Aw, my very first race report. Apparently race reports should be long, drawn-out, epic tales of trials and tribulations, so hopefully mine will not disappoint. It certainly qualifies as long. My inaugural triathlon went REALLY well. I was going to wait to post until I got my final time and my splits and such, but it appears they won't be posted until Wednesday. From the unofficial results sheet posted, I finished around 1:40 and was sixth in my age group. Considering my goal time was to finish under two hours, I was really happy with my result. Okay, let's break it down:
[Jay, my 1981 Peugeot PH8 touring bike, all ready for his first (and hopefully only) triathlon. Hopefully my next triathlon will be done on a racing bike, not a touring bike. Also, my macbook's Photo Booth flips the photo around in case you're confused.]
Pre-race: I didn't sleep as well as I would have liked last night, but when the alarm went off at 4:26 am (ugh) I actually felt ready to go. Quick shower to warm up, ate some breakfast, pumped up the tires, and got on the 5:26 train downtown. Got to the transition area to discover that arriving early was not really necessary as there were only two racks for my "wave" (note: not heat, like in swimming). Laid everything out, including a pile of "just in case" clothes. Met up with my two friends who were also doing the race (one a first timer just like me) and lined up for the swim.
Swim: GROSS. They had us tread water before the start and I kept hitting nasty seaweed (lakeweed?). The start was really disorganized. We were kind of just milling around and all of a sudden they started us. I was expecting to get lined up like the previous two heats had been, so I was kinda chilling in the middle of the pack, instead of out front like I had intended. I spent the first few minutes of the swim trying to get past people, and finally got my own "space" after the first buoy. After the second buoy, started catching up to the stragglers from the heat in front of us, which resulted in me coming to a complete stop at least 3x. I had intended to try to "win" the swim for my heat, but I was also have trouble sighting, so I had to stay behind the lead girls. The water was disgusting and I was so happy to get out of there that I forgot getting out onto a dock is not the same as a pool and fell back in. :) It was hilarious to be helped out by these two volunteers!
T1: Once up the slippery ramp, I was able to jog into the transition area. Decided to just bike in the outfit I had on (two piece swim top and tri shorts), since it wasn't raining. Note to self: bring a small towel to dry feet off. I kinda rubbed them around on the floor towel then shoved my shoes on. Jogged the bike up to the mount line and I was off.
Bike: I ate a gel as soon as I got on the bike, good thing I managed to ooze it all over my face and the photographer caught it... haha. Starting off the cycling portion all sticky was interesting. Riding on the shoreway was actually quite nice. It is surprisingly hilly. Bike commuting of the Giant Hill of Doom (Cedar Road, Edgehill, Stokes/Fairhill) was probably the best thing I could do training-wise. The only time I was really able to pass people was going up the inclines. Of course, since I don't weigh much, have wide tires, and don't have aero-bars, I kept getting passed on the way down. I also managed to either break my front derailleur or screw up my shifter (I rock downtube friction shifters. Be jealous.) since I wasn't able to shift into the big ring. My only hope on downhills is to be able to shift high enough to pedal downhill, but no such luck today. I tried to tuck myself into the most aero position I could do to compensate. Nutrition-wise, I ate the Gu Chomps, which are like big gummy bears, but ridiculously sticky. The course was actually quite scenic. You pass right by downtown and the lakefront and see all the cool lofts and industrial sites and such. Going by on a bike at ~12-15mph gives one a much better opportunity to sightsee than driving on the shoreway at ~55-65mph.
T2: I don't have cycling shoes (yet), so I was able to have a really fast transition. Jogged my bike in only to discover our rack had been knocked over. This is probably the only time having a kickstand on my bike turned out to be an advantage. :) Switched helmet to a visor (thanks, Anthony Travels!), put my race belt number on, and was off.
Run: Coming out of transition straight into a hill was not fun, but there was an aid station to distract me. I got two cups of water, one to sip from, one to dump over my hands in an attempt to de-sticky myself. Only somewhat successful. I felt really good on the run and just tried to maintain a constant pace, and I ended up next to a middle-aged man running the exact same pace. We pretty much ran side by side for about 2 out of the 3.1 miles. The course was okay until I hit some headwind on Lakeside Ave. Cruising downhill around the Browns stadium was fun, but the last little run around the harbor and under the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was hard. I saw a girl in my age group pass me, and I tried to catch up, but didn't quite have it in me. Finishing was fun. Not only did they announce my bib number, but they announced my name and said that I had a good race. They might have been tipped off by me pumping my arms over the finish line (the photographer was there!) but I like to think they were just amazed at my triathlon prowess. ;)
I'll post my official times when I get them. Right now I'd like to thank my roommate JS for the awesome poster on my bedroom door and the wild goose chase to find a cycling jacket yesterday (only to not need it today, ha), my friend DN for cheering loud enough that I could actually hear and for the ride back, my friends DP and MS for also doing the race, everyone who commented on facebook and twitter wishing me luck, my family for saying they wished they could be here today, BH for providing foundational advice on triathlons back in the fall, and most especially, Amy for providing advice, inspiration, and the chance to witness a rockstar Ironman performance. I'd also like to thank whoever invented showers because man, that one felt good.