of people to work my way around. No jockeying for position at the aid stations. Just a nice ride through the country.
Now there were 3 of us who would pass and repass every few minutes. Not the best group but I could at least use them to help me. Turning on Sligo we hit the last timing mat before transition. Coming up the climb to 153 I passed another AGer. Solid pass while going uphill but he quickly jumped back in front.
This is somewhat worrying. This is the first competitor who's actually stayed with me. I let him take the lead and just pace along. Slowly passing people, but always keeping him within striking distance.
Finally on the back side of the loop again I hammer it on the rollers. I repass the AGer and this time it's for good. Rode past the loop start and now I was on my way home.
Came to mile 100 and caught up with my teammate Moseley. Said hello as I passed him and thought about Coach Z's stories of Moseley killing himself on the bike and then always dying on the run. So if he was doing his normal routine I was well up in the field now but had plenty left in the tank.
Pee'd once more as we headed down the big hill before we cruised onto River Rd. I couldn't believe how fast we were moving now. My HR was at the very bottom of training pace, my wattage was at the very bottom of training pace, and I'm averaging 22.6 over the last 10 miles!
Passed up 3 more guys in the last few miles which brought my count to near 15. If 50 of us started and let's estimate 20 were ahead after the swim, I should be right there in the top 5 now.
Saw the runners making the short initial out-and-back and gave David a cheer as I rode past. I'm surprised he's not further ahead of me. I picked him to do sub-10 and he's doesn't have much mileage on me.
Climbed out of my shoes and hopped off running at the dismount line.
Overall position after the bike: 152. I had no idea I was this far up when I came into transition. I also didn't check my computer time to see that I had finished 10 minutes faster than I thought I would just after the last timing mat.
What would you do differently?:
Could have pushed a bit more but my focus was to keep my HR and normalized power low so that's just what I did.
Felt good to finally get out of the saddle. I must have jumped ahead of 5 people at the mount line because everyone else was standing there to unclip.
Ran up to the volunteers and aimed by bike directly at the biggest guy I could see. He either grabbed it or I rammed him, but I felt resistence so I just let go of the saddle and hoped for the best.
Pulled off my helmet and started dropping my empty gel flasks inside as I ran. Heard the volunteer call out my number, I yelled it just in case, the volunteer was actually there this time, and I'm still the first one to my bag.
Headed inside the tent and grabbed the first seat I saw. This was the first time I'd been in transition and it was this open. There were actually lots of seats and a ton of volunteers.
Sat down and tore open my bag. Just as I dumped everything out a volunteer said he'll pick everything up and get me a new bag. One of the obviously younger guys was asking if anyone had Body Glide. Okay, he's right on my tail but something is hurting him. Good. Even if he passes me early, he'll crack, no need for an immediate chase.
Ran out of the tent and hurriedly put on my gel flask holder before the first aid station. I grabbed as much water as I could and poured a cup of ice down my top. This is gonna be a good day.
Saw Jess under the bridge and blew her a kiss as I ran by.
It was finally time to start the race.
What would you do differently?:
3h 58m 29s
09m 06s min/mile
Headed out on the first little loop and just tried to calm myself down. My HR was already in race pace and that's way more than I need at the moment.
Gave David a thumbs-up as we passed each other. Coming to the turn around I spotted a huge guy with sponsor logos all over him. I looked back at his calf and he was in my AG. I had no idea where he started compared to me, but he looked like a threat.
Made the turn and a moment later I chould check off mile 1. Popped some salt tabs and proceeded to get completely lost in the moment and ran through the aid station grabbing everything I could and some sponges at the end. Heard a BTer yell for me and I'm not sure if that was Patrick or not.
Came back around transition and hit a downhill before ducking under the bridge for a bit of shade. Came up the biggest hill we'd see all day
(not that big
) and another mile was done. Realized my HR wasn't gonna come down on it's own I jogged this aid station.
Headed out from downtown and the run really started to sink in. My pace had slowed to something much more reasonable and I began to settle in.
Mile 3 and another aid station. This time I walked. Felt good to know that my brain was back in control. Water, gatorade, oranges, water and more ice down my shirt.
Ran along the street I had done all my practice runs on. Our apartment was just a block over so this is the part of the course that felt the most comfortable.
Caught the big guy I was worried about a few minutes ago. He didn't look like he was feeling good. Pass him. Pass him quick and don't show any weakness. If he's already out of it physcially then I'll help take him out of it mentally.
Mile 4 was my first chance to grab cola. Didn't want to touch it this early, but I was glad to know it was there. More salt, more water, a fig newton and ice down my shirt. Time to run again.
The sun was out in full force now and on this side of the road and I was ducking into any shade I could find. Mile 5, 6, 7... caught 3 more guys in my AG.
Finally mile 8 and we get to turn around. Checked my watch and smiled when all I saw was my mile split and not my total run time. Hooray for not being able to do the math in my mind! I had no idea how I was doing other than for the mile I was currently running. It's about time I found something to quiet the voices in my head.
I had been looking for guys in my AG headed the other way. No one really stood out so as far as I knew, I could be winning my AG. If I wasn't, they were beating the crap out of me.
Kept a steady rhythm all the way back to town. Saw Andrew walking and talking, Gerald was too focused to even see me and Jim was in a world of hurt. He was jogging, but not really getting anywhere with it.
Came back to town at mile 14 and heard a woman yell, "Flag guy?" I turned and saw Marti Greer
(the RD for Buffalo Springs
) and she went nuts when she realized it was me and I couldn't help but smile.
Saw the marker to turn for lap 2 or go straight to finish. Damn did I ever wish I didn't have to turn. Saw Jess and her kissing booth. Nearly chocked up as I thought about all the BTers watching online. Okay, back to work.
Heading back out the sunner was even worse but there were alot more people. This was perfect. Catch that guy. Now that guy. Then that one. I could tell who were the people on their first lap and who were on their 2nd. So I had 3 people in general to keep my pacing but used everyone else as quick short goals. Just catch that one guy before the aid station.
This time around I started on the cola immediately. My legs were hurting and I was on the threshold of cramping. Now I have to start gambling. I know there are guys not far behind me on the road, but I have no idea if they're ahead or behind me.
I'll try to maintain my pace and not push it and risk cramping and falling back. For all I know I'm already in first place and don't have to gamble, but there's no way to know.
Thankfully the next aid station started giving out broth. I was almost though my salt tabs so I'd take whatever I could get. Sadly, with was the least salty broth I've had at a race. Damn. Gatorade, broth, cola and water it is.
Passed Andrew again and he was jogging this time. Come to the final turn around at mile 20. I don't even have to run a half marathon! Just a 10K and I'm done!
Picked up the pace a bit but couldn't do much without feeling the pain in my legs. More broth, more cola, more salt, more water. Now I had two solid pacers who had been with me for the last 10 miles.
4 to go. I wanna run a 5K. I just have to make it one more aid station and then I can run a 5K. Water, ice, sugar, run.
Finally made it back to downtown and you could feel the energy from the crowd. Turned left off of 3rd street for the last time and saw the Mile 26 marker at the corner.
Coming down the home stretch I saw Jess. Gave her a thumbs-up and stuck my tongue while I smiled. Hopefully she'd understand that I wasn't actually about to pass out at the finish.
Ran into the finish chute and basked in the light. The clock told me that I was under 11 hours once you subtracted my start time out. Couldn't have been more thankful to finally be done.
Overall position after the run: 109. 80 some odd if you take out the pro field. Good, but not good enough. I took 4th in my age group. 3rd wasn't far ahead and I was gaining ground. 1st and 2nd were ahead from the beginning and never looked back. Those two are still out of my league at the moment.
What would you do differently?:
Push harder on the last half and especially the last 6 mies. More salt earlier.
Slumped my shoulders and looked down as I headed toward the catchers. I caught a glimpse of Chris
) and knew I was in good hands. Once they had my arms I let them carry my weight and just a split second later I was in a wheel chair.
Someone gave me a sip of water while I just looked down and took deep breathes. Gave Jess a wink as they loaded me into a Gator and drove me to medical. From there two EMTs helped me walk to a cot. From there I got an IV and a light massage on my calves and hamstrings.
A half hour later I was amazingly refreshed. Cold, but still better. Sat up, watied for the dizzyness to pass then finally stood up. They threw all my things in a bag for me and I met Jess as the enterance.
Headed back to the finish and found a spot in the sun to make some phones calls and then wait for Andrew. Andrew came in, we picked up our stuff, got cleaned up in the apartment, then went back to eat while we watched finishers come in.
Great race. The change to the swim start was handled very well and overall it was a fantastic race.
Last updated: 2007-01-03 12:00 AM
01:10:01 | 3862 meters | 01m 49s / 100meters
86F / 30C
Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
05:31:28 | 112 miles | 20.27 mile/hr
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Shoe and helmet removal
03:58:29 | 26.2 miles | 09m 06s min/mile
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]
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