Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Mr. Triathlon??

This past weekend, I participated in the Off The Rails Triathlon in Roanoke, VA.  It was the inaugural event for this particular race, so it is really cool that I got to participate in it.  I had seen it a couple of months ago advertised on a sign in Roanoke, and intended to sign up if I had enough time to train after my two April marathons.  However, things did not work out this way.  Last weekend at the Tuff Strutter 5K, apparently a friend of mine and my lovely wife made plans that I was not aware of while running.  I had forgotten all about this race, but it was a nice reminder, but a rude awakening as well.  They decided that ready or not, I was going to participate in this triathlon, even though it was only a week away.  But with the help of my friend, I was able to get three practice swims in at the local YMCA during my week of training.  I also took a practice bike ride one day, as well as two training runs.  Fortunately this specific triathlon was a sprint triathlon, which means it was short in comparison to others.  Even though it was shorter, I still shouldn't have skimped on the training.  If I had remembered about the race, I would have started training way sooner.  And I would have registered earlier than mere hours before registration closed.

Team MHC Inspired! (Martinsville/Henry County)

Anyway, the actual event was quite the experience.  I began my morning with my chauffeur (Mrs. Marathon) driving me and my bike to Roanoke.  We woke up at 4 to hit the road by 5.  Yes, in the morning.  We arrived by 6 in time to meet a group of other local triathletes, some relay and others individual.  It was between 20 and 30 people from our little area, which is really impressive!  After we picked up our packets, got our numbers, and got body marked, we all set up our transition spots.  This was the newest part for me.  Fortunately, there were some experienced triathletes in the group with me who were more than willing to help me prepare for my first.

Mr. Marathon caught with his pants down!
He was getting tatted-up! (or just body marked...)

Once everyone was all ready to go, we lined up to start at the pool.  We started in 15 second waves, two individuals at a time.  Finally, after 18 and a half minutes and over 100 participants later, it was my turn to swim.  The swim was a 300 meter swim, which was three laps down and back of the 50 meter pool.

Mr. Marathon's swim

After the swim, I hopped out and walked leisurely to the transition area because I swear I heard someone say you must walk between events.  However, people were blowing past me, and I figured out that I heard wrong.  So then I put some pep in my step to transition to the bike ride, which was a small train wreck.  Since I was woozy from the swim (sea-legs?) and I had literally no idea what to expect, I fumbled my way through the transition until I was dry, clothed, and walking my bike to the mounting area (because LORD HELP ANYBODY who decided to mount their bike before that line....).  I took off on the 15K bike ride trying to find my groove.  After about 3 miles, I got my groove and I felt good about the rest of the ride.  Even though the course was a little confusing and lacked directional assistance, I managed to make it back to the transition area for the last leg of the race.
After I figured out I didn't have to walk

Transition time!

Ready to bike

And I'm off!  But not until I pass the line....

This transition went a lot smoother because I knew what I was doing and I was fumbling everything around like a drunk pirate.  Even though my legs felt heavy and drunk, I managed to rack my bike, change my shirt, and take off on the 5K run.  So even though there were a lot of participants walking, there was no way I was going to walk on the last event, considering it is my strongest area.  So to say the least, I did not walk!  But instead, I stayed strong and pushed hard.  I passed many people that had started way before me, which motivated me to push even harder!  But even when I passed them, I made sure to give them a thumbs-up and some words of encouragement.  I ran up the last hill as hard as I could because I knew that it was downhill all the way to the finish.  I managed to finish strong, or at least it felt like it!

Coming in after my run

My overall place was 33rd out of 133 finishers, with a total time of 1:03:19, which earned me 2nd place in my age group.  Not too bad for my first one right?  Especially with how little training I had!  I can't wait for the next one, as long as I have enough training under my belt!

Accepting my award for 2nd place in my age group.
All the chlorine I swallowed in the pool must have whitened my teeth or something??

After such an eventful morning, Team MHC Inspired got together for a post-race celebration, complete with cake!  The cake made it all worth it.  And going with such an amazing group definitely helped as well. :)

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