It has been a tough first year of triathlon. I only started into triathlon after buying a bike - because I got a stress fracture from running. I've been fighting IT Band issues since late July, and haven't been running much recently as a result.
Did I mention it was cold? Carrying my transition bag to the car, it was, cold, dark, and wet. Why I am up at this hour, in these conditions, I asked myself. Good thing my bike was already there...
A big shout-out to all the MMTC folks who made suggestions about gear, especially Tim, who brought extra gear for those of us that needed it. My toes were going numb standing around waiting for the swim start - but Tim had spare socks!
Swim: 29:15 (2:01/100)
I started out too fast - too eager to get going. After standing around in 45 degree air, the 65 degree water felt wonderful. Settled into a pace, passed a decent chunk of my AG (I was one of the last two in, and came out 5th), as well as slower swimmers from earlier waves. I'm not a great swimmer, but maybe I'm not quite as weak as I thought.
Long run from the water, up a decent hill, to get back to transition. Toweled off, put on a compression shirt, tri top, arm warmers, skullcap, sunglasses and helmet. Stupidly ignored Tim's advice - my hands felt good and I didn't feel like I needed gloves.
Bike: 1:47:28 (17.86 mph)
My fingers were freezing, and my toes were turning into blocks of ice. There were points during the ride where I had trouble reaching around to push the shifters. That will teach me about wearing gloves. Fun ride, pushed pretty hard, worried that I might be pushing too hard. Passed lots of riders, not passed by many, stayed in the same position in my AG.
Nearly fell off the bike dismounting. Feet felt very strange trying to run back into transition. Saw my wife and kids for the first time - had to straighten up and try not to shamble into transition in front of them. Off with the helmet, off with the skullcap, on with the visor, heading towards the run. Get to run out - don't have my race belt / race number. Back to transition to get it. Arrghgh!
Run: 55:54 (8:44/mile)
It took a mile or so for my toes to warm up. Was passed by one runner just after Gatorade hill, passed a couple on the way. Somewhere around mile 3, the lead runner in the 70-mile race passed me. Made me realize how far I am from world-class. I've run faster before, but never after a ride this long and hard. So I'm happy with my run.
Stupidly (there's that word again) shrugged off the offer of the shiny silver warmup blanket after crossing the line. By the time I got to the timing tent, my kneecaps hurt. My times as initially reported were wrong - they had me down with a 28mph bike ride and 22:15 miles on the run. Staggered back to transition for warm clothes, tried to be sociable but I was pretty much out of it. Had two race volunteers ask me if I was OK.
Turns out one of the athletes in my AG pulled a 2:35 today and made it to the overall leaderboard, so I got my first ever AG podium!
So many thanks due to so many MMTC members - too many to list here. What a great club, what a great (though tough) first year.