At 5:30 we headed out the door. For the next 2 hours I would spend at least every 20 minutes in the bathroom - combination of being well hydrated and nerves - over the next 2 1/2 hours. The bike was disassembled and in the trunk of the van so when we got there Bill helped me get it out and put the wheel back on. I took it for a brief ride to be sure everything was still working properly and the tires were well inflated. We walked to the transition area and I scoped out a spot to set up camp for the day. There were only about a dozen or so bikes there so I got to pick my location! I chose an aisle location one row in. I think I would pick one closer to the swim/run entrance/exit next time rather than the bike exit/entrance.
As athletes approached and starting getting their stuff organized, it was apparent that everyone seemed to be checking each other out. I was told there were a number of newbies like myself, but I could definitely see there were some experienced athletes here. Vardotrichic, I even saw a Zoom uniform! :)
After setting up camp, I went toward the packet pick up location to see about a timing chip since they didn't provide one in the packet. I saw something going on near the pool so I ventured that direction. Yeah, it was timing chips! I was marked, incorrectly I think, and then given an ankle chip. It was big and gaudy, but I remembered my Body Glide so went back and put some on my ankle! Yep, that marked about 4 trips to the bathroom by that point.
I then went to check out the area for the shoe drop. I chose a spot right outside the pool exit. I set the flip flops and the HR Monitor strap from the Garmin on it, hoping it would still be there by the time I got out of the pool.
I was finally able to get into the pool and see how the body would swim today and what the water temp was like. It was mildly chilly at first, but it was a good temperature for swimming. OK, I didn't want to let on that I wasn't a good swimmer so I just did one lap, down and back. I watched as other people got in and did their warm up laps. Wow, maybe I'm not so bad after all! There were some volunteers working there that were cracking jokes and had great personalities so that helped lighten the mood a bit. Maybe they could sense I was extremely nervous.
About 7:00 I realized, "OH CRAP! I didn't turn on the GPS on the Garmin!" That thing takes forever to "find satellites" and get started; I really need to get that turned on and switched over to bike mode. I have 45 minutes to walk to the transition area and get back before the meeting. Yep, I can do that. First, a potty stop. I got the GPS turned on and the mode changed. I doubled checked my gear and walked back to the pool area.
About 7:30 my family showed up and that gave me a good sense of support. I walked over and talked to them to let them know that they were setting out pace signs and I thought I was so slow that I didn't even have a group! Eeeks. OK, no problem, I can do this. I kept doing some math in my head to be sure that I was in the right group because I really had zero idea what my 100m pace was. I finally decided on the 2:15 group. I went toward the back of group.
My turn was up. I was a bit surprised I wasn't terribly nervous. A little, yes, but not immobilizing nerves. I was ready for this! I jumped in at the signal from the director and took off swimming. The first time I put my head in the water to start swimming I realized I hadn't put my goggles down on my eyes!! ARGH! I really look like a fool. Ok, rookie mistake #1. I'm off again. The director saw my error and didn't send the next guy until I was ready, half way down the first lane!
It was mostly a good swim. I mainly did the crawl down and the side stroke back. I felt very strong doing this method and it seemed to be working for me. I passed 2 people and was passed by another guy so I felt like I had seeded myself pretty well. It was great to hear my family cheering for me at various spot along the swim. I was afraid they would have left to see me to go to transition or that I wouldn't have been able to hear them at all.
When I had about 50m left, I heard my dad yell "You're at 7 minutes!" Great! I needed to know that since I had no idea how fast/slow I was going. I need to book it to the end to meet my goal. I still felt great about how I was doing, though. When I got to the end there were about 3 of us all piled up trying to get out. I opted for the ladder and climbed out. I wasn't completed exhausted like I usually am after a swim - I felt great and ready to get on the bike! Unofficial time: 8:13
Time for the 1/4 mile run to the transition area! I'm not sure when swim time ended and transition time began, but I spent about 4 min in transition getting my shoes, shorts, and helmet on and getting my bike off the rack. I was surprised with that much distance between the pool and transition area that I didn't dry off more than I did.
OK, I think I'm finally ready to mount this bike! I got on and rode out of the transition area. Bill called to me and I saw all my family cheering me out of transition. Bill said, "Hey, you're supposed to walk your bike!" Oops! Rookie error #2. I just waited for an official pull me off on a penalty. It was my lucky day. The route had more hills than I remembered, but it went really well. I put 15:00 min pace into the Garmin and I stayed ahead of that the whole time. I finished the bike portion in less than an hour so I was confident that everything was working today. YEAH! I was only passed by those cool people with the tri bars on their bikes. I passed a LOT of people which was another good confidence booster. I figured I could probably pass those who passed me on the run since that is my strongest sport.
I was sure to dismount before the red tape so that hopefully they wouldn't penalize me. I figured if I could get out of the transition area without someone pulling me aside I was in the clear.
Again, transition went slower than I thought. I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to get my bike back on the rack. Rookie error #3. I almost left it lying there, but finally got it going. I knew the watch would be a little work to get it off and the helmet was harder to get off than normal. ugh. I finally grabbed everything I needed and was on my way.
There were a couple significant hills on this short run, making it a challenging course. I remember after running Grandma's Marathon I had sever toe pain, thinking I broke my toe. Later I discovered that Grandma's is mainly a downhill course, resulting in my foot pain. Today after the first significant downhill, I felt a strong pain on the top of my foot. I knew exactly what it was. I also knew that I had a much more significant hill (larger than any hill I have every encountered in a training run or event) coming up that I would have to maneuver and make my way back up! This foot pain made me go a bit slower than usual and perhaps even walk a tad more not wanting to do any serious harm to my foot. Darn it. I was not a rookie runner and I was going to play it safe with this one!
Back when I was in junior high, a man by the name of George Eastburn strongly encouraged me to sign up for the Monticello Firecracker Triathlon. It was a short, sprint tri and I could never bring myself to do it. Now, about 30 years later, George has since passed in 2006, and I have entered this event. It isn't the exact same tri, but it's about as close as I'll come. George, thank you for your inspiration all these years! I finally did it!
Final unofficial time: 1:40:08
Yeah, I'll do that again.
Final (unofficial) stats:
Age Place: 7/11
Sex Place: 45/97
Penalty: 0 :)
today's mileage: 2.6 miles running; 15.5 miles biking; 300m swimming
weekly mileage: 7 miles running; 15.5 miles biking; 300m swimming
monthly mileage: 7 miles running; 15.5 miles biking; 300m swimming
annual mileage: 359 miles running; 331 miles riding; 8.8125 miles swimming
TOTAL mileage: 681
running: 59 miles
riding: 28 miles
swimming: 3.0125 miles
running: 59 miles
riding: 28 miles
swimming: 3.0125 miles