I survived! Which is much more of an accomplishment than I had thought that it would be. I finished in 1:25:46 which beat my goal of 1:30 and I definitely learned more on what to expect in the future. It was a blast and I am definitely going to keep going!
The swim, as expected, was the most foreign event to me. I have swam in open water before and am not creeped out by murky water, but I had never done these things with several hundred of my best friends; that is where things became a little interesting. People had prepared me for the onslaught on bumps and kicks that were going to happen, so that was frustrating, but not frightening. What really started to make me bug out was that when I came up to get my bearings, I had to really strain to see over the other swimmers and it just took much longer to get a fix on where I needed to go. Finally by the last third of the swim I had settled down and got a good stride going. Hopefully the next race will be a little more smooth. [800m in 16:28]
The first transition was by far my longest. It was a pretty long jog up from the lake to the transition area. Once there I had to put on my shirt, dry my feet and pull on socks and shoes. I probably could have gone a tad more smoothly through it, but all in all, it wasn't too bad. [T1 in 3:27]
So off to the races Strawberry Shortcake and I were. Make no mistake, I was planning on getting creamed here. (And I did.) We got rolling and as expected all of those fancy, new, younger bikes just passed us up like nothing, but still I was going forward and feeling good. All in all, that was all I was hoping for. I had been warned about this one turn at the bottom of a hill that went directly into a pretty steep climb. As I got to the bottom of the hill I got into what I thought was a pretty light gear, made the turn and started my climb. I quickly realized that I had misjudged my gearing and had to drop it again. Yeah, disaster loomed. My chain slipped off as soon as I did this. I quickly hopped off and jumped into the weeds, flipped the bike over, and started examining the problem. Let it be known that I am not mechanical in nature and that I have no experience repairing bicycles. Low and behold, after a couple of minutes I had the chain back on. Miracles do happen! Now came the crashing realization that I was still in too big of a gear, especially being that I was starting this hill climb from a dead stop. Back over the side of the road to change the gear again. Finally made it up the hill and had reasonably smooth sailing from there. Even started to pass a lot of people; not sure if it was anger or just the "rest" that I had. All in all I would say that I lost anywhere from 3-5 minutes with that ordeal. [11.2 miles in 41:59]
Second transition was fine. Was already in my shoes and outside of hanging my bike up the wrong way got out fairly smoothly. [T2 in 1:15]
Finally I was off to the races. I knew that I didn't have everything left in the tank, but I felt that I could still run at a decent pace. The trail was almost entirely on grass, except for a little bit on a road at the very end, which made the pounding a lot easier to take. After about a mile in I realized that I should have popped a goo in transition or at the tail end of the bike, but oh well. There wasn't too much left. Most of the race was downhill until you came into the last kilometer of it or so. Climbing that last hill really pointed out how much energy I truly had already spent. But as I neared the top, I saw the finish line, and saw that my parents (for whom this was their first time coming out to see me race since high school) had made it there to watch the final kick it pushed me on and I was able to sprint in the last 150 meters. I had crossed the line and finished my first triathlon. [5km in 22:35]
Sorry for the long-winded play by play. I'll try to keep the next report a little shorter.
Run friendly! -Tanner