This is an update on what happened at the triathlon I mentioned in my last post.
I got up early Saturday morning to the sound of rain drops. Not really processing this, I got up, ate some oatmeal, got dressed in my laid out kit, grabbed my gear bag, and headed out the door. My bike was already in the car. The car was covered in dew and there was a light mist in the air, but I didn't think much of this.
As I got onto the freeway headed to Carson, I noticed more and more rain and by the time I got to Downtown, the wipers were needed to keep the windshield clear. Upon arrival in Carson, it was full on raining on me. Besides a few empty tents I cold see no organization and had no idea where the transition area was. Sitting in the car for a half hour, I wondered what was going to happened. More cars arrived and I wandered out to figure out the situation. It was light enough to see the transition area in a grassy area off the road.
Grabbing my bike and gear bag, I headed up to get ready. Stepping onto the grass in transition, I sank a good three inches into the mud due to rain. This was the point I said to myself, "What the fuck are you doing here?" The feeling passed and I racked my bike.
A few minutes later I heard a voice call out to me. I turned around and saw it was Michael Pajaro aka Mr. P aka NeopreneWedgie, my coworker who had just completed the Kona Ironman a few weeks ago. He was holding a sign for me and there to root me on. I was touched that he made it out into the rain to cheer me on in the tiny triathlon I was about to run.
We chatted a bit and then I laid out my gear on my towel. With nothing else to do, I walked around with Mike waiting for the start. He did his best to keep me positive and gave me good tips like wear as little as possible on the run, even though it's raining.
Soon enough the race began and I was running. The run was good. I met up with a woman from the company tri team and we ran together the last half or so. I felt good the whole way through.
Mr. P cheered me through transition and I was on the bike quickly. Everyone told me not to wear gloves ont eh bike, but to be honest, I wish I had put them in the bento box on my bike to put on once I was rolling. After thousands of miles wearing gloves, it felt weird to be bare handed.
Since the cycling part was the easiest for me, I didn't look much into the route. I knew we did a few laps to get to 12 miles and then into transition. I whipped around the course three times and heard the guy at the lap turn point say "3 this way, 4 this way" I said "I've done 3 laps." and he pointed me up the road, not toward another lap. I looked down at my bike computer and saw it was only at 9 miles. Soon I was almost at T2 and I said to the rade officials that I was only at 9 miles and they said I was supposed to do 4 laps. They told me to head in anyways. I wasn't going to knowingly bail on part of the triathlon, so I turned around and went out to do another lap. You can hit the player on my Garmin track and see the silliness.
After lap 4 I got to T2 and headed toward the swim. This is the hard part for me. I had only started swimming on October 1st, so that meant only 3 weeks of training. I walked into the pool area to a wall of sound with tons of people and the announcer on PA yelling "Six times across and you're done!" I rinsed out my goggles and slipped into the water and swam. It was not the most beautiful swim stroke nor the fastest, as many passed me, but I did not drown. I kept hearing Coach Steve's voice saying, "Head down, legs up, glide!" the whole time.
And it was over. I was now a triathlete. Greeting me at the finish was my Dad and Mr. P.
I am thankful to my wife Michele, who inspired me to start cycling and was nothing but positive about the tri, to Coach Steve Mackel who taught me the proper way to run and swim, and to Mike Pajaro, who answered all my tri questions at work, was there on race day, and took all these wonderful photos.
Of course I am keeping this in perspective. I did a sprint triathlon. Compared to the Ironman level completions (Mr. P's Kona medal shown for scale), it was a light workout. I plan to do more triathlons in the future. Hopefully they will go smoother in better weather.