Wednesday, September 29, 2010

1st Triathlon!

I started running again a couple weeks ago and it finally doesn't make me sore for three days after.  So this Sunday since the weather was so nice and I had the opportunity, it was a good day for a bike ride, a run, and a swim!  I entered the TBF Granite Bay Triathlon which is a 3/4 mile swim, 13 mile road bike, and a 5 mile trail run.  I haven't swam since, oh... probably May of this year, but I'm pretty comfortable in the water so I was willing to just "get through" the swim.  I know a little bit about riding bikes and the run... well I don't know when I've ever run five miles at one time but I was up for it!
My transition gear
I donned my wet suit, goggles and swim cap and headed down to the water level of Folsom Lake, which was thankfully much higher than it has been the last few years.  Last year I remember it was a .8 mile sandy run up from the water to transition.  This year was probably about half that distance.
I was in the first wave to go off, of men age 34 and under.  The "gun" went off and we were running through the shallows and about 50 yards in it was finally deep enough to swim.  I started off to the side because I wasn't used to swimming in such close proximity to others.  I still had a little bit of an issue with a guy that seemed like he kept crossing in front of me, but maybe I was weaving around behind him, who knows?  The swim course was a two turn course in a big triangle with orange sighting buoys half way in between the turn buoys.  Well when I was almost to the first orange buoy, hardly a 1/6th of the way through the course, I wasn't very comfortable.  My arms were already starting to fatigue and my mind was getting some pretty panicky thoughts.  You know... "I can't touch the bottom!" "I've just started and I'm tired... I'm going to drown!"  etc. etc.  I almost turned around and quit right there... seriously.  But when I thought about quitting, I thought about how much I would hate that I quit.  So I told myself to calm down and just do 10 more strokes, and breathe.  Well 10 strokes came and went and I got into a rhythm, and before I knew it I was to the first turn buoy.  I kept that steady (but slow!) pace and never stopped and finally finished the swim... yes!  I ran up the beach and passed a few people before making it to T1 for the bike.
I got my shoes and helmet on as quick as possible and mounted my two day old Giant TCR Advanced 2 for the bike leg.  Honestly it felt a little weird getting on a bike right after swimming and my equilibrium seemed slightly off.  But a few hard pedals and I was right back at home.  The course was a good combination of rolling hills and turns so it was pretty fun.  I hammered and passed more people than I could count on the two 6.5 mile laps and made up a lot of the time I lost churning in the water.  The new TCR is so much fun to ride.  It's super responsive to any power I can give and it turns and handles incredibly quickly.  I really wished the bike leg was about 3 times as long, but it was over and I headed down into T2.
Off came the helmet and MTB shoes (haha!) and I pulled on my sweet super-meshy-water-tri geek-trail running shoes and was on my way.  I even did everything sock-less like a real triathlete!

I started out running with short strides to give my legs a chance to get out of pedaling mode which worked pretty well.  And I was in a good running rhythm after about 200 yards.
And then I got passed by a 44 year old guy (our ages were written on our calves), doh.  But he wasn't blazing by me so I stepped up my pace to match him and that was just about right.  I have no idea what pace we were going though, but it didn't seem like it was going to push me too much.  I ended up running with a group of guys in their 40's until we got into the trees and the fun trails with climbs.  I like climbs on the run!  I think because the leg motion is closer to that of a bike pedal stroke.  I powered through the first rollers and up a little steep climb, making motorcycle "BRAAP" noises in my head through the turns.  I was feeling good and, I'm almost ashamed to say, really enjoying running!  That might just be because it's something different than the hours and hours of bike time I've had for months straight.  But still, three miles into the run I was really amazed at how good I still felt!  We came up behind a woman who was running slower on some singletrack and the guys I was following just slowed down behind her and didn't pass.  Well I just did what I would do on the bike and went up into the grass and weeds and blew on by!  Woohoo!  This was kind of fun!  I was passing people on the run!  I never thought I'd do that!  I started to pick up the pace a little and then came the climb up to the water tower on Mooney Ridge.  This steep, sandy climb was riddled with people walking and I just kept on chuggin' and powered up.  The reward for the climb was the fun rutted descent that I liked to ride on the knobbies too.  It was harder to keep control running down it than it is to ride that's for sure.  I successfully made it to the bottom without slipping or twisting an ankle and a little over a mile later I crossed the finish line of my first triathlon!
What a sense of accomplishment trying something new, stretching yourself beyond your comfort zone, and succeeding gives!  I was really quite happy with myself.  I made it through the swim without stopping, had a good bike leg and pushed it the whole time, and kept a good pace on the run without stopping.  And most of all had a blast doing it!  Then I found out I placed 5th in my 25-29 age group!  Awesome!  The fastest overall time was 1hr 26min set by a guy in my age group and my time was 1hr 57min... ouch.  But I really didn't care that I wasn't close to the overall.  I had a great time and a great off-season workout.

1 comment:

  1. You are the most! It was great reading your report of the day...Dad