For my 20th Birthday, I got myself three things: entry into the Chicago Marathon, entry into my first ever triathlon -- The Vermont Jouney Half, and the Bring It On 2-Disc Collector's Edition DVD.
Since I began work at JackRabbit Sports, the
triathlon store in New York City
, the hardcore triathletes had been coaxing my into trying a tri. I was dumb enough to pick a half-Ironman as my first. 1.2 mile swim? Cake. 56 mile bike? I could do it in my sleep. 13.1 mile run? As Tiger Woods would say, "fer shizzle".
So I headed up to Massachusetts to meet my family on Friday after work, and then drove up to Brandon, Vermont on Saturday by myself to check in for the race and into my hotel. I stayed in the Brandon Inn, which boasts the oldest elevator in Vermont dating back to 1901. Although they offered a ride in it, I figured I'd be cheating death in the race on Sunday, and thought cheating death twice in one weekend was a little dangerous. I lugged all of my stuff up to my room and realized there was no TV, no internet access, and no cell service. I had about four hours before nighty-night time so I prepared all of my race day clothes, drinks, eats, and accessories. After finishing that I only had three and half hours left. Crap. I debated visiting the Vermont Maple Syrup Museum, but decided against it, figuring that staring at the clock would be more interesting.
Around 8:30, I listened to John Coltrane's A Love Supreme
, as I do before every big race, and then it was off to bed. A crying baby and nervousness kept me up until 10:30, and I woke up about every hour after that because I was so excited to die, I mean do this triathlon. At 4:00, I woke up to eat a Clif Bar, and instead of falling back to sleep until 5:00, I remained awake until the alarm went off at 5:00:cry:
I stumbled out of the hotel around 6:00, and drove the 10 miles to the start of the race. By 6:30, I had my bike racked in the transition area, and was ready to rock. At 7:15 I slithered into my wetsuit (by the way, there's nothing sadder looking than a skinny malnourished boy in a wetsuit
). At 7:29, the first wave (yeah that's right I was in the first wave bitches!!!! Hahaha, what were they thinking???) splashed around in the water before lining up on the beach of the lake for the start. The water was uncharacteristically warm, and I was really surprised how much the wetsuit improved my bouyancy (I needed all the help I can get).
10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 GOOOO!!!!! All of the elite guys sprinted out into the shallow water before diving in, and I just kinda followed the guy in front of me into the water. The course was a two loop course of a long horizontal stretch of buoys fairly close to the shore. The lake was crystal clear, and was never more than six feet deep during all parts of the swim (thankfully!). Swimming with a wetsuit was much different than swimming in a pink and lime-green striped Speedo, and it took a little while to get used to. After a bunch of getting kicked and smacked, I was able to get some room, and really lenghten my stroke. I had planned to go for around 40 minutes for my swim time, and rolled in at a faster than expected 35 minutes
Transition 1 was much slower than it could've been. I managed to get half my wetsuit off as soon as I exited the water, and didn't have too many problems with the bottom half. I dried my feetsies, put on socks and bike shoes, helmet, shades, gloves, grabbed my spare tube and tire wrenches and finally unracked my bike. Because I'm an idiot, I dropped my tube and wrenches twice getting out of the transition which added mucho time to it
. I was the second or third bike out of my rack (all other dudes in my age group) so that was cool. Now onto the bike, my worst leg of the race.
As soon as I hopped on my steed, the skies opened up, and it started pouring. The temperature also dropped around 10 degrees, and the wind picked up. For those of you who don't know, motherfvckin Vermont is a hilly motherfvckin state. Fortunately, the bike course was really hilly and I had done no hill training at alll
The 50 degree temps, 20 mph winds, and driving rain didn't help either, and I started getting really miserable. Then, I realized that my four Powerbars had congealed and melted into my Bento Box and I couldn't pry them out. Great. That was 1000 calories that I wouldn't be able to eat on the bike
Here's a brief synopsis of the bike:
Good thing I was riding a road bike from 1989. I guess this "throwback" was all the rage in 1989, but bike technology has improved since then, like not having the gear shifters on the main frame of the bike
Also, my set of gears would've been great for a race in Iowa, because all of the gears were set fairly high. In my lowest gear, I still stuggled up the hills. I was as miserable as could be for the entire bike. The only upside was that I peed twice.
Overall, the bike was just pathetic, but I guess at least it wasn't hailing or a blizzard
Total bike time was 3:32, an average of like 16 pathetic miles per hour
FINALLY I GOT TO THE RUN
I was so pissed at T2 that I did everything slowly and pouty-y
I realized that my salt tabs had dissolved while on the bike
causing yet another nutrition crapola for me. Finally, I left the transition area in my DS Trainer XIs
My quads and calves were trashed from all the climbing on the bike, so I decided to take it easy and gradually get into running form. At the 2.5 mile mark, the course veers off of asphalt onto dirt TRAILS (so THG, this was my first baptism into the world of trail running, and I'll be set for TA next year
) A quarter mile in, there is the steepest wall of climbing I've ever run (okay I walked most of it
) I still wasn't feeling too great here, and began feeling some spasms in my hamstrings and hip flexors. Thankfully that went away, as the course imerged onto the main portion, which was on dirt road. This part of the course was also a two-loop course, and running the first leg of the first loop wasn't fun. However, the more I ran, the better I felt, and soon I noticed my pace was in the low 7s. I managed to pass a guy in my age group and really started feeling good, until I came upon spectators who were blasting Backstreet Boys from their SUV
Finally, we were back on the trail, and going down that wall was much easier (but scared the sheit out of me). Eventually, we were back on the asphalt, and I started warming up with two miles to go. I was as Will Smith would say "just cruisin'"
. There's the 12 mile marker! There's the turn into the park!!! Kick, kick, kick, Terry, hot Vermont chicks (and your family) will be watching you. I passed a sheitload of runners cruising into the finish....with my finishing time of 5:55:03.
I got my medal, and chip taken off, but boo!!!! no capes of awesomeness :( Packed up the stuff, ate some pretzels and a Clif Bar, and headed home.
So here are my splits and crap:
I'll be the first to tell you that I'm happy it's over. Running is defnitely my favorite of the three sports, but training for all three was a great workout and kept me on my toes. I'd definitely recommend trying a triathlon (definitely NOT a half-Ironman), because it's a different perspective on racing and tesing your body's limits. As someone who never thought I could run 10 miles, then a marathon, then a triathlon, it's not as difficult as it sounds (as I found out with the other two races
So I guess now I'm an Aluminium-man
(hahaha Iron's atomic number is 26, and Aluminium's is 13 hahaha ROTFLMFAO I'm a huge chemistry dork ~BOOM~)
Next up is Chicago in 8 weeks