Sure, maybe before or after the event you can refer to it as the "Tri for Fun" but I don't dare disclose how I referred to this race during the actual event. My internal monologue during the triathlon went something like this, "What have I gotten myself into? I drove 9 hours for this? Okay, time for the resting backstroke for a little bit. What, I just got passed by a girl on the bike! Maybe if I walk for a little then I'll get a little boost. I'm never going to do this again! C'mon, just a little bit farther. Oh, that wasn't so bad!" I did the race with my brother Steve, his wife Sara, my sister Amy, my dad, and my bishop from my home ward. Anything for a little family time, right? Well, here are some of the highlights from the race.
We thought we had gotten there early enough but after registering, getting our numbers written on us, setting up our transition area, and changing into our wetsuits (not a problem for my dad who wore his wetsuit to the event) we found that we only had a couple of minutes left till the race started. It was as Steve and I were mozying down to the water's edge, talking about how to put my swim cap on, that we heard "On your mark, get set, go!" Steve said, "That's us. Let's go!" Without any further hesitation the race that I had prepared 5 months for had finally begun. I thought I was in decent shape because for the first 50 yards I had kept up with my brother. One big gulp of water later and I would never catch him the rest of the race. As I swam I remembered how my siblings told me that I'd be trampled over during the swim. I must have been doing alright since I hadn't touched anybody in route to the first buoy. As I looked up from my freestyle I saw that I had swam about 25 meters off course from the rest of the swimmers, which is why I hadn't had contact with anybody. I was in the middle of the swim course! That's when I knew it was going to be a long day. The day got a little longer in the water as I was trampled over by the next 2 heats that took off after me. But hey, atleast I didn't drown or grab on to a canoe.
I took my sweet little time drying off in the transition area and trying to regain my composure from the swim. Not before long I was onto the 16 mile bike ride, which took place through rolling hills. I remember my dad advising me to strip off all the bike accessories so that I wouldn't have to lug around any extra weight. It wasn't till after I had gotten on the bike that I realized that the accessories he was referring to shouldn't have included my water bottle! Occassionally I would pass water bottles that people in front of me had dropped and it was offly tempting to get out of stride and pick-up one of them. . . .especially the gatorade filled ones. Overall my biking wasn't too bad and I even found myself passing people on the way up the hill (that my sister-in-law was dreading) back to the transition area.
As I got off the bike and changed into my running shoes I began to test my legs to see if they were like jello. They weren't! I was alright then, right? A half mile later I found myself walking a stretch in order to catch my breath and convince my body to keep going past it's breaking point. This wall probably occurred since I never exceeded an hour and a half of exercise during my training. As I approached the mile and a half turn-around I was convinced that I was going to have to walk again, but then I caught a second wind and had a good stride to the finish. Finally I made my way to the finish line, ending up with a time of 1:48:13 which was behind bishop and my brother but in front of the rest of the group.
Well, check that off my list of things to do. I was convinced that I would never do this again; the training is awesome but the race is a killer. However, I've received new motivation to do another one, and soon. My dad can't stop talking about how he was only 10 minutes behind his son who is half his age and size. He says he has a 10 chain paper link at home and whenever he feels like he gains a minute on me then he cuts off one of the links. Well, the following Monday I was back on the bike with new motivation. I've got pictures of my dad hanging from the bathroom mirror and looking at me on the bike. Looks like August will be my next shot.