Monday, September 24, 2007

This just in (sort of)...

I did my first relay race yesterday. The La Jolla Cove 10 Mile Relay Swim. What a trip.

You take a team of five (or one or two or ten, but we had five) and combined you swim 10 miles. It's weird having an hour and a half between heats. Gives you time to think a little.

The night before the race, I was at a party and someone asked me why I would go do that, swim two miles. The trite old answer is of course "because I can." As we talked a little, we got on to the fact that these races aren't cheap. The relay was $60 or so per person. Yes, some of it goes to charity, but my friend is also right when he says we could just get five people and go swim the ten miles for free. You don't even have to pay to park in La Jolla.

This is where I got stuck. Yes, we could do it for free. We know we aren't going to win or anything. We're not competing, if that's the way you want to look at it. We are competing, we're racing after all, but we're competing against ourselves. the fact of the matter is, once you realize that you can do something like go swim a mile in the open ocean, the thought of not doing it becomes harder to swallow. In other words, you do it because you can do it. The fact that you get to give something back with the charity aspect is just gravy, as is the competitive element. You're not out there to win, but someone is.

Someone is trying to win the race. Someone else is trying to prove that they can, in fact, swim the mile, or get past a crippling fear of kelp. Some of us are just doing it to get together, be outside and get some exercise. Spending time with people who think at least a little like we do.

Why do we do it? It's fun. Simple.

Oh, and by the way, I swam my miles in 27:26 and 28:10, respectively.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

So this is it...

So I know the race was almost a week ago and I'm only just getting to the final report. It's taken me a few days to process exactly what went down in Monterey.

First off, I finished the race. I did it in 3:10:22, which is a little slow, but hey, it's the first one, so I'll take it. Here's how it broke down:

Overall: 3:10:22
Swim: 31:59
T1: 3:01
Bike: 1:25:50
T2: 2:46
Run: 1:06:46

So what does this tell me, now that I am a highly trained triathlete?

1. I swim crooked. I got aggressive. I swam over people, yanked them out of my way, clubbed them with my forearms (Sorry, Pat.) but I guess I still went around one too many. Still, Coach swears the course was longer than 1500 meters. Sounds good to me. I still need to work on my sighting.
2. It was hard to get that damn wetsuit off.
2a. Never trust the people in transition. If you don't know where to go, they sure as hell don't.
3. My new bike is faster than the one I trained on.
4. Work harder to go around, through and over the people who can't seem to get their bikes back into transition. Throw shoulders if you have to.
5. I need to learn to run through leg cramps. Seriously, the ones I had could have brought down a stegosaurus.

All told, I was only 10 minutes slower than my projected time, and most of that could have been made up on the run. Maybe I need more electrolytes on the next one. Maybe I need to even out my pedal cadence while biking. Maybe I just have to drill my bike/run transition more. Probably all of the above. At any rate, I have another race coming up to try some of the fixes.

That's right, I'm doing it again. Mission Bay is coming up in a couple of weeks. It's a sprint, so I can play around a little. I should be past the first race jitters too, if I'm lucky. We'll see how it goes.

Finally, I'd like to say this: the triathlon hangover is interesting. It doesn't hit until the second day after the race and then it lasts a little while. You have crappy motor control, writing and typing tend to look like exercises in drunken hieroglyphics and cryptography, respectively. You space out, you get cramps. Sitting for too long makes you stand up like a drunken, arthritic walrus. It's not pretty, but it's totally worth it.

Thanks to you all. Everyone who reads this, everyone who donated, Coach Gurujan, Coach Robbie, all the mentors, and to the team. We made it. If things work out right, we'll see you at Lavaman. Otherwise, we'll see you in a start chute somewhere along the way.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Is it me or is that light getting brighter?

Well, I know I haven't been overly vocal these last few weeks. Between work and training, I haven't had a whole lot of time or energy left to spin coherent thoughts onto the internet. Why'd I let that stop me?

It's pretty much zero hour now, kids. Strap in, hang on and scream your guts out. When next I post, the race will be over. I'll be posting times and splits and all that cool stuff. Maybe even some more pictures.

Am I ready? Somebody asked me that the other day and I said all that remains is to see what I mess up. I'm ready. I can swim bike and run the distances. I can do it in sequence. I've got my purple lycra top... But seriously, the bike is on the truck, along with the race bag. The voice mail tells people I'm out of touch. The spam filter is cranked up to high and everyone knows that if they call me I can't really help them.

I'm jittery and anxious. I'm ready for it to be over and yet not quite ready to be done. This has been an incredible ride. I never would have thought I could get to this point, let alone actually be entered in the race and ready to compete. I even bought my own bike. And I registered for another race. I'm such an addict. I was warned. I didn't listen.

I'm starting to ramble now. I'm off to pack and set the alarms, then think wistfully about sleeping until I go to the airport in the morning in my purple jacket. I'll write again when it's all over.