Saturday, September 02, 2006

September 2, 2006 -- It's over! I did it!

Swim: 750m (16m24; 2m12/100m)
T1: 6m21
Bike: 30km (58m27; 30.8kph)
T2: 4m45
Run: 5km (23m59)
Total time: 1h49m54
Placing: 197/279 overall; 140/173 overall men; 24/32 men 35-39

I did it! But I almost didn't. Here's my story.

The Warmup

I got there nice and early, about 6:30. Got a great parking spot and had lots of time to get ready and check out where I was about to do all this stuff. Got my numbers painted on, grabbed a swimcap, got my timing chip and made it to the orientation.

Back in the transition zone, I managed to meet up with a couple of folks that I work with. That helped get rid of some jitters and passed some time. And I got a couple of last minute tips.

Then I headed to the beach about 15min before my event started. The air temperature was 15degC, and there was a wind, so I didn't want to get in too soon for fear of getting cold. I managed to get in 5min before and tried to get into a rhythm....and couldn't find it. Not even close. I started to panic, and all I could think was "I can't do this!" I got back to the beach and wasn't sure what to do next. Honestly, I was freaked when I got on the sand.

Then the official announced "One minute to start." And it's a good thing, 'cause it forced me on-the-spot to decide what the hell I was going to do. Seeing all the kayaks out there, I decided to give it a shot. I really couldn't have left without trying. Too bad it took me this long to realize that.

The Swim

Before I knew it, people were cheering and bodies were falling into the river. Myself and 10 others stood by patiently for the kicking and slapping to get ahead of us, and we proceeded into the water. This time I was much more fluid and calm, and I didn't let the weeds get to my head (I hate weeds in the water!). I actually managed about 75m smoothly when I realized that I was going to collide with someone. I popped my head up and realized that I was 25m was this other guy. Set my direction and head out for more. Now it's easier 'cause we're deep enough that the weeds aren't in my face. Now the waves are bigger - must be near the lead boad. I was right! And I was almost crossing into the lead swimmers! And that's how my swim went - swim, correct, swim more. I did find it more efficient to switch to breaststroke when sighting past the half-way point, but I think I was getting tired too.


Coming out of the water, I decided that I'd lightly jog into the T-zone. Let me tell you that the swim/run transition is just as hard as the bike/run one! I got to my bike, put on my shirt, socks, shoes, helmet and gloves, had a drink and was off. Running out of T1 I then realized just how far we had to run before we could mount - a good 400m! I was really looking forward to riding then, not running!

The Ride

There was a steady 10-20km headwind for the outward part of the loop, and I was a bit concerned about this. Turns out it made no difference for me. I was low on the bars the whole time, nibbling on two espresso HammerGels for the duration, and my pace was very even throughout. It was really an uneventful ride, although doing a sharp hairpin turn at the turnaround point while clipped in the pedals is a bit nerveracking the first couple of times.

I did see a lot of flats, with the majority of those affected without spares and tools. Not sure why - the extra 1/2lb of weight really isn't anything to be concerned about.

While I had no problems on the bike at all, I did notice when I got home that my back tire was very low. I don't remember feeling sluggish on the bike, so it may have punctured on the run back to the T-zone, but I'm really not sure. I think my luck held today!


I managed to remember that yes, in fact there is a run to do still, so I backed off on the effort in the last couple of minutes on the bike, and ran easily into T2. This one would be a quicker change - rack the bike, remove helmet and shoes, and put on the running shoes. A quick drink and I was off. Sound fast? Well, I did take my time here, as I could feel the calves starting to cramp up a bit.

The Run

24min?!? I'm stuck thinking that run was shorter than 5km, but I can't prove it. I had a nice pace, but it felt more like 26min pace than 24min (if that was the case, then it would have been short by about 250m). The cramping went away rather quickly, and thanks to good fuelling on the bike, I was able to easily pass the water stations with no ill effects. I managed to keep a very even pace again, even with the return uphill after the turnaround point. Coming into the finish, I hadn't realized that my number was covered by my shirt - I was too busy enjoying the crowd and trying not to tear up and fall on my face. 25m from the finish the announcer says "Ya gotta show me your number, buddy!" Raising my shirt to reveal the number (and probably some midriff too) he sees #409. Suddenly he and three others belt out "She's real fine my 409! My 4-0-9!"

I've had that song stuck in my head ever since.

It was a terrific day. I really did miss my family there, but I still made them (and myself) very proud. But really, they were always there with me, and through more than just today. My wife's continual encouragement and butt-kicking, the thoughts of my parents and in-laws, my daughter's questions of "Are you sticky, daddy?" - it was all there everyday for no less than the last nine weeks of training.

And as for their attendance, well, I'm sure that they'll be at my next one. That's right - I'll be putting myself through this again next year. I think I may be hooked.

And now, tired and sore, I wear my body markings like medals of honour. I'm just hoping that they last until I go back to work on Tuesday.

Thanks to everyone for their encouragement and kind remarks. And if you're wondering if this is for you, you won't know until you try. And yes, you can do it.


At 8:24 a.m., Blogger Kim said...

Woohoo!!!! Excellent!!!! That was a really good race!!!

At 9:46 a.m., Anonymous JACKED UP said...

Awesome job! Way to overcome that initial fear and settle in for the duration. Triathlete! :)

At 5:02 p.m., Anonymous willyg said...

It is things like the triathlon that impress me so much that it can be done by people and when it is done by mt son it is even more impressive. Congratulations on the fine work done.

From Dad


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