After the last couple of weeks, I didnt know if I was going to be able to even get to do a sprint distance triathlon, and then finally getting to do one after all the work outs, ups and downs, was just the best feeling. Crossing that finish line was just amazing, the support of all the other participants still hanging out and having my wife, son and mom there as well was truely a blessing. Thanks to everyone else that has been along for the ride over these last few months, hopefully having a laugh or two along the way.
Leading up the race the week went like this:
Monday: 2x750m swims
Tuesday: 12mile bike ride + 20min run/walk
Wednesday: 2x750m swim
Thursday: 5km treadmill
Saturday: 25min bike + 25min run
Sunday: Melmerby Triathlon
Alright lets get to the race.
It was kind of the best type of weather or the type of weather I like for racing. Overcast, no rain, and a slight breeze. We pulled into the parking lot at Melmerby and my stomach started doing flip flops. This is always the point that my brain starts messing with me. You are too fat, your back is not ready, look at how legit everyone else is, why are you doing this -- those type of thoughts. I am pretty good at ignoring those, and for me the trick is to get to the registration table quickly so there is no time to back out.
So off I went. Paid my registration fee and filled out the 'we are not liable if you die, get eaten by a shark, run over by a car' paperwork.
Got my numbers for all my gear, couple jokes about them not having fat guy size clothing and off to get my transition station organized.
Having never done one of these before I immediately notice that everyone else has a large rubbermaid type bin. This cant be a coincidence that everyone decided to carry their gear in a bin and not a bag. The guy beside me, Colin, explains that when you come off the beach you need to get the sand off of your feet quickly and a towel wont cut it so you should have a bin of water at your station. Oopsie, guess I am going to have sandy feetsies.
So I must have organized and re-organized my station 10 times after looking at all the variations of stations around me. Finally I decided does it really matter for you bub? And literally left my stuff in a pile starting with the things I would put on first.
Another thing I notice immediately, these people are serious. There doesnt look to be many in my boat ' I am doing this to try something new/have no idea what i am doing' boat.
Anywho I start putting my wetsuit on and head to the beach to take a look at the swim course. I am happy. This is the part i have been looking forward to most. I always feel at home in water no matter the distance, it is also crazy shorter then the 5km Epic was last month, so I started to get excited.
After the security briefing it was down to the shore for the start. After a quick chat with the fam and a dunk or two in the ocean the Olympic distance folks were lining up to start.
So the water temp. Holy crap it was cold. They wouldnt even tell us what it actually was, but if it was 15 degrees it would have been a hot cup of tea compared to how cold it was. I had an ice cream headache in my brain after about 20 seconds, and that was with a dive hood. Many came up to me and were mentioned their envy for my hood. Nice to have something going for me.
I asked my wife to track my time, just to see if I was on track compared to the pool.
So the last olympic swimmer started their second lap and the sprint peeps were off.
I waited for the gungho people to get out in front and then started. I felt really good. Got in my groove, and was able to navigate for myself quite well. I only got off track once. There was however someone that was having some trouble navigating. This one gal was having some probs. She kept swimming in front of me on a zig zag, and i had to keep stopping. I was starting to get mad so i swam way out so that i could get into a straight line. Back into the groove.
I did take a couple of big mouthfulls of ocean, it was not delightful.
Rounding the last buoy, I was pretty pumped, I could see a lot of people behind me, so I wasnt going to finish last in the swim, everything else, fine, just not the swim.
Out of the water and Daph told me it took me 13:10. WHAT 13:10!!!
That is the fastest time i have ever done the 750m. Normally in the pool it is between 15-18min. This was a great feeling. Only draw back, legs did not want to work to get out of the water, and run to the transition area.
Okay the transition area. This was such a blur. I think i may have mooned all the onlookers for an extended period of time. The worst was trying to get the wetsuit off with numb arms and breathing as heavy as I was. I was dancing around like i was stomping grapes at one point and finally had to sit down and yank the fricking thing off. Into my bike shorts, shirts and other gear, bike off the rack and holy crap it was on to phase two.
So I run the bike down to the mount line and away I go. I did great out of the parking lot, unfortunately directly on the other side of the exit is a massive freaking hill. Luckily i dont use my legs much when I swim so I was able to get up most of the hill at a good speed, but was almost completely gassed by the time i got to the top. As i passed a refreshment station, I yelled to a volunteer "that was mean, a hill off the bat, you guys are mean" and kept peddling.
I am going to say, i was not ready for this part. I have done pretty much all my training for the bike on a treadmill. This was a major flaw in my training. I should have been out on the road more. Hills on a treadmill ARE NOT like hills in real life. This course had a lot of hills. I was really struggling on this and was passed continually along the route. I had to stop twice to shake out my quads because hey were getting so tight.
All that salt water I swallowed on the swim was not behaving in my belly and i threw up in my mouth a couple times. No smooching at the finish line.
I gutted it out though, sometimes only moving as fast as an elderly person with a walker, but i finally got to the transition area. A quick change into my running shorts and a tshirt change, and slip on my ipod. I chugged a G2 and started the run, well started walking on the run.
I had always planned to walk for 3 minutes to start the run so that I could get my legs working differently because i didnt want to blow out a quad or calf muscle with all the rigor they went through on the bike. So after 'I really really like you' i started to run. Well my version of running. Again older person with a walker could have lapped me.
It was a rough go. My back and my legs were not happy, and after 'ABC' I was walking again. About half way through 'Get Yur Freak On' I tried the running again. Okay we are in business. Things are still really tight, but moving faster then walking.
I was starting to enjoy the running, still getting passed by others but everyone all said words of encouragement as they passed and it felt good. I was going to finish this thing. I have run many 5km runs, I can do this.
Around the halfway mark, you could start to see the end point in the parking lot. Yes.
As i started the run down the hill ( alright first bike hill you are forgiven because you are the downward hill on the run) I was happy and sad. Started thinking about my dad, and my outlaw brother Toby, how cool it would have been to talk with them about this. My dad always loved to come to these things if he could, and thought that triathlons were just the coolest, and Toby because we would have had a great time chatting about it on the beach later in the summer watching the kids play. And because I feel like I did good and didnt suck. I think i had both of them in my ear at different points along the way.
On the straightaway into the finish and across the line, of course i did a dramatic pose, hope i see that photo. Couple a highfives with fam and a couple of the other guys i met before the swim came over and congratulated me. Couple of drinks of water and jammed in a subway sandwich and it was all over. I think my total time was about 2 hours and 10 minutes, maybe more, to be honest i dont really care. Finishing it was always the point, coming in last or third last doesnt matter.
Pack up the car and headed for home and the most deserved #cigarSunday in a while.
I havent decided if I will keep this blog going or not, the point was to keep myself motivated while I was working toward this goal, and I think it really helped me to do that. I guess it depends on what the next goal will be, I still havent decided. I know this is not my last triathlon, now that I know what it was like I know the areas i can work on. Thanks again for those that have been reading and commenting either online or in person, it helps to know that you have been in my corner and laughing along with me. Need to thank my family as well for putting up with me, for all the early morning and late night work outs, i have the best family.
And thank you to the message therapist I am going to see in about an hour, because i am one sore, stiff bastard right now.
Sean "BigBoyRunning" Ryan