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Race Report: The goal was to survive the swim . . . but came away with so much more

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Race Report: The goal was to survive the swim . . . but came away with so much more

Old 04-20-09, 07:02 AM
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jslegacy
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Race Report: The goal was to survive the swim . . . but came away with so much more

Back in November I decided that 2009 was going to be the year for me to start doing triathlons. Before it had been all talk, but with biking to work every day for almost six months by then and running last spring until I was diagnosed with Plantar Faciitis and then picked up biking to work.

I had two of the three disciplines down, I was never a fast runner just could run a long distance ran about a 9 minute mile. As for biking it had always been a passion of mine as a kid but never really had a decent bike. But after the foot problem I decided to spend some money on an entry level road bike.

As for the swimming I did from time to time at our condo's pool but nothing more than 15 minutes tops. So the goal was to start working out the upper body in November in the gym and build some lean muscle for a few months before I started swimming. With the winter in VA being pretty cold this year the swimming kept getting pushed back further and further. I ended up taking my first swim at the beginning of April.

I couldnt believe how hard it was, so the goal for my tri which I signed up for in January was to survive the swim. But each time I went back, twice or three times a week it got easier and easier and times got extended further as did distance. I was starting to feel more comfortable in the water but still knew that swimming in open water would be an experience in of itself.

But as I gained speed my goal changed. . . go balls to the wall, this is a sprint and I am paying for it, so I did.

The water the temp was 62F which I was prepared for as I would take showers in my wetsuit all week prior with the water turned to cold and practice getting out of my wetsuit. Although the showers helped me get used to a problem that did exist, because once in Lake Anna (which is used to cool nuclear reactors) it wasnt that bad, my feet and hands were cold but thats it and once I started swimming I warmed up quickly. The open water swim was daunting, I had a feeling of helplessness as I couldn't see much under water, couldnt touch the bottom and if I swam for a few minutes it seemed like I was going nowhere. But before I knew it I had reached turn one, then turn two and catching up to the women that left three minutes a head of me. At first I didnt know how I should swim, head up or just suck it up and head under and swim fast, I did the latter.

T1: As I got out of the water I ran to my bike, the goal was to strip the arms off in the process but I was still dizzy from the swim that I didnt bother and just focused on getting to my bike. I got the suit off, turned on my Garmin Edge, put the shoes and helmet on and ran for the bike start. On my way I ran past many people walking their bikes. I mounted just fine and took off.

For the bike, well that would be my strength and after almost 5 months of Heart Rate Zone based training it really paid off. I stayed at the top of my Zone 3 almost the entire time and felt great. I passed lots of people, lots, in fact almost the entire was spent against the double yellow lines. I did have to announce my passing to quite a few folks who couldnt control their bike or were passing as well.

T2: Was quick although I did hear the first place person cross the line as I was about to head out 1:02:XX was all i remember.

For the run I knew I could run a sub 8 minute mile depending on the hills, the run started out going up hill and then turned into the woods for about 100 yards. Lots of roots and holes, something if you werent watching your feet you could twist something, after that it was on the roads and hills. I worked out in my brick training that after I get off the bike I need to take short strides with high RPM. This paid off as I would use that same stride to go up hills and stretch out going down. I passed a few more people and was passed twice.

As I was approaching the final 50 yards I couldnt help but think to myself that this it I am finally a triathlete after all of the training I had done I was finally there. I sprinted toward the finish line and passed my family and I could hear my two year old son yelling "go daddy go daddy". As I crossed the line I noticed the time was 1:26:XX, subtract 12 minutes from my start time I beat my goal of sub 1:15:00 by a few seconds.

After cooling down and gathering my gear I cheered some other finishers on their way in and wandered over to the officials tent to check out the preliminary results. I look at page 3, couldnt find me, page 2 nothing, oh well I guess I will have to wait for page 4, but as I stepped away I saw my name on page one. I was shocked to say the least, I continued to look upward and I was the only one on that page that had "NM" next to my name, Novice Male. I couldnt believe is it possible that I won my group?

So we packed the car and went back down to the race area and awaited the awards. When they got to the Novice Males group my HR must have been higher than the whole race, they called 3rd, 2nd, and then Jeremy Edwards with my time as 1st place. I couldnt believe it, people were actually clapping for me as I stood up to accept my beer mug, I think that is what it is but it is awesome.

My whole family was so proud of me, even though it was a sprint distance and a novice group I had never won anything, and only had my name called out for being in trouble. When I got back my son said "Daddy Wins!!!"

My time was 1:14:54, 45th overall I believe out of close to 500 participants. I will try to link some photos later, sorry for the long post but I have been waiting for the day I can post my first triathlon story after reading so many.
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Old 04-20-09, 08:36 AM
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edbikebabe
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That's awesome. Congratulations. A great way to start your tri career.
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Old 04-20-09, 10:17 AM
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Fantastic! Way to go!! Now you're a triathlete...so when's your next race?
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Old 04-21-09, 08:30 AM
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Good job!
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Old 04-21-09, 09:10 AM
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Awesome!

Open water swimming is pretty panic inducing for the uninitiated... Heck, my friend refuses to do any more triathlons that have an open water swim after he freaked out in his first race. It still takes me a minute or three to get over the panic feeling (and the cold water only makes it worse) but once i get my rhythm and warmed up, I start to love open water swimming.
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Old 04-21-09, 12:41 PM
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Go fill up that beer mug and we'll toast the winner of the Novice Male Group!! Well Done !!

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Old 04-22-09, 02:06 PM
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Dude, awesome job and way to start of what's hopefully a long list of Tris (and a long list of wins!).
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Old 04-22-09, 06:26 PM
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Thank you guys for all of the kudos. I registered for my second tri on May 10th, I think my wife told me it was mother's day but she said its ok and she will join me there as she had fun.

I know swimming was probably one of my weakest points and looked at the results from the AG'ers and decided to race this one more race as a novice and then move up to my AG, 25-29. The swim and transitions are probably the two best areas for improvement as I dont think my run will get much quicker and my bike was pretty strong already but will continue to push it.

I plan to do another four or five races this season, I am hooked!!!
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Old 05-13-09, 09:49 PM
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Good job. What was the distances for the tri?
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