Revisiting the First Time

In April of 2011 I competed in my first triathlon. Escape from Fort DeSoto. Coming up on 4 years later I re-read my race report to refocus myself, to see where I have been, and to better understand the improvements I have made and where I was wrong. The following is the exact entry from 04/16/2011 (my blog was SO different back then, really just a day-to-day diary). What I have done is entered in new thoughts where I had them in blue. I hope you like it.

It’s official … I can now call myself a triathlete and show the tattoo on my arm and say “Yes. I have done one”. But man oh man was it harder than I expected it to be.

First issue was related to my sight. Once you set up your transition area you are not allowed back in. Now….I wear glasses…which I obviously cannot take on the swim with me so I had to leave them with the bike … which means I could not see until I got back to car to get into wet suit and grab goggles, which I had to wear to be able to see. Am I the only one who wears glasses? Can they not figure out a way to accommodate those of us that do wear them??

This is still an issue with me. I did not mention back then that Jennifer has to walk me to the water so that I don’t trip on anything I cannot see. Yes, I am that blind. The one race I did last year without her I was scared to death walking from transition to the water in Clermont. It still seems that they should be more accommodating to people who wear glasses and cannot take contact lenses for a long period of time. 

The swim sucks .. (still does) compounded by the fact that my body decided that, while in staging area, it wanted to poo. Breathing issues almost immediately caused me to back stroke and side stroke the whole race. The current and waves were strong, bouncing me around, which ended up with me swimming 1.1 miles (according to GPS) for a half mile swim. (35:14). Not bad for a mile. Sucks for a half mile.

I still have issues with the swim, though I have gotten a lot better. For some reason panic issues resurfaced in 2014, but that was probably due to a reduced training schedule so I was working harder than I was in 2012-2013, when I was seeing large improvements. I have done a few races at Fort DeSoto and always have issues in the swim portion. It may be a mental thing. I went back and looked at the GPS reading from this race and it was indeed a 1.1 mile effort for an 800m race. Where it shows is that I went WAY off course because I was not sighting as often as I should have (I used a race snorkel in 2011 and you would forget to look up enough). The breathing issues happened when I strayed way off the line and was fighting against the current to get back to the buoy.

My T1 transition was very bad at over 14 minutes. Getting out of the wet suit, into a shirt, shoes, hydrating, etc just took too long. I will have to work on it.

Long time in T1 due to racing heart rate from the over exertion in the swim. 

The bike went about as expected. Head winds were bad which pushed my speed down. Otherwise I was averaging in the 18mph range. Seems I can’t get a break with a calm ride just once. (43:14). Planned on 45:00.

I remember this ride being difficult mostly because I was the last one out there. The winds can be brutal on this course, so I am sure I was not just imagining that, but I vividly recall being alone on the course.

T2 was really good at 3:56, but only had to rack bike, change shoes and hat.

The run started out bad. I was exhausted and obviously wasn’t fueled well enough. Legs felt like granite and walked a lot the first two miles. TNT coach ran back to me and caught me at mile 2 and got a second wind. Finished in 1:06:13 which is not my best pace but planned on 1:20:00 so much better than I thought I would do.

What strikes me as odd about this portion is that my PLAN was to run a 3.1 mile leg in 1:20:00. What the hell was I thinking there? And I thought a 1:06:00 was OK? Obviously I was receiving some bad advice. This is the race I always talk about as having no support, no water stops (all had been broken down), and the finish line was gone by the time I got back. It is also the race where the picture of Jennifer, who had run back on to the course for me, and me is sitting on my desk at work. The only race picture I have, and still my favorite. It’s obvious I weighed well over 270, and I had forgotten to remove my bike gloves before running. 

Lots of lessons learned. Total time was 2:40:56. On the site it isn’t showing my run time and looks like I had a DNF. I think they closed the course at hour 3, but I went in next to last wave so not really fair not to count my run since I did finish in allotted time. Oh well. I know what I did. 🙂

A 2:40:56 sprint? I should look at this time after each race I feel I was too slow. I have done longer races in less time than this, so it’s a good lesson to look back at this and realize where I had come from.  

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