Sunday, May 22, 2011

Well, I Did It

I finished my first sprint triathlon yesterday and I did pretty well. In the Clydesdale category I finished 5th of 30 competitors with a time of 1:10:19. Overall, I finished 53rd of 219 competitors. I have to say that I'm thrilled with my results and I may have found my niche. I'm not really much of specialist. I've never excelled in anything, but I tend to be competent in a lot of different things and I think I can take advantage of that quality in triathlon.

First, I was surprised at how well my swim went. This was what I thought would be my weakest leg. I didn't really know what to expect and I really just wasn't that comfortable in the water despite spending years in the pool on a youth swim team. My time in the quarter-mile swim: 9 minutes, 16.1 seconds, a personal record pace. I had the 10th-fastest swim in my division despite having to fight through the crowd on my push to the front. I started at the back and far right of the pack. I'd been warned by my cousin and my sister's friend who'd advised me that until I knew what I was doing, that I should avoid the scrum in the water. Turns out I should have started out in the front row. I passed literally two-thirds of my starting heat and maybe a third of the heat that started 3 minutes ahead of me. The next time I do a triathlon with a Clydesdale heat, I'm getting in the front. Screw the scrum. Most of those bastards can't catch me. It's nice to be able to say that without irony.

The second leg is my favorite. I love to be on the bike even though I'm not really exceptionally fast on it. Again, I had the 10th-fastest time in my division, covering 9.3 miles in 29 minutes, 3.2 seconds, another personal record. The course is almost pancake flat, smooth asphalt, and I was in a groove. I kept a steady pace and the only guy who managed to pass me on the bike and stay ahead of me I managed to end up beating by more than a minute after the run.

I wasn't sure what to think about my run yesterday. My legs were pretty numb and it felt like I was crawling even though I was steadily passing people and never getting passed. I was more than a minute per mile slower at that distance than my personal best, but then I would have been okay with that run by itself back in January, so I'll take it. I did the 5k run in 27 minutes, 49.1 seconds and had the fourth fastest run in my category.

Overall, I had the 68th fastest swim, the 54th fastest bike, and the 50th fastest run. In other words, in a field of 219, I was above average in every area.

My transitions weren't so pretty, but those I can work on. It's just nice to know that almost 7 hours in the water, 19 hours on the bike, and 17 hours running since March were worth it.

Too bad that my parents' pond is already about to dry up. I'm actually going to look forward to my swim days now.


Theresa B (of Nebulopathy) said...

"Clydesdale" category? I didn't realize that they had categories just for beer drinkers...

Anyhow, congratulations -- just the fact that you showed up to compete in one of these things puts you way ahead of me. (I would have to compete in the "chunky pony with laminitis" category and it wouldn't be pretty...)

Jacob said...

The corresponding category for women is Athena. Athena seems more positive than comparing me to a giant draft horse with hairy feet.

Julie said...

Congratulations, Jacob! You did a great job. It's an accomplishment just to compete & finish and you posted great numbers on top. Team Jacob!

Anonymous said...

That is certifiably badass. (Seriously, you should look into the licensing process. It's time-consuming, but well worth it.)

Makes me want to do a triathlon. I know, I know- you invited me to join you. If I can ever find myself in a situation where I can swim somewhere regularly, I'll definitely do one.

But that's really awesome that you managed to surprise yourself with your performance. Or maybe not so much "surprised yourself" as "schooled most of the field." Well done.

Courtney said...

Nice job! Can I have your autograph, mister?

Jacob said...

There is an unwaivable autograph fee of $25.

Sid said...

I want to do this. I really want to train for a mini-triathlon but ... I don't belong to a gym. Swimming and running are easy to train for. All you need to running is a good pair of shoes. And there are plenty of public pools around. Entrance fee in minimal. Cycling is the issue. Cape Town isn't really biker friendly. I'm afraid I'd get knocked over!