Wednesday, October 2, 2013

One Tough Weekend; Chapter One

Chapter One:  The Iron Soldier Sprint Triathlon; Take Two!

Saturday was my second chance at the Iron Soldier Sprint Triathlon.  One year ago I participated in my first triathlon.  In late winter I was able to do another one while on extended vacation overseas.

They say that you're not really a triathlete until you've done at least two triathlons, so count me an expert.

Ex = has been       -pert = flippantly cocky and assured

Yes, we have matching triathlon socks.
I spent the last year working on my swimming, my weakest event.  In June, I was the swim leg for a Team Aquathlon event, and was feeling pretty good about pulling a time closer to 10 minutes in this year's tri.  But then the month of July hit me really hard.  First it hit me with a horrible summer cold and sinus infection.  Then it hit me with a near death 72 hour flu.  Then it hit me with a car.  Not really my month.

I struggled in August to get healthy, and in September to get back into shape.  I finally got my swim time back to a low 12 minute mark and signed up for the tri.  Standing by the empty pool on Saturday morning, and later in line with 300 other swimmers, was the first time I didn't feel complete panic before getting in the pool.  Not counting the time it took me to jump in the water, or climb out the other side, I finished in 12:02 exactly; only two seconds off my target time.  I may or may not have done a quick victory dance in the pool which is why my recorded time was 12:12.
This sight used to intimidate me and cause real anxiety attacks.  Now it just looks peaceful.
The T1 (Transition 1) was much easier this time with a solid pair of triathlon shorts to make things simpler.  3:01 between the swim and bike.

The bike event is something that I never thought twice about.  All I had to remember was to not stop for anything and not drop my water bottle this year.  I was successful at both.  15 miles in 43:56.  Sucked down two gels during the bike ride so I wouldn't bonk before finishing the run.  May or may not have been a good idea.

The T2 was so much easier this time without having to switch shorts.  I threw my helmet and gloves off, pulled on my tri shoes and visor (thanks Mom and Dad), and took off.  1:28 from bike to run.

My legs felt completely drained and wobbly when I took off out of the transition area, but I remembered reading an article that said everyone's legs are wobbly, just maintain what you feel is a less than miserable pace and even though you feel like you're running slowly, you're actually going quite fast because your legs are adjusting to the different cadence between cycling and running.  Sure enough, at the 1-mile marker my watch said 7:40.  I just kept cruising along, fought off some cramps and bubble guts from the gels and water, and then crossed the line at 23:19.  Two seconds faster than last year.  I'll take it.

1:23:56 total for my overall.  I was 56th overall (out of 265 that finished) and 6/36 in my age group.  Can't complain.  In fact, I feel like bragging a little.  But then I remember that I was 220th in the swim this year out of 268 swimmers.  Time to get back in the pool before we go to Hawaii for the marathon.  No shark is getting a piece of this guy.  I will literally punch every single shark in the face, and then swim away very fast.  Say no to sharks.  Say yes to more swim practice.  (and then say no to blogging while under the influence of too much coffee and m&ms)

I will brag a bit about Char, who finished second in her age group.  She received the first place medal after the girl before her won the overall trophy.  Not bad for someone that 5 years ago didn't run or bike.