Indicated in the teaser post yesterday, I have completed a triathlon! I am as shocked as anyone, but yes, it is done. I have a couple different options of filling you all in on how it went. I was thinking of starting at the end and working my way backwards, but instead, I'll start at the very beginning and post my final times at the end. The only thing I'll tell you is my girlfriend is still superior to me in the athletic department. :-)
Woke up and got ready to head out to the res. We were slightly held up by breakfast as it took longer to cook than I would have liked, but regardless, we got there just after 6 and were there in plenty of time. We took our bikes out of the car and got them put together.
After we got the bikes assembled, we grabbed all our race gear and headed to transition. We found a great spot in transition. Closer to the bike entrance and exit in the middle row. We racked our bikes up (these were standard bike racks, FYI) and laid out our transition area.
We had a surprising amount of room in the transition area. I guess that is what happens when you have a race of only 550 athletes. Believe me, I'm not complaining though. :-) After that, we got body marked and loosened up. Theresa dedicated one of her calves to Mr. Steve in a Speedo, so I hope he's happy. :-p By this time, transition was getting busier so we decided to go test the lake temperature. Keep in mind, this was the same lake we swam in last week and it was a balmy 68 degrees! This week, we walked in and the lake was surprisingly warm. Thank you Jesus for 90 degree days last week! We posed for a picture or two then headed back up to transition.
Naturally, our feet were nasty from the sand walking back up. Me, I just went to the public bathroom and rinsed them off in the sink. Girlfriend, however, took the less conventional (and let's face it, more fun way) to rinse off her feet...in the sprinkler!
Then came time to stretch. I had this vision of me doing a ton of crazy-ass stretches for like an hour, but I really didn't do anything out of the ordinary. Just got a good warm-up in and stretched the muscles out.
After the stretching, we heard the pre-race briefing. Then came time to line up for the start. I started the race promptly at 8:00 am, and girlfriend started the race at 8:07 am. She and I discussed how I would be waiting for her at the end of the race, and also did a tiny bit of goading each other. She reminded me that if she came in 7 minutes behind me, she would beat my time. I tried to use this as a tiny bit of motivation, but whatever.
Then came the 5-4-3-2-1 countdown and we were off! I was doing it! First, had to run 150 meters down to the water. The reason they did this is because the My Way or the Tri Way allows competitors to do the race in any order they want. To make things fair, they had a mass start. I jogged down to the water but as I got closer to it, I just walked. I figured I was really in no hurry to get the swim done. Cause really, let's face it. I'm not winning the triathlon on the swim leg. I walked into the water and walked until it was about chest deep, then dove on in and started swimming. I reminded myself over and over that I was doing a triathlon and was just so proud. I got into a nice groove and was swimming wonderfully until about 250 meters in. Then I hit a wall. My left calf cramped up badly. My breathing suddenly struggled. I needed to switch to sidestroke, which I was really bummed out about, but at the very least, it kept me relatively calm and my head above water. When I hit the turn-around, there was something very uplifting about it. Maybe it's the fact I could see the shore, or maybe it was that I knew the swim was 1/2 over. Regardless, I put my head back in the water and kept moving. Unfortunately, that didn't last too long. I had to keep my head above water for nearly the entire 2nd half of the swim. I knew I was losing time, but at that point, my only concern was getting back to the beach. Finally, I was able to stand and walk out of the water. I saw our friend taking pictures and that motivated me to start jogging. I walked/jogged up to transition and got into my cycling gear. I was really glad I practiced transition, as my first transition went very very smooth. Then I was off on the next leg.
Ok, so by now, as you're probably guessing, my spirits were pretty low after the swim. You would be somewhat right. I was kind of sad that what I thought would be my strongest leg was definitely weak, but I was also upspirited in that I knew I had two legs to go and had plenty of opportunity to play catch up. Literally, within .25 miles of the bike, I was already in a great mood. And my legs, although a little sore, were feeling fine otherwise. And here's something that not only surprised me, but felt amazingly motivating: I was passing people! Here I was, getting my ass kicked in the water, and yet I was rising up on the bike, passing these same people that blew by me in the water.
When I made the turn out onto Quincy Avenue, I knew I was going to have a good ride. I had an attitude that was going to allow me to have a good ride. I was looking at the hills instead of daunting as opportunities to catch people. Now for those of you that have read our blog, you know that I am not that strong on the uphills, but on the downhills, I can power by people. This is what happened. On the way to the turn around point, I would estimate there were 6 uphills and 2 downhills. As you can guess, I did get passed on some uphills, but I was also passing people. You know how good that feels? The sport you feel is the weakest of the three and you are kicking ass at it?
At the turnaround point, I popped a Clif Shot Block and pedaled hard. At this point, I had kept my cadence the whole way and was quite frankly damn proud of myself. I kicked it hard and off I was going. I saw girlfriend on the ride for the first time. I believe she yelled Team Baby Dinosaur and Sushi Power as I was going by. I yelled Sushi Power and pedaled hard. During the ride, I also made a friend. A dude on a mountain bike was trading places with me quite a bit. We chatted for a bit, and I told him I hoped to see him on the run. As I turned into the entrance for the reservoir, I blew by him and said I'll see him at the finish line. To be honest, I never saw him again. I don't know what happened, but I'm sure he finished.
Came into transition and realized there was only 3.5 miles to me becoming a triathlete.
I was smiling at this point. I probably had been for the majority of the ride, but this was the first time I noticed. I knew I was going to finish. I knew I had made up time. And I was so happy. I put on my running shoes and was off. As I was running out of transition, I heard someone yell BRANDON and looked behind me. There was girlfriend coming into transition. She had nearly caught me. I knew at this point that she was going to beat me. Did I care? Not 1%. I kid you not. Not 1%. I was only racing myself.
I ran out of transition. I thought this was very important, cause I figured if I walked, I would have a hard time getting started. My legs felt weird, but I knew what to expect thanks to practice and whatnot.
When you run during a triathlon, it's surprising how little you think. You just basically keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep plodding along. The only thing I was thinking was how much I hated that course. It was hilly, and the turns and twists basically made it so you could see your competition well ahead of you as well as what was behind you. Not a fan of that. It did let me see that girlfriend was catching up to me. Around 1 mile left to go in the run, I knew she was going to pass me. I was happy this was going to occur, because I wanted her to succeed in the tri so bad.
She caught me with about .3 miles left and after a brief exchange, I told her to run ahead of me. She did, and I was so proud. And at that time, I was proud of myself too. I knew I was going to finish. I knew I was about to become Brandon Geist the triathlete.
So, this T3 explanation. As I said, the mass start had to ensure that everyone had it fair, so to get to the finish line, you had to cut through T3 to get to the finish line. I ran through T3 with people cheering for me. I was so close! I turned down the ramp to the finish line and a guy that had already finished gave me a high-five. I had this vision of me rolling across the finish line or kissing the ground, but I just wanted to cross. I stepped on the mat and instantly the demons that had followed me my whole life disappeared. The former 208 pound kid, with 22% body fat had become a triathlete. The kid that at one point couldn't run 1/4 miles without getting tired had conquered the triathlon. I had crossed the finish line!
I saw girlfriend wating for me and collapsed in her arms. And a prediction came true. I started crying. I sobbed in her arms and just took in what I had finished. It was an amazing feeling. I was so proud of her and myself for what we had accomplished. We had done it!
More reflection will come in a couple days, on what I could have improved on and what I did right. But for now, I don't care. I just did it. I am now a triathlete.
Overall, my times were as follows:
Swim - 27:04
T1 - 2:29
Bike - 58:19
T2 - 1:39
Run - 39:49
T3 - 1:38
Total time of 2:10:56
And now, I leave you some song lyrics. This is called Infinity by Guru Josh Project. This song has become my unofficial "triathlon song".
Take your time
And take your time
To trust in me
And you will find
And take your time
To trust in me
And you will find
The time goes by
While you'll receive
Here's my key
A freak like me
Just needs infinity