Start and finish of the swim at about 6:30 AM
My bike in the transition area with about 20 minutes until the start.
That being said, my swim was very poor. It took me 7 minutes and 46 seconds to go the 400 m. I couldn't find a rhythm and I kept drinking gulps of lake water (this might have helped my hydration, but I would have preferred drinking clear water opposed to brackish silt water). Coming towards the last 50 m or so, I took a look back and noticed there weren't too many green swim caps. That view reinforced how poorly I was doing and inspired me to hit the bike and run extra hard. Thank goodness the swim was so short. This won't be the case in my next race. More on that later. On to the bike portion. I'll skip a description of the transition phase since all that occurred was putting on my shirt, shoes, helmet and sunglasses then running out of the transition area.
Heading out of the transition area for the start of the bike leg.
Coming in off the bike leg.
Funny thing happened in that first half-mile. I noticed how my legs felt full of lead, my feet were numb and I forgot to put on my wristwatch. Note 3: wear a watch. So I had no idea how fast I was running nor could my legs and feet give me an idea of my speed. After a half-mile of feet slapping concrete, the blood finally circulated and I found a fast but comfortable rhythm. I wasn't sure exactly how the course was laid out because I didn't actually look at it before. Note 4: preview the course. Ok, ready for the exciting part? I am, this still gets me excited thinking about it. Half way through the run, I saw a racer up ahead and I was steadily gaining ground. I couldn't quite make out his number at first (the volunteers put our ages on the back of our left calf), it looked like a 20, 30, or 40. But as I reeled him in, I noticed that it was a 30, like mine. This guy is in my age group and I'm about to pass him! No sideways glance, no spoken words, just zipping past. I wasn't sure if he would increase his pace once he noticed my number and I didn't look back to find out. (Sports psychology has taught me a backward glance infuses the chaser with confidence because it's a sign of worry. I wasn't about to give him that edge) Another mile was left to go and I was feeling good. Quick cadence and strong legs propelled me into view of the finish, where I could see the clock. First look brought a realization that I was about to break an hour. Yup 59 minutes and 4 seconds! I finished my first triathlon! With a good time to boot!
Look at that smile. I was feeling mighty good at this point.
Not all of the results, but the ones that matter.