The 1500 meters have been swum. The 40 km have been ridden. And the 10 km… well let’s just say that segment is behind me now.
The morning started out a bit hurried. Four thirty came too soon, and there was a little last minute scrambling as I double checked my bag to make sure I had everything, wolfed down a bagel with peanut butter, banana, and some coconut water with whey protein. And of course the first of many obligatory pre-race trips to the bathroom.
We met in the hotel lobby around 5, though I was the last one to show up due to the above mentioned scrambling. We then walked to the transition area to check in and set up our gear for the bike and run segments. Followed by a trip to the porta potty. Then there was a half mile walk to the swim start in barefeet. When we arrived we watched the professionals start their waves, then started the process of working our way into our wetsuits… preceded by one last trip to the porta potty, of course.
My swim wave started at 7:35. It was a wet start, meaning rather than racing into the water from shore, we headed out into the water and waited behind two bouys for the horn to sound. I felt at ease most of the time. There were a few times when I started to stray off course but caught myself pretty quickly. And I didn’t really have much of a problem avoiding other swimmers. I did start to get a bit of a hotspot on my neck and underside of my right arm from the wetsuit, so I tried to keep my chin down to keep my neck from rubbing and tried to keep my arm from coming too close to my body during the pull. Next time I’ll need to make sure to put some Body Glide on in those areas.
The first transition (T1) went smoothly, though at 4:16, I’m sure I have room for improvement. I put on Injinji toe-socks because I needed to wear them with my Vibram FiveFingers for my run. That took a bit longer than I was hoping.
The bike segment also went well. I purposefully made sure I went fast but never felt like I was overdoing it because I knew I needed to save something for the run. I downed my 14 oz of chia fresca and a few swigs of water during the middle 15 of the 25 miles. The course was mostly flat and I averaged about a 19 minute/mile pace with a time of 1:19.
Transition two (T2) also went quickly, though I new I was going to be struggling during the run the moment I dismounted the bike. By this time it was quite hot and I just didn’t have the spring in my step that I thought I should have as I made my way through the transition zone. Not only that, but the rash on my arm from the wetsuit seemed to be getting worse, even though I hadn’t really been moving my arms all that much during the bike segment. You can see the rash on my arm in the photo above.
The run segment hit me like a brick. I was able to hold a sub 9-minute pace for about the first two miles, but then really started feeling the heat. I started walking through the aid stations placed about every mile, alternately dumping cups of cold water on my head or drinking them. Eventually I started feeling like I was actually drinking too much and had to just pour them over my head. I took advantage of every hose that the residents of the neighborhoods we were running through had graciously sprayed us with. Eventually it wasn’t enough just to walk through the aid stations so I started using the cones between the lanes on the road. I was able to muster enough energy to run in the last 0.2 miles through the shoot, but barely. It was brutal. It felt harder than when I did the marathon 6 years ago, though of course my memory of that could be a bit fuzzy now.
For those of you interested in my times, they can be found here.
After crossing the finish line I got my medal, let the volunteers remove my timing chip, and grabbed two ice cold wet towels to put on my head. I checked into the TNT tent and met up with a few of my team mates who had also finished by now. We grabbed a bunch of food and drinks to replace all of those calories that we had just burned. I actually had a hard time getting the food down but knew I needed to within that 1 hour window of a hard workout to avoid fatigue. I have a feeling I’ll be feeling fatigue no matter what though!
So thanks to all of you who have donated over the course of the past 5 months. The race is run. I’m officially a triathlete. And many current and future blood cancer patients will undoubtedly lead a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling lives because of you!