Friday, July 13, 2012

Two days before Vineman, and I'm realizing I've forgotten to tell you about my last triathlon -- my first Olympic distance race, the Reservoir Triathlon in Morgan Hill.

Only two things really mattered going in: (1) Swimming sans freakout. (2) Actually finishing this one.

The swim: 46:10 -- slow for most people, miraculous for me. Hell, I almost started crying halfway through because I realized: Holy crap, I am really doing this. I am not panicking or backstroking or drowning. I am swimming 1.5K in open water and everything is fine. Yes, I had trouble sighting, and at one point, I looked up and there was a buoy right in front of my face, but does that really matter? I can swim!

T1: 4:11. Apparently, when you're euphoric over your swim success, you don't want to take off your wetsuit immediately.

The bike: 1:47:33. Again, slow for the rest of the world, but right on target for my turtle ass. I felt mostly OK, until the last mile or so, when my stomach started cramping and I thought I might shit my pants. Brown bikeseat? Not really the look I was going for, folks. Not so much.

T2: 1:42. You know what sucks? When you get to T2 and people are packing their gear and going home already. Damn you, fast people.

The run: 1:20:46. Nothing short of horrible. It normally takes me less than an hour to run a 10K, but the cramping was so bad that I literally couldn't run. I had to walk the first three miles because I wasn't sure if I was going to throw up or take a massive dump. And I couldn't eat anything because my stomach was so upset. But at this point, I was too far in to give up. If I had to crawl across that finish line with poo smeared on my face, I probably would have. Luckily, it didn't come to that.

Overall: 4:00:22. Eighth last out of everyone. Someone needs to give out awards for us slowpokes. I bet we fought just as hard as all you "winners."

So I did it. It was far from pretty or fast or heroic. But who the hell really cares? I finished, I got something out of it (swimming!) and I learned what not to do next time. (For example, you will not find me stealing food from a high school prom this weekend.)

And that's how I'm approaching Vineman. Yes, I'm ready. I've done all I can do. (And yes, this time, my nutrition is much more dialed in and hopefully I won't be threatening to shit myself mid-race.)

It's probably going to take me a long-ass time. And yes, everyone else will have aero helmets and TT bikes (you have no idea how intimidating it was to drive home from work today and see all the TT bikes heading up the freeway to Windsor), and I will have Bibi the Aluminum Frame Princess and Crash Survivor.

But I will have homecourt advantage. I know that river inside and out (and yes, I've swum it without a wetsuit, just in case that's an issue Sunday morning). And I've ridden the entire bike course. (Here's a secret -- I love Chalk Hill!) And the run course happens to be where I trained for my first marathon and where I hold my half marathon PR. Also, my co-workers will be playing my fight song at our winery's aid station.

So here's to the weekend and the culmination of what's been an incredible, ridiculous, frustrating, exhilarating, challenging adventure.

Vineman, here I come.

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