Swim, Bike, Run, Blog

Okay, time for the long recap.

The Greeley Triathlon was, oh, about 10,000 billion times better than the Blaster Blast!  I had a laundry list of complaints about the last race, and this one I only had one: post race burritos were not vegetarian.  (But it is Greeley—number one employer in town is a meat packing plant.)

The Approach

We got up at 4 in the morning and were out the door by 4:30, and we got there so early, 5:20!  Packet pickup didn’t even begin officially until 5:45.  Racked the bikes right by the exit to the transition area.  Check out my number: 333! At a triathlon! Good luck for sure, right?

Also note we were close to the port-a-loos. This was important!

The Swim

They allowed for a short “test the waters” period before people got in.  I was glad to get the chance to get in and swim a few strokes before starting.  Of course, by the time my real swim started, it was over and hour later, but I think it still helped.

You can only barely see it in this photo, but the orange buoys are half way markers to the yellow ones we had to swim around.  I snapped this with my phone when we arrived.  It was sunny during the swim.

Transition set up closed at 6:30, but due to some delays, they didn’t really start letting swimmers into the water until after 8.  I was one of the last to get in, because we entered one at a time at about five second intervals, and the order was men then women, oldest to youngest.  Out of about 250 participants, only about 15 got in after me.  It was about 9 o’clock when my race actually started!

By the time I got into the water, my 4 am breakfast and 5:30 snack was long gone and I was starving and I had to pee.  I still swam pretty well, though.  I breathed almost every other stroke, but it was fine.  I just had a lot of nervous, pent up energy!  I actually passed a few people on the swim, which I was not expecting at all.

When I got out I took advantage of the volunteers who were designated as “wetsuit strippers.”  I got my wetsuit down over my shoulders, sat on the grass, and they pulled it off for me.  Kinda neat, kinda weird.

Transition One:

Since I was near the exit of the transition area, I had to run all the way through it to get to my bike.  I was starving and I really, really had to pee by now.  Remembering what I’d read about multitasking in transition, I grabbed my shirt, helmet, and sunglasses and ran into the port-a-loo with them and put them on while I went.  I grabbed a clif bar from my bag to eat while I rode my bike.

The Bike

My bike ride was full of small, manageable disasters:

  1. One of my brakes didn’t work.  Eek!  One of my brake cables popped out of the little tube that holds it close to the top tube.  I had to pull over and pop it back in.
  2. I couldn’t friggin’ shift! My front gears would not go into high gear.  I had to shift from 2 to 3 and back again, like, ten times before the damn thing finally caught.  I was super afraid of throwing my chain, but finally it decided to stick after like a mile.
  3. My shoe lace got wrapped around my crank.  The most potentially dangerous, but it didn’t feel too scary.  I managed to get it untangled, but I had to stop (again) and retie my shoes and tuck my laces in.  I’m glad it was just annoying and didn’t make me crash.

After that, I felt great, though!  It was windy on the long downhill stretch at the beginning, so I didn’t get quite the speed boost I was expecting.  After that, it was pretty steady rolling with an overall uphill, and I felt strong but I didn’t push too hard because I didn’t want my legs to be shot for the run.

I even passed a few folks on the up hills!  And I only got passed while I was dealing with the braking/shifting/shoelace situation.

Transition Two:

Chris, getting to start over 100 people ahead of me, and being way faster than I am, was already finished by the time I came in with my bike, and was fussing around where we had parked.  “MOVE!” I bellowed, racked my bike, grabbed a bottle of water from his hand, and waved for a photo as I left.

The Effing Run

Longest. Three Miles.  EVER.  I felt like death.  Beyond the normal “I can’t feel my leggggs!” sensation, I was hot, I could tell I was getting sunburned, and to flesh out the full 3.1 miles the course was full of annoying little detours.  Like, run up this driveway for 200 feet then turn around and come back. I just felt like I was turning a lot and going up hill a lot.  By this time it was after 10 am, the sun was out in full force, there was no shade, and I just felt so heavy.

I tried to engage all of the volunteers and fellow runners to keep myself occupied. I saw one of my old clients from my old job!  He was a volunteer, and I stopped for a few seconds.  “Jack! It’s Mel!  How are you?”  And then I was like “Wait, I have to go run, bye!”

I chased one girl the last half mile.  She crossed the finish line maybe 30 seconds ahead of me, but she was wearing banned-from-the-event headphones!  I. Was. Pissed. 

But then I was done, so I wasn’t pissed.  I was pumped!

I finished!  And if I ever am in charge of a race, I will do this:

Part of the schwag (along with a cool tech shirt, medal, pint glass, and totebag) was a “FInisher’s Towel.”  And they kept the towels in a kiddie pool filled with ice and water.  So after I crossed the finish line I was handed a medal, a bottle of water, and the most guh-lorious icy cold towel.  I put it on my face, on my legs, on my neck.  Amazing.  Is this common?  It should be.

My medal!  And a not awesome shot of my body marking—333!

We stopped for Subway on the way home, then took a nap, and then enjoyed some beers, and a MacBook photo shoot with our medals.

Time breakdown! 

Swim goal: 12 minutes, a number picked somewhat arbitrarily.

Swim time: 12:31, not too shabby!

Transition one goal: Under two minutes.

Transition one time: 2:46, not too bad considering this included an unplanned snack and a potty break.

Bike goal: Under 40 minutes.

Bike time: 42:18, ugh.  My biggest disappointment.  I thought I was doing well!  But considering the wind, my brakes, my gears, and my shoelaces were against me, I’m fine with that.

Transition two goal: Under one minute.

Transition two time: 41 seconds, sweet!  Threw down my bike and kept going!

Run goal: Under 35 minutes.

Run time: 34:41, made my goal by 20 seconds!  Even if it felt like death.

Overall goal: 1:30:00.

Overall time: 1:32:55.  I’m bummed to be so far back in the standings (187th out of 212) but one, it’s just for fun, and two, I beat everyone who was at home on the couch.

Next race is in September!



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