After taking a break from writing race recaps last year. I decided to start it back up again. Not because of pleas from adoring fans, but more from a desire to look back on these days when I'm too old to do any more races. Is there even such an age?
After sticking a 50 mile sticker on my bumper at the end of last year, I felt that a 70.3 would be the next logical challenge. So I bought some Speedo swim shorts and adjusted my training to included swimming and biking.
I came up with several steps (accomplishments if you will) that I need to do before attempting the Half Ironman. The first thing on that list was a duathlon, the 3D Du was a great place to start the foray into the triathlon world.
My training buddy Julie (you've read about her in previous posts) also competed in this race. She was also one of the very small minority riding a mountain bike that day. Coming off of several years of 5K's, marathons, and ultra's it felt very weird being in a race that took more prep than "show up and run". As Julie stated, we felt like runners crashing a biker party.
Regardless of newbie jitters and feeling out of place, we lined up at the starting line with the rest of the athletes and ran the first 5K together. Jittery about the transitions and about the biking leg, I decided to just take it easy the first running leg and did just that. Julie and I both finished the 5K in 28:51 (a relaxing 9:18 pace).
As I walked my mountain bike to the "mounting" line, a spectator yelled "nice bike". I'm still not sure if she meant it to mock or to support me, but my already fragile ego took it negatively and I decided there will be no relaxing on the biking leg. I decided that I was going to ride as hard as I could then deal with the pain on the run. Hell, I'm used to running in pain.
So I rode the 20K bike leg, fueled with equal parts anger, frustration, and shame (plus I had to pee). I was able to pass a few of the road bikes, and each time I did I was fueled on to pass another. To the two mountain bikers I passed I made sure my comments were supportive and could not be construed as mocking. I made it to the 10K turn around point and headed back to the transition area. As I passed by Julie she seemed to be taking it all in stride and just getting it done, regardless of who passed her.
With only a couple of miles left my legs started to hurt pretty bad. I knew I should have eased off to give my legs a break before the run, but I had a few more road bikes in my sights and my bull headed pride forced me to pass them; which I did, but at a price.
I arrived at the transition area in 41:45 (averaging 17.8 mph) and my legs were shot. It hurt to run a single step and I had thousands ahead of me.
Limbering along the best I could, I crossed paths with Julie once again and she still looked calm and collected. She finished her bike leg in 48:14
The final 5K was painful. Not so painful that I wanted to quit, but definitely painful enough to seriously slow me down. To add insult to injury, I recognized more than a few people I had passed on the bike, pass me on the run. I eventually made it to the finish line in 29:42 (pace of 9:34). Completing the entire race in 1:42:40
I learned a great lesson from my fellow triathlon newbie that day. If you just take it easy and have fun all the way, you will have have great day overall.
Oh yeah, I learned something else that day. I don't like getting beat by people just because they have a better bike. So I got me a road bike!!!