Mission Accomplished! My first triathlon…my first 70.3. Two words describe this event for me…Painful and awesome!
It is hard to describe how I felt as we waded into that water for the tread water start. Air temp was cool and crisp but the lake was very comfortable making the entry pretty calming. Once I was past the point of being able to touch a little apprehension set in. This was the point I felt committed. Not that I wasn’t before but for some reason my mind told me at the precise moment there was no turning back or quitting.
It was a 630 start and the air temp was creating a fog on the water. We could not see the buoy at the turn around point a little over a half mile ahead. The swim was an easy (easy is a relative term I know)down and out. My goal was 47 minutes. One minor foot cramp and a brief redirection (Yes you can get off course swimming) and I was out in 43.
Transition…7 minutes not good. But this race was, for me, all about the actual race time. I had not real intention on transitioning fast so not a real issue for me (other than at the end when I saw how close I was to my goal and my “T” times were really the difference. Oh well, definitely a focus for the next race.
Bike…got out to a good start. First 10 miles were hilly, not bad but not flat. The six miles after were flat but with a cross wind that was a bit challenging to keep a decent average speed up. Different pavement along the way made for an interesting ride. But the new bike held up well. I was so happy to have a new ride under me. Made all the difference in the world. the turn around at 28 miles seems an almost impossible point to reach but after the turn the ride became much more comfortable and relaxing. Speeds picked up and at some points I was hitting 28-30 mph with little effort…until the headwinds! Boom! If I averaged 17 mph for those 6 miles heading into the hills I would be surprised. I did stop at the last aid station to stretch my back (realized my core is not strong enough for that long of a ride). Then I hit the hills heading back to the transition and I came in 15 minutes sooner than I planned.
Transition…7 minutes again. As before not trying here but lamenting after the fact.
Run…I do believe I entered the 9th or 10th level of Dante’s hell on this run. For two miles my quads felt tight and almost unmoving. I managed to average a 10 minute mile for the first two and was crazy to feel the lactic acid drain from my quads and a relaxed feeling settle over my legs. Now this was not a flat run by any means. Hilly it was. Gravel for about 1.5 miles played a small amount of havoc on my feet and I did realize my shoes had seen their last run. Mile 9 was the kicker…calf cramps plagued me for the rest of the run. Dehydration, nutrition, overworked, I don’t know but serious research is happening to make sure I can beat these cramps next time. Mile 11 had doubt in my mind about finishing and a whole lot of prayer was happening to get me over the last hill. But when I could see the finish line and hear the cheers of people…I could hear my name and I could see my friend Dan (who had smoked me on this race, the word BEAST does not adequately describe his performance that day) clapping and waiting was just awesome.
This was a learning experience, and right of passage for me into triathlons racing, and a spiritual awakening as to the possibilities of where I can really push myself mentally and physically. I thank GOD for this finish and look forward to bringing a new level of fitness, determination and emotional fortitude to the next race.
Jeffrey “Previously Fat Guy”