Rant In Passing: Hatequake

Ongoing hatred, as much as it is human, eats at the spirit, does it not? I have found as I age that it is easier to analyze the hatred, find its roots, and try to laugh at the people that cause it. Laugh at them for their ineptness in life, their walled-in narcissism as they crash through the world, flailing about in helpless attempts at relevance. And laugh at them knowing that, if they even make it that far, they will sit old and decrepit, eaten away by the bile of their selfishness and mania, and stew in a pool of dementia and insignificance.

All that said, a good bout of angst and animus is also healthy. We are not Vulcans.

Revolt Like an Egyptian

I am gloomy. Murky. Dismal in thought, often. “Mark the Dark” I’ve been called. Despite holding on to the shreds of youthful idealism, I revile the human race. I stand on the rim and loathe and laugh at it from without. On good days, I disdain and disparage people. On bad days, I despise them. They bathe in a toxic cauldron of hatred, violence, jealousy, ignorance, and cruelty. They claim to be the most intelligent entities spawned by evolution on this earth. Often, then, I question the direction and speed of evolution.

I’m not a joiner. But I can’t help being a member of the human race. I was born that way. I don’t hold out much hope for us. Whether it will end for us in a holocaust of fire and fallout, or starvation and disease on the heels of overpopulation, I can’t foresee. But though I have fanciful science fiction story ideas about humans thousands and millions of years hence, I don’t see us surviving long enough to even leave our solar system.

But Egypt has given me renewed hope. I never would have believed this could happen, especially in the mideast, where religious zealotry and intolerance is legion.  This organic, social-media-managed uprising had its desired effect through the perserverance of people who had had enough of tyranny. There was no dynamic leader, no cult of personality to inspire the masses to overthrow their despot. The fact that hundreds of thousands of people can come together, essentially leaderless, and agree to protest without violence in the face of violence, and not give in to mob rule when they’re attacked, to stand up Ghandi-like for their future and the future of their children; if that doesn’t rekindle hope for humanity, what can?

I pray (so to speak) that their righteously ousted government doesn’t lead to another manifestation of tyranny.

In Tribute to RJD

From correspondence years ago… seemed an appropriate tribute.

From: MG
Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2008
To: VB

I think “Hoochie Koochie Lady” and “Never More” will make it onto the Dio mix – I’ve been groovin’ to the other 2 albums, but naught can stand next to the other material. According to Wikipedia, he’s 66! Wha?

From: VB
Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2008
To: MG

Yes, those two songs are the best. Actually, “Never More” has always been my favorite Elf track. It sounds similar to the “jam” part in Floyd’s “Echoes”.

Yeah, a big mystery surrounding Dio’s actual age. I think he is actually 5,293 years old and remained youthful because he long ago entered the Mystifying Wood and found the Enchanted Tree where he slew the Frog Wizard and took his Magical Golden Ring. Or some shit.

From: MG
Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2008
To: VB

He also took a holy dive into the enchanted waters of the invisible Lake, flew the golden dragon over the rainbow at midnight, looked into the evil eyes of the spider-beast, had a gypsy dream in which he danced with the rock ‘n’ roll angel in the land of milk and honey before the gates of babylon, and sped (at night) to the wizard’s tower from which he stole the Elf-Sceptre from the Big black shape and then…

From: VB
Sent: Thursday, September 25, 2008
To: MG

..he jumped (from a ladder) onto the back of his trusty warhorse, Murray, and, as he saw a rainbow rising, he galloped through the misty morning, through widing roads and treacherous passes of the Forbidden Forest towards Castle Magica where he was to sample poorly made ale and the juice of grapes (evil or da wine) but even with much haste he arrived tardy and was the last in line. By the time Dio made it to the front, they said it was over.

From: MG
Sent: Thursday, September 25, 2008
To: VB

Then at the front he met a snake charmer from the sixteenth century, who had come forward in a time machine. She was a fortune-telling woman who claimed to have run with the wolves (unlocked) and seen the devil cry. She was born on a silver mountain and lived among the night people. He asked if she was a mistress of insanity, and she said, “Listen to the shadow of the wind, boy – we’re all stars.” He grew fearful and flew away breathlessly. After he dropped Murray off at a stable, he walked to a weird freeway where he saw some wrathful robots passing by. He crossed it and came to a lake where another lady lived, and though she was beauteous, her aspect was evil. She said, “You have a sacred heart, strong warrior, but I bid you leave me.” He thought to charm her with guile, and said “But I’m hungry for a little bit of heaven!” She stood up and shouted, “Eat your heart out!” He grew wroth and drew himself up to his full height. Four foot three. He announced petulantly, “I am the King of Rock n’ Roll! Never More shall you taunt me, you Hoochie Koochie Bitch!” Then he slipped away and followed the southern cross, muttering something about “damned country girls.”

Too Much Input

Windows Live… another network. I ignored myspace and facebook long enough, and I refuse to participate in the Twitter idiocy. So here we go, another social network. There can”t be enough of them, really. Web 2.0, Web 3.0, iPads, 1.5 TB hard drives, 64-bit dual-layer blu-ray syncho-flash technology, etc., etc.

Even I, a guy who”s supposed to keep up with these things, am left to rasp in a curmudgeonly way, “Who needs this shit?” Sometimes I”m tempted to side with the luddites who claim that computers have made us “stupider.” I mean, how do you people have the time for all this? I don”t think I even had the time before I had a child!

It”s a good thing no one reads this blog, or they”d be pissed at me for my highly irregular updates. But I can rationalize my inaction by claiming that I just don”t want to add much to the maelstrom of information that we bombard ourselves with every microsecond. I guess I”m a humanitarian after all.

Metal Disbelief

This is one of the most idiotic metal-related things I have ever read:

Is Udo Dirkschneider the Lemmy Kilmister of German heavy metal? Not quite, as that title would probably go to SODOM”s Tom Angelripper.

What the hell does that even mean?

No passing an ongoing rant

Admit it. If you commute to work in your car and you drive through suburbs, you’ve been stuck behind a school bus at some point. And like me every once in a while, you may have found yourself cursing out loud at the behemoth in front of you, then feeling guilty for the cursing. Of course you should have to stop for a school bus. On both sides. Of course it’s a good idea. Even people who don’t have children of their own probably agree. I agreed with it before I had a son of my own. He doesn’t ride the bus (yet), but any law that objectively enhances the safety of children is valid in my book.

But that leads me to this: We shouldn’t need this law. Call it idealism, maybe, but if we had decent, well-designed roads with sidewalks and crosswalks, and drivers who were skilled and gave a shit, we wouldn’t. This brings me back to one of my long-standing peeves: sidewalks and bike paths, or the lack of ‘em. (Another reason I have affection for Rachel Maddow – she loves to get geeky about the unsexy subject of infrastructure.)

If we planned our communities instead of leaving them to the whims of developers concerned only about the almighty dollar, we might have schools and shopping centers and gathering places within walking and biking distances of homes, not this moronic and unsustainable sprawl. We’d have sidewalks and bike paths and playgrounds and all of that, and cut down on traffic, danger from traffic, use of fossil fuels, emissions from using those fuels, and use of energy in general. We’d increase fitness levels, and most important of all, provide the means for a sense of COMMUNITY. Oh shit, there’s that word, with the same root as that dreaded Stalin/Marx/Mao thing… what was it called?

I’m guilty of it, too. I live in a house far from any real cultural centers. Sure, there are carbon-copy strip malls everywhere, but how does that help in bringing a sense of community? I’ve noticed this since living here in the US: people can be so isolated from one another. I hardly see my neighbors, barely remember their names. I admittedly am far more interested in international news and issues than what happens locally – local issues hold no interest for me because I’m not involved. Sure, it’s partly my fault. But the way we do things is not conducive to people being involved. It’s not encouraging. When it’s dangerous to walk to a friend’s house a couple of streets away because there are no sidewalks, we drive. And no wonder we don’t have a sense of community, we never talk to each other because we’re always in OUR FUCKING CARS! I ride my bike a lot (for fitness, rarely for transportation), and to see the incoherent rage of the imbeciles whom I dare to slow down because of my meager human-powered perambulation is saddening. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been honked at for no good reason, and even run off the road on occasion because some frazzled mom was late getting her kids to soccer or just wasn’t paying attention (or whatever), wrapped up in her own world. Oops, I just used a woman for my example of bad drivers. Guys can be just as bad, usually in a different, more aggressive way.

Back to community. I have to bring up Germany again. Yes, I know it’s a tiny country compared to ours and the logistics just don’t compare. But there are bike and pedestrian paths everywhere, not to mention a stellar public transportation system. Sense of community? I used to see people sweeping the sidewalk in front of their home. The sidewalk – not part of their property. (OK, knowing the Germans, it’s probably a law.) But there was always more of a sense of community there to me.

Besides there not being any real connectedness between us, I guess my sense of community, or rather the lack of it, stems from no sense of history and culture. Rather than grand stone buildings with admirable design, we have cookie-cutter housing developments, the houses built out of wood and drywall I can put my foot through. Rather than well-respected businesses that have been in the same family for a century or more, we have ugly little pre-fab strip malls, whose tenants seem to change yearly. Rather than locally-owned, dedicated, and homey restaurants of all kinds, we have slick, neon fast-food chains that serve up grease-laden hunks of mush. Am I too critical of my own country? It’s all out of love and a wish to improve it, man. Well, most of it. Believe me, I have plenty of critiques of my other favorite country, Germany, besides the thing that happened a few decades ago. That’s for another rant.

How to resolve this lack of a sense of community I see here? A confluence of many things, and that’s for the many people smarter than I. But for a start, let’s build some damned sidewalks and bike paths and some community places we can be proud of – and I ain’t talkin’ any more churches. That’s also for another rant. Oh, if I had the time, volumes I could fill. Humor me – writing about things I like just ain’t as interesting.

General Smallwood Olympic Triathlon, 9/22/07

(OK, it only took me 7 months to post this… so I’m slow, nothing new there)

(1500M/T1/25miles/T2/10k – 31:52/5:29/1:19:59/2:29/1:07:40) Total time – 3:07:26

Surviving Smallwood, 9/22/07

Drove up to VA Friday afternoon, got there around 1930. Had my wheat pasta & veggies, talked a bit, slept on the couch. Up at 0500 and on the road to Smallwood State Park. Had my tea & PB&Banana Sandwich on the way. It was just getting light slowly when we got there. We were able to casually get our race packets and chat (Dan and Shan knew quite a few people; a lot of Team Z-ers there, I guess). Apparently, they moved the swim just as they had to do the year before, because of seaweed and algae. I had wanted to get the rented wetsuit on and swim a bit in the water before the race began, but trying to time it right was an issue. Thank Crom there was a real bathroom in the building at the park, because my usual pre-race weight loss routine rapidly became a necessity. When I got to where the swim was rumored to be, there was nobody warming up, so, naturally, I didn’t want to get in there first and look the fool. So soon all participants waddled over in their funny rubber suits, and we wished each other good luck. I had forgotten to take off my rings, and so had my friends, so Shan put them all in her bag. Dan was in the first wave, I was 2nd, and Shan was in the 3rd. Missed most of the pre-race talk, so had to ask people what exactly we were doing. Swimming out and around the buoys without coming back in to land after the first lap, apparently.

‘Twas getting mighty hot in that wetsuit – must’ve been over 80 degrees and high humidity (it had rained earlier). We had to jump in; the start was in water about 5 ½-6 feet deep, with horrible, tangly, and slimy stuff underfoot. But, damn, it felt so nice and cool as it slid under the wetsuit. And then it was time to go, not much time to dwell on my nerves and apprehension about a .9-mile swim in a branch of the Potomac. But it wasn’t too bad, except for the carnivorous seaweed, attacking at every turn. It didn’t feel longer than the last sprint tri I did, which was half of the distance. I was able to keep rhythm much better than last time. I guess the wetsuit also helped, and the fact that the water was cooler and cleaner than Lake Crabtree. Not hard to do, I suppose. Suddenly it was time to get out. Guys were helping people out onto a little platform, from which we climbed up the stairs and began the long run to transition. I had felt a cramp threaten in my right calf toward the end of the swim, and it threatened more on the run. I ran gingerly, considering the bare feet on concrete, the burgeoning cramp, and trying to strip off the wetsuit. The worst and most feared part (for me, and for most, I think) was over. Finally got to transition, which must have been at least 300 meters away. Wetsuit came off with little difficulty, but got a little flustered because I kept thinking I was forgetting something. Probably wasted a good minute or even two in T1, with my slow run to get there and my dawdling. But shit, I’m just aiming to finish, I ain’t an elite athlete.

Set out on the bike, immediately consuming a gel, which of course, tasted nauseating. I knew on the way in that nutrition would be my problem, because I’ve yet to work that out. The bike was very pleasant, a nice country route, many trees, little traffic, not difficult at all. I passed quite a few people, but tried not to push it too hard. Finally got to a few going my speed and we swapped off leads. No, we weren’t drafting, I swear. There was a thin girl with long, dark hair who seemed to be laboring profusely, whom I passed, and I said something encouraging to her. Of course, I was embarrassed later when she passed me again and left me in the dust. It was a nice enough ride that I didn’t start wishing it would end until around mile 20 or so, when my lower back started to stiffen, and quads and calves to tighten up. I had been drinking regularly, but still not enough, I suppose. Now I realize that I probably should’ve been taking in a bit of salt here and there, but live and learn. My calf really started to cramp right before transition. Not good, I thought, worried. Haven’t even started the run and my calf’s cramping.

Tried to drink, drink, drink, but after I left an uneventful transition, shirtless because the heat was coming on, I had to pee like a madman. But I couldn’t find a decent place to stop, then somehow I forgot about it as the pain increased. Long hill out of transition, and I couldn’t even get up it without walking. The gels were starting to make me sick again – I think I’ll be staying away from those. Legs cramping. 6.2 miles of this? Crom’s stone balls, I can’t do that, I thought. But I didn’t want a DNF in my first Olympic tri, so I would walk or crawl the damned thing if I had to. When I got off the bike, I had more than an hour to spare before the 3-hour mark, which was my goal, and I thought, ah, excellent. If my fastest 10k is around 48 minutes, no problem. Yeah, right. I watched that goal fade as I jogged-hobbled-jogged-limped. I thought for sure the friends I came with would re-pass me (I saw both of them in the out-and-back parts), but it turned out they were hurting and slowing, too. The last mile was the longest of my life so far, even longer than the last mile of the Shamrock Marathon I ran in 2004… fucker just wouldn’t end!

Walk. Jog. Stumble. Hot. Walk, job, stumble. Finally to the slight incline and I could see the finishing area. And my mom and dad ready with the camera. It just wouldn’t do to have pictures with me walking with my jaw scraping the ground, agonizing and exhausted. So I had to pick it up a bit, no matter how much it hurt. And smile. And so I did. They didn’t come out half bad.

I sat in the grass, conversing with my folks between labored breaths, and waited for my friends to finish. I tried to get up several times and found the world spinning and nausea encroaching. I hadn’t experienced that yet after a race. This went on for 20 or 30 minutes before I finally had it under control, with the help of four or five bottles of Gatorade, pizza, and salt tablets from my friend (thanks Shan). We hung out at the Team Z tent for a while. Nice group of people, if I lived in the area, I’d definitely join.

An adventure? You bet. Masochistic and a bit crazy? Of course. Would I do it again? Absolutely. But not until I figure out my damned nutrition issues! More salt, more salt, no Gu, more liquid, and piss when I have to, no matter what the situation.

The lunch my parents bought me was sorely needed, but the 4-hour drive home was NOT. I was surprised I made it home without passing out, but it was one of those “body tired but zoned-out” drives. Back to home and the routine.

Triangle Triathlon 7/8/07

(750M/13.8miles/5k – 17:08/2:17/45:15/1:49/25:42) Total time – 1:32:09

My first true sprint tri. The day had arrived, after weeks of inconsistent training. I was really only worried about the 750-Meter swim. I had never swum that long without a pause, except for the Friday before the race – just to reassure myself that I could. Sure, I’ve swum over a mile in the pool, but that’s with many breaks.

Did my anal checks and re-checks the night before, got up at 5 AM. My wife had the consideration to take my son and stay at her mom’s to allow me to get some rest, but I didn’t get much anyway – nerves, I guess. Scarfed my traditional PB & banana on wheat and drank my Earl Grey. Somewhere along the way, or the day before, I made a digestive mistake. But more on that later.

Arrived without incident, rode the ½ mile there. Walked into transition, thinking I’d set up my stuff and go look for somebody who had handlebar end-caps (which the race instructions demanded), but they were actually checking for it as you enter transition. That’s good, I suppose. Thankfully one of the volunteers walked right up, offering them. So I put ‘em in and taped ‘em with the handy electrical tape that always goes in the T-bag. Helped another guy out with some, too. My good deed for the day.

How do you get used to this with Tris? My stuff was ready after a check and six re-checks, and I had an hour until my wave started. I wanted to do a quick warm-up swim, but I didn’t want to walk around for an hour in just my tri-shorts and bare feet. But what else was there to do, sit there? Of course the urge to – shall we say – unload struck me with half an hour left. Not wanting to use the port-a-potties for my mission (I cringe at having to use even clean public restrooms for this uncomfortable but necessary craptivity), I thought I’d see if the nearest park restroom was open. No dice. Some smart soul had locked it and put a sign on it saying “closed until after the race.” Oh well. It would have to wait.

Waited in line twice to use the port-a-potties for the longer-distance activity of peeing, and, man, the lines were long. Should’ve just used the trees, I guess. Saw Bobby, friend and ex-colleague of mine, which was cool. He was volunteering for the race – I guess a sprint tri is far too short for an Iron Man of his ability. There’s more respect than snark in that comment, really.

Swam out to the first buoy and back as a warm-up. The water was a bit mucky and unnaturally warm, I thought, but it wasn’t as bad as I had feared. Someone had told me that the lake was uniformly shallow and you could touch bottom in most places, so I tried. But they also said that you probably wouldn’t want to stick your feet in the slimy muck down there. So I did. Slimy, indeed. I downed a Gu gel 15 mins before my swim start, which I think was my first mistake. Don’t do anything new on race day, right? Well, I’d tried Gu before – once or twice – and didn’t feel any ill effects. Didn’t feel any effects at all, really. So it couldn’t hurt, right? Well, it didn’t – for a while. As I was standing in the water with the other Clydesdales, blabbing nervously, mostly about the condition of the water, whose first tri it was, etc., etc., the standard stuff, just as I was saying that I had done a warm-up swim and the water wasn’t nearly as bad as its reputation, a blackened, half-disintegrated Styrofoam coffee cup floated by us. “Well, maybe not,” I muttered, or something equally as futile and idiotic.

And we were off. As always, my rhythm was the first thing out the window. I’d been training to do the alternate-side breathing, i.e., once every three strokes. I tried, but mostly I fell back on the every-other-stroke-breathe-on-the-left-side sort of thing. I started at the back and avoided most of the others, making it to the turnaround without much trouble. Then it got harder. Swim. Breathe. Sight. Correction. Swim. Breathe. Sight. Correction. I could not keep myself going in a straight line for any reward. It went on this way for what seemed hours, with the shore getting no closer. Other people with different-color caps would pass me or I would pass them, but I didn’t know if they were from the wave in front of me or behind me. More likely behind me, for I could have sworn the swim was taking me half an hour. (Turned out to be a bad but not THAT bad 17 minutes or so.)

T1, no issues, out to the mounting line, no issues. But here I made a mistake – concentrated too hard on trying to get my feet in the clips and my gloves on my hands. I should have sped up to a decent speed first and done it as opportunities arose. We learn. Several folks passed me here. Then over the little causeway and a slight hill, and all the breath went out of me. Shit! A short ride like this and I’m gonna have trouble with it? I thought. That’s just sad. But I recovered shortly.

I realize I could maybe have kicked it into a faster gear, but I held back a bit, feeling those gut rumblings, overtiredness from only a few hours of sleep, etc. So I rode at maybe 80-85% of effort. I thought a couple of the hills would hurt, but they really weren’t that bad (I spun in a low gear). I passed one guy who had no helmet and earphones, wondering if he had been dq’d and just didn’t care, or what. Every once in a while a hardcore cyclist would whiz by on a whirring tribike, which was disconcerting, but what can you do? I ate a Gu gel about a mile or two before the end, as planned, and that was a mistake. Disgusting. One more note about the bike: I’ve read in many places that it’s not actually 15 miles, and by my computer, they’re right, it was about 13.8. That’s a long way to be off, and apparently it’s been that way for years. Do the organizers even know? I mean, it doesn’t matter, but either correct the course or SAY that it’s 13.8 miles. Hmm.

T2 was no big deal. Since I have clips or cages on my pedals, I use my running shoes to ride in, and don’t have to change them. Maybe the only benefit to not having clipless pedals (yet). Decided to run without a shirt (which I almost never do because of fear of sunburn) because of the oncoming heat. 5 mins or so into the run my stomach started to rebel against the insanely sweet Gu, and I had to slow down and pace myself more evenly. The course was easy, and I saw Bobby 2x more, but I was hurting towards the end and had no gear left to kick it in. Damn, I was happy to see that finish line. My first true sprint tri complete, and really only nutrition mistakes to mention. Could have been much worse! I had wanted a finish in under 1:30, but the official 1:32:09 would have to do.

All in all, the race was well-done, decent course, well-organized. The tons of fruit and bagels and donuts and drinks were great. Complaints? There’ve always gotta be some. Having the pre-race meeting the day before is definitely NOT convenient, but I can understand it with a big race. Not enough port-a-potties, bike course too short, water disgusting. That last one is not the organizer’s fault, of course. Will I do it again next year? Perhaps, but the prospect of swimming in lake Crabtree again is not a nice thought. Next on the agenda: an Olympic or International Tri.

Race for the Cure 6/9/07

There’s not all that much to report here. My wife volunteered for the race, as she’s started to do every year, and my mother-in-law was a participant as a survivor, so I figured why not try for a PR in the 5k? I ran around trying to get my son Spenser situated; he had to stay with his mother during the run. There were soo many people. But that’s good, right? Got ready at the starting line of the run, and I must have been 200 yards back. Must have been thousands of people in the race, by far the hugest I’ve ever done. And the gun went off. I had set myself farther back than I thought , so I was passing a lot of people. Sure it felt good, but would I pay for it? The summer heat was already starting to crank up. I thought I might try for a PR – even though I hadn’t trained vigorously for a 5k – which meant a goal of 22:54. I was on target and doing OK until the end of the 2nd mile, when the heat really started to get to me. Thankfully, there was a team of kids on the side, ready with a hose to spray those who wanted it. I’ll take some of that, please! Crom bless thee. The long, slow uphill at the end before you turn the corner back into Meredith (if I remember it right) was murderous, but I was able to maintain my pace and sprint it home after the turn, even though I misjudged the distance to the finish line. I was so out of breath I couldn’t even bend down right away to help the volunteer take the damned chip off of my shoe! But I looked at my watch and, holy shitbrick, shmatman! 22:38! Wow. I was impressed with myself, because the end sure felt hard. Now if that run had taken place in my preferred running weather (about 52 degrees, overcast, drizzly, low humidity, naked cheerleaders), I might have toyed with breaking 22:00! Maybe someday, but I’m not getting any younger. That tantalizing 19:59 may be out of reach in this life (especially for a man who usually weighs 208-220 lbs.).

A great race, well-executed despite its size, and fundraising goals were exceeded, I understand. Kudos to all involved, especially to the survivors. And double credit to the survivors who raced, many of whom were much faster than I!

As the bumper stickers on the cars of my wife, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law proclaim proudly, “Save the Ta-Tas!” Maybe I’ll get one for my car that just says, “Hooray for Boobies.”

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/?)

This log at www.beginnertriathlete.com