For over a year I have been waiting to complete a triathlon. Ever since I spoke to my friend Mark back in April of 2007, I had a new goal to achieve. I had no swimming background, no cycling background and the only running I ever did was in the Navy 11 years ago. I was already working out at my local YMCA trying to get fit and lose some weight so I thought this would be another great way to get in shape and have fun doing it.
Forward to 2008. After a long winter learning how to swim and nursing a bum ankle. I finally was able to get my butt in gear and train for my races this year. Then the company I was working for decides to pack up operations and move to Michigan. So training was put on hold so I can focus on finding a job. Timing was horrible since my wife and I are expecting our 3rd child in October. So finding a job was top priority over everything. After only a few months of searching I found a job as a temp to hire that was only 5 minutes away from my house. My wife and I decided that I would work both jobs for 7 weeks so I can receive the severance and bonus packages from the job that was moving. So for 7 weeks I worked 80 hours a week. No time for training. But after a few weeks I did start to find time to run during my lunch break at my day job. I was determined to fit one triathlon into my 2008 season. So if I wasn’t running at my day job, I would run at my night job. That worked out well and I got back into my running rhythm. I started swimming after I left my night job and started biking to work.
I set the alarm for 3:45AM. Registration opened at 5:00AM and I wanted to get there early so I would have plenty of time to set up transition and just mingle around. Of course I only slept for 4 hours since it took forever to fall asleep and I woke up at 3:30. It was going to take around 45 minutes to get to the race so I ate a banana and a Chocolate chip cliff bar on the way.
It was still dark out when I arrived. They were handling registrations by car lights. I went down, registered, got my goody bag and went back to the car. Grabbed my stuff and bike and headed to the transition area. The transition area was in a nice grass field. Before I knew it the place was packed with people. I was getting very excited and nervous. I took a walk down to the water and was surprised to see that the water was very choppy. Not the ideal conditions for my first real open water swim. I was very glad that I rented a wetsuit for this race.
Went back to transition and hung around a while. I spotted one of my old Professors from URI at the race. I chatted with him for a bit and then went back to my bike to put on the wetsuit. A very kind gentlemen helped my zip up my wetsuit and I did the same for him and we both made our way down to the water. I jumped in for a little warm up swim. I was so happy to see how much buoyancy I had with the combination of saltwater and a wetsuit. All my nerves about finishing the swim were gone. The water was very nice too, but the chop looked like it was getting worse. There were 4 waves and I was in the 2nd one. The first wave went out and everyone started cheering. What a rush! Three minutes after the first wave it was my turn. I set my self in the middle back I figured I would let the fast people go in front of me. The horn sounded and we were off. The waves from the chop were over my head and made it very difficult to take breaths from either side. What ever swim form I had was thrown out the window due to the chop and all of the swimmers I was around. (Note to self: don’t worry about the slow swimmers, go around them or swim over them) I made it to the first turn and there were 2 guys holding onto the buoy, oh great not a good sign. After the bottle neck of swimmers around the first buoy I managed to get into a rhythm. I started breathing from my left side since the waves were coming in from the right. Made it to the 2nd and final buoy and saw more guys holding onto the buoy. By this time I had a clear lane to the beach. Not to many guys in front of me. But as soon as I turned the corner the sun was glaring right towards me and I couldn’t see the swim exit. So I followed a guy in front of me until I could see the exit and swam has hard as I could for the last minute or so. I stood up, took my goggles and cap off and started running to transition. While running to transition I knew in my heart that I was about to complete a triathlon. I was worried most about the swim. And I knew once I finished that, it was smooth sailing from here on out. It was awesome listening to the cheering crowd as I ran past them! Swim - 9:22
The run up to transition was a good 100 yards or so. I told my self that I was in no hurry and to take my time. Got the wetsuit off with no problems, got my socks and sneakers on, took a gel, drank some water, put the helmet on, sunglasses and race belt and I was off. 1st Trans - 3:57
The bike was a 3 loop 10 mile total course around Colt State Park. It was really nice and couldn’t beat the view of Narragansett Bay. I tried to stay in aero for most of the bike, but around lap 3 my legs started to hurt a little so I would break out of aero a lot. I am still not that comfortable in the aero position, probably due to the lack of time I spent on the bike this year. I couldn’t tell what my place was with others since it is a small 3 loop course. My only concern was my tires. I really didn’t want to have a tire blow in the middle of the bike. I also slowed up a bit on the last portion of the 3rd lap. I wanted to give my legs a little rest before the run. Bike - 39:31
I came into transition, took my helmet off, racked my bike and I was off. 2nd Trans - 1:10
I had no strategy for the run. I was really going for negative splits but I just wanted to complete this triathlon. I went out to fast with my first mile coming in at 9:34. My legs were feeling good and I thought I could keep the pace up, I was wrong. After mile 1 I started to slow down. And to make matters worse there was a hill about ¼ mile into the 2nd mile. At least at the top of it was the only aid station on the entire course. I grabbed some water, drank a little and poured the rest over my head. That felt good. Mile 2 came in at 9:57. Slow but still happy it was under 10 mins. I could hear the crowd cheering as I came closer to the finish. I really wanted to sprint my last ¼ mile, but I had nothing left. As I came closer to the finish line I saw Kim and the kids cheering me on! That was awesome. The run came in a little under 3 miles, 2.78 miles or something like that. Run - 26:47
I crossed the finish line with a time of 1:20.49. I took off my chip and received my finisher’s medal. I was wicked excited to get a medal. I didn't think we were going to get medals. I walked around to cool off for a second and then went to see Kim and the kids. Brady was so excited and was asking if I won the race. I told him I didn’t win the race but I have a lot of fun. I took Brady over to the snack area and grabbed some fruit and cookies. I have to say there was a lot of snacks to choose from. After a few pictures I broke down my transition area, packed up the car and headed home.
Swim: Next time start towards the front or side, not in the back. Most of the swimmer in my class are not very fast. I was constantly checking to see if anyone was in front of me. Next time, don’t worry about others, just swim! I lost a lot of time in the water because I was too concerned with other people. There is a time to be nice and there is a time to race! Oh yeah, anti fog stuff on my goggles will help also!
Bike: How about ride the bike more then 6 times before doing a triathlon. I left a lot of time out on the bike course because I did not get enough training on the bike. Most of that was due to my 80 hour work weeks that lead up to the race, but there should be no excuses. Practice in aero more and get a new helmet!
Run: For running, I think I just need to run more. The more I run the faster I will become. I had nothing left after the run. Normally I have a little left in the tank so I can sprint to the finish line. Not this time. I should start to incorporate track workouts and tempo runs into my training.
Transitions: Not much to improve on there unless I get those fancy clip on shoes for my bike. Coming out of the water I probably could have done things a little faster, but I didn’t want to forget anything.
This was an awesome race and I can’t wait to do another one. I am totally hooked on Triathlons now. I want to thank Mark (aka Moonpie) for getting my ass off the couch and showing me the cool sport of Triathlon. Thanks to John (aka Tri-John) for passing the Profile Airstryke aero bars to me. I will make sure to pass it onto another tri-newbie. Also to all of those awesome Tri bloggers out there! You guys are a wealth of information. And to my family, thanks for cheering me on from my first 5k to my first triathlon, you guys are awesome!
No firms plans for next year, but I am sure there will be a couple triathlons in there!
1 day ago