20 September 2008 ~ 6 Comments

Pacific Grove Triathlon Recap

I mentioned on Tuesday that I would give a more detailed recap of the race.  So for those who are interested, here was my experience.

Swim.  37:51.
First of all, a huge thanks to Patty at wetsuitrental.com for hooking me up with a tri wetsuit.  We met up at the expo and she was not about to let me use my O’neil surf wetsuit!  I used to be a swimmer in high school and college, though I never claimed to be a real good one.  And if you’ve never experienced triathlon swimming, it’s a totally different experience!

I was able to jump in the water and take some strokes before it all started which helped acclimate my body to the 58 degree water.  Knowing that I wasn’t gonna be exactly competitive, as the wave started, I chose to swim on the outside and about 1/2 way back to avoid some of the congestion of being hit, kicked, clawed, scratched, swam over and across.  I still started out with plenty of legs and arms around me.  i think I may have been better off to jump in the thick of it and just go for it.  Might help my time a little.  We’ll see.

The kelp actually wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected.  And it was nearly as thick as the day I did the swim clinic a few weeks earlier.  There were a few times where I got a little caught up, not to mention the time I got a giant piece draped across my neck.  It slipped off slowly, rubbing nicely on the spot where my new wetsuit was chafing on the area I already had a rash from working out in my other wetsuit.

As I rounded the first buoy I realized the field had spread out a bit more.  It was hard to see behind me, but I started to get the feeling I was at the back of the pack.  Not gonna lie.  The swim was not horrible, but it was tough, and I can remember thinking once or twice that I might just want to call it a day.  But of course I wasn’t gonna do that.  I jumped out after one lap, rounded the rock, and hit lap 2.  In good news, I didn’t rinse my goggles really at all after spitting in them before the race, and this was the first time in quite a while that they didn’t really fog up at all.  Yay for that!  Coming in a few people from my wave were swimming back toward the wrong.  Although it made me second guess myself, I knew from the swim clinic to veer right toward the exit, which I’m sure helped a bit.  All in all, I could tell that swimming was the discipline I neglected the most during training.  I’ll have to fix that next time!

T1.  5:48.
I did a swim/bike “brick” workout the week before, but still I was surprised how difficult it was to jog onto the beach and up the hill to the transition area.  Not sure if that was the horizontal blood flow to the upright position, or if the swim just took a lot out of me.  I didn’t really rush through transition much.  Made sure I had everything ready to go for the bike, downed a Powebar gel, and caught my first glimpse of Rachel and Caleb.  Then it was off!

Bike.  1:39:01.
Now the 4 lap bike course was slightly more hilly than I had expected.  Nothing too major though.  I spent a fair bit of time biking during training, so while I wasn’t very fast, I was pretty confident in getting through this portion somewhat comfortably.  I have a bike computer that isn’t working to give me distance and speed, but it does keep time.  So I used that to check my time at each out and back and tried to at least stay consistent, if not get faster.  My times show that each lap did get faster, so I’d say that’s a good thing.

Being in the first wave, the course was pretty nice when I started.  Not many people out there.  But as the waves kept coming in, it got more and more congested.  It’s pretty amazing how fast I am not on the bike.  There were lots of people passing me with really nice bikes.  On my first lap, as I was pedaling in from my first loop, I rode by
Rachel and Caleb.  Rachel was whooping and hollering and it was awesome
seeing Caleb’s face mesmorized as daddy rode by with all the bikes.  On
the way back out Caleb joined Rachel to say, “Go Daddy!”  All of a
sudden, I seriously didn’t care how many people passed me.  I was just
enjoying the ride, giving it my best, and looking forward to finishing
for my kid.

I did manage to pass a few people though.  And then there was a guy from my wave that I kept trading places with for the last couple laps.  On lap four, about half way in, I get passed by a guy who taps me on the butt and shouts a quick word of encouragement.

T2.  3:44.
Actually, I was kinda surprised how short this transition was when I saw that.  I thought I took at least as long as the first one.  It should be a shorter transition, but again I wasn’t all that quick.  I downed some electrolyte pills I had along with another gel blast before the run.  And I couldn’t help but make a quick stop in the port-a-potty before going.  (1, not 2)  I thought it was maybe a bad idea for time, but I knew it would make the run a little more pleasant.

Run.  Umm…37:41…plus 17:00ish???
Yup, my royal screw up.  As I stared out, the run actually felt pretty good.  And when I look at the time for my first lap, I’m actually really happy with a 8:28/mile pace.  That’s better than some of my training runs without the swim and bike.  Frankly, that surprised me.  First lap was pretty good, with about 100 feet of walking to take advantage of the aid station at the turn around.

On lap two, it started to get a little bit more painful.  My legs started getting a little tighter, especially my IT bands with I was starting to feel in my knees just a little bit.  I decided to stop at one extra aid station on what I thought was my final lap.  Oops.

I think you know the rest of the story.  Couldn’t find my family at the finish line, so I got my phone from the transition area and made a call.  After realizing I hadn’t finished, and almost wanting to cry, I wasn’t sure what to do.  Finally, I decided I needed to finish for myself at least, and snuck back on the course for 1 final lap.  I looked as I went out and the clock said 3:20:–.  When I finished that lap and crossed the finish line (again) – where I spun my # to my back so the announcer wouldn’t say my name again – it said 3:37:–.  So I figure my time should have been right around 3 hours and 20 or 21 minutes.

I know.  Long post.  If you’re still reading, you’re either a triathlete, my mom, or I’m impressed!

So a few ending notes.  For one, I had a blast regardless of the screw up.  It was loads of fun to be out there, and fairly gratifying (minus the screw up) after training for essentially 6 months.  I’ve never been really the athletic guy, through school and what not, so it’s kinda crazy to think I finished some triathlons.  Especially since I’ve always hated running!  Not sure how many I’ll have to complete to feel comfortable calling myself a triathlete.  using the word athlete about me just doesn’t feel right, even though I’ve always wanted to.  That being said, I’m in for San Francisco!!  I gotta do it right this time.  So anyone else in?  Dan? James?  Eric?! You?

Also, I think it’s in my blood now.  I have trouble with any hobby or activity with just giving it a shot and then letting it go.  That’s why I’m still working on how I’m gonna get SCUBA certified someday.  I also love to challenge myslef and accomplish something I didn’t ever think I’d do.  And it’s great that this one keeps me healthy, too!  All that to say, I’m adding two more races to my bucket list.  Half Ironman, and yup, you got it, an Ironman!  Sounds insane to me, which is why I think it would be amazing to be able to say I did it.  So I guess I might as well throw a marathon on that list, too.  Half Ironman I hope to do next year, maybe the Big Kahuna here in Santa Cruz.  The Ironman…that may be at least a couple years.  Especially cuase I think it would be rad to Ironman New Zealand.  Two birds with one stone from the list!  And that will take some serious saving, planning, and getting rid of school loan debt!!

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