THE BIG DAY: My first Olympic Distance Triathlon

>> Monday, July 17, 2006

I awoke, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, at 4:45 am, well before my alarm. I got up and started to load the car. I woke Sarah up around 5:30, and she TRIED to get Anne moving and ready to go. Anne can be like that. We got going a little late, but we were going to be just fine.

Sarah and Anne dropped me off and I got body-marked, picked up my chip, and got it activated. I found my spot in the transition area and got all set up.

All my stuff

Unofficial body marking.
This actually stayed on through the run,
and led to many nice people shouting "Go Steve!"

In the transition area, I searched out #546, or XT4. He is the author of the first blog that Sarah became addicted to. I found him, and I introduced myself as Steve. He was excited: “Oh Steve! It’s great to meet you!” I told him he didn’t know me and must have me confused with someone else. XT4 said, “No, I know you. You’re Mr. SLS!” He knew me from Sarah’s blog. This blogging stuff is weird. XT4 is a great guy. Good luck at Ironman WI!

So at 7:45, it was hot. At that point, 15 minutes before the elite start, the announcer came over the P.A. and said that the Olympic distance course was going to be shortened due to the heat. (except for the elites): the same 0.9 mile swim, 22 mile bike instead of 25, and 3.1 mile run instead of 6.2 miles. And then, during the National Anthem, the mic cut out and we couldn’t hear the end. My theory was that they had to shorten the Anthem due to the heat. I was REALLY looking forward to doing my first official Olympic distance triathlon, but it was probably for the better that it was shortened.

I was most nervous for the swim. I had never done anything like that before, and I knew there was no possible way for me to swim in a straight line (don't mock me, I just can't do it!). I did NOT know how it would go.

Well, I made it though the swim OK, but I was all over the flipping place. Below is a map of the swim with how the athletes are supposed to go, along with a line of what I actually did. (Note the 2 times that I almost washed ashore on the far shore.)

Out of the water (upright!)

The hardest, newest-to-me, scariest, most-possibility-of-dying part of the tri was over! On to the bike. I got through the transition area (a bit slowly, but hey, this is all new to me), and I was off on the bike. There were some great volunteers and homeowners along the course. At mile 14, there was a sprinkler that was pointed out into the street for the bikers if they wanted it. I wanted it, and boy it was sweet! Around mile 17, there was a volunteer with a kinked hose in his hand that would scream as bikers approached “YOU WANT SOME?” I nodded with massive head movements. He unkinked the hose, and he nailed me right it the head. It was heaven! A few miles later, there was the most energetic volunteer on a corner waving his hat in the air while jumping up and down screaming, “YOU GUYS ROCK! WHOOO! YOU CAN DO IT!” I actually started laughing. I was overheated, my legs were burning, I needed more Gatorade, but this great fella made me laugh.

Sarah, don't read this following part:
I spent about 20 miles of the bike close behind this woman with INCREDIBLE legs! She had short little tri-shorts on, and the most perfect legs ever. Talk about inspiration! Holy crap! When I passed her on the run, I was tempted to thank her for having such great legs, but I figured that'd be inappropriate.

OK Sarah, it's safe for you to continue reading.

I don’t have any photos of me on the bike, because Anne said I was going too fast and she didn’t have time to react once she saw me. I guess I can’t complain about that!

I got back into the transition area, and got out to the run. The run was WARM, but the people who planned this were ready. There were water stops all over. Half way in, there were fireman spraying a hose over the run. It was amazing! I ran through and then screamed my thanks to the fireman.

Finishing the run

I somehow rocked the run. I was only passed by one guy and I passed all kinds of people. I did not expect that! I started cramping up in the last half mile from the heat, but it was great overall. At the end of the race, it was 98 degrees, and an hour or two later, the day topped out at 101 degrees! What a great day for my first tri!

• Swim: (0.93 miles) 42:25
• T1: 3:00
• Bike (22 miles) 1:07:29
• T2: 2:24
• Run (3.1 miles) 23:14
Total = 2:18:32

• Averaged over 19 mph on the bike
• Averaged around 7:30 pace on the run (and somehow did the last 1.1 miles in 7:20!)
• Finished 54 out of 97 in age group
• Finished 545 out of 1200(?) overall
• Can’t wait to do it again!

More photos to come once I get the official race photos! Stay tuned! And special thanks to Sarah and Anne for being my support team. You 2 rock! Thanks for the photos Anne!


RobbyB 12:10 PM, July 17, 2006  

SWEET! Congrats on popping your cherry! That's an excellent day for any race, let alone your first on the hottest dog-day of summer.

Sarah don't read this:
And I'm totally with you legs. I'm a bit biased, but I think swimmer chicks have the best bodies.

I'd look into the bushy-tail thing. When I wake up, I don't have a bushy tail. ;-)

E-Speed 12:21 PM, July 17, 2006  

Great job! Way to tackle the heat! Great pace on the run and bike!

Steve Stenzel 12:59 PM, July 17, 2006  

You say: "Great pace on the run and bike." I hear: "Boy, you sure sucked it up on the swim." Man, I need to learn how to swim. But thanks e-speed!

xt4 1:21 PM, July 17, 2006  

Hey Steve - congrats on a great first race. Sounds like you had fun and exceeded some of your own expectations, and you can't ask for more than that! And hey - I say this sport is too easy if you stick to the buoys. Blaze your own trail! Brilliant! Here's hoping your next Olympic distance is truly Olympic distance, and that this is the first of many more for you. And thanks for the shout out - it was really great meeting you!

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