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14th Annual Tri-For-Real Sprint Triathlon<br>
Shadowcliffs Regional Park, Pleasanton, CA<br>
0.4 mi (700 yd) swim /18 mi bike/4 mi run<br><br>
My first triathlon ever! The Tri-For-Real is the final event of the 20-yeard-old Tri-For-Fun Series in Pleasanton, CA. There are four during the year, with the first three non-timed events perfect for a beginning triathlete or a veteran triathlete looking for a brick workout. The final event, the Tri-For-Real, was added to the series later due to popular demand for an event over the same course, only with competitive timing and longer distances.<br><br>
Pre-Race:<br>
I woke up early (4:15 AM) to pack my car, eat breakfast (wheat bagel with PB&J), aiming to get there close to registration opening at 5:30. However, I got in closer to 6 AM (with race start set for 7 AM); thankfully, the racks were still fairly empty and I found a good spot near a picnic bench. Race bib pickup and body marking were painless. I setup my transition area and took care of potty business, but time flew by fast and they started announcing we should head to the beach. Luckily, race officials were running late, so I was able don my wetsuit and gel-up before heading down for the pep talk/race-day instructions.<br><br>
The Swim - Spider Plant, Spider Plant, Does Whatever A Spider Plant<br>
Those who know my story know I really couldn’t swim freestyle worth a darn until recently. May 2007’s Flying Pig HM gave me motivation to take up tri-training seriously after I really tweaked my ITB (again). Even though I’ve improved markedly over the summer and gotten in some OWS sessions, I still had some lingering dread about this leg.<br><br>
The course was rectangular, starting at one end of the beach, going around two buoys, and exiting at opposite end. The lake itself is a former rock quarry (the new quarry is actually right next door to the park) filled in with fresh water, so no murkiness issues. Waves were released in 5 minute increments, with me in the third wave out of six (the 40 & older males, or as the RD joked, the mature gentlemen.)<br><br>
I purposely held back as my wave got the airhorn to start (no thrashfest for me!) Soon I was left in their wake, with only a few even slower stragglers 20 or so yards behind me. Despite a warmup swim pre-race, it took awhile for me to get going. Some plant life that resembled green spider webs entangled in my fingers some early strokes, which didn’t help matters. I backstroked for a few breaths twice on the first leg and once right after I passed the first buoy, but after that, I found my freestyle groove and I was shocked (though pleasantly surprised) that I caught the tail end of my wave by the second buoy.<br><br>
From here on out, it was head for the shore time. Unlike the first leg, those darned spider-web plants were a welcome sight, because soon after I saw the bottom of the lake, which meant I would be soon home (or at least water) free.<br><br>
T1: T(ake)2 Please?<br>
How to waste time? Let me count the ways. Dig out bike gloves from bag at last minute (my hands tend to get freezing cold.) Worries about the cold caused me to spend time toweling down my tri-top. Also put on my race bib; didn’t want to forget it at T2. I couldn’t align my socks right for whatever reason (I’ll definitely experiment no-socks soon.). And oh yeah, I struggled to clip in to my bike pedals for a good thirty seconds after leaving T1. Only positive thing: wetsuit removal, which I worried about incessantly, was a breeze.<br><br>
Bike: Mocha Will Kill A Gel-la’<br>
The bike course was two laps on city roads that essentially encircled the park. It was more or less a flat loop save for one short but steep uphill grade.<br><br>
I had no idea how this part would turn out - my bike training hours paled in comparison to that of my running & swimming. I started off warming up at high cadence and then hammered as best I could. As it turned out, I was something of a tweener - I passed up a fair number of riders, but the dudes with the fancier bikes and/or more stronger biking engines leg-wise whizzed by me with no problem.<br><br>
At the start of the second lap, I started thinking of the run portion, and I reached for the gel I had specially-taped onto my bike top tube. Good news - the taping job worked to perfection, and I ripped the top off the gel pack no problem. Bad news - Clif Shot Mocha Gel did NOT agree with me, and I started growing queasy as this bike leg progressed. This feeling would grow and grow as the race moved forward.<br><br>
T2 T(2)humbs Up<br>
Much better. Everything from the dismount (shoes still clipped in variety) to putting on my run shoes went quickly. However, it did take a few seconds or so to find the exit chute and get going.<br><br>
Run: Rolling Rolling Rolling...<br>
Ahh, now to the part I normally love - the run. But I groaned a bit when I realized the four miles would be on some out and backs on rolling dirt fire roads, with some pretty steep sections. Also, I had done the requisite bike-run bricks, but my legs had never felt this heavy starting a run. Finally, the queasiness was a constant issue throughout this part. As it turned out, a couple times it felt like the contents of my stomach were just bubbling under, but I kept it in check.<br><br>
Despite all that, my legs did loosen up as I concentrated on my cadence, and eventually I started picking off runners one by one, albeit in seemingly slow motion. Only one runner passed me this whole time - he looked an awfully lot like <b>PTom</b>, though not quite nearly as fast (and he had the weirdest gait that I'm sure <b>PTom</b> doesn't have - his right foot would rotate nearly parallel to the ground on his kickback.)<br><br>
I also found my <b>McTortle</b> moment midway through this. I was amidst a tree-lined trail next to the lakeshore, and suddenly noticed geese flying overhead and fishermen to the side waiting for a nibble. I then noticed all the other participants, with all their varying tri outfits, facial expressions, genders, etc. and I realized how truly lucky I was to be out here and doing what I really love.<br><br>
Overall, these were tough miles with all the hills, but I never stopped running. I picked it up best I could over the final mile all the way to the end, where I leapt across the finish line with a huge smile.<br><br>
Post-Race:<br>
Prior to the race, I was thinking there was no way I would beat 2 hours. So when I saw 1:51 and change on the race clock (actual time minus 10 minutes; verification via my own watch) I was elated! I know I’ll be on a high for a few days at least.<br><br>
The bike portion was short by all my measurements. My Cateye bike computer measured it at 16.55 miles, and various mapping sites I tried out when I got home more or less verified this distance. Still, I was pleased my average speed broke the 18 mph barrier..<br><br>
I had read before this event had a relaxed, casual atmosphere and this day proved no different. Most everyone seemed chipper, with many participants having family and friends in-tow with them in transition areas and the lakeshore pre- and post-race.<br><br>
A couple of cool moments - one was the elderly mother who ran the race and crossed the finish line together with her four triathlete daughters (they got a deserved rousing ovation.) Also had a neat little run in - got to meet the aunt of AVP Volleyball champion Kerri Walsh (who was actually in the area for a tour stop in nearby San Francisco this weekend), who was a trainee of a tri coach that I ended up chatting with post-race.<br><br>
As I was heading home, I turned on the radio and heard the Foo Fighters song “Times Like These” and one lyric just seemed to fit the moment perfectly - “It’s times like these you learn to live again.” I’ve found so much joy in the way of running and now in this first triathlon, and considering where I was just a scant few months ago, I’m amazed I’ve gotten this far. Much of my inspiration has come through the folks in the 30-somethings who’ve inspired me with their triathlon efforts (many of them fellow-first-timers) this year. Maybe one of these days, we can get-together for a tri-meetup, because this definitely will not be my one and only triathlon.<br><br>
Results (based on watch times)<br>
Swim: 700 yd @ 18:10<br>
T1: 4:53<br>
Bike: 16.55 @ 54:55 (avg: 18.1 mph)<br>
T2: 0:30<br>
Run: 33:20 (8:20 pace)<br>
Total Time: 1:51:48
 

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<b>Joe</b> - you rocked the tri! It's been such a pleasure to follow your progress to its logical conclusion and I'm so glad you had such a great experience today. Congrats!
 

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Outstanding race, excellent report.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile">
 

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<b>moon</b> I LOVE reading your reports. never disappoints man. you tell a great story every time.<br><br>
congrats on the Tri!!!
 

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<b>Moon</b>, you've done us proud. I'm so glad you've recovered from your knee issues. Way to go. loved the McTortle moment. We should all be so lucky. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile">
 

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Nice pace on the 4 mile run. I think that's really impressive after swimming and biking like that. I know that every time I've ridden the bicycle my legs don't feel like running at all.
 

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Moonie!!!! I'm so proud of you! You worked so hard and did a great job. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile">
 

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You did it!!!! We all knew you would - CONGRATULATIONS on tackling your first TRI and exceeding your expectations. <b>Great job Moon!!</b>
 

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Joe - Congratulations on your tri! You are amazing and inspirational in your own right, there sunshine! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile"><br><br>
I'm so proud of you. And, how wonderful is that moment when you relax and just are completely in your element?! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Very Happy"> Well done, my friend!
 

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<br><span style="color:#FF0000;"><span style="font-size:x-large;">AWESOME JOB!!!<br><span style="color:#000000;"><span style="font-size:small;"><br><b>Joe</b>, That is a <b><span style="text-decoration:underline;">great</span></b> job, especially on your first tri. I love reading your race reports, they always make me wish I was there, but somehow feel like I was.<br><br>
Welcome to the tri-club! I would love to get together with you for another race!<br></span></span></span></span>
 

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Moon:<br><br>
Congrats on the first tri! I said it in the daily thread, but I'll repeat it, you multi-sport people really do amaze me. I feel like I have my hands full just doing one sport, and here you are training at 3!<br><br>
(Oh, and we won't tell anyone what AG you are in. Our little secret.) <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile"><br><br>
Great job!
 

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MOON! Way to go!!! Fantastic race and report.<br><br>
Now send some of that 1st time tri mojo my way, please! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Very Happy">
 

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<span style="font-size:x-large;">WAY TO GO, MOON!!!!!</span> <span style="font-size:small;">Welcome to the club! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile"></span>
 

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Congrats-It sounds like you had a lot of fun. I did my first sprint tri (shorter then yours) this weekend and have a new found respect for people swimming in the open water<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile"> It is hard!
 
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