AG Place 11/17
Overall Place 83/261
First, let me wax philosophical for a moment. Endurance athletes are warriors. It takes a lot of heart to do this to yourself. All warriors have enemies, but there are so many things against the Age Group Triathlete especially. Fitting training into your life is probably the biggest enemy. There are many others as well, including cost, time away from your kids, the physical and mental toll training takes on your body...the list goes on and on. This week the battle was harder than it has ever been for me, emotionally, mentally, and physically. This was a hard race, but the days leading up to it were far harder still... Athletes aren't made on race day. That isn't even the battle, it's just the victory lap. The battle is in day to day life.
The swim went well for me, and seemed longer than I expected for 400M. I took a few elbows, and unfortunately delivered some as well, but for the most part I didn't hit too much congestion.
About 10 steps out of the pool I slipped on the concrete deck and landed hard. I felt the concrete hit my head and heard a collective "ouch" from the spectators. I got up and kept going, but I felt the sting of a skinned knee. It didn't seem too bad at the time though.
I got over the timing mats and into my transition area. Everything went as planned and I was on the bike. It wasn't an especially fast transition, but it wasn't bad for my first one.
The bike portion of the race was my best leg by far. I felt strong. I stayed aero, I drank alot, and I passed alot of people.
My head was feeling a little messed up, from falling...but what was worse was the stinging feeling getting stronger in my right leg. I looked down at about mile 10 and saw blood running down my knee and thought "oh, skinned knee, I can deal."
The wind was awful, at about 35mph. Heading into the wind our speed dropped to almost nothing and forced me into my 34 ring, which sucked but I was going to burn my legs out fighting the environment. When I thought about slowing down, my mind was immediately drawn back to a conversation I had with a close friend just yesterday. Without going into details, I found strenght in the words of that conversation that I didn't even know I had and continued to hammer the crank into the wind.
Most of the course was acrossed the wind, which made navigation very difficult. I know that at one point I was leaning about 20 degrees off vertical into the wind to go in a straight line. In the brief part of the course where the wind was at my back I quickly spun out of my gears, bouncing in the 50/12.
I had a little bit of a problem with the dismount in T2. I nearly went over the handlebars trying to get off the bike before I went over the chip mat, having come in too fast. I recovered though, and made it to transition. As I changed to my running shoes I saw that my right sock was completely red from blood on the heel. I was going to pay for my slip on the run... It was a quick transition and I was running out to the run course.
Immediately on the run I was feeling my skinned foot. Every step hurt pretty bad. What made it worse was that my calves started cramping up about 400 yards into the run. In my bricks I've experienced cramps in my quads before...but never in my calves. Nothing I could do about it though. Overall the run seemed very very long. It seemed to go on forever, for a 5k. I was very happy to see the finish, and to complete my first sprint Tri.
Some pictures of the race...more to come I'm sure.
Getting ready in transition... Go, go sunblock!
Warming up in the pool.
Changing shoes in T2.
Out of the pool, right before the fall.
After the dismount, going into T2
Running out of T2
Before I end this post, I need to thank everyone that helped me get to this place.
Thanks to my family for putting up with the training that got me here.
Thanks to CJ, Ritter, Shannon, and my other great friends for being a never ending source of encouragement and letting me talk endlessly for hours about triathlon.
Thanks to Lana for reminding me to always take care of myself and believing in me even when I don't.
Thanks to Wo for being Wo...and always reminding me to have fun!
Last but not least, thank you to all the Tri-Sharks who have welcomed me in to triathlon, given me advice, and told me "good job" as they pass me. :)