I am now officially a Triathlete! Those words feel incredible to write and I'm more excited than ever to chase down this dream of becoming an Ironman . For month I have felt the wear of training as I grinded out 11 hour training weeks with no days of rest; but finally I was able to test myself and compete - it felt incredible.
My Dad had picked a somewhat less than desirable hotel with some questionable stains on the wall, itchy sheets and a sticky rug outside of Atlantic City for the night before the race. Although the ghettoness of the hotel was well worth it so my # 1 fan could see the race:
Life as a diabetic triathlete involves lots of preparing for nutrition; the night before the race the bathroom looked like a chemistry lab!
Pre race - 2 scoops cytomax , 1 scoop Met Endurance; 1/2 Clif Bar
Pre swim - 2 scoops EFS , 1 Scoop Carbo Pro, 1 Scoop Met Endurance
Bike Bottles (2) - 2 scoops EFS , 2 SccopsCarbo Pro Run - 2 scoops EFS , 2 Scoops Carbo Pro (comes out to less than that in 2 fuel belt bottles)
Post Race - 2 scoops Endurox
Nutrition for the entire race was spot on! I woke up with a blood sugar of 193, took .3 units of insulin, then turned my pump down to 30% for the duration of the race, pre swim my blood sugar was an awesome 214, post swim I was a little high at 290, I took .5 units of insulin and came off the bike at 167 (nailed that); I finished the race with a bs of 149 - couldn't have asked for my nutrition to be have been more dialed in!
Nutrition grade: A+
Terri (the Terrier Teammate whom I drove to the race) and I got to the race site a bit later than ideal but we were able to park in the main parking lot and had plenty of time to get into our wet suits, set up our transition areas and listen to the pre -race instructions. I can honestly say there have been few times in my life that I have been as nervous as I was the morning of the race. I could barely speak and was choking back vomit the entire time before I entered the water. During college football I'd normally throw up 3 or 4 times before a game and a few times during it (yeah I was kind of a nasty o-lineman) but knew because of nutrition I had to hold everything down.
The swim was perhaps the most terrifying experience of my life; I had heard from people who are far better swimmers than me that your first open water swim is like nothing you have ever done before. From my training times I should have been able to complete the 1/2 mile swim in less than 15 minutes. However, I didn't realize how hard it is to breath in 58 degree water or how much I'd freak out due to not being able to see in the water. I must have looked like a dying seal as I did a hybrid doggy paddle/ freestyle for 21 minutes until I exited the water (I'm the second guy):
Swim Grade: C, I preserved when I thought I was going to drown but my time was awful!
I can't begin to tell you how happy I was to leave that freezing cold water, I have alot of work to do for open water swimming, my coach has suggested I start training with my eyes closed to get used to the murky water. So it was with great excitement and determination that I left the transition area, I knew I had a ton of places to make up:
I felt phenomenal for the first 15 miles of the bike. My average speed was somewhere between 22 and 24 mph as I picked off racers one by one. Around mile 16 things took a serious turn for the worse; I started having back spasms which led to my hamstring cramping up and my right hip getting locked. I screamed out an F Bomb as my power started to leave my legs; of course 20 seconds later a super cute triathlete raced by me. I pushed through the last 10 miles of the bike in some serious pain and finished with an average mph of 19.5. When I cleaned my transition area after the race I pushed my bike by the saddle and came to find my seat had come completely loose during the bike! This equipment SNAFU really screwed my bike leg but as Coach Eggers told me "in typical Ed fashion you refused to let that stop you."
Bike Grade: B+, fought through the pain and came away with a pretty good split, would have been an A- if I didn't run into the back/ hamstring issue .
With a slight limp and a screaming back I headed out for the 4.1 (way longer than that in actuality) run course and hoped to hold on for a solid finish.
The race plan was to settle in over the first mile at about an 8 minute pace, then up my speed by 30 seconds for each mile and close at a 6 minute pace. Unfortunately I couldn't come close to those performance goals and went out for the first mile at an 8:40 pace, upped it to 8 minutes over mile 2, and closed with a 7:45 to 8 minute pace. One really weird thing about the race course was a 1/4 to 1/2 mile stretch in sandy woods - given that the bike to run transition on pavement is hard enough, the soft sand could only be compared to kryptonite for Superman - my legs were being sapped of all their energy on the soft stuff.
Run Grade: B , didn't achieve the speeds that I wanted but I also held my position off the bike and my fitness felt fantastic.
Overall, this was a phenomenal experience, I finished right in the middle of the pack with a time of 2:32; I'm somewhat disappointed in my time but the transition went well and I know exactly what I need to work on heading into the Mooseman 1/2 Ironman in about a month and 1/2. Having this triathlon under my belt this early in the season gives me the confidence that my nutrition, training and mental preparation are all headed in the right direction. I also learned that in this sports some things are simply out of your control, whether that be a loose bike seat, a sandy transition area or freezing cold water. You simply need to persevere and push through the bumps that triathlon presents, hold on and will yourself to the finish. There were several times during yesterdays race where that small doubt inside my mind asked "is this worth it," but an even louder voice boomed back "F, yeah this is worth it, keep working Liebo ." As I headed out for the bike I heard my Mom yell, "Ring The Bolus!" I doubt she saw my smile but at that moment I knew that my work was paying off.
As I walked back to the transition area to collect my things I proudly thought to myself - we have alot of work to do before Placid but we're getting there: