September 14, 2010

Race Report: Vikingman!

And it's over. At last. And I made it.

Saturday, September 11 was the Vikingman Triathlon in Burley, Idaho. This was my goal for the year. Not necessarily Vikingman, but a half-iron distance triathlon. All that I can say is that I met every goal I had in the race. Granted, it was a small field, but I still made it. The weather was ideal, though a little chilly. I wish this race report was more exciting, but for once, not much went down. I'm breaking the report into parts so the posts won't be ponderously long. Here it goes...

The Fun Run

The day before the race, a one-mile fun run was held. Wifey and Smarty Pants took on the challenge while I took photos and stared at the cold river. Smarty Pants ran the whole mile, other than a 10 second break. Not bad for a four year old. Chip off the sorta old block...

The Swim

It is well known that I dislike the water. I hate cold water. And I get terrified by dark water. I even wear clear lens goggles on sunny days to keep things bright. So the idea of swimming in murky 60° water before the sun even comes up had me going. Unlike other years, I've spent a fair amount of time open water swimming this summer and felt more prepared than ever for a 1.2 mile swim, even with the challenges of cold and dark.

I didn't sleep much. Just couldn't relax. Unlike the usual anxiety about swimming, I was more anxious about the cold and just wanted to get rolling. I was in and out of sleep until the alarm sounded at 4:30.

I set up transition in the dark, except for my handy clip-on flashlight. A good idea if you know you will be setting up in the dark. Then Wifey and Smarty Pants dropped me off at the swim start. I wandered down and waited in the 42° air for about 15 minutes until they finally let us into the water. It actually felt warm compared to the concrete boat ramp! I stuck my face in the water and started trying to blow bubbles to get used to the cold. It wasn't working well. I'd stick my face in the water and gasp. Before I was ready, the order to start was given and we were off.

It was a relief to go, like an anchor was dropped. I took off and had a tough time keeping my face in the water, but I settled down after a few strokes and found a rhythm. I also noticed that A LOT of other swimmers weren't handling the cold as well as I was. Bobbing heads were all around. I had one guy stop right in front of me and I swam into him. We apologized and I kept going. I whacked a couple of others as I swam by them and finally decided to move out farther into the river to get away from the others and make it easier to sight the buoys. The steam coming off the river made it tough to see. I finally started looking higher and found the bridge not far from the end of the swim. It gave me an idea of the amount of swimming that remained and let me pick up the pace the closer I got.

When I finally reached the dock. I pulled myself up. I didn't want help, I was afraid they'd pull me up too fast and I'd get dizzy. Wifey and Smarty were waiting and told me I was one of the first out of the water. SHOCKING! I was about 20th.

Other than one small moment of panic that I can't explain and some major brain freeze, the swim was great. Mat to mat time was 32.02. A little high considering the before and after time lag. But even that time is fantastic for me.

My transition was less than ideal. Sunscreen. Arm warmers. Chatting to Wifey. It was a long transition. 6:48. I needed about half that. Ultimately it ended up not mattering, but I need to fix that.

Next time is the bike!

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