Well guys, I did it! And I can't seem to get the smile off my face. Thanks for all of the words of support out there. I am rooting for all of you on your first tri.I got to the race in the morning and I just couldn't believe how many people were there. The beautiful bikes, the guy on the bullhorn directing traffic, the bike maintenance tent...there were so many people in all shapes and sizes. The volunteers funneled everyone into the transition area. Ours was numbered, so I just went to my number and started setting up. I kept running through the transition in my head to make sure that everything was laid out perfectly. I went into the pool area (as this was a pool swim) and got body marked. That's when it hit me that I was there to race - this was not a clinic. I went back to the transition area at least six or eight times to check and recheck. It was nervousness, I guess.As the swim started, all of the elites shot out, and boy were they fast in the water. It was so cool to see them in the pool. I am number 303 out of 660, so I started an hour after the start. I went to the warmup pool and did a few laps, then went back to the main pool to wait. As they called my number and I got in the water, a nervous excitement melted over me almost like I was going to pass out in the pool. “Has anyone ever passed out in the pool?” I thought. The guy motioned down at me 5-4-3-2-1, and bam! I was off. The swim was fast and I lost count after my first four laps, so I just kept my head down, relaxed, and before I knew it, it was done. As I jumped out of the pool and ran down the mats, it became a new race. One element down and three to go. I got into the transition area and surprisingly got all of my bike gear on with no mistakes. I ran to the mounting area with my bike and was off. I had forgotten to clear my odometer, and fortunately I had my head about me and did it right at the start. I was so much faster than the folks that started with me according to my swim time, so I kept passing people. I was so nervous about penalties. I had to make sure that I stayed three lengths back and then passed in a total of 15 seconds. The bike is so relaxing because you have time to think. Did I transition correctly? Do I have everything on correctly? Is anything backwards? All of these thoughts kept running through my head until I just told myself to relax.
I kept watching my odometer and before I knew it I only had three miles to go on the 13 mile bike course. I started really pushing because my legs felt great. I kept trying to stay in aero but usually just kept in my drops. I could hear the crowd, and there was my wife. She had a big smile on her face holding my son, and boy do you want to talk about instant motivation. “Uhh-ohh, get back to concentration - I have to dismount the bike,” I thought. I rode it all the way to the line and hopped off. My legs didn't work, of course, but I was prepared for this in the countless bike-run bricks that I had practiced. As I put my bike on the rack, I found that this transition was much easier. The most important thing was that I didn't want to forget my number. I strapped it all on and was off on the run. Right then it started to rain—and not just sprinkle, but it poured and then the sleet started. I couldn't keep the smile off my face, as I thought that at least my first experience was going to be more fun to talk about. As I neared the finish I had two thoughts: –“I want to go farther - this is too short,” and ”Will my wife brave the elements and be at the finish line?” Well she wasn't there, and the vision of carrying my son across the line and having a great picture didn't happen, but I am a triathlete now and I can do that in the next race.