Sunday, December 02, 2007

I FINISHED!!! Tri Race Report.

I finished the triathlon today and I am exhausted. It was so much fun getting there with all the bikes and banners and people and spandex. (Side Note: If you are a very modest man triathlon may not be the sport for you, and many of these spandex men were not modest).

We arrived at the venue about 20 minutes before registration closed and Ray and I pushed my bike around from timing chip rental to registration to body markings (Where they write the number on your shin, I was 315) to t-shirt pick up and then finally to the transition area.

In the transition area I tried to find a spot where I would be able to find my bike after the swim. I didn't want to be that guy walking around for 7 minutes searching for his stuff, I saw that guy last week, nobody wants to be that guy. So, I found a nice spot on the end of aisle 2. I looked around and tried to imitate what everyone else was doing. I laid out my ground towel, my bike shoes, running shoes, socks, I put my sunglasses in my bike helmet (like the guy next to me), over all of this I laid my shirt. I really looked like I knew what I was doing. However, I had no idea.

Then it was time to walk to the starting line, I called it the March of Spandex. Hundreds of men and women, in spandex, walking to the water. I saw a young child cry, I would have too buddy.

The women started 10 minutes before the men. So Ray and I watched as the ladies got in the water and started swimming. A couple of minutes later I left Ray and went and got in the water, it was freezing, but after a minute I was fine.

Then it was time for the men to star. I couldn't believe it I was at the start for a freaking triathlon, what was I thinking? We were all in the water waiting for the gun and then "crack" we're off. It was a chaotic tangle of arms flailing and legs kicking. I caught an elbow to the head and gave a few as well. It was awesome.

I had 2 goals for the swim portion of the race:

1. Don't Die
2. Swim freestyle for the entire race.

About a minute into the race my goal #2 went out the window. I totally panicked in the water. I have never really swan in open water before and I lost my composure completely. I am normally a calm guy in scary situations, but I was terrified. I think it was a combination of all the people and the choppy water splashing me every time I tried to breath. I have been working so hard on my swimming and my technique and all of that went out the window.

I started doggy paddling and some stroke that I invented that I classify as a kind of "side stroke". I hit the first bouy and turned left. Using my homemade side stroke I made it to the second bouy and checked my time, about 7 minutes. Not bad for not really swimming, but then it hit me, I was in a river and had to go back up stream. On third leg of the swim I started trying to swim like a normal person. I was using this experience to learn how to swim in open water. So I would do 10 or so freestyle strokes and then freak out and do the side stroke, them 12 or 15 then side stroke. At this point all the swimmers were really spread out so I wasn't feeling so claustrophobic anymore. I hit the last bouy and turned toward shore, mostly swimming freestyle and exited the water in around 18:00. It was so slow, but I was just happy to be out of that river.

As I exited the water I saw Rach on the side cheering me on and I jogged the 200 or so meters to the transition area.

In T1, as we triathletes say, I threw on my shirt, but had to sit down to pull my socks on, I was feeling a bit wonky as the British would say. I got dressed, got my helmet and sunglasses on and jogged with the bike out of the transition area to begin the bike leg of the race.

I have never ridden a road bike with other people before. However, I have watched the Tour De France so I know a little about what it looks like. I know I am supposed to ride near other people and always have a look of pain on my face, so I did my best to practice this technique.

The look of pain was easy, I kept it on my face throughout the entire event, but riding near other people was difficult because they kept passing me and riding faster than me. Sometimes I was with people and then sometimes I was alone. I finally got into the groove and had a really good bike leg. My finishing time was about 10 minutes faster than I have ever ridden 20kms before, which helped make up some time from my horrible swim. But, I was scared of what it may have done to legs, there was still a run to do.

As I came around the corner heading back to transition I see Ray sitting on the side of the road, she yelled encouraging things to me like, "Go Chris!" and "Good job Chris!" and "Hey, at least you're not in last place!" It was good for the heart.

I enter T2, as we triathletes say, racked my bike and slipped on my running shoes and was off on the final leg of the race.

The run started on a trail and wound its way up hill for most of the first 3rd of the leg, this of course sucked. my legs felt like they were made of cement, I could barely lift my feet off the ground at first, it took about 2 kms to get any sort of groove on the run. I jogged slowly and walked occasionally and at the 4 Km mark I decided no more walking and wanted to finished the race strong. It was so much fun running down the grass hill to the finish line knowing that I was completing my first triathlon, it was awesome.

I fell short of some of my goals, like not swimming freestyle the whole way and having to walk a little on the run. But, I did beat my 1:45 time goal. I think I finished in 1:38 (the official times will be out tomorrow) and I rocked on the bike portion (well, at least rocked for me) and I also learned a lot and will be way more prepared next time. I trained for 8 weeks and it was really only 5 because I was really slack for 3 of the weeks. So, I think I did well. Cheers.



Betsy said...

that's awesome! nice job!

SouthAsiaRocks said...

Awesome! I love your "write-up" on your "tri" :) Whoo hoo! Go Chris!!