Well, I would love to say I had a great race...or that the race went the way I'd hoped...but that would be a total lie. I have been not training, not motivated to train and apathetic about racing at best. Because of the illness, surgery, more illness, lung infection and general malaise, I haven't done a triathlon in almost a year. A year?! Jesus! So what better thing could I do than sign up for a race to shake the silliness right out of me, right? Right?! It was a new race for me (although in an area I know pretty well) and I was beyond anxious about it. Taking my bike down off its rack the night before to prep it I had to clean off the dust. DUST?! Wow, its been a while since I've touched my bike. I went through my packing lists and tried to layout everything like it was just a routine thing.
Getting to the race I was a bit on edge (could you not tell in that first pic?) and setting up transition was a challenge because I had to ask folks around me to rack their bike properly. I that to be that guy but come on people, look around and see what everyone else is doing. The race is run by MRA (a local race management group that I have nothing but great things to say about. If you want a great, well organized race, do an MRA one...you won't be disappointed) and the volunteers and race staff were all smiles. Which I never realized has a pretty calming effect. One thing worth pointing out is that bike numbers they gave out were really cool. Made by a local company called "Smart Mount" they're like what you see in pro bike races and were super easy to put on, no muss no fuss. But I digress.
1/2 mile swim (um, no) - 24:23
Although the water wasn't that cold, I decided to go with a full wetsuit because I just got it and wanted to try it out. Taking in an easy swim before the start I looked at the buoys and it seemed a little long but I'd wait until the race brief to be worried. Sure enough, in going over the swim course in the pre-race announcements it was actually longer than I originally thought. Now I don't have a calibrated eye but even I know that out to the first buoy and back was half a mile..no need for the other 2 buoys! And yes a half mile swim (what the race was billed as) or longer shouldn't be a big deal but longer is NEVER better...when it comes to swims at least. I have not been swimming a lot lately and I didn't have the confidence of lots of swim fitness to slough it off. Add in that it was a "rolling start/time trial" start (which I absolutely hate) and I placed myself near the back by accident and queue the nerves. When the mantra in your head as you swim is "just make it out of the water, you'll be fine on the bike and run" it is not going to be a good day. As I came to the swim exit, I couldn't get my wetsuit off for the life of me. I don't know if it was fatigue, being out of practice, anger or what but I had the grace and speed of a dying rhino. I glanced down at my watch to see I was at .78 miles instead of .5 miles for the swim...just as a ran by the race director I did have enough energy to say "half mile swim my ass".
T1 - 3:02
I got into transition STILL with my wetsuit on, gassed, and barely able to catch my breath. I actually had to sit down to get my wetsuit off. IT honestly was like I've never raced at all before. I even forgot how to use my v800 (so the data for the race just ended up that it was one long swim, ugh)! I fumbled my way out of transition to get out on the bike.
Bike - 16.5 miles - 52:45 (18.76mph)
Ah, the bike...my leg of a triathlon. Oh, no it was not. Even though the course was relatively flat with rolling hills I couldn't but settled in or comfortable at all. Since my watch wasn't giving me the proper data, I just focused on trying to catch and pass people. So much so that when I got the 10mi marker I realized my dry mouth had come from not drinking anything (other than some lake water during the swim) up to this point. I know I should've something positive to focus on but instead I was just taken aback at how poorly I was doing up to this point. Then the age old triathlete problem hit...I had to pee. Damnit, peeing on the bike...yet another thing I was that I was out of practice. Maybe i could hit the porta potty in transition before going out on the run. Well, keep grinding and get to transition.
Learning from the T1 debacle I was thinking about how to better execute T2 while I was riding in. As I got off the bike and saw how many people were already out, I just skipped hitting the porta potty (I'm not wasting MORE time getting out of a skinsuit to pee). Thanks goodness I got in and out trouble free at least.
Run - 2.5 miles - 19:43 (7:53min pace)
Yup, haven't done bike run bricks in a while and my legs let me know quickly. I thought that they'd come back quickly...but considering we had to run up stairs...and then continue running practically uphill to the first mile maker..I felt like I was made out of cement. I just kept telling myself that it'd be downhill, the finish was close and it'd all be over soon. Ya, when you hear that coming from me...at a sprint tri...you know I'm having a sh*tshow of a time. I crossed the finish line in 1:40:58, 45th overall and 9th in my age group. I have always prided myself on being in a level of shape that allowed me to pick any race, show up and be competitive. That was blatantly not the case today. I have no one to blame but myself. The only thing I can do is use this as a learning lesson and motivator and work to get back to the "me" I expect for race day. But now I'm going to have some pizza...