>> Monday, September 09, 2013
Yesterday was my first triathlon relay. I'd done a ton of duathlon relays, but never a tri. Michael, a speedy swimmer from the Y where I swim, had brought up this idea around a year ago with me, saying he knew a speedy biker. We started looking at possible races this spring, and by July we still hadn't settled on anything.
We went with the Square Lake Half Iron Distance Triathlon. I tweeted some of our/my goals for the race early yesterday morning. I didn't talk much about this race before hand because my team didn't want some other team being put together who could out-do us. So I posted this just before the race - you need to read these from bottom-to-top to read them in the order I tweeted them:
SPOILER ALERT: We achieved none of those goals.
Steve Q's photo of me, Bart, and Michael looking at a map.
Walking down the steps from transition to the lake.
Michael ready to go!
Instagrammed photo: "My (topless) swimmer starting the Square Lake Half Iron relay!!"
Wave 4 starting - you can see the groups of waves 4, 3, and 2 on the 2-loop swim course.
Michael (trust me - it's him) in 6th overall, starting the 2nd loop parallel to the beach.
Photo of me making photos of Michael (from Steve Q).
My Gear West Du relay partner Pete was the 2nd out of the water!
Here are his foot prints along with Dan Arlandson's (first 2 out of the water).
Michael coming out in 5th place overall (first place team).
Heading up the steps to Bart (seen at the top).
Bart heading out for his ride!
Michael and I chatted with Steve Q for a while along with some of the other teams. Then Michael hit the lake for another little swim. Swimmers. Sheesh. :)
I walked out to the main road because the bikers were doing 2 loops. I wanted to spot Bart and see what his first loop split was just to have a sense of when he'd be coming in after another loop. First was some random middle-aged guy who unknowingly cut the course a bit. (We started to hear that a few people took a turn that was marked from the sprint tri the day before, even though the race director was very clear about "do not turn if there is no race marshal at the corner! All corners have marshals!" Oops. Mistakes happen.) Then came speedy local Dan Arlandson. And next was Bart!!
Riding past the entrance to the park to start loop #2.
Left-over water bottles being given out at the bottle drop. Reduce, reuse, recycle! :)
Waiting for Bart, we learned that the female runner for one of the other teams recently ran a 2:50 marathon (6:29 pace), and she's hoping to keep lowering that and run the Olympic Trials in a few years. I thought I might have speedy (non-relay) Dan Arlandson as a possible race buddy, and now I'd maybe have this woman as a possible run buddy, too! And since we were an all-male team and they were a co-ed team, we weren't mortal enemies. :)
Speedy Dan Arlandson came into T2 along with another athlete, and just behind them was Bart!
Me putting the chip on my ankle, GIVING THE SPEEDY FEMALE RELAY RUNNER
AN EYEFUL OF MY TINY WHITE ASS! Look at her face - she's repulsed. I don't blame her.
First delicate steps of my run.
Taking off on the road in the distance.
What's their swimmer doing there with their runner?....
The swimmer is doing all the work transferring the chip so the runner can just get on her way!
My legs felt GOOD out there! My knee was sore, but it wasn't bad. I was under 90 seconds from the 2 (non-relay) leaders, and I had hopes of slowly working my way closer to them. My first mile uphill was 6:20, and it felt great.
Things started going downhill a bit more over mile 2. By the mile 2 marker, my form was gone. My stride looked something like Dick Van Dyke trying to run as Mr. Dawes Sr. from Mary Poppins. (Does anyone know what I'm talking about?) My legs (my muscles) felt good, and my breathing was great. But my sore knee was now causing pain in my lower back on the same side as well. About once every 30 seconds, my leg would almost give out and I'd nearly collapse. I hit mile 2 in 6:40, and now I was just holding on.
My knee was getting sorer and sorer, but I needed to see if I could work through it. I hit mile 3 in 6:35, but this wasn't going to last. Again, I was running at a pace that I felt like I could hold forever.... if it just weren't for my knee and lower back.
Just after mile 3, we turned up a small hill onto a different road. Within a few steps up that hill, my knee tightened up, tightened up, tightened up, TIGHTENED UP, TIGHTENED UP! It felt like it was going to blow. I nearly stopped right there, but I thought "no, I need to get to the top of this little incline and see if I can 'run it out' after it levels out."
So I did that.
But it didn't feel any better once the road leveled out. So I stopped. And turned around. And started walking back with a major limp.
A blogger friend wasn't too far behind me and said "You OK, Steve?" And the speedy female relay wasn't too far behind him (and she was MOVING!). I was actually pretty bummed that we didn't get to race each other, because it looks like it could've been close!
Long-story-short: I hitched a ride in a truck with the race director's son who was dropping off more garbage cans at the aid stations. He dropped me right off at transition after I only had to walk about 0.3 miles. I searched for my team, and found them down by the finish line. Michael saw me and said "Oh! Sorry, I missed you finish!" I said "No... no you didn't." Bart and Michael were so great about me having to throw in the towel. I felt so shitty having let down the team. But they just kept saying stuff like, "No, you told us you weren't 100%," and "we could have just as easily had a major bike issue that kept us from finishing," and "you can't destroy your body for this one race." Those guys were the best. Thanks Bart and Michael! Sorry it didn't turn out better!
We had to get a team photo post-race (just before we sat down to ice my knee).
Finishing with a big smile... I love it!
The nice news is that when the race director heard this, he invited us to race (free) next year again. We're all interested, but we just have to make sure that works for us next year. So look for a possible redemption race for Team "Splash, Dash, and Saddle Rash" in 2014!
Now it's time for some rest. My knee hurts like a mother today. I'm icing whenever I can, and stairs are a lot of work. I'll give it another day or 2 to see if it starts to get better before seeing a sports med doc for a diagnosis. Stay tuned!....