I really liked Matt's play-by-play from his last triathlon, so I thought I'd add my own. I just completed my 2nd triathlon ever, an Olympic (aka International) distance event in Maine.
Garmin Connect logs:
4:40: Alarm goes off. Out of bed and dressing.
4:55: Kirsti and 5 kids (ages 12 to 4) in the van. Driving to Maine.
6:55: We arrive and are directed to parking. We end up next to the transition area, which is about the best parking spot one could ask for.
7:10: My 3 oldest kids are at their volunteer assignments. They wanted to do this to kill time, and to get free shirts. I pick up my race pack and head to transition.
7:20: My numbers are now on my body, and I'm setting up in transition. I'm still pretty slow at this. I notice an enormous playground next to the finish chute, so I call Kirsti, who I know hasn't seen it yet. That's going to make the day for her.
7:50: I'm set up and have chatted with a few coworkers who are also doing the race. They are all more experienced and faster than I will be. No big deal. I make the decision to only carry one water bottle for the bike, because there's a water bottle hand-out at mile 12. That's going to prove a fateful decision.
7:55: Out for a 10-minute easy run.
8:05: Back in transition, I put on my wetsuit to head to the ocean. In Maine, the ocean is "warm" this year--66 degrees--but with a wetsuit and a few strokes behind me it feels great. I always forget to breath when starting out in cold water, so I want a good warm-up so that I can acclimate.
8:54: Pre-race meeting complete and 2 waves gone, my wave starts. 1.5 kilometers (which, with drift, I will turn into 0.98 miles--not too much extra). The swim goes very well--I'm generally in the middle of the pack, which helps me feel confident that I'm going the right direction. (It's hard to see the next buoy right after passing the most recent one.) There is a lot of contact during the entire swim, but I manage to avoid the dreaded "kick to the head." I don't sweat my speed too much, but just try to maintain form and breath every 3rd stroke. If I let myself go to every 2nd stroke, I'll quickly pick up my speed.
T1: Have to run up a steep incline to get to transition. (This is a precursor of things to come....) I change quickly, though I have a hard time getting the wetsuit off my ankles. I need to cut the legs an inch or two shorter.
Bike: I salute the family just after mounting, drop into my aero bars, and start off in a low gear. The course starts off with a nice half-mile climb at a grade around 6%. Ouch. Racing on a bike is great--the adrenaline makes it easy to exert up to my desired output, so I almost feel like I'm holding back as I stay just below my lactate threshold. I eat some Shot Bloks after 25 minutes or so and am barely drinking. At mile 8 I decide to be more deliberate about my drinking--don't want to wait for thirst. I have to focus on my exertion level rather than keeping up with or passing people--I can tell that if I get competitive in the moment, I will pay later.
Mile 12: I hit the water bottle station at about 20 mph. Ever tried to grab a water bottle at 20 mph? It's something that needs practice. Which I haven't got. I leave empty handed, but with a bottle smacked to the ground behind me. I think about going back, but, hey, this is a race! Feeling good.
T2: The bike leg went great--19.1 mph, a new record and better than expected. I just might turn in a total time close to 2:40! I'm pretty thirsty though, and my spare bottle at the transition area is now piping hot. I don't think about that until it's spraying into my mouth--I feel like Chevy Chase from the Three Amigos. Spit it out--there's a drink station right at the start of the run. I have to go to the bathroom--hope that feeling passes...
Run: I give my "fans" high fives as I head out for the final leg. It's getting hotter and the sun is now out in force. My heart rate is sky high, even though I'm barely moving. Yes, I've experienced this in poorly executed training sessions before--I'm dehydrated. Have to run up the same stupid hill right at the beginning--it feels like this course is all uphill. I feel generally okay though--like I can finish a 10k. I try to drink a lot each mile.
Mile 4: Wow, it's hot. And I feel a little like I can't quite stay conscious. Maybe I should have turned around back at mile 12 on the bike after all. When I reach some longer hills, I have to run so slowly to keep my heart rate down that I finally just walk for about a 20th of a mile. Some folks have been walking from the beginning, so at least I held on longer than that. In spite of 2 more brief walks, my heart rate never drops below 156, which is pretty high exertion. Still have to go to the bathroom...ouch.
Finish: At least I get to run back down the killer hill before the finish chute. I manage to "kick" the last quarter mile, though I don't think I was going very fast--at least 1 minute below the pace target I had for the ENTIRE run! (Kirsti said I looked much better than the last triathlon.) The volunteer asks me to stop to take my chip off but I tell her I have to keep walking. I feel like I will collapse if I stop. I make it to the water station and she starts urgently handing me cups and asking if I'm going to need assistance. (I walk past a guy on the ground being helped by EMTs. I could be worse, I guess.) I'm good after a minute or so--don't think I'll be collapsing.
A few minutes later I felt sort of normalish, though I probably sit on the grass for more than 75% of the next hour.
Total time 2:53. Swim and bike set me up for 2:43, which would have made my day, but I lost 10 minutes on the run. That's basically what happened to me at my first tri back in June. Slow learner, I guess, but I feel good that I went so much farther this time.
I'll be back.