The Mussleman Triathlon
I began to feel safe in the Canal. Thought the taste was interesting. It wasn't at all the clean lake taste I had in the beginning of the race. When we had made that left, the land grew inwards, the path bottlenecked, and the water tasted of gasoline and seaweed. The water was shallow and had but six minutes left to swim. I spotted the last buoy and an excitement rushed over me. I was finishing the first leg of my first half Ironman.
I ran out onto the boat launch. I heard someone shout "32 minutes." Not exactly what I wanted but I'll make due. I grabbed my Giants with my new water gate installed and headed out. Strapping my feet in the cleats I headed out a smell trail to the main road. It felt good. I felt relaxed. That's all I could ask for.
Tightening early could mean a horrible run or an early end to my race. I started out hard but kept in mind I had close to 3 hours of riding ahead of me. I passed the 10 mile checkpoint. All I remember thinking was "That was quick. Keep Going." The next 15 climbed 700 ft, more climbing then I do in 2 hours on a normal day but it went by fast. I felt good. My cadence was smooth and with a nice consistency. My legs hammered the pedals: smooth elliptical motions. I felt the winds hugging my ears tightly. No room to let up. I was moving. Don't lose momentum. I would only suffer if I realized I was in pain.
At 28 miles I took a drink, placed it back in its cage, but watched the bottle roll to the side of the road. "Opps" I missed the cage but luckily had a spare. At The Next Aid Station I grabbed another Heed. I was drinking Strawberry but close enough.
We were now into some rolling hills. I gathered momentum down to help me on my way up. No hill was exceptional until mile 34. At a 19% grade, and an hour and a half into the ride, the climb shut me down for a little while.
I pushed onward and tried tuning out while I recovered from the surge. All of a sudden, DANM! My handlebars started vibrating. We were riding on a park path: Asphalt, yet not. It felt like cobblestones were beneath me. I got used to the rough riding but this actually started making you fatigue quickly. Half mile, mile and a half through, two and a half, three! Three miles later the race proceeded back onto the road. Such sweet smoothness. My hands felt a numbness feeling you normally get from using a weed wacker.
I came across some more rolling hills; passing people on the way up as they would pass me on the way down. Back and forth we go.
2 miles to go. My heart jumped. I had less than six minutes before I completed the second leg. Excitement ate the burning sensation in my legs and lungs. I closed in on the transition and checked my times. 2:35. I was expecting 3 hours! What a wonderful turn of events.
I hurried into the T2. I grabbed my shoes, grabbed a drink, and rushed out before a moments notice. I stayed strong throughout the run. I was hurting but I was finishing hard. 1:37 for the half marathon. The course was a cross country course for a while: tough uphills, tough downhills. I suffered but I finished feeling good :-) 4:48
The Fronhofer Flop - (or was it)
(I will make this quick)
I was excited for this triathlon. The only one from the year before. My only benchmark. I was excited. I started and muscled my way through the swim. 23:35! A pr! I'm feeling good. I ran into the transition. 41 seconds.
I got to the mount line with my bike and found my shoes were on the bike backward. Oh well a few seconds what harm could that do? Just a little something to laugh about later. I got on strapped in and started off. I was slipping as if on ice. Sliding back and forth. I had a flat! I stopped and fixed it frustrated that I got one for the first time in a year during a race.
After a few minutes fixing the bike tire I got back on and headed off. I still had a chance to finish in a PR after that mishap. I dived into the aerobars and found myself tilted to one side. My bars needed to be tightened. "This is uncomfortable", I thought. But I kept going hard. Trying for some serenity I took a good drink of heed. Just relax.
No sooner did I pass the 15 mile marker did I feel myself slipping on ice again. This couldn't be happening. I didn't have another spare tube, and I had limited air left in my CO2 cartridge. I rode for as long as I could before I had to stop and refill the tube. I knew in my mind this was going to be difficult. I refilled the tire and hoped for the best. I rode to mile twenty before I had to stop and refill again. The second time I couldn't fill the tire well and it deflated in a half mile. Frustrated I calmed myself and said just keep pushing. I started walking and someone from behind me said, "what do you need?" CO2! He threw me a cartridge. I took it and inflated the tire. I just hoped that would keep.
I finished the bike and knew the time was hopeless. My race was certainly over from winning an overall podium, or even placing in my age group. Tire, drained, I ran into T2 wanting at least a good Transition time. The excitement of a good T2 time gave me another boost. I hurried out onto the run and relaxed. It was a new race. Who cares about the bike? 5:45 first mile. I continued to pull out 5:40's. I was realizing I could break the course record of the run, the record held by my friend Adam from the year before. I had enough to stride into the finish feeling accomplished. 35:11. A PR tri 10k, a course record, and close to a PR overall.
When all else was failing, I took an opportunity and didn't let it go :-) I felt proud of myself for this and hoped I would remember what I had done in a future race.