The race was the Marineland Triathlon about 20 minutes south of St. Augustine FL. The day before my girlfriend and I spent the afternoon in St. Augustine seeing the fort, walking around and taking a ghost tour. If you’ve never been to St. Augustine, you should go. Its a neat little town.
Race day I woke up and things weren’t starting off that great for me. I could tell something was off. But we got everything packed up (seriously, running a tri really is a pain hauling so much gear!) and made it to Marineland for final registration. I almost forgot to fill my water bottle for my bike but my girlfriend was on top of things!
I was pretty nervous before my first race and mostly for the swim. A month ago I was feeling very confident but in early March I suffered a ski injury that kept me from training for almost a month and really set me back. I knew I could complete the swim in a pool but not in open water. The seas were pretty rough looking…one of the buoys got torn out 3 times.
The race started and I lagged slightly to the back so I didn’t have to contend with people bumping me too much. It was a small field anyway (31 people) so it wasn’t that big of a deal. The tide was still out so the swim was a bit weird since you could really walk all the way out out to the swim lane and then almost could walk the whole thing! The really rough part for me here was just that this was where the waves were breaking so it was very uncomfortable for me to do the swim. I drank and breathed in a bit more sea water than I would have liked!
I got back up to the transition and I was already near dead last (didn’t really care for my first race) and I decided to try and push it on the bike to make up some time. The route itself was pretty nice. Its a really pretty area of the state. My only real complaint is that instead of doing 2, 12 mile loops, I wish we’d just gone out and back. I did learn I need 2 water bottles with me since I ran out about halfway into the ride. Breathing in all the sea water combined with the weird feeling I had in the morning was starting to really bother me too (turns out I was coming down with bronchitis…still recovering)
I made it back for the run transition and its funny that a few years ago I never would have viewed the run as the easy part but I run so much now that it was. It was a horrible run for me but I ended up next to a guy out of the transition who was running my pace so we ran the entire 10k together. It was actually very nice to have someone to talk to for the hour it took us. Both of us were joking about coming in last but we knew there were 2 people behind us as we got close to the end.
Him: “Well, at least we’ll beat two people”
Me: (with a grin) “Well, one of us will beat two people, the other will beat three”
My only victory of the morning was beating him at the end in our own little race.
Overall it was a great experience. State of Mind Sports, who ran the event, did a great job hosting it. Very organized and very helpful to the newbies like me. I’m excited for my next one, maybe in July, when hopefully I won’t be suffering from bronchitis! I also need to focus some more on swimming because I need to be much stronger there.
My final time was 3:17:39.