July 27, 2014
The last triathlon I completed was the full Vinemen in 2007 (I did swim/bike Kansas 70.3 in 2008 but a tornado cancelled the run). After that I'd turned to bike racing only, then a crash, knee surgery, rehab, and told by the surgeon that I should never run again, so I didn't really think about triathlon. I followed who won the various Ironman races and the results of my friends, but I rarely swam and never ran. But then with moving to Tennessee, I thought maybe I'd try a tri again and Music City Tri was a good choice. And hopefully I'd be ready for the sprint.
The start is in downtown Nashville, with the transition area right on Broadway, within spitting distance of the honky tonks, less that 2 miles from my house and a few blocks from work. What wasn't to love! The day before the tri we did an open water swim race to test out the course and the river. There was a current in the river and I probably swam closer to 500 meters than 400. But it was good to get in the water and test the course. And we didn't seem to have any adverse effects from the water. (Everyone at work said, "You are going to swim WHERE!?!?!?! Ick!")
Sunday morning I checked the weather and it was about 75F. Yea! Until I walked outside and it was super humid! Oh boy. I picked up Kathy, we drove to my office and parked there and walked our bikes and stuff to transition. They were doing a sprint, an international/Olympic distance, an Aquabike and a "velo-run" dividsion. The sprint started first, with a time trial swim start – you start one by one about 10 seconds apart, jumping off the dock, with the start order seeded by your projected swim time. Everyone had to be out of the transition area by 7:00 AM, so there was a bit of waiting around to line up for the swim. I was sitting with my swim buddy Pu and we chatted with a gal who was doing her first tri, so there wasn't too much time to get nervous. (Unlike a month earlier when I did the Chattanooga Waterfront Aquabike (swim/bike) where I was extremely nervous before the start!
I was number 280 or so (and remember, you lined up in numerical order) and I wasn't so keen on jumping off the dock into water I couldn't see, so I sat down on the side and went in that way. Swim time was 9:29, about 1 minute faster than the day before. I swam a much straighter line but it was much more crowded than the open water swim on Saturday. Climbed up the ladder and walked up the stairs and to transition.
Helmet on, sunglasses on, shoes on, trot the bike out to the mount/dismount line and head up 2nd Street. One block flat, then uphill about 3 blocks to the bridge to go over the river. The bike course went over by the football stadium, then through an industrial area and onto a 4 lane expressway which was totally closed to traffic. Going out was a net uphill, with a couple of rollers, and I was thinking that once we hit the turnaround we would fly back since it was net downhill. Right. Once we turned around and were headed back, we hit a big headwind. At this point, I was really glad I didn't have to do a second loop. I passed a few people on the way out and quite a few passed me, but on the way back, I passed quite a few of them back. Finished the bike in 58:52. Racked the bike, put my running shoes on and...melted.
The 5K run became a 5K walk with a few 50-70 step jogs interspersed. It was sunny, no shade and close to 90F (still humid). Couple that with less than optimal run training, and my whole goal was to just finish. Which is what I did. 52:36. And, as slow as that was, I was only 3 minutes out of 3rd place Masters Athena. Note to self: Do the run training, get thinner and kick some butt next time.