Coming from a running background, I was a little nervous about the swim and bike, but tried not to be anxious for the race. The evening before the race we (my wife, two children and mother-in-law) stayed in Ocean City. My wife and I were going to go to the race and everyone else was to stay at the hotel... plans changed in the morning and everyone ended up going. This turned out to be really nice - especially seeing them during the race and at the end.
I was anticipating a rainy morning, but it turned out to be a great race day - overcast and comfortable. I took everything to the transition area to set up and had some help from some really nice people. I think it was obvious that it was my first tri - it was either the vibe I was sending out, or maybe the mountain bike I was using. (Thanks Matt Olsen for the road bike, but it didn't work out - pedals, no practice ride, etc.) I eventually got the bike racked and set up the area. During pre-race announcements they said that the steps to the dock had floated away the night before the race so we would have to use the steps on the opposite side of the pier. Thought that was kinda funny.
Swim: (17:40) I had done three OWS (thanks Linda for doing the Sandy Point Swim) prior to the race. Two of them didn't go so well with the breathing, the third was great. I was in the second wave of swimmers - thankfully I had 3 minutes to check out how the swim was going for the first group. I stayed to the back of my wave, but ended up somewhere in the middle of the back as we rounded the first buoy. About halfway to the second buoy, I got my breathing under control and actually felt like I was swimming instead of just staying afloat. I was also doing much better at going in a straight line, unlike practice where I tend to go from one side to the other and have to constantly correct my path. At some point near the second buoy, I noticed that I swam over the lower half of another swimmer. It wasn't till I passed over him that I realized he was swimming perpendicular to the swimming route. I'm glad I was heading in the right direction, but still felt bad. The rest of the swim was uneventful and I managed to only get passed by one person from the third wave and stayed somewhere in the mid to back of my wave. I ran to the transition area and began trying to shed my wetsuit. Thanks to the girl with the balloon on the rack across from mine it was easy to find my spot. I had no real problems getting shoes, shirt, shorts and helmet in place. The bike came off the rack and away I went... T1 2:26 - not so bad, I guess.
Bike: (56:07, 16.1 MPH) My plan was to get a nice pace and just stick with it. The course was nice and flat. Only a couple of areas where the wind was in my face. I was passed by a lot of people and didn't pass anyone. Oh there was that one guy, but he passed me again about 2 minutes later. I just tried to keep in mind that my favorite part of the race was still to come - the run. Several people had well wishes on the way by "keep it up", "good job", etc - maybe from the looks of my poor mountain bike and fat tires. It was motivational. I was shooting for under and hour, so I was good with how it went. As I rounded the final turns, I tried to prepare for transition, knowing that I wanted some gu. I racked my bike downed the gu, some water and ran towards the exit... oh crap, I forgot to take my helmet off. A quick u-turn to drop off the helmet and I was out of there. T2 0:54.
Run: (23:02, 7:26/mi) It was nice to run out of the transition and be on the last part of the race. My feet had some pins and needles for the first few yards but overall I felt OK... no calf pain or cramps, yeah! I passed some people and congratulated a bride - she was wearing her veil. I think her husband was out there too, but I never saw a tux anywhere. My family was there to cheer me in to the finish. That was great.
This was a really great race to do as a first triathlon. It was low pressure, people were very helpful and it was very organized. Hopefully it fits in with our race schedule next year so that I can do it again.
As a side note, the people that I have met in the club have been great. The first time I met Matt, he offered his road bike for me to use. Thanks again Matt and congrats Ironman! Hopefully I will be able to attend more club functions in the future. I have signed up for the Eagleman and the HalfFull. I look forward to meeting with everyone in the upcoming year.