On June 19th, 2004, I completed my first Olympic Distance (:1500 meter swim, 45 kilometer bike, 10 kilometer run) triathlon. It didn't go very well. Below is my report from the race. I'm writing this report six months after the race, so I'm sure I will mess up a few of the details.

Prerace: Suzanne and I drove down to Kings Mountain (the race location) the day before the race. While there, we registered, did a drive around the bike course, then relaxed at the race hotel. I felt a bit undertrained, especially for the run, but otherwise I felt fine. I figured I would take this race slow, and try to learn as much as I could about pacing and nutrition at this distance. Race day logistics were a bit odd, as this race started in one location, had the swim-to-bike transition in another location, and the bike-to-run transistion/finish in yet another location. The bus to take us from the finish to the swim start ran late. I ended up guzzling a soda and a banana during the bus ride, only to discover that the bus arrived two minutes before my swim start. I had just barely enough time to pee, and RUN to the swim start. My wave was already in the water. I think I managed to get in the water a full 30 seconds before the gun went off. Ughh.

Swim: Much like my previous race, I went out easy on the swim. It was too warm for wetsuits this time, and the swim was a full 1500 meters instead of 750 meters, so I knew my best move was to go slow and easy. Even going easy, I couldn't seem to get my energy up. I felt really sluggish the entire swim. Final time: 34:26, which was good enough for 86th/145 male finishers.

T1: My first transition was absolutely shameful. I walked from the water to my bike, then futzed around at my bike for FIVE MINUTES. In a stroke of genius, I decided to take everything out of my camelbak and carry it in my jersey instead. I can't imagine what I was thinking. I wasted at least a full minute on this move, and I have no idea what I gained by it. Simply put, I was being lazy. I just didn't have my head in "race mode." Total time for T1: 5:55, which is at least 2:30 slower than it should have been.

Bike: Suzanne and I drove the bike course the night before the race. I somehow managed to convince myself that the bike was extremely hard. With this in mind, I started the bike very, very easy. I figured I would start going hard at the main climb of the bike route, approximately half-way into the bike. I ended up with a pack of 10-15 riders. Some of the riders would bomb on the downhills and go slow on the ups. Some riders did the opposite. There was plenty of passing as a result. I think there was probably also a fair amount of drafting, but nothing too bad. I caught myself doing some unintended blocking/drafting on the hills, as I tended to climb faster than most of the folks in the pack, but I couldn't quite get around them in the required 15 seconds. The draft marshall went by twice and I was worried that I would get slapped with a penalty, but thankfully that didn't happen. When I hit the big hill at the half-way point, it turned out to be not nearly as bad as I imagined. Rather than be happy about the ease of the hill, I went into panic mode and tried to make up lost time. I also realized that I hadn't been drinking/eating as much as planned, so I tried to make up lost ground there, too. Bad move. Really, really bad move. By the end of the bike my stomach was wanting to revolt. I wasn't happy about having to run a 10K on a queasy stomach. Final bike time: 1:35:08, 93rd/145 male finishers.

T2: My second transition was only slightly less lazy than my first. I couldn't muster any energy or desire. T2 time: 2:57, at least 1:00 slower than it should have been.

Run: Ughh. My stomach went into purge mode almost immediatly out of T2. I was reduced to walking by the 0.5 mile marker, and threw up just after the first aid station (at mile 1). The rest of the "run" was a mixure of weak running and walking. I saw Suzanne on my first lap, and knew that she was probably close enough to me that she was going to beat me. My wave went out 12 minutes before hers, but she was less than 12 behind me, and running while I was walking. I suppose I probably could have pushed through the stomach pains, but I simply didn't want to. I was having negative thoughts, and being really hard on myself for only running TWICE in the month before the race. Looking back at my training log, I only see 10 workouts during that month before the race, and four of those workouts were swim workouts. [Sigh] I got what I deserved. Final run time: 1:11:43, 126th of 145 male finishers.

Final StatsTime: 3:30:07, 112 of 145 male finishers.
Lessons learned:

  1. I need to get my head in the game. Without the desire, everything else is immaterial.
  2. You can't make up for going too slow early by trying to go too fast late.
  3. If your stomach can't handle what you are putting in, you shouldn't be putting it in.
  4. If I want to run a solid 10K, I should try... RUNNING MORE THAN TWICE IN THE MONTH BEFORE THE RACE

[Actually, it would seem that I learned little, as I managed to do even worse during my next Olympic distance race :-)]