I’ve had more than a week to write this, since I’ve been waiting for the official pictures from the event. As of tonight, I finally have them. I have my own snapshots, but I really wanted to compare the on-course photos.
So as usual, prepare for a completely longer-than-necessary race report, which took me longer to write than it did to do the course. But I have plenty of pictures, some involving attractive women, which should make up for me in lycra.
Annapolis 2011 was a solo event, but this time it was a whole family affair. We started our trip in Baltimore, at the National Aquarium. Then to downtown Annapolis. The sailor suit that Jack is in, will have patches added to it to match my Dad’s uniform from the 1960s. If you happen to be around Lewisburg on June 30, they will be marching in the 4th of July parade together.The whole family album is on facebook.
As soon as we got to Dock Street, I saw a familiar face from last year. Check out my 2011 blog post with a link to video of Ann interviewing me at the finish line. Ann remembered me from last year, even without the shirt.
Packet pickup was at the same place as last year, with a much bigger expo than last time. This race sold out with over 1300 spots this year, and the weather was awesome, so this made for a better “crowd.”
We wanted to find a place in downtown Annapolis that would have something for the kids. The many pubs with outdoor seating were enticing, but we found a diner. Any place with a diner-sized menu should have something for the kids.
What I didn’t know is that this was no random diner. It is a pretty well known place.
You may have seen this place on Man Vs Food. They have several challenges available. There was a young man at the next table attempting the most famous one: a 6 pound milkshake and a one pound burger.
I share this detail of our pre-race trip, because I found a pretty solid irony here. Had I been in Annapolis for a competition or challenge, say, 5 years ago, I would have likely been there for the 6 pound milkshake. (The burger would have been an afterthought.) But here we were, so I could do this triathlon thing, for the SECOND time on this course, mind you.
If only this guy could see me now.
That guy ate 5 of the potatoes before someone pointed out that they go in the gun.
OK so enough of the build-up.
We arrived pretty early I thought, so we didn’t miss the closing of the route on 450 coming in from the Super8. But by the time we walked to transition from our spot several blocks away. I saw something I didn’t see the previous year. There was a line to get in, that stretched all the way out dock street, around the corner, and up the street with the deli. They were very serious about bike inspections, or at least they were at the start. They loosened up and let us in by droves, just to start on time. This was the only snag in an otherwise very well-run race.
I got to the transition area, where we had bike rack spots assigned by bib number. On my bike rack was a familiar looking pair of reindeer socks. Last year I forgot my socks (so I thought, I just couldn’t find them in my new transition bag – too many pockets) and borrowed a pair from the person right next to me, who knew my name from BT. We’re FB friends now, and it was a pleasure to see Tor Christensen again.
Time to race. I was in the 8th swim wave out of 13. This year the swim waves went every 7 minutes instead of every 3, since we had many more people in each wave. This meant I didn’t get in the water until just before 7:49 AM. By the time I was out, people were crossing the finish line.
OK, so leg one – the swim.
2011 – 20:39
2012 – 13:17
I went from 44 out of 45 in my age group to 43 out of 58.
And here’s the picture comparison I have been waiting for.
That’s the same wetsuit, but this year I don’t feel like it’s choking me.
Off to the bike course.
The course was the same route as last year, with one vital change: there were more lanes available. The main complaint from the inaugural race was the crowded bike course. They fixed this by adding a full car lane, and spreading out the wave starts even more.
I enjoyed this bike ride. The bridge was a short climb, but a bit steep, in relation to the rest of the course. I got passed each of the four times going over it, and also on any rolling incline. But I had no problem hammering the downhills and flats. I passed many of the same people who went by me going up. I even got into the aerobars a few times. And, much to my surprise, there were a couple folks I passed on the UPHILL. This was brand new territory for me.
2011 1:02:24 55/55
2012 49:46 47/58
The bike is the place where the weight loss is least evident, at least visually. I don’t see a lot of difference in these pictures honestly, even though that’s a 3x shirt on the left and a 2x on the right. Hunch over a bike sometime, and you’ll definitely see where you could stand to lose a few pounds.
But hey – I took a TON of time off of last year.
And finally – the run.
2011 54:53 44/45 AG
2012 40:23 55/58
Now this is the craziest part of all. Accounting for the fact that this course was accurately measured as a 5k, and my previous 5k PR was definitely short, this time is currently my actual 5k PR! You’re supposed to PR a 5k in a stand-alone race, not at the end of a Tri! But that’s just a function of my holding back.
They moved the finish chute from last year, and it worked out great. Meg and the kids were along the side.
2011 time – 2:24:53 818/825 bottom 1 %
2012 time 1:49:45 903/1031 bottom 12.4%
Total time taken off – 35:08
2013 goal 1:29:59
As I came down the chute, Ann was doing her usual great job of announcing and cheerleading.
The guy reading names saw the shirt and announced “here comes the doughboy!” and Ann chimed in on her mic “he was in a 3x last year, and that’s a 2x today!” Other announcer, surprised: “Ann!” Ann: “no, he told me yesterday!”
Off to the free beer tent, and to get a breakfast burrito.
Between transition pre-race, and the post-race milling about, I had a number of people approach me to let me know they read the blog, or knew me from BT. That was pretty cool. The weather was great this time, the AC/DC tribute band was rocking, the beer was flowing.
Before leaving, I had to get one picture with Ann. She came out from the chute so we could get the full swim cap dress in the shot. Last year it was a miniskirt, this year it was practically an evening gown.
I am serious about going sub 1:30 next year. As I approached the finish chute, rounding the corner to Dock St, I saw Tor and a couple of his fellow Annapolis tri club members. They hollered out for the doughboy and one guy said “one more of these and you can’t wear that shirt anymore!” Well, I did get a single XL off ebay, which I hope to wear to Annapolis next year. But the shirt stays until the title of this blog comes to completion. Then we’ll have a ceremonial burning.
We packed up, but the day was not over for this triathlete. A side trip to Princeton Sports in Columbia Maryland was in order, as Chrissie Wellington was signing copes of her brand new book, Life Without Limits.
I found my BT buddy Matt, who did the Dewey Beach Sprint with me last year. He didn’t do Annapolis, since was doing the Baltimore Half-Marathon the next day where he PR’ed.
I also had a card from the Allen and Gintner 2011 set that I gave to Olivia. It’s the plain card, and though there were 700 people there, many with multiple books, I thought if Olivia had her card out, Chrissie might sign it. I was right. I left my own trading card with the piece of a race-worn suit in it, (like the NFL jersey cards) at home. Didn’t want to be too hardcore of a fanboy.
I wanted to say so much, but there were tons of people in line, so I just thanked her for coming out, and moved along. However, when I was in line, I was talking with Matt, and somehow we got chatting with a representative of Columbia Triathlon, who asked what CT events I would be doing. I confessed I was signed up for Eagleman. Suddenly the guy in the doughboy t-shirt was of interest, and a woman who appeared to be with the event made sure to take my picture with Chrissie, and next thing you know, I’m on Chrissie’s twitter. If I had an active account, I would have retweeted, but there you go.
There was so much about this weekend that I loved.
I PRed the course by a huge margin on every leg.
I got to see people I met last year who remind me what a cool community triathlon really has, despite some of the more glaring stereotypes.
I met Chrissie Wellington.
But most of all, I got to share it all with my family this time. Watching a tri is as boring as watching paint dry, but with kindles and nintendo DS in hand, they got through it. To be together for the celebration is really what counts.
My only regret is that we don’t have a picture of the kids standing by the course with our homemade signs: WORST PARADE EVER and WHERE’S MY CANDY?
Next race: June 10. Not a sprint. Until then, this blog may be pretty quiet, as it’s going to be an intense three weeks. I’ll drop in to give a quick status update, then write it up properly later.
Thanks to all of you who give such great encouragement to me. I hope to be an encouragement to others, through this blog, and through BT.com. See you out there!