Let's just say I'm very happy I did this race before my first triathlon of the year. The night before I wasn't nervous at all, I think normally the swim is my best leg of the tri and since the bike I was planning to do after was just for fun there was really no pressure. Of course when morning came the nerves arrived. The first part of the day went ok. I packed up the car and made sure I had everything I would need, I even brought an extra swim cap in case they didn't have any. At the last minute I remembered that I probably I would need a towel.
Arrived at the race site 45 minutes before the start, picked up my race packet and chip and started to get ready. The swim cap they gave out was white and had our numbers on it. By coincidence the spare cap I brought was also white. There also was not an official transition area to layout stuff or to leave it while racing. So I found a bench and began to get ready. This is when the fun begins.
First I put on my wetsuit. This is a new wetsuit and I do remember trying it on when I got it and thought it fit well. Today, for some reason it seemed a bit long. So when I went to put on my chip, there was no where on my ankle for it to fit. In hindsight I should have put it on under the wetsuit leg, but instead I put it on over the wetsuit. I had just got the wetsuit on and they were calling the swimmers done to get a pre-race briefing. I grabbed my goggles and white swim cap and headed down, listened to the speech and jumped in for a warmup swim. Before I knew it they were calling us out for the start.
The start went really well, I managed to get to a spot that was not that crowded, but I could still reach the bottom so I didn't have to tread water. As soon as the gun went off the initial sprint was under way. After about 200 yards I noticed there was a large group out in front of me. I was probably doing my 100 pace and was starting to feel the burn but thought I might be able to hang on to someones feet. Big mistake, at around 500 I was starting to hyperventilate and a little panic crept in. In all the races I've done this has never happened before so it was a new experience, but not a good one. I knew I needed to slow down and recover and get into a rhythm, but I didn't want to lose my position, so I gradually let off the gas until I could breath better, but I think by that time it was too late and the lactic acid buildup was well under way. After the turn buoy I started feeling better, but people were passing me and I couldn't hang on anymore, so I tried to stay on their feet as long as possible and then when they were gone, get back into my steady speed. Finally we got to the end and I started kicking to get the blood flowing through the legs again and got out and ran over the mat.
Somewhere in my head I thought, I didn't hear a beep. oh well no big deal. I then notice the official timers looking at me funny, I figured it was my unique hair do from taking off my swim cap. I looked at my watch and it was still running, I had hit the wrong button getting out and I had started it about 15 seconds early so when I finally got the timer to stop it was 30:10, I figured it would end up being around 29:45 and that made me happy as I was hoping for under 30 and with my blow up at the beginning I figured that was really good. I waited a few minutes and two friends came out and we started talking, at this point one of the time keepers came up to them and took their timing chips. At that point I thought, "did they get my chip" I looked down and it wasn't there, and I don't remember them taking mine off. Great, that meant I lost my chip somewhere in the lake, but I thought the timekeepers would get my number off the cap and I would just show up on the results late.
After we changed from swimming I headed out with one friend to ride the bike course for the tri that was going on in conjunction with the swim. It was a tough bike course with a lot of hills, but the weather was perfect so I was thinking I would have liked to have done the whole thing.
When I got home and was unpacking my bag I took out my cap and noticed that the cap they gave me was bone dry and my spare cap was soaking wet. That's when I remembered the stares I was getting from the timers. No chip, wrong cap, he must be a bandit. This all means I won't be getting an official time for this race, but at least I learned a ton of things not to do and hope that all the screw ups will be done for the year.
Next race is the triangle ortho sprint tri coming up on 4/18 - so ready for the tri season to the begin. It's been a long time and I'm anxious to put my new running legs to the test.