Going into this year's Tri for the Cure, I had goals. I wanted to chop 17:22 off last year's time to finish in an even 1:30. Needless to say, that didn't happen. We'll start at the beginning though ...
Alarm went off bright and early for Brandon and I. I think I hit the snooze button once, but don't entirely remember. Washed my face, brushed my teeth, got into my tri suit, Body Glided a bit, grabbed my crap and went downstairs. Made a good breakfast of cantaloupe, coffee milk, orange juice, turkey sausage and a mini whole wheat tortilla with scrambled Egg Beaters and low-fat cheese. While Brandon loaded the Rav (well, unloaded hockey bags and loaded in the bike), I got my water/Gatorade bottles set and made some oatmeal to eat on the road.
At the Race Site
We ended up leaving the house a little after 6am, a little later than I wanted, but we still got to the parking site fairly quickly ... with Brandon eating most of the oatmeal. We unloaded the Rav, pumped my bike tires full of air and joined several of the other competitors in winding our way into Cherry Creek State Park and toward the transition area. I got the urge to poop on the walk down which was good ... but more on that in a second. I left Brandon just outside of transition, found a spot on the rack and hopped over to the port-o-potties. While I pooped (yay), it was not a good poop (boo) and my stomach and insides felt ... well ... not good.
I set up my transition area and then wandered back over to Brandon who found a good spot on the fence. I found my friend Amber at this point so obviously it was picture time.
Amber and her boy wearing a very cute "Team Amber" shirt
Ready and raring to go ... Or so I thought.
Brandon the cheerleader!
After the photos, I went back to my spot to warm up, stretch, pee again and all that. I was getting ready to take my sandals back off when I realized I forgot to put sunscreen on. By this point, the elite wave had already started so I had to wait for breaks between competitors to dash across the race path to Brandon to have him help slather my back up. Sunscreen applied, I went back to my crap and waited for a bit until I heard it was time for my wave to head down to the swim.
I headed down to the swim, joined up with the rest of my wave and waited until it was my turn to trod across the chip mat and hop in the water. The wave's official start time was 8:20am, but I'm pretty sure we started a few minutes later than that. I dunked my ass in the water several times, squatting down in the water covering as much of myself as I could to try and get acclimated. I had a nice spot near the outside in the back. I knew I wasn't going to be one of the quickest swimmers so I wanted to be out near the back.
That philosophy actually worked out pretty well as I didn't get kicked/swum over a lot. Sadly, about a 100 or so meters in, I somehow swallowed a crapload of nasty, brackish reservoir water and started hacking ... getting to the hacking point where you just feel the raw back of your throat.
I kept going though, needing to stop again soon after to defog the goggles. After that, I was good to go and breaststroked my little butt out, not getting passed by the following wave until the first buoy (waves are every 4 minutes). I stayed on the "inside" of the course away from most of the other people. Besides the water hacking incident, I actually felt pretty good on the swim. I couldn't run once I got out and walked most of the way back to transition, but eh.
Disappointing, however, was my time - two minutes slower than last year at 22:38.
I eventually was able to get to a minor trot (okay, more of a canter past the smelly-ass port-o-potties) to make it back to my spot. I stuck my feet in my water bucket, getting most of the gunk off with that and a towel, used Body Glide for the foot blisters, got into my cycling socks and shoes, grabbed the rest of my crap and was off to the bike.
The one time highlight, I was able to cut about two minutes off my first transition time for 5:08.
I was a bit concerned about the cycling portion given that most of my training rides had been total crap. Still, I knew I had to do it so I was off. My cyclometer is still a bit messed up thanks to transport, but I got it so at least the cadence worked so I could measure that. I felt okay until about the three mile mark when the quads of MISERY started acting up. Still, I was managing to keep my cadence around the 80 mark ... until the big-ass hill around mile six or seven.
I almost got off the bike and walked. I had a giant asthma attack (used inhaler in transition but didn't bring it with me) and my cadence went down to 50something. In a word, I was miserable. I was able to regain control once I got to the top of the hill and started pedaling down it (i made sure to keep pedaling), but it was still a miserable ride.
Despite the road bike, my time on the bike actually went up (mph down) to 44:48 and 15.2mph.
I was so miserable at this point. I put my bike back, drank some water and Gatorade, changed shoes and put on my race belt/number. I slooooowly made my way to the run, stopping at the water table to drink some more water and dump it on my head.
See how miserable I look? *sigh*
Time out of transition was worse than last year - 4:49.
Brandon was my saving grace at the beginning of the run. After he saw how miserable and defeated I looked coming out of the bike, he somehow fought his way through the crowds, across the run course and down the gates on the other side of transition to see me walking toward the run start. He walked with me along the course for the first part of the run, talking with me and calming me down. I was very upset at this point, crying and hyperventilating a bit. He had another one of my old inhalers in the bag he had and gave it to me. It didn't help me much, but mentally I think it did. I knew my time goals were screwed, but I knew I was going to finish - that was all I cared about at that point.
Brandon was going to try and walk and/or run with me through most of the course, but I told him to go toward the finish line - I'd meet him there. I tried running a bit, but couldn't do it - it was just way too hot and I was way too miserable and my feet were overheating like mad. I eventually ended up doing a very modified walk/run ... walking most and running just little spurts. I did a race first for me by stopping at every single water station, getting water to drink a little and dump over my head. Of course, it was over 90 degrees at that point (and i think ended up getting over 100) and I was melting.
I knew this race was going to be awful. I did the run/walk thing last year, but it wasn't nearly as much walking. Although, I'm pretty sure I saw more people walking on the course this year than last year.
With about 500 meters to go, I saw Brandon on the side of the course again.
See miserable T. See miserable T run. Run, miserable T, Run.
Brandon trotted with me for as long as he could ... which meant he couldn't get back to the finish in time for me to cross. I ended up dragging out the last of what I had in me (which wasn't much) to sprint the last little bit across the finish line ... in 42:56 for my slowest 5k time/pace EVAR with a 13:50 mile.
Add all those numbers up and you get me finishing in 2:00:20, about a full 12 minutes slower (or 13 ... we journalism peoples don't do math) than last year's 1:47:22.
Needless to say, I didn't meet my time goal. I take small (but marginal) consolation in that I still did beat Amber and Gen's times from last year (and beat amber by about 5 min this year).
Still ... last year I had the biggest adrenaline rush after I finished. I could barely walk and was miserable as all hell this year.
I finished, though, and I still want to keep doing triathlons. It's relatively difficult to say that, but I've only done two - one was good, one was bad. I figure I should get a larger percentage of bad ones before I give up on them. I'm not one for excuses, but I put a decent amount of blame on the damn reservoir water. Swallowing that and getting that raw feeling in my throat I think made me more susceptible to having an asthma attack (which is made so much worse with a crappy throat). The heat was also a factor, but I don't figure that as an excuse since I really could have just trained in the heat more than I did. I shouldn't have always waited for the day to get cooler to go on a run or on a ride.
Once the official race photos finally get up on FotoJack, I'll post those as well.