A huge “Thanks!” to Greg & Denise Safko and all the volunteers for putting on such a great race. And another “Thanks!” to Greg for giving me the opportunity to be there...I was the guy who won the drawing for the race entry fee at the April meeting! This was going to be my first tri and even though I’d been riding my bike regularly and running occasionally, I wasn’t a swimmer and I had a lot to learn! I actually went to the April meeting specifically to hear Sarah Thorpe talk about swim technique because I knew that was going to be my biggest hurdle.
Training highlights...or lowlights!?:
- With 11 weeks until race day, I found a 12 week beginners' program and got busy. I was already a week behind.
- On April 29th I swam my first laps in a pool ever!
- Went to May MMTC meeting and learned a bunch about transitions.
- As a tri-newbie, going to far, too hard, too fast can hurt. Somewhere around week 6, I started getting crazy calf cramps during my runs and was told by some PT's that I was running too far too soon in my training. They told me to “slow down.”
- By week 8 I was feeling pretty beat up (sore legs, sore shoulders from a couple weeks of “technique-deficient swimming”, sore butt from riding) and run down so I took the week off and started back up with 3 weeks to go - and felt a ton better physically and mentally.
- A couple weeks to race day - I went to a race day prep clinic given by fellow MMTC-er, Michelle Bull and got a bunch of great tips and was reminded to have fun! I also went on a group ride of the bike course that day and left feeling a lot more comfortable about all the race day stuff.
- During the last week I remembered something Michelle said about setting goals and having fun. Having no real idea of how things would go, I set my 3 level goals as 1) Finish...with dignity, 2) Finish under 2 hours 3) Finish under 1 hour 30 min and no matter what have fun.
Race day highlights:
- Arrived around 6:15am and set up transition area which went pretty quick. I had pre-racked my bike the night before so now I only needed to get my timing chip and get marked and then wait for my 9:12am swim time.
- 400m Swim (16:56 - 261/263 o.a. & 24/24 a.g.) Ouch!!! I knew this would be my weakest link but didn’t know there would be so much room for improvement! Remembering my “have fun” goal I made some jokes with the lap counters and managed to smile randomly a few times too.
- T1 (2:59 - 124/263 o.a. & 13/24 a.g.) Putting on a tight fitting bike jersey on a wet body can be slow...
- 14 mile Bike (50:02 - 82/263 o.a. & 10/24 a.g.) I love riding my bike but I consciously held back a bit so I wouldn’t go crazy and burn out early. I even left myself some notes on a piece of tape on my stem - “Go Easy - Eat - Drink - Smile” - and I made a point to thank all the volunteers I passed and to cheer on any fellow competitors I passed, too. That was fun!
- T2 (1:44 - 156/263 o.a. & 13/24 a.g.) It was a blur and I really didn’t want to run but I knew from doing my bricks that if I just got my legs moving...
- 3.1 mile Run (29:03 - 102/263 o.a. & 14/24 a.g.) Even though I really wanted to stop, I just kept moving my legs and at just about the 1 mile mark I was actually feeling pretty good. Again I held myself back a little, remembering the uphill finish but I started to go a little harder at the start of mile 3. Again thank you’s and words of encouragement were freely distributed.
- Overall 131/263 and Age Group 13/24 so middle of the pack for my first tri! And what a blast!
Lots to learn, looking forward to solving more pieces of the puzzle, meeting more triathletes - MMTC’ers and otherwise - and having fun.