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Ann Arbor Triathlon - TriathlonSprint

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Pinckney, Michigan
United States
86F / 30C
Total Time = 2h 01m 15s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group = 25-29
Age Group Rank = 14/28
Pre-race routine:

Woke up at...I guess 4:30 is the official time, but periodically throughout the night, feeling nothing. Just awake, no different. Even with the rain, thunder, and lightning, I knew the show would go on; after 5 weeks of training, I would do my first race today, triathlon or otherwise, so I'd better get ready to go. I showered and then ate a bagel w/ a bit of cream cheese for breakfast, remembering to stay away from anything with dairy, especially yogurt. There may have been half a detour bar in there somewhere. I must have listened to "Badlands" by Springsteen 10 times before this race, and this was the first set of those infusions. "Lights out tonight, trouble in the heartland, got a head-on collision smashing in my guts, man." Double checked for everything in my bag, everything on the Swim/T1/T2 list, and we headed out to the race by 5:30. Alaina, I might note, was much cheerier than I have ever been at the start of her races.

Event warmup:

There was no one on the roads, even when we got to the park, but no lines of irritating traffic to give me nerves either. In retrospect, maybe I should've been a bit more nervous, but I still felt nothing. Actually, what I felt was disappointment: the roads were not yet coned, no signs were on the roads where I'd be riding, no buoys in the water, and very few people around. After race packet pickup, I went uphill to the transition area to set my gear up. I'm glad I practiced this the night before because I felt confident that I had everything. Alaina was a great help in deciding the details, like which way to hang the bike, practicing taking it off the rack, and where to come into my row. We met up with Trixie, who kept spirits high by making friends with everyone in sight, and that was fun. She and Alaina pointed out VIP, but they were just folks to me. We saw Robyn and went to the BT tent to hang out before the race, and then the buoys arrived.
  • 22m 34s
  • 880 yards
  • 02m 34s / 100 yards

The yellow specks looked far away. Really far. I talked with some guys in my age group about the right way to go around, which buoys actually mattered, and I still felt great. But what I should've done was to lie face down in the water and stare into the great murk, imagining that there was 60' of deathly hallows beneath me, and no safety net. I should've had a wetsuit, for confidence out there if nothing else. I should've practiced breathing. When the horn sounded, I had two good sets of breaths, just like back in the pool, and then the panic nailed my temple, seeped into my brain, and swallowed my courage. I couldn't exhale into the water, I couldn't open my eyes without the numbing anxiety of water, and I couldn't keep my hips up. Yeats spoke to me with "all changed, changed utterly; a terrible beauty is born." Springsteen hollered in my ears with "I'm caught in a crossfire, that I don't understand." Neither helped. But I didn't give up completely. Instead, I did the breast stroke. Everyone else pounded away, pulled well away, and I sputtered. Somehow, with a glance back, I noticed that not only was I not last, but there were others doing an even slower breast stroke. Maybe I wouldn't be dead last! Hope brightened. Only a few swimmers were around, so I gave the old freestyle a few more tries, breast stroking when I was overcome with death, er, dread. By the first real buoy, I knew that I probably wasn't actually going to die, but I wasn't going to do very well. So I started plodding away at the freestyle, taking smaller breaks and feeling pretty good. So good, in fact, that I did about 100 yards, looked up, and noticed myself 50 yards off course, swimming away from the next buoy. Not a confidence booster. I remember nothing of the rest of the swim except standing up as soon as I could and running extra slowly uphill to the bike.
Transition 1
  • 02m 58s

The bike transition felt all right, mostly because I was so dang happy to be out of the water, and I thought things were going to change for me.
  • 46m 23s
  • 14 miles
  • 18.11 mile/hr

When I tried to push it up the first hills, all of my leg strength was sapped. Perhaps the breast stroke froggy kick is more taxing on the legs, I don't know. After about 8 miles, my legs finally woke up and gained strength, I got some confidence from passing people uphill, and the second half of the ride was great. "Working in the fields till you get your back burned / workin' 'neath the wheel till you get your facts learned. Well I got my facts learned real good right now." I kept my average up, I could do most of the hills; things felt like I thought they would during training.
Transition 2
  • 02m 17s

My second transition was a bit slow because I knew what was ahead on the run. The heat and humidity were way up, and my legs were beat.
What would you do differently?:

Get funny quick tie things on shoes
  • 47m 4s
  • 5 miles
  • 09m 25s  min/mile

People passed me at the beginning and I didn't care. I was going to be disappointed with myself because of the swim, and there was no way around it. In fact, the swim pervaded my mind. Not relief, not pride for finishing it, but disappointment. This made it tough to motivate myself on the trail. I let my legs warm up slowly, but then came the grueling hills. Long, slow, plodding, and increasingly steep toward the top, these ascents were not screwing around. "Talk about a dream, try to make it real, you wake up in the night, with a fear so real. You spend your life waiting for a moment that just don't come / don't waste your time waiting." Plenty of walkers everywhere, and the run had just begun. So I walked a few hills myself, because, hey, it was in vogue these days. Finally, after about 2 miles of trying to find a good rhythm and breathing through the usual cramp, I got behind this guy going just a bit faster than the pace I wanted, and I actually enjoyed the run for a while. When the path eventually opened up, I knew I was going to get to the surface road, and there was relief, a lightening of intensity, and finally a great lapse of energy and motivation -- it needed to be over. "The last mile was an incessant oscillation between excitement and pain. Then it was over, and I hated it, myself, Disneyworld, life, babies, good stuff, etc.
Post race
Warm down:

Straight back to the water, floating around on my back and dunking my head, I achieved nirvana, pure bliss, whathaveyou. I finished my first triathlon. I am a triathlete. Everything feels good now, the swim slowly fading like the memory of a night terror, and I'm looking to my next race.

Last updated: 2008-06-01 12:00 AM
00:22:34 | 880 yards | 02m 34s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/28
Overall: 0/
Performance: Bad
Suit: None
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 70F / 21C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Bad
Breathing: Bad Drafting:
Waves: Navigation: Bad
Rounding: Bad
Time: 02:58
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Below average
00:46:23 | 14 miles | 18.11 mile/hr
Age Group: 14/28
Overall: 0/
Performance: Below average
Wind: Some
Road: Potholes Wet Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Average Hills: Below average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Not enough
Time: 02:17
Overall: Bad
Riding w/ feet on shoes Bad
Jumping off bike Bad
Running with bike Average
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Below average
00:47:04 | 05 miles | 09m 25s  min/mile
Age Group: 14/28
Overall: 0/
Performance: Below average
Keeping cool Below average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Below average
Mental exertion [1-5] 1
Physical exertion [1-5] 2
Good race? No
Course challenge Too hard
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? No
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 2

2008-06-09 9:53 PM

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Ann Arbor, MI
Subject: Ann Arbor Triathlon

2008-06-10 6:20 AM
in reply to: #1455945

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Ann Arbor, MI
Subject: RE: Ann Arbor Triathlon
AWESOME job completeing your first triathlon! Great race report, too, I really felt like I was in your head

Don't worry about the swim, it's the crappiest part of everyone's first race. You'll get your revenge at Musselman!
2008-06-10 9:04 AM
in reply to: #1455945

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Austin, Tx.
Subject: RE: Ann Arbor Triathlon

The real fight is usually within us as individuals.  Reminds me of all that happened in my first tri.  Hated the swim and just wanted it to be over.    The next one will be easier AND harder all at the same time.  Great job!  dml

2008-06-10 9:09 AM
in reply to: #1455945

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Shelby Twp
Subject: RE: Ann Arbor Triathlon
Great job Ryan!! You made it through a tough event for your first triathlon, and survived the swim (always a bonus). No one ever swims properly on their first open water swim in a race. It doesnt matter what you do beforehand! But you make it through, and realize after, it wasnt so bad! Hopefully I'll see you and Alaina at a race soon!
2008-06-10 12:15 PM
in reply to: #1455945

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Los Angeles, CA
Subject: RE: Ann Arbor Triathlon
Nice job Ryan.

The swim is rough the first couple of times out...especially as a non-swimmer. As you know, you'll get the hang of it. Great job on the race.

2008-06-10 12:16 PM
in reply to: #1455945

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Los Angeles, CA
Subject: RE: Ann Arbor Triathlon
I strongly disagree with Alaina...the only good part of my first race was the swim.

2008-06-10 2:09 PM
in reply to: #1455945

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Subject: RE: Ann Arbor Triathlon

Awesome job out there Ryan!  I really liked your RR too.  Very descriptive!

Dont worry about the swim.  I was in the same boat as you the night before and during my first tri.  Panicking, couldnt put my head underneath the water...yada yada yada.  Its gets better.  Youll see on your OWS tomorrow!!

Congrats, Triathlete! 

2008-06-10 3:36 PM
in reply to: #1455945

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Muskego, WI
Subject: RE: Ann Arbor Triathlon

Welcome to the club!  You did it!!!!

Yep, that swim about sums my first one up in a nutshell, 'cept mine was only 1/3 of a mile, not a half, thank God.   You'll get better each time. 

2008-06-10 3:40 PM
in reply to: #1455945

Subject: ...
This user's post has been ignored.
2008-06-10 6:26 PM
in reply to: #1455945

Wellington, North Island
Subject: RE: Ann Arbor Triathlon
Realizing you won't actually die, you just may not do as well as you hoped can be quite liberating.

We all have stories from our first couple of races that make us realize just how clueless we were about how things would actually go. The point is that you kept going and got through it. Congrats on a great race. Can't wait to read more of your reports.
2008-06-10 8:45 PM
in reply to: #1455945

Subject: RE: Ann Arbor Triathlon

Your first swim sounds like my first swim... except my first swim happened in a pool where I could touch the bottom.

Great job (and great report)!  I am glad to see you'll be doing another one!  They aren't all this bad...

Congrats, again!

2008-06-10 9:43 PM
in reply to: #1455945

Silver member
Subject: RE: Ann Arbor Triathlon

So, you must be the triathlete Jazz is FCUKING.


Congratulations on the new title. Wooo Hooo! Go get 'em at Musselman!  

2008-06-11 9:17 AM
in reply to: #1455945

Conifer, Colorado
Subject: RE: Ann Arbor Triathlon
Yo, I just found your report via Alaina's blog. I know all about panic during the swim. My first tri (OLY distance) was sort of like yours... I finished the swim on my back and in like 560 out of 570 swimmers. Check the link to my race report:
Notice my swim pace... 3:00 per 100!!!!

It gets better... my second tri (HIM a month later) was much better... even though the swim was longer in this one my time was 5 min faster than in the oly. I actually free-styled the whole thing!

I still suck at swimming. Although I have made some improvement. I actually won a mini sprint tri on Sunday... so anything is possible!

And if you keep training with Alaina, you will be slaying your age group in no time!

Good work!

2008-06-11 11:13 AM
in reply to: #1455945

Brooklyn, NY
Subject: RE: Ann Arbor Triathlon
Welcome to the Asylum that is the triathon world....

Great race--congratulations, triathlete!
2008-06-12 11:47 AM
in reply to: #1455945

Boston, MA
Subject: RE: Ann Arbor Triathlon
Congrast on your 1st tri1 the next one will be come much easier, juts keep on training
2008-06-12 3:49 PM
in reply to: #1455945

Las Vegas, NV
Subject: RE: Ann Arbor Triathlon
Awesome job on your race. Congratulations and welcome to the Triathlete family, yes my friend, you are a Triathlete. Great job, and your next swim will always be better than the first. You are a champion for finishing.

2008-06-12 8:19 PM
in reply to: #1455945

Gold member
Subject: RE: Ann Arbor Triathlon

AWESOME!!  You must have a HUGE set to do your first tri WITHOUT a wetsuit.  Alaina found herself a good one.  I was very impressed. 

 Congratulations on becoming a triathlete.

2008-06-15 6:44 AM
in reply to: #1455945

Iron Donkey
, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Ann Arbor Triathlon

Dude, your first tri in OWS WITHOUT a wetsuit - HARDCORE!

Way to hang tough and pull it through!

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