It’s been a long road since couch to 5k. The road stretches on from this point to places beyond the horizon that I cannot see yet, and places that I have not yet even put on the map yet. But today, less than a year from the first day I just decided to go for a run, I pulled my 270+ pound self through the entirety of an International/Olympic length triathlon. For you hardcore IM KQ types, for whom this day would be a light brick, that may not seem very impressive. But for the guy who looked at MAYBE an olympic by 2013 and hoped to do one third of a sprint relay in August, this has been an amazing acomplishment, even at my pace.
For history on how this event came to be, read this post.
I’m almost glad I had the bike rack problem and crash on the 26th. The fix was minor, inexpensive, and immediate thanks to the great service at Zimmerman’s Bicycle Shop. Rescheduling to today allowed for my wife to be my photographer/videographer, with our son in tow. My daughter was in school, but got to be there for the finish. The weather was outstanding, a rare treat for November 8. I wore nothing long-sleeved, there was no precipitation for days, it was perfect.
Doing a solo triathlon is an odd experience, but I had another one of those moments today, much like being recognized this last weekend. I went to the locker room to change, and another guy heading to the pool asked if I ran the Sunbury 5k. I am a chatty type apparently, and he remembered me, and asked how training was going. I told him about the day. Another guy in the room overheard us, and joined the conversation. As it turns out, he is a triathlete. I meet so few around here. He is also the facilities manager of the very building I was in. Lots of good vibes from fellow endurance lovers.
Got into the pool and waited for Meg and my official race starter.
I hadn’t been in the pool for a couple of weeks, but I felt comfortable. I literally start my coaching tomorrow, and it is sorely needed. Meg could note a lot of things wrong with my stroke, and she’s not even a swimmer or coach. We’ll see if she’s right. Anyway, after 33 laps, I was out and into the locker room. Swim time was 39:43. Transition was something like 17 minutes, since I was waiting for the two of them to meet me outside.
Off to the bike! At mile 1.25, my chain came off and I had to stop. I tried to unclip the left shoe, but it wouldn’t budge. I coasted to a stop and leaned against a guard rail totally clipped in. I managed my right foot out first, but the left was still really tight. I now believe that even more important than bilateral breathing in open water, is the ability to unclip either shoe from a moving bike. I dismounted, put the chain back on, and continued untroubled. I also had a honey stinger with ginseng, which I am convinced is just a liquid pixie stick with meth. I’m sold though, trust me. Honey is so superior to GU. I’ll be doing my own honey caffeine blends.
The ride down route 15 was nice. I averaged about 14.8 mph. It is flat with a slight downhill, but I was in a pretty good headwind. I wasn’t pushing it hard, since the turn at 104 would bring the final 10+ miles which would be a steady ascent to home.
Actually, I was quite pleased with the trip northward. It wasn’t all uphill, I had rollers. Nothing qualified as even a Cat 5 on mapmyride. I did put two hills at the very end of the route, partially by necessity for the route length to make it to 40km, but the last was really just a bump, chosen since it was the bump I had to walk over for the first several rides I took. No walking anything today, though it was tempting on the gravel hill right before the bump. I never see a vehicle on it, ever. That is, until today when I followed a truck’s dust cloud.
At the end of the bike route, I made a detour. I realized that I had not yet gone to vote, and the polling place was .17 miles from my T2 spot. I went to the polls where Meg was waiting, and had been talking with a candidate who was there. She seemed genuinely interested in my activities for the day, not just in a politician glad-handing way. She asked to get a picture with me, so I said sure! and we took a few of our own. Oh yeah, I also voted. This is why my T2 time is 10 minutes. I thought that if people can draw and get married during the NYC marathon (both of those happened 2 days ago), I can vote during a triathlon.
Back to T2, which was good, since the extra .17m put my bike total at 24.92, just at the 40k total. Whew. Didn’t want a short course.
Into the church basement, drank some water, ate a banana and part of a clif.
I’ve only done sprints, so the weirdness in the legs after biking was pretty new to me. I spent the first mile wondering what was going on in my left leg. I pushed through it and it disappeared. I was concerned early on, as the two hounds of hell were out of their cage and trying to tear through their fence to eat me, and I was going very slowly.
After an unscheduled water stop in my house, I kept going up the cat5 hill I live on. The route was pretty much uphill for the first 3 miles, then flat and slightly descending for the last half. Finishing strong that way was nice.
This was even nicer. WTC wasn’t around to DQ me for this move.
I felt great when I was done. I ran under 16m/m at the end of a Olympic Triathlon. I was thrilled that the last 10 miles of biking were not a sufferfest. I had my wife and children with me. I had a personal race photographer who gave me my pics and videos right away, and all it cost me was dinner out at Red Robin. (My choice actually.)
We went home to cleanup, and before heading out to the restaurant, I was presented with this.
Final tally: 4:35:01
Swim – 1650 yards 39:43
Bike 24.75 m 1:47:04
T2 .17m bike 10:22 (includes voting)
Run 6.35 m 1:40:52