Saturday, May 7, 2011

First Tri

Congrats to me, I finished my first triathlon and didn't drown.

Overall the Jetton Park Triathlon went very well. My parents came to watch and my mom was am excellent cheerleader. I finished in 1:39 and some seconds and managed to come in 3rd in the Clydesdale division...3rd out of 6 people...

The swim was the most difficult part since I wasn't able to do a practice open water swim. I had no idea what I was in for or how goofy I look in a swim cap. Maybe it's my stupid smile in the picture. I got everything set up, didn't break a sweat while putting on my wetsuit, which was fairly tight, and got to the water and swam for a couple minutes. I freaked out at first since I couldn't see anything in the water, but didn't realize it was because everyone was walking around and churning up the clay ground. All of my swimming has been done in a 25 yard lap pool and swam for about 40 minutes continuously being able to touch the bottom the whole 25 yards. I got out of the water and stood for the National Anthem then waited for my wave.

The swim was 750 meters and I was in the 4th wave with each wave going off three minutes apart. I was never nervous during the wait which worried me since I thought I should have been. It sort of felt like a running race and I'm used to those, little did I know what I was in for. The three waves went off and I tried to see how people were getting into the water. I lined up with my group and kept telling myself to stay in the back and pace myself...Then the horn went off and I ran into the water and was in front of a good number of people...crap...not what I planned at all. The first 150 meters or so was fine and wasn't paying attention to how fast I was swimming. I figured a good number of people were swimming fairly slow. After about 25 meters I could see the bottom of the lake and was not comfortable with that since it didn't closely resemble a tile bottom with a blue line. I read a lot about the swim but nothing can really prepare you for it.

I stayed with a pack for awhile, which was a mistake since when I was 25-50 meters away from the first turn at 250 meters and heard the horn and realized I was having trouble breathing. This meant I swam 200 meters in 3 minutes which was much faster then my planned pace of 250 meters in about 5 minutes, I knew I was in trouble. When I hit the turn I was not breathing well at all and started to panic. I don't know if it was because I barely fit in my wetsuit and was having trouble breathing or if it was just because I was swimming too fast. I couldn't breaststroke and ended up doggy paddling for 15 seconds or so and had no idea what the hell I was doing. I finally flipped over on my back and pushed myself along while floating on my back. It took a couple minutes for me to calm down and towards the second turn people from the second wave started to pass me. The rest of the race was freestyle and the back float.

I made it out of the water and was not in any mood to run to my bike. After the swim the rest was a breeze...when compared to the swim. I got my wetsuit off in a flash, put my helmet, sunglasses and gloves on then ran to the mount line. The bike start was uphill and I decided to clip my shoes in and put my feet in them while riding, not a good idea but I can't run with speedplay cleats. It took forever to get my feet in my shoes since I couldn't get enough speed uphill. I finally got them in and was off.

The bike portion went slower than I thought it would mainly because it was a bit hilly. I didn't have any problems except for almost running off the road when I was trying to get my water bottle back in.

I got back into the transition area, almost knocked over a bike, threw my shoes on without any socks and was off...Why aren't my legs moving? I had done several transition runs at a decent pace for someone my size...about 9:30 miles...but I couldn't run below 10:30 and was already out of breath. With just a 5K run by itself I can do around 8:30 min/mile...considering I weigh 250, I'd say that's pretty decent. I was shocked as to how slow I had to run. Anyways, up the hill I went trading passes with this woman and a 14 year old girl (Who ended up finishing just behind me) Then back down the hill, along the lake and up another hill struggling to stay under 10 minute miles the whole way. I finally made it to the top of the hill and threw some water on my head to see what that would do. It probably just made me look stupid. I hit the final turn and was down to 9:30 miles. I tried to tell everyone I passed on the way back "good job." Back down the hill I went towards the finish. As I was about to make the last turn for the finish I heard "Here comes Brian...all the way from Alexandria, VA." It's about 6 hours away and this is a very small race. I crossed the finish line and was very glad to be done, but sad at the same time.My parents were waiting for me at the finish and the pictures are courtesy of my mom. They had a blast and stuck around with me for the awards since after looking at the results I realized I was somehow third in the over 200 group. I ended up winning a $10 gift card to one of the Tri stores in Charlotte. Not bad for my first race.

...I've got some weight to lose.

I found out this is only the 3rd year the race has been going on. My parents were telling me about some people they saw during the swim part. The winner was out of the water a good bit before the second person. My mom said one guy in the last wave turned around and came back after a couple minutes. A couple people couldn't walk a straight line when they got out of the water and apparently didn't continue since one of them fell over.

This coming weekend I'll be doing my second sprint tri in Annapolis...luckily the swim will be shorter and I know to not try to get out in front.

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