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The North East Triathlon in Maryland

This just about expresses a first time triathletes experience to perfection. Dave Winfield, a former college roommate of mine, wished to complete a triathlon this year. He set his sights on a Olympic distance tri in North East Maryland. The event is organized by CGI. They do an excellent job.

Dave mentions Doug in his commentary. He is referring to Doug Farmer who reached the podium for the first time in his division. Doug and I have been working together since April. Good work Doug!


Some of you knew I was doing my first triathlon so I thought you’d like a little update. Clearly, I didn’t drown – which is a good thing – I know some of you were a little worried based on my reports of my swimming adventures. Bright and early we got there, got body marked, found our rack row and set up for the transitions. The body marking was new: bib numbers on the arms, calendar year age on one calf and event on the other. Now the age is out there for all to see. Once in the corral, we found our rack and dropped our stuff, to set up for transitions. You get a towel width of space to place your running and biking stuff. There are many articles on the web about how to do this and it help that Mark had sent me a check list prior to the event. That doesn’t mean I didn’t forget stuff, just forgot less stuff. It is crucial to have your area set up before you go so you are not fumbling through your bag to find, well, whatever to get on with the next stage.

On to the water to warm-up and test the water temp, which was 81 degrees. The water was warm enough that wet suits where semi-legal – participants who used them would race and get times, but they wouldn’t be podium eligible. Also, you need to get your stuff set up and get out of transition period by a certain time so I got back just in time for a few adjustments and out. I also found that testing the run from the water to the transition corral was essential as it provided me with a warm up run and allowed me to count the steps to the bike – they all look a like and yes, I lost it at first.

The next step was the race to the potty. ‘nough said.The the waves started. We had yellow caps so I didn’t get out for about an hour after the first wave left. Aside from the transitions, using a swim cap was a new experience and I missed sealing the goggles so I ended up with leaky goggles. Not awful, but annoying. It probably cost me a few seconds, but getting better at swimming is more important. And the swim. Yes, I used the breast stroke about 90% of the time through the 1.5k (.9 mile) swim. I was comfortable, I could “go”, and, more importantly, I could float. Better that, than panicking that I didn’t have enough gas left to get through. The other advantage to this stroke is that I could always see where I was going so I was never going in the wrong direction. This happened to many people who crossed my path doing the crawl (or freestyle) and it’s a big waste of energy. I will work on my open water swimming for the next Tri.

LAND, HO! I was done. Ready to get out, I made my way across the sand and started the run to the corral to pick up my trusty steed. This would be the new Felt bike I built up (with Matt’s help). Nothing fancy but I picked up this 2010 Felt s32 aluminum frame (carbon fork and seat post) and bought the pieces for it over the next few months. This was definitely my better event, but still have improvement to make – my rank was 130, my pace was an average of 18.8 mph (I think/hope it was mph!), but I am encouraged. I was beat handily by the other members of Team KET (Kotarski Endurance Training) Mark (the Coach) and Doug (our medal winner in his category!). I did lose time when I dropped my water bottle and had to go back for it. No Excuses!

The transition to run from bike went smoothly and I headed out to the 10k (6.2 mile) run. The weather was perfect for this Tri, cloudy and between 68-76 degrees. There was some rain sprinkles but in general, no showers. Starting off running after biking 40k (25.5 miles) is generally considered to be difficult – you are asking your legs to do something completely different from what they had been doing the last hour or so. In this case, I felt good, started out with smaller steps to try and warm up a bit. This course is considered to be rolling hills, the run had it’s share. Through the unattended midway point and back I trudged on. I never stopped running, but I felt like I kept throwing my legs forward, willing the next couple of steps. It helps to pass people – use micro goals to make progress.

Finally, into the chute, your name announced to the cheering crowd and cold water. A few minutes after I finished, I couldn’t decided if I was feeling good or not. There was the normal strain you feel in your muscles after a good workout, but there was something else I couldn’t quite put my finger on. In retrospect I think I bonked on the run or probably dehydrated a bit. Not enough food and water when I was on the bike to prepare for the run. I guess that’s why they have those funky aero bottles on the handle bars. After a nap and about 100oz of liquid I was feeling better – but boy, what an appetite. I was scarfing down any thing I could get my hands on.

In all it was a great experience and I am hoping to do it again – but I won’t bore you with the details of the rest!

Here are the numbers from the event!


Race Statistics:
Total rank
Swim Rank/time/Pace 288/40:01/44:28
T1 3:01
Bike Rank/Time/Pace 130/1:14:36/20.5
T2 1:54
Run Rank/Time/Pace 191 54:52 8:51
Total for the day/rank in Age group 2:54:22 20/31
AG(45-49)/Rank (against the other guys!) 148/243

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