Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's day

Today was Valentine's day, it was a day I was suposed to spend with my girlfriend. But being me I had another plan in mind, there was that Aquathlon at the University here organized by the University Triathlon club and a friend of mine from BeginnerTriathlete who is a member of the club invited me to do it. First thing was to talk my girlfriend into the fact that I would have a competition on Valentine's day. So I ordered from our favorite Sushi place, they had a little special for Valentine. Heart shaped box filled with sushi, with tartare and dessert, now that diner was taking care of I had to tell her. So around last Wednesday I talked with her and explained that to her, being supportive as she always is she said yes and she said she would come cheer for me too :) So today I went to the PEPS, which is the sports center of the university, they have everything there it's really a great place. Anyway I went there and I was supposed to meet with Steve, who I chat with almost everyday on BeginnerTriathlete, but whom I never met, so I was not too sure how he looked like and all. We met, really nice guy by the way, and he showed me around the place. Where was the pool, and the track where we would run, the transition zone too. I met a couple of his friends who races with him on regular basis. I also bought a T-Shirt from his team, there are four of them who are heading to the Triathlon World Championship and they are selling T-Shirt to help them raise money to pay for the trip. They also have a lot of activity planned for the entire summer that will be really interesting. Now we are about 30 minutes from the begining of the competition, I am getting a bit nervous. It's a friendly competition, we have no chip or whatever and we are responsible to count or own laps in the pool and on the track. The competition is a 750 meters swim followed by a 3k run. So I lay down my stuff in the transition area, I am happy since I didn't forget anything. Lay my towel on the ground, got my new Asics that I will try for the first time, a shirt for the run and socks since I didn't want to get blisters for my long run tomorrow.  Then I head back to the pool and wait until the start of the race, I am getting nervous since I never tried anything like this. My only competition experience are run races and Duathlons, I never swam in any competition. Actually 5 months ago I was not even swimming, so swimming a 750 meters is something new for me, I am not nervous because I am scared I can't complete it because I have swim 1.6km once in the pool, so the distance is ok. But I want to do as good as I can but within my limits so I don't ruin my run after. Only 10 minutes to go until it starts, I head to the bathroom, I told you I was nevous ;) Then back to the pool, I jumped into the water to swim a bit to warm up. Swam a 150 meters, then back to the start line and chat a bit with the other competitors in my lane, we were five in my lane. From the chat that we have I know I will finish fourth probably, so I should get passed a bit. One of the guy in my lane is so tall, and just looking at him I know he his fast. The other guy is on Steve's team, he's heading to the world championship too. And there we go, the swim starts. As I expected those two guys are like torpillas, they just starts so fast it's almost incredibile that someone can swim that fast. There's a girl who is really fast in my lane too, so as I figured I am fourth. I get into my rythme knowing that if I try to follow them I will literally die before the end of that swim. My plan was to beat 17:00 for the swim, so I tried to stay in a zone where I knew I would do around that time. By the time I am done with my swim I can see that the pool is almost empty. We were around 45 at the start, I would say we were about 5-6 when I was on my last lap. I am finally done with the swim, 16:57 according to my watch so my first goal is achevied. Now I have to get out of the pool and run. Damn this is harder than I thought, first of all my arms are really tired and there is no ladder or anything to get out at the end of my lane so I have to push me out of the water. Off to transition now, I arrive by my spot and dry my feet a little bit. Then I put my socks on, slip into my shoes and grab my shirt and off I go. transition time was 1:29, I am happy with that since I had to run from the pool to the track and put my shoes on the way ;) Then I hit the track, it is a 200 meters track so I have 15 laps to do. I figured I have to try to run 50 seconds or so laps to have a really good time. That would give me a 12:30 time for a 3k. My best so far has been 13:32 or so. So off I go, on the second lap I started to have cramps in both calves, I never have that kind of cramp and I am unsure what to do. Sure I didn't drink that much during transition, I tried to get as much fuild in as I could in a fast transition and since it was only a 3k I didn't bring anything to drink during the race. Anyway I figured I will just keep running and they should go away, that's what I did and that's what happenned finally. There we go, cramps are gone now I only have to concentrate on the run and try to do as fast as I can. I try to count my laps, but at some point I am lost in my count. I can't remember if I am at 12 or 13. I ask to one volunteer that was there and she looks at me as unsure as I am. I look at my watch and accoring to the time I should be on my 13th, but I am unsure and I don't want to cheat. I am really not sure at that point what to do, anyway I will just run and see. There is not official time anyway, so I just keep running at a pace where I was feeling good with in my mind to sprint on the last lap. Then I pass the finish line and a volunteer make me a sign that I am done. Guess I won't sprint that last lap finally, it looks like when I asked if I was on 12th or 13th I was on 13. I finished the run portion with a time of 13:38, I didn't beat my previous time finally. I tought I would since I am in a better running shape that I was but it seems that running after a swim is harder than running on the start od a duathlon. I finished with a time of 32:04, nothing great but it's not bad either. At least now I have a goal for the next one, I have to beat my own time :) Racing with all those fast triathletes was really an awesome experience. I can't wait for the next one.

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