Unlike the Danville Sprint, I was not the heaviest person in TriRock Annapolis. I talked to a cat who clocked in at 320. He was there because his Marine friends talked him into it. He finished too. Go Duane!
But I was definitely plenty noticeable. Lots of people who looked like they belonged in a triathlon were there. But then, there was me in the purple shirt with the giant block letters of DOUGHBOY.
Let me tell you, there is nothing in the world quite like running down the street in a historic American city, and having fellow racers, some still running, some done, and cheering spectators hollering out “woo hoo! go doughboy!” “yeah doughboy!” My favorite was when I was almost at the end, a young woman with a finisher’s medal around her neck said “they’ve got cookies at the finish line!”
This, BTW, is what a triathlete looks like.
The clock does not reflect my time – this was taken as things were being torn down. I had a total time of 2:24:53. That is below my goal, but better than Danville. And, it included a swim that was not only 80% longer, but incredibly harder. I mean, this was ridiculous. I used to think I was a strong swimmer. The difference between pool and bay is significant. The temperature didn’t bother me much since I had my wetsuit. But the tightness of the wetsuit constricted my breathing, and the chop in the water was awful. Many people were commenting that it was a really really hard swim. I was glad to hear it, so I wasn’t the only one. I stopped several times to backstroke, or just bob. I was overtaken by two waves of swimmers who started after. I was looking back and announced to other struggling green cappers – “more people coming!” Got an appreciative “thanks for the warning!” back. They swarmed around and over us. It was something to behold. I think my slow time had a lot to do with confidence. When I just put my face in and swam, I moved along fine. But I was really flipped out from the shortness of breath and in the moment, it seemed more sensible to play it very safe. Seven finishers has slower swims than I did, so it wasn’t the worst.There had to be some DNF’s from that leg too, so I feel that finishing was definitely an achievement.
Once I got out, I was just happy to be breathing air. The bike route was a double loop. It was very different being on a loop with 850 people, some on their first, some on their second. I am changing my name to ON YOUR LEFT, because I heard it 512 times. I was able to say it two times, when coming downhill and FLYING. I did pass one person on an uphill, only after I had built up rocket power from the downhill. I never had to stop, or walk my bike. I did feel dizzy on a couple of climbs, but I pushed through it. The course was tight together with lane closures, so we were flying by in both directions two feet from each other, so I got to see the front line guys as they passed me on their second lap, and I saw people still behind me on my 2nd. (late swim wave starters)
Back to the Transition area, and by the time I was starting my run, over 250 people had finished. No matter, plenty of us left on the run, so I wasn’t all alone.
I was moving slow to start but there were cheering crowds, so I kept running. Or jogging. Or shuffling. Whatever. I stopped to walk a few times on the run when it got less populated, but I finished strong. Besides late swim started, there were a few folks behind me, including the man I saw who clearly had injuries from a bike wreck, but finished with an arm covered in gauze.
The area before the chute was packed with cheering people, which was awesome. The announcer calls out your name as you pass through, photographers get your finish picture, they give you a medal and like that, it’s over.
Right out of the gate was the hostess/announcer for the event, who happens to be on the cover of Competitor Magazine, a lovely and energetic reporter and triathlete named Ann Wessling. Her video coverage of the event is pretty awesome, and you can see it here. Look for a flash of purple around 1:54 and 2:33 to see me moving along, then watch the interviews for a familiar face at the end. I’m on internet TV.
Oh and they did have cookies. And bananas, and breakfast burritos. They did not, however, have chocolate milkshakes per my request.
For posterity, here are my splits.
Swim: goal 15:00 actual 20:39
T1: goal 4:00 actual 5:03
Bike: goal 59:59 actual 1:02:24
T2: goal 3:00 actual listed 5:03 (probably 1:54)
Run: goal 50:00 actual 54:53
Something is off – that adds up to 2:28:02, but my total time was 2:24:53. There is definitely an error on the results sheet, since everyone has identical times listed for T1 and T2. I will assume that the first transition time is right. It seems right. That would make T2 a time of 1:54, which also seems right.
One last fun tidbit: I ran the race in socks borrowed at the last minute. I got there very late, underestimating the drive time from Denton MD, and violating the speed limit A LOT. So I was really frantic getting everything lined up for T1. I couldn’t find my socks. As it would happen, the guy right next to me, 403 to my 404, said “hey, are you the claaaw from beginnertriathlete.com?” So the only person I knew to look for there was right next to me in a sea of 857 starters. And he had extra socks. He’s in an Annapolis area tri-club, and I got to chat with some great triathletes before the race started, which helped calm my nerves. Tor – you’ve got some great people down there.
The race began with the national anthem by one of the band’s guitarists who did a solid recreation of Jimi Hendrix’s Woodstock version. After it finished, a guy right behind me in the red swim cap wave yelled out “get off my lawn!” which absolutely made my day. I was among people I could definitely hang with.
So while this was my second official triathlon, it was my first with an open water swim and a USAT sanction. I’m definitely hooked. The plan now is to complete an Olympic distance before my first year of training ends on December 1. I have options, but nothing registered yet. Once I make it official, it will go on the blog.
So assuming TriRock returns to Annapolis next year on a Saturday, I want someone to go with me and actually run the course. Come on people, someone out there is up for it. I’ll buy the post-race crabcakes and beers.