Hughes Blog
Thoughts on Software Development, Project Management, Parenting, and Running.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Blackland Triathlon
I had kinda been thinking that if the weather held up, I might do one more Triathlon this fall. I had been toying with the idea of doing The Monster Triathlon in Keller, Texas. This race starts with a 300 Meter Pool Swim set up long course (50 meter lanes) with really wide lanes. But on Friday, as I scanned the newspaper for the race line up this weekend, I noticed that there was a Triathlon right in my back yard, The Blackland Triathlon.

Blackland also was set up for a long course swim, advertised as 300 yards. I found out later they were going to run this short course for 300 yards, but changed the setup to long course at the last minute - which also changed the swim to 300 Meters. The bike was right down Los Rios, a road that I ride on a regular basis. And the run was net down hill with a nice grass section and a slight up hill finish. PERFECT!

Fran gave me approval. Packet pickup was a plano cycle, so I went down there yesterday to sign up. Now I figured that this would be a small event. Heck I never heard of it before. Nor had I heard of the race director. (Turns out it was his first race, which explains both.) But when I forked over my dough - they gave me race number 547. I looked at them dumbfounded. I know that I was dumbfounded because they looked at me asked if everything was all right. I asked them if they were going to start the swim by number. And they confirmed that. Ouch. It turns out that the race sold out a full 500 participants.

So, they were going to start the swimmers every 10 seconds. That is 350 or so swimers in an hour. The race was scheduled to start at 9:30. If I got into the water before 11, it would be miracle. The situation was complicated by the kids schedule. Reagan had to be all the way across town by 1pm for soccer and Fran had to leave at noon to get her there. Logan had to be at a game on the other side of town by 2pm. The only way this was going to work was for Fran to bring me Logan at noon. But if I started at 11 - then I would not be done by noon. Tricky.

Add to that they got the race off five minutes late. And they were indeed starting the swimmers every ten seconds. I walked back to the transition and called Fran. I went to the car and put on sunscreen. At 10:15 or so, I went back to the pool. They were about half way done. In fact they were moving along much faster than expected. I got in the warmup lane and did a 100 hard, got out and lined up - about twenty swimmers in front of me. I am not sure of the exact time I started, but well before 11. In fact, given my gun time, it must have been 10:28!

The lanes were pretty wide, and I had to use all of them. I passed a buncha people on my first lap, did a flip turn and found three people blocking my way. I had to stop until they got going, then I passed all of them, and I was much more careful to line up my turns without hitting congestion. I was passing people left and right in the pool. And although I was mostly trying to pass on the left, I had to split some folks and even pass on the far right at one point. By the time I got to the last 50, there was actually no one in front of me. I sprinted the last lap, and got out and ran to transition. That was the 8th fastest swim 300 meters in 4:45. This was the first pool swim where I did not get passed in the pool.

I got through the T1 pretty efficiently and got out on the bike. I knew these roads inside and out, and they did a really great job with traffic and directions. We had what felt like a pretty strong south wind, which was exactly the way the race started. There were three pretty substantial hills on the race course too - but we would have the wind to our back for two of these. I was passing like crazy, and also having to remind tons of riders to MOVE TO THE FRIGGING RIGHT! Sheesh. I was 27th in the bike in 39:59 for 13.5 miles. This was my first Triathlon where no one passed me on the bike!

Blackland Triathlon

I got off the bike and in out of the T2 in 45 seconds - the fastest T2 in the race.

It took a couple hundred meters before my calves stopped threatening to cramp on the run. I pushed as hard as I could and really worked on my turnover. I was passing people all over the place. Most of the last mile was on Grass. I run on grass most of the time when I train, so I was just loving this. Then a slight up hill at the end. And then a sprint to the finish. Done! Wow. That felt really good. I was fourth in the run behind a 23 year old guy, 29 year old girl and a 33 year old guy. I guess I need more work on my run.

Blackland Triathlon
Hey who put this number belt on upside down??

I finished eighth overall, third master, third in my age group (by four seconds!) My chip time was 1:07:08. (Update Nov 3 - Apparently they changed the results. The guy who finished 4 seconds ahead of me has now been classified in the 40-44 AG. So I was eigth overall, third master, and second in my age group. I don't suppose that I will ever get the second place trophy!) (Update Nov 21 - Today I received the second place trophy in the mail with a note from the race director that read in part, "thanks for the kind words on your blog."!! Ya never know who reads this stuff!!)

I hustled up to the transition area and while I was messing with my stuff, my phone rang. It was 11:45 and Fran had Logan by my car. I love it when a plan comes together. We had about an hour and a half before we had to leave for her game. She and I went back to the finish, where I had a couple of Saint Arnold Beers. While we waited for the awards.

As Logan and I were prowling around, we ran into my buddy Lydia, who had been threatening to do a Triathlon for a while. Today was her first ever, and she finished 4th in her age group! Not too bad!

Blackland Triathlon
Lydia on the right, in her first ever triathlon. Welcome to the Dark Side.

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All views expressed in this post and on this blog are my own. None of my comments should be construed to represent the views of others including and not limited to: BMC Software Inc., Corel Corporation, Dun and Bradstreet and AC Nielsen. Copyright Chris Hughes 2004-2012