Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Very little drama on the run compared to the swim and bike.
Mid-way through, I contemplated a bathroom stop, which on reflection, would have cost me my goal of completing within three hours, so I'm glad kept going.
The course wound around many times through Moody Gardens.
Volunteers, many of whom dressed-up, one as a clown, some in Roman-style togas, passed out Gatorade and water. A man played guitar and sang Jimmy Buffet songs as entertainment for the runners. Cheerleading squads added a welcome dose of pep and spirit.
The run was like one big, sweaty, continuous-motion party for me. Somehow, it ended up being my best part of the race. The best part of the run, for sure, was that it lead to...
THE FINISH LINE!
On the bike, I thought about Bog Seger.
According to Timothy White, a writer for Rolling Stone, "'Against the Wind' is about trying to move ahead, keeping your sanity and integrity at the same time." Yeah, that's about right.
For about 14 miles of the 28 mile "Mavic Loop," we rode against the wind. Slowly. Stubbornly.
Dudes and chics with better bike legs and much better bikes (like the really cool aerodynamic triathlon bikes) did whiz by me thanks to their conditioning and reduced wind drag.
The second half of the ride, after the turn around, well, was pretty awesome. We flew! As hard as the first half was riding into the wind, riding back was fun.
It was at this point in the race, that I firmly determined that the Quarter Iron Man was the right race for me. Those suckers doing the Half Iron Man had to do that loop one more time, with that wind, which I swear was only getting worse.
I, on other hand, was on to the run!
"Open Water swimming is a different beast than swimming laps in the pool." Such was the very first mental note I made during the big race.
During my swim (marked in Green above), I wandered all over the place. My goggles fogged up. I wore earplugs (mistake) so my hearing was diminished. During the last two months of training, I had hardly practiced "sighting," the method of raising one's head at regular intervals during one's swim stroke, in the pool. I missed our group open water training, and the rain and lighting kept us from swimming the course on Saturday prior to the race, meaning a big element of my race was going to be a true first; you try to minimize "firsts" by training how you race - same drinks, gu, gels, gear, distances, etc. I digress...
After making the first left, at the tetrahedral marker (yes, that term was announced many times over the loud-speaker) I stubbornly tried to keep my head down and get into my swim rhythm, certain I was swimming straight and in the right direction. I looked up to find myself out of the pack. Realigning my direction, I put my head down and repeated this practice. Could this be a metaphor for life? Looking up, I found myself still apart from the group.
Assessing my position and my condition, I realized that several minutes into this effort, I was neither tired nor panicked. The water felt good. I did get into a rhythm, albeit one that took me off course somewhat, but hey, it still felt good. So, finally cluing into what mid-swim adjustments I needed to make, I began to sight at every third or fourth stroke.
The race start was done in waves. My Navy Blue swim cap marked me among the first wave, followed by Green and then Light Blue. So when swimmers from two waves back were passing me, I realized how much time I'd lost in this zig-zag line of thousand tacks that was the path of my swim.
Oh well. Plenty of opportunity on the bike and the run to make up some time.
Just before the swim began, I realized something about myself:
- I only get nervous (really nervous) when I'm ill prepared.
- I was prepared for this race.
Monday, April 02, 2007
A more complete update with pictures and such will come, but here's the quick update.
We hit our fundraising goal in the final week! Team Goodman supporters hit the $3,000 mark plus a bit! The North Texas team (both Dallas and Fort Worth) raised over $140,000 for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
I finished the Quarter Iron Man race and achieved my personal goal of completing it in under three hours. (You can check my times, type in Bib # 560 into the Quarterthon results page).
Our team did great! We all had a blast, are proud of our effort, but also humbled at the opportunity to serve a great cause and for receiving so much support from friends, family, and colleagues.
Thank you all again for your support!!