I have realized in the past couple of days that my blog has moved from an inspiring weight loss blog to a triathlon race recap blog. I promise that I am working on some good content that IS NOT a recap of my last triathlon. I have some stuff in my head. It is just the getting it down on the keyboard part that I am having issue with. Maybe I should hire a transcription therapists. I’m sure they exist.
So here we are again. In that special place where I tell you about the incredible feats of athleticism that surround me on a race day. But before I tell you about those feats, allow me to tell you about these feets…
Or just the one foot in particular, that is.
On the Friday before the race, I somehow manage to walk barefoot into the step lever of my kitchen garbage can. I totally thought my toe was broken. Turns out it is most likely just sprained badly, but it hurt enough that a passing sailor blushed when he heard my language. I just threw it in a bag of ice and hopped in the car with Pearce and Jason from the Chucktown Triathlete crew and hit the road.
We saw Brett Michaels at the gas station. I asked for his autograph but he was shy.
We spent the night in (dis)Augusta because it was actually closer to the venue. I ate some grilled chicken and a salad and just a few bites of spaghetti and then went to bed. You know what is great about travelling with other competitors? Not worrying about them wanting to go party it up. We all hit the hay around 9:30.
The alarm went off at 4:30 and Jason put on the techno dance tunes as we ate a bite and got ready to roll out. Technotronic is my new motivational race music jam.
Did I mention that by this time my toe was bright purple?
We hit the venue and started getting transition ready. This would be a great place to add a quick little story about this lady who racked her bike in the wrong place and was acting like a complete jerk about it but I better not… I got my space set up with plenty of time to spare (sorry I forgot to take a picture of the eyes of the tiger…next time) and then I headed down to the water to get in a warm up swim. I was feeling super nervous about this race again! I guess that I have more at stake the deeper I get into the SC series and with my toe being messed up it was messing with my head. Well ain’t nobody got time for that. I sucked it up and started preparing myself with some breathing and praying.
This particular race was divided into two lengths, an Olympic distance and a sprint distance. My home-skillets Thomas (T3) and Pearce were doing the Olympic and Jason and I were doing the sprint. I decided to do the sprint because it was the best opportunity to score points for the series.
The first waves of the Oly got the horn and before I knew it, I was lining up for my start. Nerves were going crazy.
Then the count down for my wave began…
Swim – 750 meters – Open swim in Langley Pond
This was the first time I have encountered a beach run start. I had seen several folks in the initial waves using the dolphin dive technique, but I really don’t know how to do that. So when the horn went off I just plowed into the water until I was waist deep and then I started swimming. I pushed really hard to get to the front of the pack because I have realized that because I am a strong swimmer, there is no need to hang back. I can get well ahead of the pack with in the first 100 meters. It worked. I basically passed one person on the way to the first buoy and then never actually had to deal with anyone else for the rest of the swim. I powered through it and felt really great. I have been working on shortening my stroke, but to be honest, I have no idea what I did during this race other than just swim. I sighted well and swam hard and before I knew it I was coming up on the dock was to be my exit from the water. I had asked Pearce the day before what the best way to negotiate getting up on the dock and he told me to just Shamu right on up and then get to my feet. So that is what I did. I swam right up to the dock and then put my hands up, kicked really hard and belly flopped right on the mat. I jumped to my feet and took off for T1. It turned out to be a really great swim for me. I was the 11th OVERALL MALE out of the water and only 4 of the ladies swam faster. I need to figure out how to translate some of that power into the bike and run now.
Official swim time: 15:31 NEW PR FOR 750m DISTANCE
Transition One – Swim to Bike
The timing mat for the end of the swim was about 50 yards from the dock so my swim time was not as skewed by a long jog to transition. HOWEVER, my T1 was totally skewed by a long jog to transition. It was 400 yards from the end of the swim into transition. I heard a few people say they were going to bring their running shoes with them for the jaunt. It a mix of a decent grassy path smattered with what could affectionately be called “the barren and sharp rock wasteland from Hell.” You don’t want to know what the un-affectionate name was. T3 was actually finishing up the Oly swim about the time I was finishing up my swim so he passed me on the way through and then Jason passed me just outside of the entrance to transition. Regardless, I ran as hard as I could into T1. I had my shoes rubber banded to my bike so all I had to do was throw on my helmet and sunglasses and run out the door. Nothing too exciting.
Official T1 Time: 2:37
Bike – 13 Miles – An UP then DOWN loop
I had a great mount onto my bike out of the gate and was easily able to get my feet into my shoes this time around. I guess practice will make perfect there. You will notice in my race photo that I am not hamming it up for the camera. That is because there was a gentlemen’s bet on this race that I have not told you about. Long story short, T3 and I have the same coach and Pearce and Jason have the same coach. With a bit of a handicap in place, whichever team had the best times had to buy the other team lunch. My teammate T3 told me that he better not catch me hamming on the course and instead I had better be down in my drops and pumping hard. Well that is exactly what I tried to do on this bike course. This bike course was sneaky. It wasn’t all that exciting, but it was tough. It started right out of the gate with about 3 and half miles of slow and steady climbing. I hung in there, but I felt very sluggish. About the time that I wasn’t sure I could pump any harder, I caught a bit of downhill. For the next few miles it was rolling up and down and I was feeling much better about it. My new race wheels made me feel like a B.A. Baracus. Towards the end of the course there were some pretty serious downhills with one so steep that I hit 37 mph. Of course it had to be right before a 90 degree right hand turn. I wish there was something more exciting to tell you about in this section, like how some wild coyote chased me for several miles or how I witness a meth lab bust on the back stretch (all of which would come as no surprise had you seen where we were…) but alas, nothing really spectacular happened except me, my bike, and the road working harmoniously.
Official Bike Time: 42:28
Transition Two – Bike to Run
I took my feet out of my shoes and was pedaling with them on top in preparation for making a flying dismount. But you know that the road to Gehenna is paved with good intentions. When I got about 20 yards from the dismount line I realized that I would be dismounting in gravel and I would not have very much room to negotiate. I think that they had the dismount line WAY too close to the transition entrance, but whatever. I didn’t attempt a flying dismount which cost me a few seconds in which I might have overcome the race leader. Instead I just came to a stop, hopped of my bike and ran into T2. The absolute mess that was my transition rack caused a few minor delays but I got my shoes and visor on and grabbed my race belt and headed out…the wrong way. I ran smack into another racer who very gently yelled for me to turn around and run the other way. His suggestion was so sincere that I took his advice.
Official T2 Time: 1:01
Run – 3.1 miles – Out past the train tracks and back then to the Dam and back
After I got my bearings I headed out. I started my watch out of transition but for some reason my GPS never connected and I wasn’t wearing my HRM so I was basically gonna have to go by feel. And then, as if wearing a skin tight one piece tri-suit didn’t remind me enough of how far I still have to go in my weight loss journey, my race belt pulling so tight that it pulled out of the snap enclosure sure did. I was running (back on the path that led into the first transition mind you) trying to fix my belt. I finally was able to get it knotted enough that it held and I just kept on truckin. The gravel that I was running on was killing my foot, but that was really the only time that I noticed the pain. My Saucony Kinvara shoes are so light that I felt every single pebble underfoot. But by the time I started noticing the pain, I made it to the road and running on the pavement was fine. I ran and ran and all the while I was thinking that I just couldn’t seem to get any giddy-up in my step. I HAVE GOT to figure out how to overcome the mental fatigue that is plaguing my runs. When I got to the first turn around I was starting to notice the heat, but otherwise I was just puttin along. When I got back to the venue I realized that the last half mile of the race was going to be on uneven gravel and off-road. First world problem right? Well I pushed and pushed. I happened to look at my watch and noticed that my time was WAY off what it should have been. I didn’t know what was wrong because I felt that I was at least running at my normal pace. So see how I put that the running portion was 3.1 miles? Yeah well I found out after the race that it was more like 3.4-3.5 miles. I felt a little better when I saw my time knowing that I had gone just a bit further. But it was a total mind intercourse during the race. Blurgh.
Official Run Time: 36:16
Official Langley Pond Sprint Triathlon Time: 1:37:51
Well that is how she went folks. I don’t want to take up too much more of your precious time knowing that you are most likely reading this on the couch while your kids are screaming and running around yelling Anarchy! But I will give you the good news. I came in third place in my division. I had initially reported that I had come in third and that there were more than three folks in my division, but after the race I found out that the other two guys who had registered had not raced for some reason. It was probably intimidation from knowing I was going to be there…
Regardless, here is a look at the podium.
Recognize those goyim punams? That is Jason Trotta on the top spot, Justin Ferren in second and myself in third. I am thinking that might likely be the same podium when the SC Triathlon Series results come out in October.
Ok, enough. I want to go to sleep. Plus I am leaving tomorrow for the North Myrtle Beach Sprint triathlon!
May your GPS be ever connected and your splits bring smiles to the faces of all.