Today was the race.
As is typical when I'm doing something new, I slept poorly the night before, and got up at 5AM. Got dressed, drove to the start (or, to be more specific, the wife drove me to the start), where I ran into my friend Joe. I hadn't told Joe I was entering and had hoped to run into him right before the swim, but he found my name in the competitor list and gave me considerable amounts of crap for not telling him ahead of time.
He took my bike into transition for me, and I got everything set up. Signing up at the last minute (well, not *quite* the last minute) meant I was at the back of the transition area in a place that was easy to find. Got all set up, and then hung around with the wives waiting for the pre-race meeting and worrying about getting cold (Joe had a shorty wetsuit, I had none). Put on my timing chip (an RFID chip that records when you go through important points).
Our friend Greg showed up, who had *said* he was going to sign up but apparently had to clean his apartment or something and missed the cutoff.
The pre-race meeting never materialized, and we migrated down towards the water. A tentative test of the water temp showed that the water temperature was higher than the air temperature. We waited for two waves to head out, and then waded out to waist deep for the start. I decided to wait a bit so I'd have cleaner water, so 5 seconds later I plunged in and headed for the first buoy (big ones, not the small ones I saw yesterday).
My waiting led to a slight problem. The people that were directly in front of me were slower swimmers than I was, and they were also more erratic in direction that I was. I'd catch up with somebody, slow down and move to the side, move to pass them, and then speed up to get by. By the time I got near them, there was always a swimmer (either the original person or another) in front of me again. By the second buoy I basically gave up trying to get around them, and just swam into the shore. I swam mostly crawl except for a bit of *** stroke to move around, and I found the head-high "approach stroke" for crawl that I learned in lifesaving class 360 moons ago to be pretty useful to get a sight. Swam into the beach, stood up and staggered for a few steps (apparently your inner ear gets screwed up), and ran up the beach into transition ("T1", in tri-speak). I was a bit chilly for about 25 yards, and plenty warm after that (I bet many of the guys in full wetsuits got a bit overheated in the swim).
Swim time: 7:01.7 (since that's the full start until the time I ran into transition, I'd be surprised if the swim was a full 400 yards)
In transition, I peeled of my excel swim shirt, cleaned the sand off my feet (no pool to rinse in...), and put my socks and bike shoes on. I pulled my jersey on, and it got stuck on my wet back. I probably wasted 45 seconds getting it on, put on my helmet and sunglasses (no sweatband or gloves), and ran out of transition. Or, tried to - because of my (required) baby blue swim cap, my heat was sweaty, and my sunglasses fogged up instantly when I put them on, so I groped my way through transition the first 30 feet or so (I'm surprised I didn't run into a bike rack).
T1 Time: 3:11.3 (pretty darn slow...)
After you run out of transition on your bike, you mount and then ride out towards the bike course. We had a lane to ourselves (split into out and back sections by cones), and I settled into a decent rhythm. On the short run east, I took a drink of accelerade and passed a couple of guys (had to go into the oncoming lane to get around them), and after a little jog, found myself on Eastlake heading north to the turnaround at Inglewood. I picked up my speed a little and settled down my cadence at about 105 (a little higher than I'd normally ride to save my legs for the run). On the way out I passed perhaps 5-6 riders and got past by a similar number. The hard part is not to draft, though I saw a bunch of people coming back who were obviously drafting. I kept my computer on time / cadence because I wanted to go on perceived exertion (I didn't wear my chest strap) rather than some idea of how fast I should be riding.
About half-way out, my stomach started to hurt, an indication that my level of exertion was not compatible to what I was putting into my stomach. That kept up pretty much all the way back on the bike leg, except for the last mile when I slowed down a bit. My polar says that I did 14.6 miles at 19 MPH, while the official timing (which doesn't include the time running with the bike inside of transition) says I only did it at 18.3 MPH. Looks like somebody mis-measured the bike course.
Bike Time: 45:48.1
Back into transition again. With the exception of my stomach, I feel okay. Rack my bike (no, move over a bike so I have *room* to rack my bike), pull off my helmet, switch shoes, and fix my race number, which had gotten ripped off. Head out transition on the run course.
T2 Time: 2:05
The 10 minutes or so of the run was a slog. My legs actually felt okay - not peppy, but okay - but my stomach was still very unhappy with me. After the first mile it settled down, and I picked up the pace a bit. For a while I ran and talked with another guy about my age who also has a friend who is an elite (not the Halo elite, and elite triathlete, which means you get to race in your own classification, sometimes get your travel paid for, and perhaps even with some prize money). We run together and talk for a while, but with about a half mile left he needs to walk, so I run on ahead. By this time I feel pretty good, so when a faster guy (I almost wrote "fast guy", but let's be realistic about my running aptitude right now) came by, I picked up the pace and followed him back to the finish line.
Run Time: 28:27.5
Total Time: 1:26:34
Age group rank: 29/38
That was a bit slower than I predicted, but the ride and run were both longer, so it was pretty close. I didn't have any goal to be especially fast, and I think I succeeded in not being especially fast.
It was mostly fun. The bike leg had a fair amount of pain on it (I don't typically do TT-style rides), but that was tempered by being able to ride away from people up the hills. I enjoyed the second half of the run.
The really interesting part was that I was done and it was only about 9AM. That would be on the short end of my rides, especially for an event ride (usually a century-ish one at 5-6 hours).
Lots of things could cut out time. Starting a little higher up in the swim group. Spending a bit more time in the pool. Getting more organized in transition. Practicing running.
I'm not going to decide tonight, but I think I'll be doing the Kirkland Tri four weeks from now...