What a GREAT TIME!! This was my first triathlon and I have to say that the whole thing was amazing to me. The people on and off the course were wonderful and even though I didn't have any family or friends there, I felt a lot of support from all of the volunteers and athletes. My Recap:After about four hours of sleep the night before, I was standing on the beach doing the Chevy Chase thing from Vacation…you know, the scene where right before he goes swimming with Christie Brinkley he is standing on the edge of the pool saying to himself, "This is crazy, this is crazy, this is crazy…" Well, that was me. Running into the water like a herd of water buffalo crossing a croc-infested river, me and my fellow sprinters bumped and clawed our way to the first turn. After a few what can only be described as "donkey kicks" to the face, I got a decent rhythm going and much to my surprise, got out of the water alive a little over 18 minutes later. "Running" to the first transition, I was still kind of having an outer body experience saying to myself, "Oh my god, I am in triathlon!" At T1 (I love saying that by the way, "T1." Makes me sound like a real triathlete) I had all this yummy food neatly laid out, my socks on top of my shoes, and the helmet on top of all of it. Needless to say I didn't eat any of the food, put one sock on inside out and nearly forgot to put on my helmet. But I was on my way, nonetheless. The bike, which I THOUGHT was going to be my best stage, was the most challenging and frustrating for me. My strategy was to keep a good pace but not to kill myself for the run. Well, EVERYONE else apparently had the opposite idea. I was getting passed on the bike like a salt shaker at a cardboard eating contest! Worst of all, there was a woman who passed me, then I passed her, she passed me then I passed her. Then finally, as if by some miracle, we went over some railroad tracks and her water bottle fell out of her aero bars. Seeing her distraction as an opportunity I turned it on and never saw her again. The last thing I heard her say was "Dammit!! There goes that ten dollars!" And I was gone. OK, so after a sloooooow bike I said, "Let’s make it up on the run course, Jesse." I got off the bike and onto my "legs," which at this point felt like 500 lb. sand bags, but I said again, "Oh my god, I am in a triathlon" and started the run feeling pretty good, actually.The run course was nice and flat and the aid stations were GREAT. I heard a lot of "Way to go!" and ”Looking good!" But there was one aid station that got me thinking. A very nice woman said to me sympathetically "Oh, its okay, you’re almost done, hang in there." To which I thought, "Holy crap! Do I look that bad? What did she mean by that? "Cause I feel pretty good, actually" I took it in stride and I KNOW she didn't mean anything by her tone. I actually got a little chuckle out of it. But at this point I was not only physically tired, but also mentally drained. Nearing the finish line I had a rush of physical and emotional energy that I have never felt before. I went from saying, "Oh my god you’re in a triathlon!" to saying, "HOLY SH*T! you’re finishing a triathlon!" I crossed the finish and nearly cried. It was an amazing experience. And I will NEVER EVER forget it. The first part of my life, or B.T. (before triathlon), as I call it, was great, but I cannot wait to live the A.T. (after triathlon) part of it and experience all the elation, pain, preparation, and sense of accomplishment that comes with now being able to say:"Yeah, I am a triathlete."
----> Read more Race Reports of the Greater Cleveland Triathlon