Finally, I’m making time to write my race report about my first triathlon, the Spring Sprint in Mission Bay held on May 3, 2009. I raced AG 40-44 in the Super Sprint race: 200-m swim, 6-mile bike, 1.5-mile run.
Seriously, about two weeks before the race I could think of nothing else. While I was at work, I daydreamed about the race. When I was at the gym and training, I imagined myself going through the three routes. My poor wife had to listen to me talk about the race over and over again.
But before I get into the race details, I think it’s important to state up front one important race detail: my race outfit. LOL. For my first race, I decided to wear the MT1000d race singlet in blue by 2XU. And for you newbies like me, that’s pronounced “Two times you” not “2 X U” as I first thought.
I had given a lot of thought to my goals for this race. Honestly, my only goal was to win my age group since only a first place medal would be awarded for the Super Sprint. My personal trainer advised me to forget about that goal because I was setting myself up for disappointment. Maybe so. I knew my wife was worried because I set such a huge goal for my very first race.
I had trained hard for the last 12 weeks specifically for this race. And for the last year or so I’ve been increasing my cardiovascular fitness and physical fitness with weight training. I actually felt good about my chances even without having any prior experience.
So Team De Ocampo (my wife and I) arrived close to 6:00 AM at the South Shores Park Boat Ramp, the swim start site. I confess I was a little agitated when it appeared that race parking was diverted to the side streets across the street. So we went across the street and I struggled against negative thoughts about the race. Sounds stupid, huh? Note to self: For next year, ignore the traffic signs because there was plenty of parking in the main lot for the athletes.
I set up my transition area stuff, and then waited for other waves to start. I was in Wave 15. Note to self: Scope out the transition area more to become familiar with the arrows guiding the way from swim to bike and bike to run. This note to self would become very important later on after the race started. And so I put my wetsuit on to get ready.
The swim was not at all what I expected. I had to wait around for Wave 15. That’s when all us old fogies started our race. We started in the water, so I had to tread water while waiting for the official start. I was mixed in with several divisions so there were maybe 40+ people in the water at the same time.
When the gun went off, the water became a mass of splashing feet, arms, legs, and black wetsuits. Everyone was just flailing around jockeying for position. Surprisingly, I was really turned off by this mentally. I really hated all the bumping and thrashing around, even though I started very close to the front of the wave. I also swallowed two huge mouthfuls of gross sea water in the disgusting Mission Bay (sewage bay), which further deteriorated my mental outlook. By the time I rounded the first buoy, I was exhausted. Surprisingly, I reverted to just breathing on one side (my left) even though I practiced bilateral breathing for the last 12 weeks. I also found myself breathing on every stroke; again, not what I had practiced. As I passed the second buoy, I bumped into another person yet again. But finally, I could see the finish line for the swim. And I was exhausted. In my mind, I said “Screw it.” Just breathe every stroke and only your left side. Instead of going really hard at the end of the swim, I decided to slow down and catch my breath a little.
Exhausted, dazed, confused
I later asked my wife what position I finished the race. And she estimated that I was the 6th person to finish. As I moved into T1, I was totally disoriented, exhausted, and totally on an adrenaline high. I was so discombobulated that I started following the people from other waves going into the run! I ended up in an area out of the race. Needless to say, I was very pissed off. Finally, a race official pointed me in the right direction to the T1 path. I peeled off my wetsuit, put on my helmet, sunglasses, gloves, and cycling shoes. It seemed like an eternity. I was able to put out the anger and negative thoughts about my stupid mistake after the swim. As I headed out to the bike route, all I could think about was setting the course ablaze on two wheels!
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