Saturday, April 02, 2005

Beaver Freezer

I just finished my first triathlon ever, the Beaver Freezer. My goal was 1h30min, but I kicked ass and came in at just over 1h15min (unofficial time - my watch). I did way better than I expected to, and had a great time.

Sam got a flat (his first in months) and was unable to finish, Nick and Reyna finished - though Nick wasn't happy with his run. I also ran into Paul, a friend and former boss of Mary's, who was competing as well.

Because my heat was so much later than Sam's and Nick's, they were there to cheer me on during my bike-run transition and during the run. Mary's mom also showed up and was there for the entire race which was very nice. Mary, on the other hand, was busy helping a couple deliver their baby at home, and didn't get to see me in my glory.

The swim went pretty well, I was the slowest in my lane according to our self-reported times, and the fastest guy did pass me about 3/4 of the way through. Another guy (some dude with a OSU Beaver outfit) talked about finishing the race in 1h05min and riding at 22mph turned out to be slower than me (7:45 500 my ass), and he didn't pull over when I swam into his feet. That was a bit frustrating, mostly because he was the big talker. But, no big deal, I swam about the pace I wanted and finished with plenty of breath left (unlike Sam who flew and was the first in his heat - only to be passed on the way to the bike because he couldn't jog).

I successfully made it out of the pool (I saw some people who almost fell back in and I was fearful that might be me) - I even almost made it look good. I just swam up to the edge and w/out pausing, lifted myself onto the deck - looking as smooth and sexy as Bo Derek in 10. Anyhoo, I had plenty of energy to jog to my bike and begin to make the transition. I tried cracking a joke (relatively funny) but nobody was in the mood.

The ride went smoothly, though I didn't have a cycle-computer (battery died two years ago) so I had no idea how fast or slow I was riding. For most of the time I rode behind a guy with a really awkward ride (his shoulders bobbed with every pedal stroke). I tried to catch him several times, but he kept a good pace. Finally, on the flat back toward campus I was able to get by. My only real pass (the couple others were going way slower).

Three notable things happened on the ride. The first happened early on, a guy was trying to get his water bottle (or something) and crashed right in front of me. Fortunately, my quick reflexes saved the day and I bunny hopped over him ... ok, so I got lucky because I was grabbing my water bottle at the same time and happened to be pointed to the right of him - reflexes factored in a little, but I got real lucky. Next, some dude flew past me wearing see-thru spandex - not cool. I considered stopping just to let him out of eyesight, but I continued to race. There were a bunch of flats, and the first guy I passed looked fairly serious and I felt for him. I needn't have worried because he fixed the flat and nearly caught me on the ride (he passed me during the run). Turns out, he spent a summer working in a bike shop for some resort where 90% of the work was fixing flats. He was fast.

I had trouble finding my spot on the bike rack (need my shoes), so next time I think I'll bring a flag of some sort - it cost me several precious seconds. But I made the transition pretty fast, and headed on the dreaded run. Nick came out just of the finish area just as I was beginning my run, and Sam and Gin both cheered me on as I started my 3 laps around the quad.

I finally felt the dreaded bike/run transition feeling. My legs were heavy and I could only take short, choppy strides. I'd practiced the transition on my own, but this was the first time I actually had a hard (harder than normal) time running. So I settled in for the long haul and watched as people passed me right and left. Other than the really heavy legs, the worst part of the run was a short hill that just sapped my energy.

Oh, the hill and the fact that I'd never practiced drinking water out of a cup while jogging (I can't really say I was running). I almost drowned myself trying to get some water down. The next time I found the trick of pinching the cup so the water comes through a narrow opening - much easier to drink that way.

Right about the third lap I realized I was doing pretty well. My brain didn't work so well when I first started running, but I started to comprehend that I had a chance of breaking the 1:15 barrier right about the beginning of the third (and final) lap. Yeah, I just called it a "barrier", as though I have a bunch of experience doing this. I lengthened my stride a bit and tried to pick up the pace, which worked pretty well down the back stretch. Every time I realized I was reverting to my choppy stride I'd pep myself up, telling myself I only had to keep it up for a few more minutes. I even "flew" up the hill (almost collapsing at the top). I gave a good push, sprinting at a zippy 9 mph or so into the center of the quad to cross the finish line. Sam, Nick and Gin were there, taking pictures and asking if I wanted to run another lap.

My unofficial time was 1:15:25, we'll see what the real time keepers have to say.

All in all, I was very happy with the result. The run went tons better than expected, I enjoyed every minute of the race (thanking every one of volunteers who stopped traffic for us at the intersections). Big kudos to the race organizers.

Now it's time to find the next triathlon.

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