Part of that was that I did my first Triathlon of the season. It was a blast, and I learned a lot, especially that I'm still a rookie.
The original results can be viewed here (entire field) and here (age group). The event website is here.
178 out of 364
19 out of 34 in my age group (30-34)
7 overall in swim
2 in age group in swim
Swim= 11:55 for 880yards
335 out of 364 in bike
34/34 in bike in age group
15.2mph average for 15 miles
and 21.7mph for 20 miles
103 out of 354 for run
10/34 in my age group
8:05 minutes per mile
This race looks like a disaster, but I'm very very happy with it. I learned a lot, and I'm excited about racing again. But I should tell why it looks like a disaster.
I forgot how to sight. I swam the most zig-zaggy line ever. I went from 12 place, to 3rd place, then got lost, and then back to 7 place, then all the way to 2nd place, then got lost again, and ran over the guy in 3rd, twice, and then got lost again, and back at 12th, and raced up to finish 7th in the swim. I must've done 900 yards or more instead of the 800. I was going SO fast, but just in the wrong direction. I really could've come in 2nd or faster if I had paid attention to where I was headed.
What is good is that now I've got more confidence in my speed. I know I'm fast, but I forget it when everyone's ahead of me. Passing everyone in that front group THREE times reminds me that they might look fast in their wetsuits, but they still swim slowly. I need to keep my speed, but work on sighting. That's much easier to work on and to learn than speed.
This was my first attempt at the "pro" T1, where my shoes are already clipped in and what not. I almost fell, and my shoe's buckel came off as I tried to adjust it on the bike, and two swimmers who'd been behind me passed me in that first few minutes when I was coasting slowly trying to get myself together. I still think I had a faster transition, and I'm glad I tried this new method. I'm going to do it again, but I'm figuring it out! At least I didn't fall!
This is the part that is harder to tell.
I got lost. I was biking quickly, but not as quick as I could. I must've been #5 or 6 overall at this time, since only one person passed me on the roads. But it's hard to go hard when no one is around. I go much much faster when there are others, even if they are much slower. Well, I was alone in the roads. I saw no one in front, and no one behind me. I *knew* the route, but I was pooped and just focusing my bike ride.
The ride was really well staffed by volunteers, most of which were friends from the Ann Arbor Tri Club, and that helped. There were TONS of volunteers all the rigth places.
Except the second to last turn.
Which I missed.
I kept going for 7 minutes at full speed until I hit a city called "Hell". I'd biked to Hell. And then I had to get back. I was discouraged. Who wouldn't if they'd been to Hell and back? SRSLY. That was tough. I had to go up two rollers back to the race route. I wanted to quit, and in my heart, I know that at that point, I stopped going as hard. I didn't want to give it my all, since I knew I'd messed up. I was AT LEAST 15 minutes, and perhaps 20 minutes off my time.
Whereas before, I was in the top 10 where the race is thin and there is lots of space, I was in a group of tens and tens of riders chocking the roads for space and I had to ride the last 3 miles back to T2. I was pissed, and I sprinted like all hell to the get off my bike.
Luckily I saw my Melissa (my wife) and Tom, a friend and neighbor, on the way back in, because I was so close to giving up, and seeing them helped start putting me back in the race.
The second transition was a battle. I wanted to quit, but I forced myself to rack the bike, put on some socks (at this point, I wanted to be comfortable rather than fast), and my shoes. I was slow, but I needed that mental space to be ready.
I saw Melissa and Tom again, 2 minutes later, and this guy behind me said, "are your legs cramped?" I think he was playing some mind game. That put me back in. I remembered that I always tell my kids, "what matters is that you do your best at everything. It is easy to win without trying, and easy to feel bad if you do your best and you loose. What is important is doing your best, because that's real courage and that's what eventually will make you and the world around you happiest."
So I decided then and there to do my best.
And it was. I ran ran ran. It was a really hard trail run with lots and lots of hills, and since I was now in the middle of the pack, a lot of runners. The trails were packed. People everywhere. One runner in front of me tripped and fell and blocked the narrow trail for a long 10 seconds. There was little room to pass, and you could hardly see the giant hills ahead.
But pass I did, and over those hills I ran. For the first time in my running life, I passed people! I passed people my age too! I lost track of how many folks I passed, but it was at least 15, but perhaps more. I was only passed twice! I ran and ran and ran, and never lost sight of that guy who asked me if my legs were sore. It was only a 8minute mile run, but it was on trails, and afterwards, I realized that I could probably go even harder if I was on open trail rather than in congestion. I felt great, and I finished strong.
So my attempt at a good placing was bust. But the race was a real triumph. I defeated my greatest enemy, at least for the time being: my fear of doing my best.
That's why I race. Not to win, but to beat my fears of myself. To put it all out on the line, even when it is tough.
I'm even more excited now than ever. No more excuses, and no more missed routes. I'm off to race in two more weeks, and I want to have the courage to put it all out on the line, but next time, the whole race through.
I'm proud of my mid level finish, with the herculean effort.