I gave in to peer pressure and signed up for a triathlon. I almost was talked into the Baxter Tri but I rode the cycle part on my motorcycle and it was all hills and I really didn’t think I had enough time to train and be ready. Melissa said she was going to ride the cycle part and then run and that I should come with her so since there wasn’t really a good excuse not to so I joined her. I grabbed my mountain bike and let her lead the way. I knew the gearing on a mountain bike was different than a road bike but I was not prepared to be left struggling right off it was amazing how fast Melissa was and she said she was really slow but after 1 hour 49 minutes I finished. Melissa was a great sport and I gave her an opportunity to take breaks everywhere cause I was so slow. I decided that if I was going to sign up I better get faster on the bike so I had time to run and swim. I started hitting spin classes at the Y every Tuesday and Thursday. Luckily for me, REI has a garage sale and I found a road bike to upgrade to. It was amazing the speed I could do on that bike! I believe that was when I decided I would definitely sign up for the Ballantyne Triathlon. There is a 2-1/2 hour cut-off time that they can pull you off the course and you won’t be able to finish. Pffftt! If I entered any race I would finish…I mean really you have to pay to enter. It was then that Melissa invited me and Wendy out to ride the cycle part of the Ballantyne Triathlon. I had a new bike now so I hoped I could keep up with her and to my surprise I kept up with ease. The run was a different story…I tried to keep up with the 2 of them but I never ran much in my life so I may have gotten a 1/4 of a mile before my legs said no more. I asked Melissa what a good pace is to run and decided I would start working on running and build up to a 10 minute mile. I started hitting the treadmill at the Y and am now up to a 10 minute mile but then I am spent after that mile. I know a lot of people hate the treadmill but for me it is really motivational because if I don’t keep up with the road the road will dump me off and keep on going. After finishing, I hit the pool and get swimming which is a great cool-down from running. All this happened in less than 2 months. You can see exactly what I did at http://www.dailymile.com/people/DeNifty where I logged every workout.
Evidently fit people like to get up early cause this race started at 7am! I normally don’t wake up till the crack of 8am and of course you need to get there early to get your timing chip and marked for the race. So I was up at 4:45 …I wasn’t happy about that. If anything I go to bed at that time. I think I finally got there at 5:30. I heard the line for the marking and timing chip could get long so when I saw both were empty I took care of that first. Then I went ahead and set up my transition area…I didn’t practice this at all but I figured being a fireman and getting dressed fast would be second nature…I guess it is when I am not all wet. I found out the day before my start time was going to be 8:36 by this time it was 6:00 and I was done. All the people I knew were done so we waited.
It seemed like it would take forever before 8:36 came around but surprisingly time flew by and the next thing I knew it was my turn to start. I would like to say I was nervous but I think I had that out of my system already…my main concern was holding other people up in the swim. Luckily for me, I saw a guy that was winded on the second lap of the swim and he wasn’t holding anyone up so that concern quickly left me. They had a break scheduled before me so I had nothing but water in front of me I couldn’t blame a slow swimmer for a bad time. Well to make a long story short I was passed by probably 9 people and I didn’t pass a soul. The plus side of that is that has been my fastest time in the pool ever that was timed…normally I would be around 11+ minutes. I was able to finish the swim and be in transition in 10 min 26 sec. What did I learn here for next time…forget the flip flops. I darn near slid out of them and actually had to run slower to the transition. Lesson learned! My time was probably 9:45 in the actual water…I am very happy with that!
I like my comfort so when I hit transition I had to put on HR monitor, shirt, and dry my feet before I got my socks/shoes on. That was a real time killer. Total time in 1st transition 3:20…that is a time I definitely can improve on…I mean when I go to a fire I can have my turnout gear with air pack and be breathing air in less than 2 minutes. I think next time I will skip HR monitor since during the race I didn’t even bother to look at it really. I think maybe a bike computer would work better or better yet the Garmin watch that everyone seems to be sporting. Everything was placed well for efficiency…I was probably a bit tired.
Next it was time to hit the bike…this is where I shined. I got on the bike and had some discomfort and finally figured out the being hunched over was killing some of my lung capacity since I had snorted in some of the pool water and still hadn’t recovered from the swim. I pushed through it about a mile in. I could now concentrate on the road. I liked this part the most and it showed with me scorching 12.8 miles in 47 minutes 57 seconds…this averaged out to a 15.9mph pace. There was always someone in front of me that I could push myself to pass. I passed about 6 people and was passed by the same amount. Three of those that I passed I felt bad for since they were on mountain bikes and I knew from experience that with different equipment I would never have passed them. BTW that bad feeling lasted less than a second! I kept my cadence up and adjusted gears accordingly. I noticed that most people coasted downhill and that is normally where I would make up distance. I would just stick in my high gear and keep pushing. There were about 6 people that passed me but only one that I was able to re-pass. The only time I felt tired was when I saw the 10 mile mark and it was totally mental…I didn’t feel any worse then I did when I started. Once I forgot that I saw that, I decided I would push for the end. I was okay again. Riding the course ahead of time allowed me to know what I had to look forward too which helped a good bit in knowing what to expect. This was my best leg and I felt awesome about it cause I knew that it was leaving me with plenty of time to finish the run and have an overall time under 2 hours.
The best part of the bike leg is that I didn’t have to stop for any stop signs or stop lights….SWEET!
The second transition 2:31 went really well except for a minor issue of taking my bike to the wrong row…duh! I also wish the people on the opposite side had put their bike back the same place they were to begin with cause I had to nudge to one over to get mine to hook on the bar. Next time this transition should be under 2 minutes.
Running! I hate running! Based on my training I figured I could run half a mile but was dead after getting to the drink station (I stopped at every drink station)…so I kept a fast pace walk up till I thought I could run again. I ended up walking 2 miles and then trying to run the last mile. Well it sounded good in theory. I didn’t run far before I was walking again. I was determined not to walk past the finish line and at least look good coming into where everyone sees you coming in. So no excuses I was going to run the last 1/4 mile or let the paramedics pick me up. It was a great feeling knowing that there wasn’t much left in front of me and once I had waved to Melissa’s camera phone I tried to sprint to the finish line…talk about a “swagger like a cripple” that wasn’t pretty for anyone to see. My time for the run was 45 minutes 35 sec.
I killed my goal of 2 hours by a solid 10 minutes. I didn’t care if I was last as long as I did that. I enjoyed this so much I am going to sign up for another. I am thinking next will be Cane Creek Triathlon on September 18. It is a longer swim so I am going to keep the same goal of 2 hours or less. I need to train toward improving my running distances and learn how to swim with decent form and I think I will be good. For anyone reading this and thinking I am down on myself because I am pointing out what went wrong…it is how I get better. I am thrilled with how well I finished.
Official Race page: http://www.setupevents.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=event_detail&eventID=1485
Kevin’s Report: http://justkev.in/2010/07/2010-tri-ballantyne-race-report/
Melissa’s Report: http://melissaoh.com/2010/07/hard-core-and-intimidating-hardly/ (mostly a report of her first Tri @ Baxter but a small report of the Ballantyne Tri she did as a relay)