Aug. 14, 2005

Made it!

I'm just home from my first triathlon this morning. Sheryl and I drove out to Cobourg yesterday to visit my parents and get ready for my race. As it happened my mother was having a dozen friends over, so Sheryl got another good sniffing over by everyone...

The race start was 8:00 AM, with my age group starting in the third wave at about 8:15. We started in waist-deep water and swam a triangular 750 M course. The Lake Ontario water was mercifully warm(ish), the air was comfortable with overcast skies. I've swum at nearby spots in the lake and it's often been freezing cold but not today, and not there. I was one of the few without a wet-suit, so it mattered to me. I was one of the first of my wave to emerge from the swim segment, and got through the transition area fairly well and took my bike out to the road.

By this time it had begun to rain, although it never got heavy. I biked well, but overall probably lost some ground. Having practiced the 30 K cycling course already I knew it well, so I was able to really hit high speed on some of the downhill sections that others were cautious about. That got me a bit ground back. Lots of muddy spray in my face though. There were also a few slippery spots but I navigated them OK. I had some minor trouble getting into the front "big" ring of the gears on my rented triathlon bike though. The best part was discovering that the turn-around point was sooner than I had thought from my reading of the map. There's nothing like discovering you were further ahead...

Returning from the cycle leg my cheering squad (Sheryl, Mom, Stepfather, and three more) was waiting for me beside the course. I have to admit there were tears streaming down my face as I changed shoes for the run. Nice to have people supporting me, but also I suddenly realised that I was doing it, and with just the run left to go I was going to finish it. And maybe I was crazy with endorphins. The run was pretty hard going, but I did manage to gain ground. At one point I passed a 79 year-old man and thought "where the hell did he come from, and how did he get in front of me!" I later discovered he was a duathlon racer (run/bike/run) and had left long before I did. Still, he was pretty good.

I crossed the finish line lookin' good but not moving particularly fast. Update: My final time was 1:55:55, which was good for 120th place out of about 255. In my age category I was 25th out of 35th (seems that 40 - 44 is a competitive age group). Was it hard? Yes. Was it fun? Yes also. Will I do it again? I think so. But right now my legs are killing me. Time for a hot soak...

Friday night Sheryl and I saw Broken Flowers. A lonely man goes on a journey to learn about his past and maybe wakes up emotionally. Slow, but interesting. Bill Murray's performance was very subdued. The film seemed like it took place in a generic version of America because there were virtually no place-names shown or mentioned.

Listening to: Be Yourself by Audioslave from Out of Exile.


  1. Congratulations Ben!

    It always feels amazing to get through the first one! And as I expected, your competitive swimming background was a big asset, wasn't it? Now comes the fun part...analyzing what you need to do to do better the next time. I love those two little words...
    "next time". They are always so full of possibility. I'm sure you'll decide to try it again. Be as proud of yourself as all your supporters are. Enjoy your soak! Look forward to reading more about the insights you gained. Once again, a very BIG congratulations!!

  2. Thanks Beansprout. It was a great experience and I DO want to do it again. But not too soon...

    I think I've got to work on my transitions and cycling. The results are up now, and that was my weakest leg. I've got a nagging hip injury which slows my running, perhaps if I strengthen it I can improve there too. Swimming's pretty good.

  3. Congratulations! I agree with beansprout you'll be doing anotherone soon. Prabably better!

  4. What an amazing post! Well done, you! I know that you must feel incredible. What a HUGE thing to do. thanks for sharing and I hope your body recovers soon!