There is something freeing about going to a race knowing you are under-trained. I have been working out, but not with any kind of true regularity. I was no where near ready for a sterling performance Sunday at Lanikai and I adjusted expectations accordingly. I wanted to get out there, have fun, and do a triathlon. That was all. I knew my finishing time would be pretty sad, I expected it to hurt because races hurt, and I wanted to enjoy myself. Pretty cool to drive to a race thinking, "I'm going to totally cruise this thing." No pressure.
The weather leading up to race day hadn't been the best in paradise. Lots of rain and wind. But Sunday morning proved to be clear and warm, a perfect day for a race. Super Awesome Wife and Dirtbag Baby stayed home for this one. Little boy had a rough night and it wasn't worth it to get him up for the race. I've got a bunch more in the next few weeks, and they can come to those. I got out of the house a little later than I meant to, which was ok because it meant I got to the race in time to set up my transition area, get body marked, listen to the pre-race, and go. No time for jitters. If I could purposefully time getting to races like that I'd be awesome. I'm too worried about being late for that though.
Diesel and MamaSaid came out to support (or as they put it, "Laugh at me") and that was really cool. They weren't doing the race, they just knew me and a few other people doing it so they decided to come watch. What kind of crazy people get up early to watch a triathlon?
I haven't been swimming much, I stopped going to the Masters workouts because I don't like waiting until late to swim. I also haven't been swimming because it's my strong suit and I have the technique to fake 500 or 1000 yards without much work. Especially if my ego isn't in the way. Standing on the beach with all the other athletes waiting for the gun I made my regular joke of, "Please don't kick me in the face. I'm too pretty to get kicked in the face." Triathlon should be fun and something like that helps me relax before the off.
Because I haven't been swimming I didn't jump out to the front like I normally do. I don't think I've ever been so deep in the middle of the washing machine mosh pit that is an open water mass start. I knew that if I tried to sprint for the first buoy as per normal I'd be gassed before the final turn, so I had to settle in to the pack for the first 200 yards. That's no fun, getting bumped and kicked and grabbed and run into but eventually I found my way to some clear water. I always end up on the outside of the main group, which means I'm swimming slightly further, but without people all around. It's a trade-off I accept. I did some drafting too from a couple of friendly feet. My mantra in the water was, "Stay smooth, stay solid, don't be stupid." I kept it regular.
Even out of shape I made it out of the water in the front end of the pack and there were a ton of bike in transition when I got there. To say I jogged through transition would be an understatement. No pressure race. Easy transition. Laikai's bike exit is a pain. The transition area is in the middle of the park and it's a 200m run through the park to get to the side street where we are allowed to mount. Lots of clop clop clop. I cruise cruise cruised it too.
I love the bike course for this race. For one, the roads on that side of the island are pretty well maintained, so it's smooth sailing without a lot of Dodge the Pothole. Aside from right in the middle it is also as flat a ride as you could ask for. Pleasant winds, flat course, smooth roads means good ride. Even for someone who hasn't barely been out on his bike. Like the swim, I spent the ride concentrating on my heart rate, keeping everything together. Ride hard but not so hard. Enjoy the time out. Lanikai's course goes on to the Marine Corps base, and up Radar Hill. This is the third time I've done Lanikai, last year the guys and I did it as a relay, so it's the second time I've ridden Radar. My first time was my fourth tri ever. I remember the climb being longer and steeper than it was. I have more perspective now. It wasn't so bad. Still hurt, but not for that long.
Ripped down the hill and cruised it back to transition. I ended up in-between two packs of riders somehow, a few dozen yards behind one group and a few dozen yards in front of another. I didn't realize how close the back group was until I rolled to the dismount line and was suddenly surrounded by people. I'm pretty decent at getting my feet out of my shoes and hopping off the bike, so I didn't struggle in the group, but the guy who stopped right next to me hit the brakes a little too hard and went right over, knocking down a spectator who was standing too close.
I cruised into and through T2, taking my sweet sweet time. I had toe socket issues, which added even more time, but whatever, and then it was off on the run. I knew this was going to suck. Immediately felt like there was nothing in the tank and I had one gear- a really slow, lame gear. I "ran" the whole thing, but if I've run slower in a 5k I don't remember it. It was pretty terrible for me. I'm not beating myself up, because you get out what you put in when it comes to training, but it was still pretty annoying. The 10k at the end of my upcoming Honolulu Tri will not be pretty. Still, I finished, I had a good time, and that's what is important.
Much thanks to my wonderful sponsor, Background Profiles.
Swim (500m)- 8:54
Bike (20k)- 33:14
Run (5k)- 36:44