Jelly Legs and Airforce Ones: Time machine blog to my first triathlon

At the end of whatever race it is I decide to do next, I will be able to throw another notch on the scratch board for a total of 5 years of triathlon. Wouldn't it be cool to go back and see myself at my first race ever? I was 19, ripe off of one year rowing, and had spent the summer learning how to bike with my Dad, running when I could, and in general being an idiot after my first year of college. It was the summer I used to run the IU football stadium stairs (that nonsense burns real bad when you get 20ft from the top), bike 20 miles at a time (tops) and swam whatever. But I took it very seriously. Sounds like a terrible 90's song.

Hilariously, I would go on to weigh 230 that fall rowing season. There's another joke for ya.

So I show up race morning - probably weighed 215. Blue, suede Air Force Ones, New Balance "Will never wear them for a triathlon again" shorts, baggy XXL tee. Party time in transition.

In all seriousness, I was dressed like that, and I had a Keith Anderson framed bike (still have it!) which was a

58cm or something ridiculous, spring loaded aerobars, and all the while I was worried about my tender swimmers feet landing on something undesirable while running from the swim to transition. Nowadays, I think beginners are smarter than I was and they don't put dinosaur aerobars on their road bike, but I wanted them no matter what. Guaranteed I had the worst fit ever on that quill-stem bike built for someone under 6'.

Speaking of poor fit, I remember being so cramped in the aero position that
I would crank the largest gear I could just so I didn't have to deal with my knees hitting me in the chest (ok, embellishment) as often. It was an awesome strategy. Rolling almost 19mph for 17mi at 50rpm can give you only one possible outcome for the run. A combination of what it feels like to drive a car with wet concrete for tires, and jog with 10lbs of sweat soaked cotton sheeting hanging off your torso, because you KNOW when I got to transition off the bike I tried in vain to put a white cotton shirt on. I looked like a ghost trapped in its sheet leaving T2. Later I would learn of number belts. Later.

With about 1/2mi to go, I began to walk. The fans got intense then. Not Malice at the Palace intense, but one dude kept insisting that I run again, immediately. Not just once, but he pursued me on the course. Unnecessary. Later, 3 years later, I would discover how to appropriately respond in a situation like this. Dialogue went like this:

Narrative: Man rounds the corner to the first aid station. Stops and walks as he approaches.
Obnoxious 14-yr old girl volunteer: Oh don't STOP. You gotta run.
Angered participant: HEY, it's my race, and I'll do what the hell I want.
Obnoxious 14-yr old girl volunteer: WATER!

Great story. As I was coming to the finishing chute, that white shirt I was wearing was sweaty indeed. I was a large chested man. And when that be the combination, throw in some insecurity, my biggest concern was, "how can I hunch so THO wont show through when I cross the finish line?" The joys of being a teenager.

21st Overall
Swim: 7:42 T1: 0:48 - .5mi
Bike: 56:36 T2: 1:02 - 17mi
Run: 24:08 - 5k
TT: 1:30:16
Second Overall in the swim!

So those were my benchmarks. New goal: When having bad thoughts out on the course present day, remember the panache I had at 19, then smile and get on with my life. I've been taking results too seriously after races lately. Why should I? Into this world or the triathlon one, we all come out flailing anyway.