Wednesday, September 1, 2010

TRI'ing Something New!

This past weekend was one of Morgantown's most popular events, the 7th annual Sprint, Splash and Spin triathlon present by Mon County Habitat for Humanity. For the past four or five years I have been the photographer for the event and more than once I said to myself I should have signed up and took part in the race. Well this year I did just that.

Most folks know that I am pretty good on a bike but swimming and running?! I didn’t even own a pair of running shoes and would I make a fool out of myself trying to swim in the pool for all to see? These were the questions I was faced with days before the event. I was still going to be the iPlay photographer for the race so first I needed to find someone to step in for me while I was out on the course. Luckily Julie Black (owner of iPlay) was more than happy to get up at 6:30 am and come down and take photos for a bit. Thanks again Julz! Problem solved.

At 8:30pm the night before the race I found myself in a shoe store trying to find something to wear on my feet for the next day. Probably not the best idea waiting till the last minute to find some shoe but free time was at a minimum the weeks leading up to the race. After searching for a whole five minutes I picked a pair of shoes and headed out of the store wearing my new shoes like I was 5 years old again (thought maybe they would break in a bit, lol!). My wife said that the shoes looked funny on me because I never wear running shoes. :/

After my last minute shopping for shoes, Gina and I headed over to Jay’s Getaway for a congratulations party for Laura Kelley who defended her dissertation that morning. GREAT JOB Dr. KELLEY!! I looked at my wife before we stepped into the bar and said, “Two beer maximum for me, got to race at 7:30am”. Well we all know how that goes, let’s just say more than two beers were had. We left the bar at around 11pm and there was still enough time to go home get some sleep and then get up around 6am to prepare to race.

I was nervous about the swimming and running. I was not sure I could complete the swim in 10 minutes and run 5k because I had never done a race like this before. At 4am I found myself lying in bed wide awake. I didn’t fight it, I just got up made some coffee and breakfast and started my day (for those who know me, I never get out of bed before 9am). As much as I hate getting up early it was nice to not be running around trying to get ready an hour before the race started.

Photos by Julie Black/

Fast forward to 7:15. I found myself standing in the pool area at Marilla wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into. Racing bicycles was pretty normal for me but this was going to be totally different! 7:29! I was in the pool making nervous talk with the lifeguard who was in charge. Then before I knew it he blew the start whistle! ACK!! My swim was not a thing of beauty and was a little slow but I finished it in 8 minutes and 4 seconds. I was so happy to finish it before the maximum limit of 10 minutes and headed to the transition area feeling pretty happy. Goal one, complete!

The bike leg was where I had hoped to make up some time. Heading into the race I was shooting for a top 40 time on the bike. I had a slight disadvantage because I was not using aero bars but hoped I could overcome that. In the first mile I started passing folks who exited the pool before me and I was riding well. Even though I was putting in a good effort, I still was able to appreciate what a nice morning it was for a ride. I enjoyed it so much! In the end I finished the bike leg with the 29th fastest ride of the day. Goal two complete.

Photos by Julie Black/

During the ride I was thinking about the upcoming run. It had been at least 10 to 15 years sense the last time I ran, plus I just bought my shoes the night before. “This could be a disaster”, I thought to myself. As I dropped off my bike and headed out for the run I had no clue how my body was going to react. I started out with a very easy pace and tried not to blow myself up. Further and further down the trail I was going and I was still able to run. I was kinda surprised. I got to the halfway point and was still able to run! Hmm I thought. This is new. I was able to finish up the run without walking at all and I was pretty happy with that. Goal three complete! In the end I could/should have going a bit faster on the run but I didn’t know what to expect.

Photos by Julie Black/

I finished the race in 1 hour and 12 minutes. That was good enough for 85th place out of 265 racers. I was extremely happy with that! After a quick change of clothes it was off to take over for Julz and finish up the event photos for iPlay!
I had so much fun doing the race and I hope to do it again next year! Now I just got to get the TRI folks to do my Time Trail race on Sept. 18th!

Thanks to Dynamic Physical Therapy, Cannondale, Kenda Tires, Camelbak, Swiftwick, Ergon, I9, Mike Miller DDS, Edward Jones, Performance Coaching Services, Pro Gold Lube and Pathfinder for letting us race on the best equipment in the business.