Monday, April 25, 2011

Washington University Sprint Triathlon!

As many of you probably know, we folks here in the St Louis area have been hit with numerous tornadoes and generally bad weather for the last two weeks or so. When I was at my conference last week, I spent one night in the basement of the old mansion (which is now a conference center) and we had no power for two days (which makes me feel like I survived an adventure at a haunted castle!). I came home late Thursday and then on Friday we had more tornado action here in the city (in fact, our airport was closed most of the weekend because one of the main concourses was severely damaged). And then on Saturday I competed in my first "almost all outside" triathlon of the year: The Washington University Sprint Triathlon.

The swimming was in the Athletic Complex on campus -- a serpentine swim for 400 yards. I always get quite nervous waiting to swim but this time I think I was more relaxed. I knew I just wanted to finish this race so I wasn't feeling too competitive or anything. By the time I hopped in the pool, I was just anxious to get this part finished so I could move on to the two parts I like better: cycling and running!

While we were in the pool, the rain started coming down harder. I don't have a bucket yet like my more experienced triathlon colleagues (I really need to get one soon!) -- so my stuff got pretty wet. But I hopped on my bike and headed to Forest Park for two loops around (with a total of just over 12 miles). I should mention that I fell on Friday night when I was trying out my new triathlon pedals for my bike (I am still using a mountain bike but the kind folks at REI "tricked out" my bike a bit to make it more competitive). Anyway -- I tried the new tires out on Friday night and -- not being used to cages on my pedals -- I went to stop and put my foot down and ended up getting mixed up and fell over. On my left hand. Not fun. My hand is still swollen today but on Saturday morning it was swollen and painful. I didn't notice this too much in the swim portion but by the time I got to the bike, I realized I couldn't use the breaks very easily. Not good news when (1) you have new tires you are not used to and (2) it's raining and hailing heavily. So, in short, I went slower than I probably would have went on a nicer day -- and if my hand were working better. But I did my two loops around the park and then headed back to the campus.

Once I left my bike in the transition area, I started the part of the triathlon that I hate every single time I do one -- the first mile of the run. At this point, I have no feeling in my feet and to add to the adventure, my running shoes are soaked through and "squishing" with every step that I take. By the second loop, though, I could feel my feet again and enjoyed the fabulous scenery of Washington University (which always reminds me of a Harry Potter movie) -- see picture below!

I ended up running the last mile or so with a nice woman who was visiting the area for Easter (she was from Chicago) -- I never got her name but we had a great time talking about the beautiful campus and imagining Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Slytherin, and Hufflepuff -- and before we knew it, the "Finish Line" was in front of us! We ended the race with a hug and then I went back to my bike which was wet, along with all my "stuff". But by the time I got home, Jim welcomed me with a super clean house (I was having company later in the afternoon) and grocery shopping done for Easter!

PS: My online posted finish time was 1 hour, 40 minutes, and 58 seconds! Since I was shooting for two hours, I will take it!