I’ve been a bit delayed in writing this for a couple of reasons.  I’ve had some things come up that have made things a little crazy.  More importantly, however, I am a bit disappointed in my results, more on that later.


The race happened to fall on my wife’s birthday.  So in the morning I got up, got the kids out of bed, made breakfast and took it up to my wife along with some cards that the kids put together for her.  After that I had an english muffin and coffee.  We didn’t have to be at the event until 10:15 (I know, what luxury) so there was no rush, and we had plenty of time to let the nerves build up.  I have no idea why I was nervous.  It’s not like there was any money at stake.  My how the mind plays tricks on you.  Although I had felt like I was coming down with something for several days throughout the week, I felt fine the morning of the race.  The only issue I had was a bit of a stiff neck, probably stress related, and really tight hamstrings.  By about 9:30 we were off.

We arrived at the Y in time to see the first wave take off.  We watched them swim almost effortlessly.  Within about 15 minutes my nerves gave way to hunger.  I was famished, I have no idea why.  Luckily  there were granola bars and bananas available and I gobbled up a granola bar greedily.  Then it was time to get started.


As usual, my heart was pounding.  It calmed me a little to talk to people I knew, and having my wife in the lane next to me helped as well.  I’ve found that with the swim it takes me some time to get warmed up.  Unfortunately, I peak about 2 seconds later so I only get about one or two good strokes in there.  As I took off, I went slow and steady.  I learned my lesson from last time and managed to conserve some energy rather than fly off like a bat out of hell.  I felt strong in the water and made the first turn without pausing for air.  As I finished my second lap I could tell from the excitement of the people counting off my laps that I was doing well.  I stopped for a second to take a breath and realized I was the only one on this side of the pool.  This time it wasn’t because I was slow, I was actually a full length ahead of everyone.  How could that be?  I continued on, my chest puffed out with pride.  That didn’t last long.  Around the 6th or 7th lap I started to get tired.  Not panicky tired like last time, but just tired.  My form got sloppy and I needed longer and longer breaks on either end of the pool.  I had gotten into slog mode, and was just slogged out the laps.  At one point around the 9th lap I stopped at the far end of the pool at the same time as the guy next to me.  He looked as beat as I felt.  We had been in the same wave last time, and he had beat me by 3 lengths.  He looked over and said, “this is crazy” I looked back and panted “Yeah this should be the race, we still have to bike and run.”  I forged onward.  My form collapsing as my body tired.  I never panicked this time around.  I just slogged.   In retrospect, I don’t know which is worse.  At least when I panicked I was relieved to be out of the pool.  I was still one of the first few out of the pool.  But not by much.  This time as I climbed out of the pool I stood on solid legs, unlike my last rubber legs experience.


As I made my way to T1 I noticed how calm I was this time.  No tunnel vision, no hyperventilation.   I walked over to the bench where my stuff was.  The place was a mess.  There were shirts and towels everywhere.  I couldn’t even see my shoes.  All the shirts were the same color (darn team shirts) so I struggled to get my stuff together.  I had rolled my socks so that I could just unroll them onto my wet feet, and I had placed them in my running shoes.  I reached into my left shoe and pulled out the sock.  I reached into the right one and there was nothing there.  No sock.  I checked, I checked again, I even dug my hand deep into the shoe, but nothing.  I search around frantically.  The sock was gone!  In the meantime my wife had made her way to T1 and was getting ready.  She must have been in a haze because I repeated that my sock was missing 3 times before she realized what I had said.  I gave up looking for it and ran into the locker room.  I had a gym bag with me and I hoped that I would be able to find a sock.  I didn’t want to end up destroying my feet like last time.  It took me 3 tries before I was able to unlock my combination lock.  I rooted around for my sock and found one.  I threw on the mismatched socks, threw on my shoes, and ran to the spin bikes.


As I started the bike portion of the race I knew that the fight was leaving me.  In my rush to get started I forgot to adjust the seat and handlebar positions on the bike.  I know this is not going to be an issue in a real triathlon, but it still hurt.  I spent the first 5 minutes adjusting things while I was riding.  I kept thinking that this was close enough, but then I would get uncomfortable.  When I finally got situated I tried to hit the bike hard.  My legs felt like lead.  I didn’t understand why I was having so much trouble maintaining my pace.  It was brutal and I once again found myself slogging my way through the bike.  I fought in vain to catch up to my wife.  She was pedaling furiously.  I couldn’t believe how long she was able to keep the cadence of her bike in the 110-120 range.  When I started on the bike I was a half mile behind her.  Despite my attempts to make headway, when she got off her bike I was still a mile away.  She had actually pulled away from me on the bike!  I let her speed push me faster.  I spun the bike up for the last mile and before I knew it I was done.


T2 is hardly worth the mention.  I ran out the door, down the hall, and onto the treadmill next to my wife.  My legs were rubbery but they were still working.


As I got on the treadmill I ran through the mental checklist.  I was wearing socks, CHECK!  I knew the 2.25 miles wasn’t going to be a problem, I mean, I had just done a 5k not too long ago.  So things were all in order.  I set the treadmill to 1 for an incline as I was instructed to do this time around, and I set the treadmill to 6.  That is a comfortable pace for me, at least during my 5K run.  I started to run and was thrilled that I didn’t feel the knives cutting into my feet this time.  About half a mile in something happened.  I felt a strange burning in my calves.  At first I couldn’t tell what it was, but then I felt my shins burning too.  It dawned on me that I was getting legs craps.  I audibly mumbled “Oh Come ON!” to myself.  I couldn’t believe that I was going to have this issue today.  This was my day to shine.  I had conquered the swim demon.  I wore socks, come on!  Ok, fine, it is hurting, but this is supposed to hurt, remember?  I will just ignore it.  I focused on pushing the pain away.  But I couldn’t.  Shortly after it started I had to slow down.  I dropped to a 3MPH pace to walk and try to get a stretch in.  After a few moments the agony of going so slowly surpassed the agony of the cramps.  I cycled back and forth this way, cramps giving way to frustration and vice versa.  I looked over at my wife, she was a woman on a mission.  She had a look of determination on her face, in that moment I was so proud of her.  I realized that it didn’t matter what happened to me, this was her birthday, and she was shining.

With only 3/4 of a mile left I hit it back to 6.  I told myself “there is no stop button…there is no stop button.”  Unfortunately my eyes were drawn inexplicably to the big red stop button as if to say “oh yeah, what’s that thing?”  I pulled out all of the motivational crap out of the toolbox to throw at this problem but nothing worked.  I thought of my kids, I thought of my spin instructor yelling “press it” I looked out the windows.  I did it all.  I just couldn’t hold on.  I slowed it back down.  With the last 1/4 mile looming in the distance I pushed the treadmill to 8.  I crushed it and gave it all I had.  I just couldn’t do it.  I screamed to myself “ok fine, but I’m not going lower than 6.”  It’s funny how something that used to feel horrible can be a relief under the right conditions.  As the treadmill slowed to 6 I found myself thinking, well 6 doesn’t feel so bad now, does it?

When I hit the 2.25 mile mark I stopped the treadmill.  Unfortunately, I also stopped running right around then and I rolled right off the back of the treadmill.  Under ordinary circumstances I would have been ok, but my legs were a wobbly and cramped mess.  As I slipped off the back end I fell face first towards the still moving treadmill.  I heard a collective gasp from the people around me as I fell.  I had the presence of mind to put my hands out on either side of the belt and catch myself before causing any damage.  A group of people came rushing over to me, but I was up and running to the last checkpoint before they got me.  I assured them that I was fine.  My wife later told me that everyone was worried about my cramping.  I guess they were watching me closely as I fell.  What a spectacle.  Here’s to doing better next time.  It can’t be much worse can it?


Swim: 14:07 (650 Yards)

T1: 3:03 (darn sock)

Bike: 22:33 (10 miles)

T2: 0:15

Run: 24:30 (2.25 Miles)

Total: 1:04:28

Place:  31/40