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9/14/2012 3:11:56 PM
The CATS Sprint Triathlon was my first Triathlon experience - I didn't really know what to expect, but this was a great athletic experience. Obviously nobody knows who I am - I was the guy in the blue tri-suit. I looked a bit like a super-sized Papa Smurf. The Men's Clydesdale division was not what I expected - it turns out most guys over 6' are going to be over 200 lbs - so this was a division of athletes, with the only fat dude being the guy in the blue tri-suit :)
Swim Portion: 12:33.7
Swimming was the only event I wasn't really worried about - I consider myself an average swimmer, and thought the 500 yard swim would be easy. I was mistaken - in training I regularly swam 1000 yards without struggling, but it turns out things are different on race day. Between the adrenaline and all the competitors being fast swimmers, I quickly lost my breath and struggled through the swim.
Transition #1: 3:10.4
So on the carpeted track I was able to reassess the difficulty of this event - the easy event kicked my butt, and the realization of a long day's work started to set in. Maybe that's why my transition time was so long. So cold and wet, I was ready for the bike portion.
Biking Portion: 52:11.5 17.2mph
I was surprised how fast my tri-suit dried out, I was cold for almost a mile, and was fine after that.
I had ridden the course once before during training, so that helped with my confidence a bit. Unfortunately I didn't really have a game plan for the bike portion - I didn't really know what speed I should try to maintain. Luckily I got behind #360 Adam Smith. He seemed to be keeping a good pace for me - so I stayed 3 bike lengths behind him for the majority of the bike portion.
During my training, one of the hills coming back from the turnaround point became my personal trail of tears - I didn't have the leg strength to keep peddling - so I had to walk my bike up the hill (it felt like a mountain to me). So I knew the uphill would kick my butt, but having ridden it before and with the added energy from adrenaline, I was able to ride up the hill without incident (In fact there were 2 uphills in the trip back, II'm not sure which one was the original trail of tears, but I was able to get up both of them without incident. OK, maybe there was incident with one hill - I was standing and peddling up the hill slowly - some unlucky sole was in the bike lane after putting the chain back on her sprocket (I've been there too - the uphill downshift off the sprocket during an uphill can be a killer, especially if you can't clip out fast enough)
Transition #2: 2:06.3
Holy Crap - My legs aren't working !!! So this was obviously the first time I've walked a distance in bike shoes following a hard ride. Seriously - my legs forgot how to support my weight, luckily I didn't fall. Made it to my spot, I had a bucket to sit on, and couldn't figure out why it had water on it. My brain ran through a few scenarios about sprinklers or people with errant water bottles spraying the area. A few miles down the road I remembered that I was wet when I changed to my biking shoes :) I had a faster transition this time, but seriously - what's up with my legs ?
Running Portion: 39:20.0 12:18/M
Lets just speed walk it out - at least until the stabbing pain in whatever muscles are in my shins eases up. I guess I don't work those muscles enough - I'll have to put that on the list of things to work on. So it was a mile speed walk, I picked up some speed coming down a hill, but didn't have the energy to keep that pace on flat land. After the 1 mile marker, the turnaround came faster than anticipated - by this point I was jogging occasionally, but still mostly walking. I was surprised at how supportive everyone that passed me was. Runners are a great group of people.
I knew beforehand that the run would be my worst portion of the day - during training 45 mins was a pretty good time for my 3.2 miles, so although my 39:20 time is slow compared to all the real runners, I performed well compared to my own training runs.
Total Time: 1:49:22.1
This was only my 2nd endurance based athletic event - I competed in the Warrior Dash earlier this year. I guess the Warrior Dash spoiled me - I got a medal for completing the event. I was disappointed that the Sprint Tri did not provide finisher medals - I would have liked something to commemorate my first Sprint Tri experience. So that is the only non-positive thing I have to say about the event (I.m not trying to sound ungrateful, I am glad they put on a great event, but raising the entry fee $5 and providing finishers a $2 medal would make the finish a much more rewarding experience)
Anyhow, the CATS Sprint Triathlon was a great experience - thanks to everyone who encouraged me to keep going while I was sucking wind on the run.
I plan to attend the Heber Springs Sprint Triathlon in October - hopefully I'll see some of the same competitors (Although One significant Climb sounds daunting - the "rolling hills" almost killed me in this Tri, I am not looking forward to a Significant Climb).