I don't think i have ever been this nervous for a race in my life, not my first marathon, not my first half marathon which I was completely unprepared for, not ever. If something goes wrong in the middle of a lake its not like you can just start walking its like ok now we are going to drown.
My training has been good, I have been getting 40 miles a week on the bike for 5 months now with every 4th week doing a super long bike ride of 50 miles. Of course my running is strong I could run a 10k in my sleep and I think I have done so. My swim training has been ok my bike training was definitely better but my swim can still use some work. I have been doing two swims a week (I will increase that to 3 maybe 4 for half ironman training after my marathon cycle is over) with an Open Water Swim on Wednesdays and a pool swim on Fridays. What cost me is it seemed every time I skipped a swim it was my OWS because my wife was working that night or just the logistics of getting out to Sand Hollow Reservoir. This meant I had 5 OWS but none above 1000 meters, where my pool swims would be typically 1650-2000 meters which might have saved me as I could easily swim the 1500 meters and probably swam 2000 today during the race more on that later.
The most grueling part of training was also fitting in marathon training at the same time. It has left me completely burned out the last couple weeks and I have smartly taken extra cutback weeks and didn't do much this week with how fried I am. I have never looked forward to a taper more than I did this one, there were weeks when I was completely exhausted with all the extra training. But I have felt fantastic the last 2 weeks and even had a great 20mile run last Saturday (20.3 miles in 3:18xx) and one of my most amazing runs on Tuesday ever which I should share with you sometime. I think this was due to 2 cutback weeks I took that were unplanned one for my birthday at the end of August.
So I spent most of Friday in a very nervous state. It was an anxiety that had me on pins and needles and a little scared. I picked up my packet after work and got marked for the race so I didn't have to worry about it in the morning. I even bought these little shoe ties that make it so you can cinch your shoes real quick and save time in transition. My main reason for buying them though was I use cages instead of clipless and my shoelaces tend to get untied and then wrap around my pedal very dangerous as you can't get out of the cages with your shoelace wrapped and this would allow me to not have to worry about that anymore.
So I get home and set up all my race stuff for in the morning so I don't have to worry about it. I make a bag to take with me and holy heck does a triathlon require way more stuff. Wet suit, bike helmet, bike gloves, nutrition for transitions, water and gatorade for first transition and of course the garmin, run shoes, running shorts and tech tee.
I set my alarm for 6am as transition opened at 6am but my wave didn't start until 8:15am. No reason to be super early because I was already marked figured that would get me out of the house by 7am and to the race by 7:30 with 45 minutes to spare. I woke up at 5:30am though, its been awhile since I have woke up for a race before my alarm went off. All that morning before the race I felt like I was going to vomit I was so nervous.
I got my breakfast in me despite wanting to vomit the whole time and got all my morning stuff done and was out of the house at 6:50. Its about a 30 minute drive to the race start. So I arrived at 7:20 and felt a little foolish here I am with my bike riding in my trunk of my car and all these people have the nice bike racks with the super fancy carbon fiber bikes and I am on my mid-level road bike that I love and that did kick some arse during the race though.
Now they don't let you park in the actual state park (this is at Sand Hollow Reservoir part of a state park) but actually down on the road about a mile away. This is completely fine as I am early enough the hike into the transition area I figured would be a nice little warmup oh but I had another warmup coming a horribly unexpected one. So I get in and set up my stuff in transition and am chatting away with the other racers when at about 7:50 am I realize I left my goggles in the car.
I keep a separate swim bag with my goggles in them so I can hit the pool or the lake to train and even reminded myself on the drive to get my goggles out but totally forgot with all the nerves. If it had been anything else I would have said screw it and done the race without but I hate swimming without my goggles. So I take off to run back to the car for a nice 2 mile warmup run to get them. I grab them and head back to the start as everyone is filing down to the water for the first wave. I was in the second wave.
In my rush to get my goggles I forgot to put my anti-fog drops on them another thing I reminded myself on during the car ride. Well first wave is off and we are told to get in the water. There weren't too many in our wave a nice big group but not a huge group that I was going to get trampled at the start. I line up or swim up in the back not wanting to interfere with anyone knowing I am not the fastest swimmer. But just before we start the guy starting the race makes everyone back up now your bumping and jostling and its crazy.
We take off and I am doing good, got a good swim going on and staying with the pack for the most part but they are separating a little and with it being a smaller pack I quickly find myself on my own. My goggles are completely fogged up and we are swimming into the sun. I did ask about the logistics of where we go before the race. We were supposed to keep the orange buoys to our left and we would hit a green buoy for the sprint turnaround then another green buoy for the Olympic turnaround. We were then to swim 50 meters to the left and go around an orange buoy and then keep the orange buoys to our left on the way back.
Pretty simple huh except with fogged up goggles and swimming alone and into the sun I was soon lost as I could not see the next orange buoy for the life of me. Then all of a sudden I got a kiyaker by me saying you need to go around the orange buoy and I am like what fraking buoy I don't see a buoy. I guess I had swam 25 meters over and was starting to come close to the lane people would be heading back in. She keeps tell me you need to swim around the buoy and I kept informing her I cannot bloody see a buoy what fraking buoy. Eventually I do see the buoy and get back on course. But its not long before I got another kiyaker saying you need to swim around the buoy, what fraking buoy. This kiyaker was a little better at directions with swim right, swim left and found the buoy a little easier this time.
About at the sprint turnaround the wave behind me catches up with me with all my deviations to course. Now I didn't get swam over at the start but dear lord those guys don't even bother to swim around you in the middle of the lake I got swam over many times and actually slowed down so they wouldn't drown me. I don't know if they just couldn't see me because of the sun but I would never swim over the top of somebody 750 meters into a race.
I managed to get lost a 3rd time and again swim around the buoy and the what fraking buoy game was played. I am starting to wonder if I will ever see the turnaround at this point. It was at this point I was all alone again in the middle of the lake, no kiyakers around either and I started to yell where the frak do I go, somebody tell me where the frak do I go. I am treading water completely lost and then all of a sudden I see the green buoy.
Oh you sweet green buoy, you beautiful gorgeous, wonderful amazing, sexy green buoy. How I want to make sweet passionate love to you right here in the middle of the lake. I am going to hump the crap out of you. Ok I didn't but how sweet that buoy was because it means I get to head away from the sun and not have to swim into it anymore.
I make a break for it and this is when the third wave catches me I don't care I have found the green buoy and am swimming again. Because I was so lost and was constantly having to try and sight I ended up swimming most of the first 750 meters with my head above the water. Now I can see the buoys and I am not heading into the sun anymore and can start keeping my head down and under the water.
I would just pick the next buoy on the horizon and make a beeline for it. So freaking easy right. Well it was on the way back. My goggles did eventually get so fogged up that i stopped with about 2 buoys to go to unfog them a little and sight the next buoy. And all of a sudden my leg starts to cramp something fierce because I am treading water now and did something weird when I stopped to get my goggles fixed. A kayaker comes over to help me and had he tried to pull me out of the water when I could finally see the shoreline he might have got knocked off his kayak, no way after what I had been through was I getting pulled. I work the cramp out and let him know I am ok and make a beeline for the gorgeous shore ahead of me. All in all the second half of the swim went great. I am glad I was in the habit of doing way more than the 1500 meters in training though as I am sure with all my random wanderings I swam 2000 meters. Swim time 1:00:12, about what it takes me to swim 2000 meters not the 35-40 minutes it takes me to swim 1500 meters and what I was hoping for the race.
Get out of the water and out of my wet suit pretty quick. I am glad I bought those shoe things as it made getting my shoes on a cinch. Grab my gatorade and a little water and a powerbar and start walking out of transition. I then break into a little run for the mounting area and wow what a weird feeling that is after swimming for an hour. Pull on my gloves and get on my bike. I am little slow in T1 as this is completely new for me. T1 4:14 but most people took about 4 minutes for T1 the leaders did it on the other hand in about a minute. Something I can easily work on with more races.
Feels great to be out of the water and on my bike. I already start to pass a few people, all that bike training seems to have come in handy as I remember my first and only other triathlon a sprint tri where I was easily one of the worst bikers that day. About mile 4 you hit nemesis mister el diablo. If you remember from some of my race reports like Hurricane half or Sand Hollow marathon nemesis is a 561 foot climb in about a mile and one heck of a brutal hill. And man does it takes it toll on you, I think my average bike pace slipped to 12 MPH by the end of the hill that i would get back above 14 by the end of the race. I was tempted to walk up but that felt like cheating to me we are on the bike leg I need to bike up this hill. So I kept chugging away and biked right up it. Didn't see anyone walking up it on our way up but it seemed everyone I passed on the way down was walking their bike up it.
This is where I found a racer I never ever want to race with again, simply one of the worst racers ever etiquette wise. She would not keep a steady pace at all and I swear I would pass her and on that hill just a little while later she was passing me right back. At one point I am passing another lady and she goes to pass me back and makes the rude comments your supposed to stay to the right and not ride beside someone unless passing. I wanted to knock her off her bike she really irritated the heck out of me (she also p!ssed me off really bad during the run too). Here I am on this huge steep climb trying to pass someone so no I am not going to go shooting by them, she actually passes us in between the other rider and me arghhhhh.
I did meet a nice biker on the race though she commented that it looked like we would be race buddies after we switched positions a few times. I saw her on the end of the run as I was coming up on mile 4 and she was heading out to the 3.1 turnaround and she commented I knew you would beat me I couldn't keep up with you on the bike uphills made my whole race.
Everything was out and back for the race, swim, bike and run. So it was always nice to hit those turnarounds and know you were halfway through a leg. I only got passed by the super fast sprinters during the bike and passed almost all the other bikers made me feel good about my training. It was a tough course with tons of hills so I was happy with my time. as we are riding back down nemesis I am flying pass people on these carbon fiber bikes and here I am on my aluminum mid range bike. I was like fatman on a downhill let the gravity do work haha. Bike portion 1:28:00 a little slower than wanted as I had hoped for 1:15 but it was a tough course and I was happy with it.
Hit T2 not really much to do except rack my bike, and discard my helmet. I do waste a little time because I got to scoot all the bikes down because some jacktard put his bike in my transition spot. T2 1:57.
Hit the run and I am feeling it, its starting to get hot and its been a long day already. I am just trying to stay at about a 10:45 pace as I know that is about all I have in me right now. Get to aid station 1 or mile 1 and ignorant horrible race lady is back, she takes 3 waters, 2 to pour on herself and one to drink so I don't even get a water. I really want to trip her. She again continues with the crazy pace, I am running an even pace but since I am walking the water stations and she is running them she keeps getting in front of me, Then it just becomes my goal to catch her before the next aid station so I can get a water or a gatorade before she snags them all. I hear a lot of way to go Patrick from people and I am not sure who any of them are (and no our names aren't on our bibs, somewhere along the line I have become a local race celebrity somehow honoring all former fat people everywhere). The run goes good but again the course is not friendly we are back on the bike course and lots of little hills that just sap you.
So nice to hit that last turnaround and know all you got left is a 5k. My pace did slip a little at the end as I start to run out of energy but I was happy with the run for the most part. take off for the finish at a dead sprint (even had a race official come up to me afterwords and congratulate me on my strong finish). Run time 1:08:45 (about 17 minutes off my 10k pr but hey I was tired LOL).
Final time 3:43:07.
I learned a ton, first off I need to work on open water sighting and be better prepared prerace. I can easily make the half ironman swim cutoff as its 1:10 for 1941 meters and I did that today I am pretty sure but I won't make it if I am getting lost again in a race. The swim does need to be my focus. Also I think I should work on transition 1 as I can trim some time there, Also I need more bricks my legs gave out on me a little near the end plus I think I need to start doing swim to bike bricks as that would help too.
Loved the race, got a cool medal and a first timers pin (not officially my first triathlon but it sure the heck felt like it).