This is more than just a race recap. This is the whole weekend, without which, the race would never have happened. This is long...
Friday night, just before crawling into bed, I double checked my gear that I would need for my first triathlon. I went down my checklist, making note of what I had packed, what I needed to get from the carport, and what was already in the car. I double checked my clothes that were laid out so I would have an easy time in the morning. I crawled into bed just before 9:30 and before I knew it the alarm was going off and it was time for me to drag myself out of bed.
Jeremy was great at motivating me to get out of bed and out the door. A quick stop for coffee and we were on the road. Unfortunately Jeremy had to work and so he dropped me off at Amy's where we loaded everything into her car and off we went to Storrs Pond to pick up our packet and get our assignment for volunteering for the day.
There were only a few cars in the parking lot when we arrived but you could already feel the charged energy in the air. We grabbed our packets, got our volunteer aprons and visors, and were put to work getting the food table ready. Amy and I were on fire, and it didn't take us long to get everything cut and organized, in fact we were sent another person to help out and it wasn't needed! There was plenty of time for us to set up our transition area, find out some tips from other triathletes, and get our grub on, and relax before heading out to our aid station on the course for the trail runners. Of course, the directions we were given weren't super clear and we didn't pay as much attention as we should have. This led to me being 5 minutes late to the aid station, Amy arriving just in time, and an additional 3 mile walk added to our day. It was a hot and sweaty start.
I was so impressed by the runners who were cooking on this crazy 14k trail run that followed the path I was about to bike and run in a few short hours.
It didn't take long before it was time for Amy and I to change and make our way down to the water. Since we were allowed shows to get from our swim to the transition area over 500 yards away with pavement and gravel, we took someones tip to just put on our biking shoes at the water instead of putting on two different pairs of shoes. This was a very smart move that worked extremely well. I highly recommend it if you can.
Mom and Lynda arrived as we were lining up, it put a huge smile on my face to have them there to support me.
My main goal for the Stoaked Standard Off Road Triathlon: TO FINISH!!!
Distances: Swim - .5 miles, Mountain Bike 8k, Trail Run 4k
Stretch Goal: 3 hours overall, 30 minutes or less on the swim, 1h 30m less on the bike, 45-50 minutes on the run.
We lined up in the water, there was no running or rough pushing, or anything like that. We were about waist deep and the countdown to start began. I ran forward until my feet were skimming the bottom and I was off. I alternated between the crawl and breastroke and while I was close to the back, I managed to impress myself and pass two people. I was pushing harder than I have ever pushed, and as I rounded the bouy to make my way back to the shore, I was struck by my first ever side cramp while swimming. I threw in a little bit of sidestroke, kept up my speed, and before I knew it my feet were touching bottom and I was out of the water and off and running. I came out of the water, Mom was there taking pictures (which I still need to get from her) and Lynda told me I had done the swim in roughly 25 minutes! I grinned from ear to ear, and kept on going. Dunking my feet to clean them in our bucket, a quick dry to pull on socks and my bike shoes and I was off again. I didn't even make it back to the transition area and my feet where soaked through. It didn't take me too long to get my gear on for the bike portion and to bust my butt up the first hill. The swim was by far my easiest leg of the triathlon.
As I powered myself up the first hill, I was immediately met with the 2nd hill and found myself walking up it. Within the first 5 minutes on my bike, I had walked two hills, been passed 4 times, and found myself the last rider on the course. The sweep rider came up behind me, and I tried twice to get him to pass me before realizing he had a radio and was not allowed to pass me. Despite all my walking, and my very slow riding, Ben really helped to keep me energized and forward moving. I managed to bike up some hills I didn't think I would make, and I had to walk others that I thought I should have been able to make. When the course turned off onto the single track, I had my confidence pick up just a bit when I was able to make it over bumps and down some hills that I hadn't been able to do on my ride on the course earlier in the week. We then moved back onto the cross country ski trails and we were going up again. Then the brutal single track came. I walked, I tried to bike, I almost fell, I walked some more, I tried to bike some more, I almost fell again. This pattern followed until I was almost out of the single track. I got on, succeeded through a small stretch, and it was on to the final downhill stretch, nicknamed the Screaming Downhill. At the bottom, it was a sharp corner and I was back in transition. They were in the middle of awards for the triathletes, I believe at this point, I was the only person still on course. With a quick glance at my watch, I had been on the bike course for approximately 2 hours. Well over my push goal. My shoes were switched and I was off down the hill for my run. The bike was by far my most challenging leg.
By the time I started the run, I was cooked. My energy was almost completely depleted, but I was fueling myself with water and gatorade. Mom and Lynda were at the transition and cheered me on. I almost cried. As I rounded the corner at the bottom of the hill, the two sweep runners caught up with me. I was shocked, they were two of the runners from the 14k earlier in the day. They had come in 1st and 2nd in their age group and were out to run again. I employed the walk/run method with far more walking than I had wanted to do, and with every uphill came a down. My knee was screaming in protest, my hips wanted to lock up. My ankles were tense and my feet just wanted me to be off of them. I saw the green arrows for the kids triathlon and asked if I could do that course instead (1 mile as opposed to a 4k) and was asked if I was 8. I said no, but that I could act it. I felt deflated when I entered the field and realized I couldn't go straight through it, that I had to go up it, and down it, and up it again before going back down and out of the field. With a few more ups and downs, it came as no surprise that this trail was nicknamed the Rollercoaster. At one point I could look down through the trees and see the pond and knew I was getting close. The sweep girls were pushing me, telling me I could do it, that they wanted to see me run down the shoot at the finish. I told them I would finish even if it meant crawling across the finish line. The laughed, they said I could do it, I was almost finished. At this point I was holding back tears. I hurt. We ran by the water and saw the kids getting ready to start their swim for their shortened version. I knew I only had 500 yards to go. I pulled deep and ran to the bottom of the hill, walked slowly up, and at the cheering and urging of the sweep girls, Mom and Lynda and Amy at the finish, I ran through the shoot. Amy ran over to hug me. I cried, I hurt, I was so proud of myself. I dropped to the ground, lay on my back and sobbed. I had done it. I completed my first triathlon. I wasn't sure what my official time was and didn't care, but I did know that according to my watch I had done it in less than 3 hours and 15 minutes. Over my push goal, but not much.
I don't really know how long I lay on the ground, but I had to get up and get moving, get everything packed up. I moved slowly, hardly holding it together. Amy and Mom and Lynda helped me get my stuff down by the cars, they got me food to eat, but really, all of this time was a blur. I remember hurt, I remember moving slowly. I remember hugs and congratulations.
Finally Jeremy pulled in after work and got the car loaded. We were on our way home and I was exhausted. It didn't take long before I was passed out in bed.
I needed my rest, after all, I was back at Storrs Pond on Sunday to volunteer for the Stoaked Xterra race.
Overall: 3h 11m 01s and I placed 98 (out of 98)
Age Class 25-29: I placed 2nd (out of 2)
Swim: 25m53s (met my stretch goal)
Run: 48m17s (met my stretch goal)