In my perfect world I'll be the triathlete tearing the Olympic course in London next year and challenge for the Ironman championship in Hawaii. But dreams begin with that first step and for me it's the time when I registered for this particular event, a 600 meter swim, 15.2K ride, and a 3.5K run at Ayala Alabang Village. Date: October 16, 2011.
I'm a total newbie but I have a good background in swimming some 30 years ago. Running... well I don't regularly run but I'm lean, as in Kenyan lean. It must count for something, right? Cycling? Bought a bike last April and was riding three times a week, bike portion... check!
Check In and Marking
This one went smooth but if you're not a triathlete this may come as not so straight forward as you might think. They will give you your race packet that includes race number in the form of stickers and race number and free Speedo swim cap. You have to put the stickers on your helmet and seat post. Then they will put markings on your shoulders and calves using large permanent markers (Pentel pen). The marking part is kinda cool as you'll only see it in triathlon or aquathlon events. Timing chip will be strapped on your ankle and you're ready to proceed to the transition area to lay out your bike and other equipments.
Since it's my first tri, it took me some time before I exited the transition area, what with all the picture taking and double checking and triple checking of my bike and other stuff. When I entered the swimming pool area of De La Salle Zobel, my wave was being called, I was lucky to arrive just in time. I put on my goggles and cap and set my stop watch before the gun start. I waited for the men in front of me to move on before I kicked off the wall and there goes the start of my adventure. The plan was to stick with my aerobic pace which was about 2 minutes per 100 meters. I swam relaxed and quite surprised to see that there were only 4 men from my wave in front of me. After two loops (300 meters each loop) I was out of the water in less than 12 minutes. Swim leg: success.
This is where I lost the race. Without wearing a trisuit, my time inside T1 suffered. Racers overtook me inside the transition area woohoo! Not in the pool, not in the bike ride, and not even on the run. Transition 1: epic fail.
This is where most triathletes excel, they're fast and I know it, I just hoped I could catch some front runners but it never materialized. It was a short and lonely ride and I didn't push as much as I could but it's part of my race plan to be steady on the bike leg and enjoy the scenery. Cycling: could be better.
After dismounting from Baby Bull, yes that's the name of my bike, I entered the transition area to put my bike in place and got ready for the run. After removing my helmet I was good to go coz I was already wearing my trusty New Balance running shoes ever since the bike leg. Transition 2: satisfied.
I didn't put much emphasis on running when I was training, only 10 minutes after my bike sessions is all I did, but my weight or lack thereof propelled me to the finish line of the 3.5K run course in 17 minutes. Run: as good as it can be.
Finish Line and some
I crossed the finish line in 8th place. I wasn't exhausted and I was happy to finish strong but knew that Full Ironman Triathlon will remain just a dream. No finisher's medal here but the Speedo booth provided us free T-shirts and boy was I proud at what the print says : 'I swam, I cycled, I ran'. Indeed, and enjoyed every minute of it.