Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Aaron's First Tri: Seafair Sprint Triathlon

We were up at 4 a.m. on Sunday, July 24, to get ready for Aaron's first triathlon — the Seafair Sprint Triathlon at Seward Park.

Aaron signed up for it five days before race day and didn't train at all. Of course, he had the bike training under his belt (remember that 204-mile bike ride he did two weeks ago?), but he hadn't done any swimming since our trip to Hawaii in February, and he certainly didn't prepare for the transitions between each sport.

Oh, and don't forget he still has that broken hand!

I knew he could do the race, and probably do freakishly well with practically no training; it was just a matter of how much it would hurt to do it...

We got to Seward Park just after 5 a.m. It was going to be a gorgeous Seattle day!

Aaron racked his bike and set up all his gear for the two transitions — from swim to bike and from bike to run.

Then, all we could do was wait! There were both Olympic- and sprint-distance races, and all the Olympic participants started first around 6:30. Wave after wave of athletes began to attack the swim course while Aaron waited, cold and anxious.

He had a sweatshirt and sweatpants, but he insisted on getting acclimated to the cold since he didn't have a wetsuit to wear for the swim. I'd say 95% or more of the athletes wore a wetsuit, but Aaron rolled just a tri top and tri shorts for his first race!

He finally got in the water around 7:30, and he says it was the coldest he's ever been — even colder than the polar-bear dive we did in January!

Can you spot him?

At 7:45, his wave was off! I was dying of nervousness for him the whole time. The swim course was a half-mile, but it looked really, really far to me.

Aaron says the swim was really tough, and he thought he was going to drown. Seriously! He was exhausted and resorted to floating on his back, as well as trying every stroke imaginable to get through the water.

The first thing he said when he got out of the water was, "I guess I should have swam at least once before this!"

Swim time (0.5 mile): 20:40

(I think he finished way faster than I would if I attempted this right now! I'd still be in that water right now...)

He then ran over to the transition area to get ready for the bike ride.

Transition 1: 2:30

Swim cap and goggles off; socks, bike shoes, sunglasses and helmet on. Plus, he ate some Shot Bloks for fuel.

And then he was off for the 12-mile ride down Lake Washington Boulevard, across I-90 and back.

About halfway through the ride, Aaron realized his back brake was jammed on, making the ride more difficult than it should have been! He fixed it and was able to whiz through the second half of the ride much faster.

Bike (12 miles): 37:44

The bike-dismount area had a really sharp corner that caused many athletes to stumble and/or crash into one another as they scrambled to get into the transition area, but Aaron did just fine with it!

It was time to get ready for the last leg — the 5K run.

Transition 2: 2:09

Helmet and bike shoes off; running shoes, fuel belt and race number on. Plus, more Shot Bloks.

There's Aaron's stepdad, Mark, cheering him on!

The sun was fully out and it was starting to get warm at this point, so I worried that he'd get really hot on top of being exhausted from the swim and bike. But I also knew that he's strong with 5Ks, and I knew he'd do well!

I was so anxious waiting for him at the finish line. I had a great time clapping and cheering for all the other athletes as I waited. I'm so amazed at all the effort it takes to do a triathlon!!

Finally, there he was!

I went nuts as he ran strong across the finish line.

Run (3.1 miles): 24:33

Overall finish time: 1:27:38

What an accomplishment!!!

What does one do right after finishing his first triathlon? Go straight for the food, of course.

He looks like he's giving someone a suspicious side-eye, but he's really in the middle of chewing the whole bagel that he shoved into his mouth.

Greta and Mark are so proud of their triathlete!!

And this girl is, too.


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