First of all, thanks for the support by everybody that commented or sent an email. I wasn't down for long. Finishing 82nd was more of a surprise and when it comes down to it, undomestic was right, I shouldn't have looked at where I placed in the race. (Although, I'll do it again;-)).
The first thing I remember is a loud Batman kapow at 230 am. It sounded like a shotgun but it was probably just something loud from the industrial area across 35W. It was 230 and no going back to sleep. I went to bed at 11pm. Hmmm. But I felt good and know enough from working nights that there was no sense in adding worry on top of a lack of sleep. Deal with it!
I left the house @5:15. The drive to Lake Nokomis was surreal somehow. Do you remember driving to pick up your prom date (too many years ago), or graduation, or wedding? I'm not saying that it was as important as all that, but there was some of that same anticipation. I parked a few blocks from the park and walked my bike. I didn't feel like riding it, walking felt more relaxed.
While walking, a BMW or Mercedes crossover suv parked in a lot and both a couple of triathletes quickly prepared to get to the transition area. I watched them as I walked and enjoyed the fact that they not only knew what they were doing but also helped each other without saying a word. Each action was like finishing a question for the other person. Cool! I don't know who they were but they were not Greg and Laura Bennett. I did hear their Eastern Europe accent though!
There was no room for my bike on the rack in the transition area. I stood there not knowing what to do..., probably for five minutes. Well, I knew what to do, but it felt like sacrilege. If I moved someone's bike would I be shot on the spot like in the old west when a horse was stolen? Anyway, I did get over it and made adjustments to other bikes until there was enough room for mine (which may have been twice a big as the others).
I still don't know who the male announcer was at the race (Addendum, I just learned that it was Jerry McNeil). The female was a Barb Lindquist who apparently was quite the star a few years ago. I didn't have much luck with her on google though! Anyway, they were talking away over the loudspeakers, asking how many first timers there were and warning of needing to be out of the transition area by 630.
So I was!
Without any food or drink! and where was my suntan lotion? (it was in the truck)
I didn't start my race until @915.
I don't know how much of an effect my nutrition had on a short course race. I imagine it had some effect for my poor to moderate (but improving) level of fitness.
I watched the pro's swim, I listened to how they were doing, and I just sat. I wanted to save my energy.
I didn't know a soul!
It gave me time to think! Which was mostly good. I laughed at myself (quietly) for forgetting advice that I have heard from podcasts, blogs, emails and The Triathlon Training Bible. It all came back to me. I guess in some ways it was too much info and also I just wasn't organized enough. Plus I have a tendency to learn from mistakes. It's like I have to experience the action to really know it.
I really don't have much to say about the race. Swimming was rotten! Everything I had learned was out the window once I was short of breath. What I should have done is make myself freestyle no matter what, but my goal was to get out and breathe so I did a variety of strokes. It was hard and I think I looked like it was hard.
I am reasonably happy with the bike. I averaged 17mph which isn't bad for a first race and for the bike that I was on. I passed those that I would expect to pass, then some. And people passed me that I would expect to pass me. I won't always be happy with 17 avg but I'll take it for now. I did have a little abdominal stitch @ mile 5 from scarfing down a Clif bar out of T1 but I was able to ignore it and it passed.
I think that it is the run that was most frustrating for me. I thought that I was ready enough to do 9 minute miles. But after using too much leg on the swim and what felt like a strong bike, I just didn't have it. If there is any consolation, it is that my legs did pick up about 1/2 through the run. I am not sure of my pace but I was able to at least look like I was running at the end.
I have to admit that I was a little tearful close to the end. I didn't know my time except that it was under 2 hours, I didn't know how I did in my age group, I just knew that I had finished.
And I knew it was just the beginning.