Finish Strong Challenge 4/15/07

I’ve been admonished by my anal-retentive German genes that I really should jot down a race report for every race, even though it will never be read, except by me, and maybe not even that. Finish Strong Challenge/Banks D. Kerr YMCA Triathlon 4-15-07 A first-time tri, the first for its organizers, and my first road tri. How appropriate. They did a good job, despite the threat of large storms. But someone (Tom Robbins?) said it – the weather is to be celebrated or ignored.

This was all new to me, but the nerves weren’t overwhelming because of that debacle of an Xterra I did 10 months ago – after that one, I knew a road tri would be child’s play. But I’m really not a great swimmer, and even the tiny 200-yard swim had me a little worried. Mostly if I would get passed by three people in the staggered pool swim. But as worries usually are, these were unwarranted. I didn’t do great, lost all rhythm after the third length, but I passed one guy instead of getting passed. I could have cut off 10-20 seconds if my damned watch hadn’t kept coming off! Excuses. Can’t do flip-turns, so didn’t even try. Passing under ropes was hard to get used to. The pool was very warm, almost too warm. We were staggered according to projected swim times, so it worked out fine. I suppose that’s how they always organize pool swims. It was a long run to T1, all wet parking lot on bare feet, so slow I went. No big problems, except for everything being wet, even though I had covered stuff with trash bags. Drying feet and lacing up shoes took the longest. Had to be reminded to fasten helmet strap before leaving.

Wasn’t looking forward to being drenched on the bike. Had only had my road bike for a couple of months, so I wasn’t too used to it. But it held off, luckily. The wet roads made me a bit more cautious, but I passed many, many folks. Pretty nice 10.5-mile course, through some posh suburbs (ex-urbs?) of multi-million $ homes. Got passed twice about a mile from T2, although I was going hard. Didn’t have much trouble with the hated pedal clips, which don’t like my running shoes much, but it does allow for a quick T2.

Off on the run. One of the two guys who had passed me on the bike said “You’ll be passing me in about four minutes.” I thought, nah. Couldn’t feel my legs for a few minutes, and for a second, felt like a fist was squeezing my chest, trying to force my heart out through my throat. Thankfully, that went away. I passed the guy, who said, “You’re ahead of schedule.” Tried to respond with encouragement, but no breath. Passed the other guy later, so that felt good. Felt like the course was 75% uphill, but it also felt too short. I bested my stand-alone 5k time by a minute! That makes me think that the course was maybe 2.7-2.8 miles or so, rather than a full 5k. Who knows?

I went to breakfast with my wife and son and didn’t stay for awards, never expected anything. Don’t think there were awards for it, but it turns out I was 2nd in the Clydesdales (only 6 or 7 of us), and if I had gone with age group (35-39), I would’ve been 2nd, too! Argh!

I expected a road tri to be much easier than the Xterra Sport, and it was, by far. But only relatively.

Official results: \r\nSwim 200 Y 4:11/T1 4:11/Bike 10.5 Miles 36:27/T2 0:49/Run 5k 21:56\r\nOverall 38/93, Clydesdale 2/7 (Age group 35-39 2/?)

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