Today I completed my first triathlon, the Early Bird Sprint triathlon. Today I completed a milestone goal. While I finished my first triathlon I did not compete as well as I should have. Yes, I finished, but I did not finish as well as I should have and I had some major issues pop up. In some ways I am amazed I finished with some of the major issues I faced, but I knew I was strong and would finish this race at all cost. So in the end I finished and I am very satisfied and happy with that.
Not sure where to start with the day or the day before. My brother was supposed to race this race with me but he was sporting a 100 degree fever and I had to tell him to stay home and rest, we would race another day. This change required my mother to stay with my wife and I in our hotel, a source of stress. Besides that I kept waking up through out the night to check to see what time it was. I got a descent nights sleep and in the morning I was ready to go.
One thing I was worried about was acquiring familiar food before the race. As soon as we checked into the hotel, the front desk lady rummaged me up some oatmeal, yogurt and muffins for breakfast as I would be leaving before they opened the breakfast service. I felt this was a major win and I was ready to go.
Sunday morning I got up at 5 A.M. ate breakfast and headed to the race. I got there, checked the tire pressure along with everyone else showing up in the parking garage and headed to the transition area. I found my spot and began to set up. It was a little different with tons of other bikes and people milling around. I was eager and excited, and quickly found people around me that I chatted with for a bit. Then off to get body marked for the first time and get my timing chip. I was so excited and it felt so cool to be marked int the manner of a triathlon.
It was getting close to race time so I popped a gel and some water and headed to the pool. The gel packet I found worked for my 5k races to provide the burst of energy I needed and to assist with the high energy expenditure I usually burned through. The swim was done incrementally with each participant going ten seconds after each other. Before I knew it I was in the pool and lined up to start my swim. Before I knew it was starting my swim. I realized right away I was going too fast and could not get myself to slow down enough. Even worse, halfway through the swim disaster struck: suddenly my stomach felt like a hand had reached into it and grabbed and twisted it. It was terrible and made the last half of the swim a real struggle. I was majorly hurting.
I pushed through and finished the worst swim I had ever had, but my stomach was in knots. At transition I took longer than I wanted but I was just trying to get my stomach to calm down. I grabbed another gel and gulped down allot of water and off I went on the bike. The first six miles were horrid. Because I was feeling such deep seated hunger pains I had to fight and could not get my rhythm on the bike. My cadence and RPS were much lower than I would have preferred, I knew I was getting further behind time wise. The swim took me longer than it should have, probably over ten minutes and the bike was now going slower. The second six miles of the bike things went better. The gel kicked in and all of a sudden my pedaling became stronger. I started attacking some hills and ended up finishing the bike on estimation at an hour.
Because I spent so much energy in the first half of the bike, my legs were spent when it came to the run. But I was not going to quite. I worked through a series of walk/run pairs and ended up as the last participant on the course. I was not sure how much time remained before cut-off, which was two hours and fifteen minutes but I was bound and determined to finish the race regardless of the issues. As I came close to the finish line I was the last person on the course, so everyone was standing and cheering me into the finish shoot and to the finish line. In the end I finished the race, from what I understand, with less than three minutes remaining before cut-off.
It felt amazing crossing the finish line and pushing to finish. It was extremely disappointing to be the last person to come across the finish line but in the end I finished my first triathlon. There were only two Clydesdale in this race, so even though I finished last in the race I was still the second place winner. As soon as I was done and across the finish line I went and found my wife and shared a very emotional moment with her, I did it, I finished my first triathlon.
Now I have to figure some things out that were major issues in this race. The amazingly painful hunger pains in the swim being the first and foremost one of them. I ate a little more than I usually do before doing a brick or 5k run and I took a gel right before the race, usually a formula for success. My bike and run would have been better if I had not had this issue as this destroyed my swim and the first half of my bike. I also need to really work more on transitions. The official numbers have not come out yet, but I figure my time was close to two hours and thirteen minutes in the end. So many things to work on, that is next weeks goal. Tonight though the goal is to enjoy finishing my first triathlon and my default second place. I will draft my to be worked on items list from this event as I recover this week. For now I have finished my major objective, complete a sprint triathlon and do it with my head held high. Today I completed a major milestone. Til next time.
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