I trained for 20 weeks. I stretched...I lifted...I biked...I swam...I ran...I AM TIRED. This wasn't my first triathlon, but it was my first Olympic distance and my first with over 1,000 participants, it was an amazing experience. This was also the largest inaugural triathlon ever with 1,700 registered runners and 1,200 people completing the course. Hy-Vee gave away $700,000 to the winners of the elite division - also the largest purse ever. In the newspaper this morning, the Race Director said he has never seen crowds like we had in Des Moines at 6:00 A.M. on a Sunday!
The sport of triathlon is different than other sports. It is mentally rigorous, physically straining, and completely emotional. To see over 1,000 men and women who have jobs, families, social lives spend 10-20 hours PER WEEK on training is simply amazing.
This is one of the most difficult events in my life. I got emotional prior to the race thinking about the journey that I made from the start of training on January 29th to the race on June 17th. Words are inadequate to describe the journey.
Here is my analysis of the event (and some pictures):
Swim: 29:41 (1500 meters)
Transition 1: 3:08
Bike: 1:24:46 (40K or about 25 miles)
Transition 2: 2:01
Run: 54:17 (10K or about 6.2 miles)
Place: 65th of 93 in my age group of 25-29.
Total Time: 2:53:51
Swim: This race had the most difficult swim EVER for me. It started off horribly being dunked 3 times in a row and having to come up and catch my breath which created significant anxiety and a loss in focus. I was hoping to come out of the water in under 25 minutes and I have the ability but I let the outside factors take hold of my mental state. After having difficulty finding the buoys to guide me the end of the swim ended up very strong. I was able to catch my breath and get my mind where it needed to be.
Bike: The bike was exactly what I expected. Biking is my least favorite (but still fun) and weakest sport in triathlon. I don't spend thousands (but often hundreds) on a great bike so I think my equipment makes me at a competitive disadvantage. That being said, I thought the course was great with a mix of flats and a huge hill in the last 4 miles. There were people lining the course in droves. Down Grand, on Railroad and E.P. True and tons of people out around the Jordan Creek Town Center. I LOVED the fact that so many people got up early on a Sunday to watch this event. The best was the intense crowd going up the hill (sometimes referred to as mountain) on Grand Avenue. THANKS SPECTATORS.
Run: I didn't have too much trouble adjusting to the run following the biking portion. That is typically the most difficult transition for me. The run ended up being very warm. I chatted with a ton of other triathletes about the event, how they were feeling, and the course in general. Everyone was having a great time and very pleased they were participating. There were quite a few people on the run doing a fantastic job making sure our motivation was still up. The most difficult part of the run was doing the turn downtown 2 times. When you can see the finish and still have another loop it affects your mental status.
Crowds: THANK YOU DES MOINES. The crowd was BRILLIANT!!! And especially my family and friends that were there. My buddy Craig was the first person I recognized at the finish - WHAT A CLASS ACT! Also a huge THANK YOU to Rachel Harvey for coming out after a long night of drinking, Chad and Michelle for finding me in the athletes tent, and of course Kevin who kept me focused, motivated, and strong.
Finish: I got a final burst at the end. I knew I had to make a strong showing on the blue carpet. It was crazy and deafening to hear all the people screaming for the participants and fantastic to realize that I was going to be within my goal time and under 3 hours. I felt so GOOD!!!
The Best: THE CROWDS, Hy-Vee for such a well organized event, My Family, My Friends, Kevin, the Fee-bees
The Worst: More buoys on the swim, no loops on the run, shorter transitions (for me, they were WAY too long)
After The Race: The best part. After a long, hot shower and sending Craig and Sarah off we went to MaggieMoos for the most disgustingly huge, overflowing, and best sundae of my life. Then a very long nap. Then a beer in the evening. My legs were burning most of Sunday, especially my Quads and today it is my back and calves that are in pain - but all of that will leave very soon.
I want to say it one more time THANK YOU to everyone who wished me well and supported my through this journey. It has made me stronger physically, but also mentally and emotionally. HAPPY FATHER'S DAY DAD!!!
Age Group Results
Links of Interest:
The Elites: Being totally exhausted I couldn't follow the elites as closely as I wanted. But we did go downtown to watch the men bike. They are at a level that I haven't seen and will never get to. For them, it was hot with temperatures in the 90's. The race was taped by NBC Sports and will be shown to the world on July 15th, 2007 at 1:00pm CST. Here is a link to more information about the triathlon results.
THANKS BILL for the pictures from the Elite Race!