See the confused look on my face? That's b/c I have no idea what I'm doing! Bah ha ha! Regardless... I had a great time and am pleased with my results... especially considering this is my 2nd Triathlon EVER!
Here's the blow by blow:
I left Eugene Saturday evening following Lila's t-ball game and Tom's b-day party. I had packed all my gear the day prior so when the game was over... I kissed everyone and took off! About 2:30 hrs later... more time than it took me to complete the race... I pulled into Drew's parent's driveway. They live about 20 min away from the race site so it was perfect. We hung out for a while then hit the hay at about 9:00 pm.
5:00 am wake-up, coffee and Grape Nuts, and we're off to the race! We got there in plenty of time and were able to just relax, calmly get our stuff together, scope the flow of the transition area, and take a peak at the swim. It was a pretty cool day... roughly 55 - 60 degrees and overcast... pretty much perfect! There was some concern on my part thinking that it might be cold on the bike... I don't like being cold... so I laid out my arm warmers despite the ridicule from Drew. We got our race gear on and headed out for a quick warm-up jog. Got back to the swim start during the pre-race brief, threw on our wet suits and were ready to go!
Water temperature was in the low 60's but it didn't feel cold at ALL! Must have been the adrenaline. It was a water start... so we all headed out and floated around for a bit. The crowd did a count-down and then we were OFF! Our wave was by far the largest in the race... final numbers came in at 56 total in the group. Flailing arms and legs, struggling to find a rhythm, running into everyone on either side of me... the first 500m were torture for me! I just couldn't hold a straight line! I felt sorry for the guys on either side of me! No major collisions but annoying non-the-less. After roughly 600m we took a right at one of the buoys and then it got a bit more smooth. Found my rhythm and was able to keep a relatively straight line... having buoys on my right and the bank of the lake on my left. "Ok.. settle... you're passing people... settle". Round the last buoy and heading for home. Then it happened... 100m from exiting the water... CRAMP! My right hamstring and calf completely seized up! "NO WAY! OUCH! Ok... stay calm... almost there... just pull!" Hit land... cramp went away after the first 4 steps... and I was off to transition!
Swim time: 25:25 (1,500m)
SLOW! I swear the distance from the water to out of the transition onto the bike was at least 1/4 of a mile! Is that normal? Uneventful and pretty smooth. Just took my time and made sure I had all the stuff I wanted for the ride. Morgan ended up in position right next to me... nice to see a friendly face... we shot the bull for a bit and then we were off.
T1 Time: 00:03:00
Took off at a relaxed pace and held it between 19 to 21 mph. Morgan and I exchanged a few words and then he hit the gas... it would have been a mistake for me to try and hold him. I just settled in and tried to remain conscious of my breathing and cadence. I kept reminding myself that it was 25 miles... not 10 and that there would be time to catch some of the guys that were passing me. Surprisingly, there weren't that many passing... and I passed a few myself. Around mile 8 the elite guys started BLOWING by me (I think they started in the last wave... which was odd) like I was standing still. I looked down at my computer and I was holding 21 mph... they must have gone buy at 28 mph at least! AWESOME! I was taking in little sips of Hammer Heed every 10 min or so... but it just wasn't hot and I didn't feel the need... kept after it anyway. It was a flat to slightly rolling course overall which followed the Columbia River. The winds can be brutal in that area but they weren't too bad. Its basically an out and back course and after the turn-around at roughly mile 14 I saw Drew heading toward it... we exchanged hoots and hammered on. I was feeling the threat of a cramp in my right hamstring and calf for most of the second half of the bike... I just didn't give it much thought. Over the course of the 25 miles I took in about 4 oz of Hammer Gel as well... which seemed to work just fine. I was happy as I was pulling into transition when I glanced down at my watch. I know I could have gone harder at this distance but I wanted to test and see if this was the kind of pace I could hold for a Half IM. Jury will be out on that until after that race... but I'm guessing I'll want to bring it down a notch for my first Half IM.
Bike Time: 1:07:44 (22.21 mph pace 25 miles total)
Again, uneventful AND slow! Helmet off, shoes off, socks on, shoes on, visor on, # belt on, GO!
T2 Time: 00:02:31
Started out of the gate relaxed and controlled. Got to see two of my college friends, Dean, and Gary, that came out to support me! THANKS GUYS! I didn't want to go out hard and crash. My goal was to hit a 07:00 min mile or above at the first mile marker. Bingo... hit the first marker at 07:10. Unfortunately that was the last mile marker until the turn-around. That was pretty disappointing b/c I had no way to gage how my pace was holding up. I will say that I was passing people consistently which always feels good. Felt relaxed and in control the entire time. Saw Drew at about the 5 mile mark... he looked comfortable but I knew that he wasn't hitting his goal pace.. high 5 and rolled on! Time to pick it up. I looked at my watch and noticed that I was getting close to my overall goal time of 2:20 for the whole race. I was hoping to have a little more time to relax on the run... but really wanted to hit my goal time! Accelerated hard but was still comfortable... ran through the woods and up a small hill to the finish... I LOVE the rush of the cheering crowd! Crossed the line with a smile on my face!
Run Time: 42:17 (6:42/mile avg)
Overall Time: 2:20:57
Overall Place: 97th of 478
AG Place: 19th of 56
Overall I'm pretty happy! I'm really glad to have an open-water swim out of the way before Pacific Crest. Just from a comfort perspective I think it'll really be helpful. The bike went well and I'm fairly certain I can maintain that pace over the 56 mile distance for the Half IM... although I will probably tone it down to ensure a stronger run. I'm really glad to know that I can still run a sub 7 min mile off the bike... though I think it would be more realistic to expect something 8 min and under for a 13.1 distance. A couple of firsts which I wouldn't recommend. Brand-new wet suit, brand-new running shoes. Though they didn't cause me any problems, there was a lack of familiarity that I would have appreciated right before the swim and as I headed out on the run!
More holistically I'm am SO blessed to be able to participate in this sport! Not only does it keep me sane but it also allows me to meet new people and develop new friends. BIG shout-out to Drew for all of his support and level-headed advice before and after the race! Lookin forward to Pac Crest with ya buddy!