I woke up this morning at about 3:45 AM and picked up my phone to find this tweet from professional triathlete Jessica Jacobs (Ironman Florida Champion 2010). I start with this because it always amazes me just how much the pros care about this sport and us age-groupers. There is no other sport like it. If you are nervous about starting triathlon because you are scared of the prima donna athletes that are arrogant, think again. I haven't met one yet that isn't willing to help, give advice or encouragement. Thanks, Jessica and thanks to all the pros that made this extra special for us.
I was so nervous this morning I almost got sick just drinking water to take my vitamins and medicine. I only slept about 5 hours and woke up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night with cotton mouth. I ate some oatmeal, a banana and a protein bar for breakfast snagged my coffee and my gear and headed to Kemah. I prayed the entire way to Kemah while jamming out to Chris Tomlin, Switchfoot and Third Day trying to remember that God was with me in this adventure. However, as I arrived in Kemah I was still freaking out inside. I just kept my iPod in my ears and tried to look calm and collected.
It wasn't until I got to the tri4Him tent that I began to calm down. Seeing all my teammates there, those watching and those racing gave me peace. (All of you are awesome!) We walked together down to the boat and had a wonderful devotion offered up by Rick Carpenter from University Baptist Church and prayer by Cindy. After that we loaded the boat and started our journey into Galveston Bay, the boat was heading back to Galveston after we got dropped off so there was no turning back.
Before I get to deep into the race results I wanted to start by saying I race triathlons for 3 reasons mainly.
To Glorify God
To Have Fun
To Improve My Health
Today I got to be His light on the race course longer than any of my other teammates. So I guess God had a plan with my zig zag swim and stomach cramp run. A race like today keeps things in perspective triathlons aren't easy. I know that if you have never done a triathlon you don't understand how it can be fun, but just trust me it is. Lastly, I'm not done improving my health but I have come a long way from this swim back on August 31, 2009. When I got up that morning at 280+ plus lbs. to go swim I was scared to tell anyone I was even considering triathlon.
Swim - 1500 m - 48:54.4
The boat ride was much better than I anticipated. I am not sure why I thought cramming 500 plus triathletes on that boat (Tweet from Chris Lieto) would be chaotic, it wasn't at all. There wasn't even long lines for the restrooms. When it came our turn to jump in there was no panic at all, my heart rate was below 90 which is crazy considering what I was about to do. Praise be to God! It was also very cool to see the Pros start up so close. Once I got in the water I started my stroke quickly and felt pretty good. The current pushed us pretty hard toward the channel and I ended up off course a little during my first 500 meters. This caused me to swim against the current during the middle part of the race and really sapped my energy. I then aimed way left, but the current was not as strong so the last 500 meters I had to correct that in the end. the picture on the left is my interpretation of my zig zag. Regardless, I swam this same water last year in the sprint and went 17 minutes for 500 meters. This year was under 17 minutes per 500 meters (still slow), but nonetheless an improvement and 1000 meters further.
T1 - 5 :06.5
There is really not much to say here, it is a pretty long way between the water and the bike so this isn't too bad. I also put on socks which I usually do not do in a sprint. My heart rate came down pretty good, and I was smiling.
Bike - 40 Kilometers (25 miles) - 1:24:28.2 - Top Ten in My Division
Coach Booher's threshold workouts showed up big when we hit a head wind heading toward Dickinson Bayou. Typically I do not get passed much on the bike. I think this is because when you swim as slow as me there aren't very many people behind you and I actually am pretty strong in this discipline. However, when we hit the head wind I passed a ton of people which isn't normal for me. After we made the turn we had a huge tail wind and I was 24 mph plus on into Kemah.
T2 - 1:15.3 Pretty typical, and off to the run.
Run - 10 Kilometers (6.2 Miles) - 1:16:40.4
As I left T2 everything was relatively on track. The swim was a little slower than I wanted and the bike was respectable averaging 17.6 mph for 25 miles. I knew if I just ran my usual pace I would come in around 3 Hours and 20 Minutes. Everything was fine until about the second mile when my stomach went south. I was having some usual leg cramping that I can push through, but the stomach pain was not good. I decided at that point to run 8 minutes and walk 1 minute alternating the rest of the way. This strategy worked for a while until I was just over half way. I was running under the Kemah Bridge and I looked up and thought to myself you have to run over that twice. At that point a guy in front of me collapsed to the ground, and I thought be smart and just finish this thing. I slowed down to save energy for the bridge. The bridge was tough and I wish I had done it once before the race, but I did it. In the end I averaged just over 12 minute miles. This was by far my slowest run in all my triathlons. Last year I averaged under 10 minutes in every one. Nonetheless after I cleared the last bridge decent I could hear the finish line and knew the boys were waiting. They were so happy to finish the race with me.
Total Time 3:36:24.8
Now, don't forget in all of this myself and all of my teammates are raising funds for Emma's Hugs with all of our triathlon effort this year. Please click on the link and donate if you can. You can also go to http://tri4himhouston.wordpress.com/ if you want to learn more about this and see other info on tri4Him training.
In conclusion, I am pleased with the effort. You really can't control many things that can happen on race day. As I said many times I am a consultant not a professional triathlete. Having Sarah, the boys, Tobey, Mom and Dad there for my first longer race was awesome. Having the boys see their Dad reach and obtain a goal is priceless. They never got to see me back in the college baseball days. They kept telling me that I won the race, and when you think about it I did. If I can set a good example for the boys I have won in all aspects of life.
If you reading this and think you want to start a similar new adventure in health, I am not hard to find. I would be glad to help where I can, hit me up at @k12cto on twitter. There are many ways that the internet and social networking can help you stay focused and reach your goals.
This is the path my GPS Watch captured Sunday.