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On the first tri

September 29, 2012

On Sunday I completed my first triathlon.  Technically I had done one at Colby as an intramural event, but that race was so stupid it doesn’t even count.  It went backwards – run, bike, swim, to space people out in the pool.  So of course I killed myself on the run, had a terrible time with my mountain bike and sneakers, and then was dead last after the swim (I could only do the breaststroke at the time).

But who cares about that one?  My first real triathlon was the 2012 Portland Triathlon at Cathedral Park.  I had two goals going into it:  1) finish, and 2) go under 2 hours.  I really had no idea if #2 was possible, but I thought it would be fun to tri try.

Sarah and I drove to Portland on Saturday afternoon and picked up my packet.  Then we went to the Chinese Garden,CIMG1719

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met Mike, and transplanted orchids with him.CIMG1723

Doesn’t everyone do this before a race?  We went out to a swanky steakhouse, where we sat in the bar to watch the Ducks clobber Arizona and eat steak tips, Caesar salad, and sourdough rolls.CIMG1724

I had a great night’s sleep in the judo room and was up and at ‘em at 5 am.

We got to the park in plenty of time and I got everything set up.  I was so glad we had been here before!DSC02899

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Soon enough, I had my wetsuit on (the water temperature was 63 degrees) DSC02902

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and we were walking on painful concrete to the start.  Then we were in the water and swimming!  DSC02910

And then I panicked 😦DSC02914

I tried to freestyle swim, but there was just too much going on and I wasn’t able to catch my breath (cold water/not warmed up?) so I did some backstroke and breaststroke for a while.  Then I got into a freestyle rhythm and thought things were going well.  Not fast, but well.  Then I took a break and felt so dizzy all of a sudden.  I don’t know what was going on, but being in the middle of the Willamette River was not a good place to feel like the world was spinning.  Probably just water in my ear messing with my balance (or the choppy river, buoyant wetsuit, and current?), but it freaked me out so much I almost called out for help.  I did not want to do that, though!  So I kept treading water and finally started swimming again, and then things were good.  I went around the turn-around buoys and knew it was going to be ok.  The second half of the swim went the way I wanted to whole thing to go.DSC02917

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Swim time (750 yds):  26:33

I got out of the water and ran to the transition area (farther than I thought it would be).DSC02927

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Sarah was my official photographer/stuff holder/cheerleader and did a great job.  Bryan and Kara also amazingly drove up that morning just to see me race!  I’m smiling in that pro photo because I could hear them yelling at me (and I was happy to be on dry land)!  It was so great to come out of the swim and hear them cheering:

“Get that suit off!”

“You’re steaming!! You’re steaming so much!”

“Yeah, snacks!  Yeah, shoes!”DSC02929

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Yes, they were right next to the transition zone the whole time.  It’s hard enough to take off a wet wetsuit with cold hands and no balance without laughing.  Just kidding, I loved the support.

T1 time:  4:46 (haha)

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I got on the bike, and within 10 seconds was climbing up a monster hill.  Once I was up the hill, I felt really good.  I knew the course from when I rode it with Bryan, and I felt like I was flying.

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Then I got to the turn-around, much sooner than anticipated, and felt the wind.  Ooh.  Sneaky tailwinds, you never feel them until they’re gone.  I was at the half-way mark around 28 minutes, so I knew I could do the bike leg in under an hour if I tried.  There was a steep downhill back to the transition area, and then I was unvelcroing my bike shoes and tying knots in my sneakers.DSC02938

Bike time (26 km, or 16.1 mi) :  59:34  yeah!

T2 time:  1:53

As expected, the first half mile of the run was rough.  My quads weren’t happy.  IMG_0699

Then came the giant hills.  Still unhappy quads.  And the sidewalks and the slanted streets and the potholes.image

Then we were running over the gorgeous St. Johns Bridge and I started to feel good and pick it up.  The turn-around came up quickly and I passed mile 2 at 17:30 or something crazy.  That seemed way too quick for the hills and my lead legs.image

The end of the run was a huge downhill where I was afraid I was going to fall over.  It leveled off, I started to sprint, and I passed two women right before the finish!image

Run time (5k):  25:20  (seriously, who am I?)

TOTAL TIME:  1:58.06

Stats:  214/374 overall, 55/158 women, and 10/38 W25-29.  There wasn’t a lot of time separating 6-12 in my age group, so if I hadn’t panicked/could learn to take off a wetsuit, it would have been even better!  Room for improvement, if you will.DSC02942

Overall, it was a great event.  The weather was better than I was expecting, my fans were awesome, there was good food afterwards, and I achieved my goals!DSC02947

I just need to remember the Hitchhiker’s GuideDon’t panic.

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