Bells at 4:20 am. Eat. Go the bathroom as many times as possible. And then I head off to the park, on a bike, w/ a backpack full of triathlon gear. Set up my transition area. Try to go to the bathroom some more. Chat w/ folks. And then make the half mile barefoot walk down to the start.
You wait in line. You’re not nervous. You just wait. You’re just ready to get going. You have family and friends watching you. Even though it’s a “sprint” you still need to “hold back”. It’s far too hot to wear a wetsuit. I mean…doable but unnecessary. You ditched the idea weeks ago, w/ how hot it’s been. So that would make your already pathetic swim, abysmal. But…you dog paddled it in. You controlled your breathing and just took it nice and easy. Once out of the water…it was time to party.
You ran to transition. Changed in a minute and some change. Ran the bike out of transition and hopped on. The plan was to peddle hard for a mile or so. Slow down enough to take in some nutrition. And then hammer. And you stuck to your plan w/out fault. Once you took down a gel and some Nuun, you immediately felt better and passed EVERYONE w/in sight. Now we’re not talking Tour De France pace, but I was moving through time and space at a fast speed. Made it back to T2. Changed shoes and exchanged the helmet for a hat and took off running. You wanted to sprint but you could tell that was not happening. After a couple minutes, you slowed down. Caught your breath. It was 95 degrees at 8 am and you felt every degree. You grabbed a water at an aid station (something you weren’t planning to do), slugged it down and took (what felt like) a moderate pace. You knew there was a big ol hill waiting for you only a few blocks away. When you got there, you just looked down at the ground (and not the top of the hill) and moved steadily ahead. When you got to the top, you’re friends were there, yelling and cheering. It gave you a boost and set you off. The majority of the run ahead of you was downhill. So you tried to pick it up. It felt slow to you. Your legs just weren’t turning over. You mostly attributed it to the heat, rather than the bike ride. It felt like you were running 8:30 miles (you found out you averaged 6:24 miles) so you just decided to do what you could and clunk your way to the finish. The distance is never a problem for you. You just don’t do enough speed work and it hurts. Waah. You’d rather do a 50 miler and moderate pace than a sprint triathlon at balls out pace. But you made it. You came across the finish line with a smile. Your family was there and you wound up 11th overall. Not bad for not having done a triathlon in ten months. Your friends put this little triathlon on, and it just feels like home. The volunteers and crowd support make it all worth while. You talked w/ people afterwards. You ate, when your stomach allowed. And then you rushed off to work :)