Sunday, July 26, 2009

Twilight Triathlon

Since a triathlon includes a running segment, this qualifies for "Running Geezer". A group of us headed west from Orlando to the gulf coast town of Crystal River, FL. It is approximately a two hour drive to the beautiful Gulf of Mexico. We were there to participate in the "Twilight Tri", held at 7:30pm, hence the name. I was joined by Sheri, Raymond, Keith and Nigel. We also had our own cheering section of Susan, Debbie, Darby, Cathy, Fred and Jamie. It is wonderful to have friends who will support our efforts, thank you!

It was a beautiful evening, temperatures around 90 degrees. There was an onshore breeze that helped cool the air. It also helped to add a little "chop" to the water surface. I commented to someone, "this isn't the Cady Way pool!" However, growing up in New York, Long Island, to be more precise, the water was as I remembered it as a kid.

Having never done an "open water" triathlon, and not being the most skilled swimmer, I was cautious entering the water as the starters horn sounded. I found a pocket of water clear of the other swimmers. As we approached the first buoy, the logjam began to develop. I was content to ease up and carefully make my way around. I did not want to get kicked or run over at this point in the race. I felt comfortable with my stroke as we headed to the second buoy. When I made the turn for the beach, I felt very confident and relaxed. By now the crowd had broken up and the swim was unencumbered. I had anticipated that the swim leg would be my most difficult. As the beach got closer and closer, I felt a great deal of pressure lifted from my shoulders. Standing up in the shallow water and running ashore was awesome. A quick check of my watch showed that I was ahead of my goal time. I swam the one-quarter mile in 9:40:08.

My transition was slow, but I wanted to make sure I had everything in order. Since it is an evening event, it was mandatory to have both a headlight and taillight. One final check of my gear and I was off on the road course. It was a 10 mile out and back ride along a two-lane roadway. It was an "open" course, so there was some vehicular traffic. The drivers were very cautious and considerate of the riders. My only "problem" along the way was that the salt water had left a bad taste in my mouth. I had water, but that did little to erase the taste. I was wishing I had a "Shot Blok" or "Gummy Bear", to get rid of the taste. I was riding at my scheduled pace and felt very comfortable as the mileage signs clicked by. Now it was time to dismount and get through my second transition. All went well and I was off and running. checking the time clock as I crossed the timing mat, I was 6 minutes ahead of my goal time.

This is what I had waited for.....the run! My favorite event, my strength. Well, the old legs were a bit wobbly as I began. It took at least one-half mile before the muscles loosened up to where I felt comfortable. I tired a bit as we made the turn around at 1.5 miles. I stopped at the water stop with one mile to go and drank a cup of water and poured two over my head. I ran in with a little kick left for the final 100 yards. I finished in 1:20:28. My goal time had been 1:30:00, so I was very pleased with my performance. I felt good after finishing and am ready to come back next year and do it all over again!

On a negative note, Raymond who was part of our group, got involved in a bike crash in the early stage of the ride. It seems another cyclist hit a parked car, was thrown from his bike. His bike went into the path of Raymond who was unable to avoid it. He went down hard and suffered a fractured elbow.

The photo is post race, with me, Keith, Sheri and Nigel. Sheri won her age group and was 4th overall female! Congratulations to all :-)


ShirleyPerly said...

Congrats Jim on a great first tri!!

Glad the swim went well for you. It took me over 15 min(!) to do my first 400m swim, but I had not practiced swimming at all like I should have ...

Hope Raymond heals up quick. Please also pass my congrats to Sheri on her AG win.

Daria said...

Way to go Jim. You finished your 1st tri..are you hooked now?

Runner's Anonymous said...

Great job! I'm impressed by the 9 minute swim. I don't think I can tread water that long never mind swim!

CewTwo said...

Pretty good tale of a first triathlon. I enjoyed reading it. I feel I am close to a tri now, but have some mental things going on with the water part.
Speaking of water... A wet start and a wet finish (at least with one mile to go).
I was sorry to hear about Raymond. I do hope that he heals quickly!
What a guy, Jim!

kelly said...

This is a good start for a first trialthon! Keep it up!

nkelly sypder