Well I made it. I am officially a TRIATHLETE!
It really feels great to achieve a 3 year goal.
Disclaimer (added after the following was written) Prepare for a Super Long Race Report. I could have broken it into 3 or more pieces but the writing just wouldn't stop, so, here it is!
Drove down to Clinton, where we(mom, dad & I) were staying and just hung out for a few hours. Watched the Braves win which was great since they'd lost 9 of 10 going into the Houston series.
Left a little after 6 to drive the 25 miles down to White Lake for the packet pickup and pre race meeting. The pre race meeting was not mandatory but I was glad that I attended just to hear some of the items they reviewed. It had a calming effect. I picked up my t-shirt bought a few that were on sale, got my numbers, bright green swim cap and then we headed back to Clinton to eat dinner. Ruby Tuesdays, Chicken Parmesan and a salad bar. Back to the room, get all the numbers on where they should be and pump up the tires for Sunday. I never know how I'm going to sleep before an event, sometimes great, sometimes a little tossing and turning but I always manage to sleep enough to be ready.
5:15 and the alarm sounds. I don't know why I wanted it set quite so early, we didn't have to be on the road until 6:15-6:30 but I did. The snooze feature got used a few times and then it was up and attem! Mom wanted to know when I became such a morning person and thats really a great question, but it just sort of happened in the past year or so. I was joking around about recording the tour de France where you can hear the spectators ringing their cow bells and shouting "allez, allez, allez, allez...." for a new alarm sound so I was quite relaxed for the early morning.
We had an uneventful drive down to White Lake and went ahead and paid $10 to park .1 mile form the site, instead of parking 1 mile away for free. Mom and Dad both have some (different) foot problems right now so a long hike wouldn't be ideal.
We got right into the Transition area where I went about setting everything up. I'd reviewed my transitions in my head about 15 times the day before and even set it up in the room Saturday to make sure everything was in a place that made sense to me.
Next was chip pickup and body marking. Those are some mighty big sharpies they use on you for body marking. After having 663 put on my arms and legs with a big "N" on my calf(for novice) it couldn't have been later than 7:30. Mom and Dad staked out a bench near the water and I went to the porta pottie line a few times, back by transition to make sure everything was still in order and then finally just sat down with them and waited.
The bouy's looked an awful long way away, and after the first wave went off at 8 am they seemed even further. Although the first guy out of the water was out in 10:30, I swear it felt like an hour. I started to get more nervous about the swim. I wasn't nervous about the in water start or my goggles coming off, or getting kicked, it was just the distance and doing something that I've never done before. My Heart Rate went up 25 bpm in the 10 minutes after the race start. I went ahead and finshed putting my wetsuit on around 8:20 and got in the water with about 20 minutes until my start time.
I met a few guys while waiting for the race to start and I wish I could remember their names, I hope their races went great. One guy it was also his first, the other it was his second.
Once the race started it was time to go. Pretty much all the thoughts about starting slow, when to sight, etc left my mind. I think I did okay with the start, I just started. I made it to the first bouy and was relieved, the next one was the turn. After the first bouy I alternated from being on my back (and doing a back/breast stroke) to flipping over and swimming freestyle. I think I started smiling(briefly) once I made it to the half way mark. The next bouy after that was the 2nd and final turn and from there it was just back to the pier and out of the water. I kept alternating from swimming freestyle and swimming on my back, because I was just laboring on the freestyle. The best part is that I knew I was going to make it. I've known all along that if I could get out of the water, baring any major problems that I could finish the race. I got happier as I got closer to the pier and once I got out of the water I was pretty ecstatic. My HR was 164 as I climbed out of the water and started jogging down the pier. As you can see I looked pretty tired just coming out of the water but really started to feel better on the bike. I took my time(aka had a long transition) in TI it was almost 5 minutes but I wanted to calm down and really be prepared for the rest of the race.
As soon as I got started on the bike I was feeling good. My dad and I share a tri bike(that we've only ever used for time trials at Lowes Motor Speedway before now) and thanks to that I've got a really sweet ride for the bike portion. Its a custom Guru that he's put great wheels on. I love cycling so being on a 2 loop, flat, 7 mile bike course was perfect for me. I didn't go all out and redline on the bike because I knew I was going to have to run still but I rode very well on the bike course, finishing 6th out of 26 in the Novice division. I was so happy to be biking it was like having a tail wind the whole time! (note there wasn't a tail wind the whole time but the wind wasn't bad either)
Really, I'm only a 5K from being a triathlete? Thats what went through my mind in T2. I saw my parents as I was heading out for the run(its awesome to have your own photographer out there, thanks dad!) It had been humid from the time we got up at 5:15 but the weather gods were with me for most of the day with overcast skys. The sun came out during the run and it really heated things up. I rememberd the race info saying the first aid station for the run was at the 1/2 mile point and I thought I got there a little fast. After that aid station I swear I didn't think I was ever going to see the 1 mile marker. It is the longest mile I've ever run, I wasn't in any pain I just wanted to see the marker. Turns out the aid station was at 1/4 mile not 1/2 so there was further to go to the maker. The run went pretty well, it was slower than my normal 5K time but I still felt that 32 minutes wasn't bad considering this was the first time that I've done one of these.
I am really overjoyed at finishing this race.
I have an amazing support crew that I want to thank. Mom & Dad for always believing in me. Tara, my beautiful fiancee who couldn't be there due to one of our wedding showers, but she's always stood by me as well. When we first started dating I was taken aback at how supportive she was for the things I wanted to do, weather it was my major at school, or running a marathon, just like my parents she's always believed that I could be successful. The rest of my family are amazing as is my "new" family that I'll officially be a part of on June 26th. My coach, Suzanne Duncan has been a tremendous help this year. She's prepared me for this triathlon and we've got some more work to do to get ready for the Nations Tri (Olympic distance) and then the big one, Beach 2 Battleship Half Ironman, but I know that if I listen she'll have me ready for those as well.
Setup Events also did a great job with executing the race. They were organized and professional as always, doing a Set Up event is truly a pleasure. Thanks to all the volunteers who were at the race and anyone else who had a part in making it happen.
I didn't stick around the finish area to long because I was really hoping to make it back to Greensboro and then to Mt. Airy to surprise Tara at our wedding shower. I'd told her that I wouldn't be there but if it was possibly to make it I was going to.
Traffic wasn't bad and we made pretty good time, ~3 hours back to Greensboro. I took a super fast shower, put on nice clothes and hoped in the car for another hour of driving. I made it to the shower with about 40 minutes left of the time and Tara was happily surprised to see that i made it. Her mom did a great job of organizing a great wedding shower and we are so blessed that we have so many people who wish us well. We received an astounding number of gifts that will make married life get off to a great start.
Sunday May 2nd was just a great day. Thanks for reading.
Swim - 23:42
T1 - 4:29
Bike - 44:47
T2 - 1:48
Run - 32:27
Total - 1:47:11!
Until Next Ride....