Sunday, June 6, 2010

Mini Triathlon (reverse order)

Well, Sunday morning is here, and I have to say that I started getting excited about this little race around 3 pm yesterday. It's now 5:15 am E.S.T, I'm not sure if my mum will read this, but she would say, are you nuts? ;-) Why get up on a Sunday morning so early and go for a 5K run, 15K bike, and 1/4 mile swim in the Gulf of Mexico.

It's already 80 degrees at 5:15 am, and my windows in the house are foggy due to the condensation from the heat and humidity outside and the cold airconditioned air inside. 9 years ago it was a new experience for me to see that, now it serves as a barometer. I know it's over 77 degrees outside and that the humidity is at 100%. I prepped up my little race bag last night and all I have to do is make my water bottles (one filled with coconut water per Keith's suggestion) and put my bike in my car.

It's a beautiful morning and decide not to turn the ac on in the car, but open the windows and get used to the outside air. There were 800 people in this reverse mini triathlon. 5K run, 15K cycle and 1/4 mile swim in the Gulf of Mexico (our beaches are free and clear in case you're curious). Parking was a bit disorganised, so I parked about a mile away from the registration area and just rode my bike over.
The "vibe" was wonderful as I had expected it to be. There were of course some serious folk that live and breath this stuff, and they had the very high end bicycles and aerodynmaic helmets to show for.
I will tell you that I felt pretty cool once they painted my race number on my arms and age on my calf.
Now I had to enter the "transtion" area and find my parking spot for my bike, helmet and bag.
The sun was coming up and it was just gorgeous. The transition area was on part of the golf course at the hotel that hosted the event.

Lots of folks were milling about and I could tell that some folks had been running this race for years. I recognized a bunch of folks I know in town and it was nice to make some small talk. With about 20 minutes to go, I put on my ipod shuffle and started to get myself a bit psyched up. My aim for this race was to come in with a respectable time of 1 hour and 15 minutes. I would have been ok with 1:20...but not totally satisfied.

Some training background info. I have a bicycle, but not a road bike. I grew up in Holland, and since I rode my bike so much out of necessity as a kid, I don't ride for fun. I figured I would need a road bike for this, so I rented one for a week from a local bike shop. Over the course of a busy week, I got one practice run in and rode for 4.5 miles. Thanks to the advice of several Feel Good Eating readers I ordered (way to late) a swimming program called Total Immersion. Great stuff!! I just never really got a chance to practice. I figured that a quarter mile swim (once around a highschool track) is do-able even doggie paddle style ;-)
As for the running, I ran in a 5K memorial day race. I ran that race in 24:43. I ran a very slow 5K on Wednesday with my buddy to check out the race course (33 minutes). What I did continue were my regular work outs at the gym and on my little sprint field by my house. So over the course of the last few weeks, I jumped rope, sprinted, did my pull ups and push ups, box jumps, some heavy lifts, dips etc and a lot of plank work. I smiled a lot ;-)  focused on all the good things in this world....and was just excited to give this thing a go.
One promise I made to myself was to really rock the 5K. I figured it was the one part of the race where I might be able to put some distance between myself and the other "real" competitors.

That's my little borrowed yellow helmet you see there.

7:30 was fast approaching and between all the people and the oppresive heat, I was sweating just standing there while waiting for the gun to go off. I was ready....I spotted a runner that I've seen before and I know he runs 7 minute 15 second miles, so I set my sights on him. And we're off!! I felt strong, but was careful not to start bobbing and weaving trying to pass people......yet. Keeping my eye on my pacer, I followed and accelerated. I was nice and focused and really into it ;-) I heard someone say something about mile 1, I missed the sign and the water and had no clue how fast I was going. (the joys of being a rookie) I was still right behind my pacer and the crowd was noticably thinning. I did see the mile 2 marker and thought to myself "dang, I'm feeling pretty good!" When we made the last turn back to the hotel grounds....I decided to go for it and I stepped up my pace and passed my pacer. He never came close again, and I felt euphoric as I came across the finish at 23 minutes!! I couldn't spend a lot of time gloating about my new PR, (a full minute faster then my last pr) I had to get to my bike and get my helmet on. Took a few big swigs of my coconut water and walked to the road where you were allowed to mount your bike. It felt great to get on the bike...I was so happy I didn't have to run anymore. I got going and pushed hard. I took it a bit to easy in hindsight, but i just didn't know how my legs were going to react after the run. I was AMAZED how fast people were passing me. Some of those guys and gals were going 30 miles an hour on a bicycle. But I didn't get discouraged, I kept going. I pushed it hard for the last mile or so and when I got to the transition area I was amazed to see the time clock.....57 minutes! Yes! I did it. It was my goal to get in the water at the one hour mark, and hopefully it would only take me 15-17 minutes to swim. I put the bike on the rack, tore of my shoes and socks (ran in my trusted Nike Free's), grabbed my goggles and took off toward the beach. A lot of folks were tip toe-ing the 1/5 mile run to the beach, but thanks to my barefoot walking and sprinting, I was able to cruise right on over with out worry. I got to the beach and saw;

That really put a smile on my face!!!
I hit the water hard and then......I realised I was WAY out of my league. ;-)
Who was I kidding, you can't just swim hard for a 1/4 mle with no training!!! But...thanks to my practice of not listening to thoughts you don't want in your mind/life...I said screw it and flailed away. quickly decided that I was going to have to breast stroke this thing. and I did. I took one look at the buoy and just kept swimming. After the first turn, I was already sick of this swimming thing ;-). But I realised I had one of two choices. Swim or drown. I chose swim ;-)
I felt my triceps swelling up, and thought to myself, BRING IT ON. I do dips with 65 pounds, let's go water!
I got closer to the beach and the finish line and all of a sudden I felt ground/sand below my feet. I ran out as fast I could, almost face diving into the sand, and there was the line and the clock. 1:11. (one hour 11 minutes)
I have to tell you I felt fantastic. A full 4 minutes faster then the goal I had set for myself.

After the race everyone congregated on the big lawn of the hotel and they had some live music, lots of fresh fruit and drinks, and a buffet with eggs,bacon and sausage. It was a really nice set up.

One of the markers in the distance.

I had a great morning! I will try and do some better training next year and I look forward to it already.
My "hunger" is completely out of whack...And I'm about to devour 2 racks of ribs. Besides from plenty of water and some of the coconut water I did the race in a fasted state. Last meal last night was around 7. Meatballs with some tomato sauce, salad with home made evoo,mustard,white wine and garlic dressing and a few beers. Besides from Ian in the UK, who's a real iron man....have you ever tried one of these?

Thanks for reading.


Anonymous said...

congrats on your awesome time! funny commentary. you rocked the run! i hope i can run a 5k that fast!

Ian Simon said...

Moving to the Dark Side, Marc? Well done! I've never done a tri in reverse - I think you need Florida weather for that. Interesting that you could do it fasted. I've experimented with a bit more fasted training this year, but wouldn't dare in a race. The post-race appetite isn't unusual - we al get that :-)

Natalie said...

That is SO awesome!!!! Great job, Marc! Fabulous race report, totally stoked for you. I like the idea of a reverse one...I suppose they don't usually do it that way since race organisers hate it when athletes drown...but I would totally go for that. Congratulations!

Erin said...

Gratz on our race!! I have never done anything quite like that, but your success and the way you described it has me wondering if I should be trying something new to challenge myself. Thanks for sharing!

Marc said...

Well, I rocked the run for my level at least ;-)

I guess the guys that run it in like 16 minutes REALLY rock it ;-)
Thanks for stopping by. I will go take a look at your site.

hehehehe ;-)
I gotta tell you, I REALLY enjoyed myself. I don't think I could do one of your race...and most likely not in a fasted state either. Hope all is well with you. Will you be back to visit again? Stay well and enjoy the summer.

Thank you! You're too funny ;-)
I thought about that whole drowning thing...I think I was really motivated to make sure one of the guys in the canoes didn't have to rescue me ;-)
Thanks was a good time!


Marc said...


GO for it!
It's good to step out of that comfort zone ;-)
I like to think of them as mini adventures. I mean don't we all dream sometimes about going away somewhere and trying something new...these mini tris or half marathons or tkaing a 5 hour walk are the things we can do in the confines of jobs,kids etc and still crete a little adventure for ourselves.

Don't know if you read my post on the half marathon I decided to run last January. You might like it and get you motivated to try.