I did it. 2:42:47 for 1000M swim, 24mile bike, and 10K run.
I worried all week about the swim. I heard it had been cancelled in the past due to wind. I had a poor swim at Ft Desoto which was half of what I was going to swim at St Anthony's. I went up the day before for check in and to volunteer at the TNT tent. I also signed up for the Inspiration Dinner with TNT. I went early and drove most of the bike course and then got lost. But I saw the part that was supposed to be the technical part with the speed humps. Not too bad I thought. I then went to the expo. Triathlon expos are different from marathon expos. First they are outside. I think triathletes like to sweat more. Triathlons are in the summer with hot runs. Marathons you worry more about freezing before the start. The crowd seems younger and more muscular. Marathoners are on average skinny without much muscle. Think underfed and laid back. Triathletes look at their competition. Size them up and down and up and down. You have lots to do.
After I was all checked in I joined the peeps at TNT. Very nice. There were 375 TNT peeps signed up from chapters all over the USA. All very happy to be there and ready to go. Alumni from previous TNT events also stopped by to share stories. I felt humbled and proud to be a part of such an organization. After my time there I met up with Karl from TRifit for a beer and some small talk. He is an experienced triathlete so any insight was welcome. I then went to the inspiration dinner. I was a little apprehensive. I was afraid of hearing too many stories of gallant battles fought and lost. That didn't happen. It was positive and truly inspirational. Participants would had beat Leukemia and Lymphoma and stories of dedicated people raising money for the society. I was knocked off my chair by the keynote speaker: Mama. An eighty years young mother of 7 who took up the 10K part of the relay 5 years ago and raised 80K for TNT mainly by knocking on doors.
Oh yeah the race. When I arrived at the transition area Sunday at 5:15am it was extremely windy. Gusty. White caps in the harbor. They direct made an announcement that the swim had been moved more along the shore line and shortened to 1000M. I felt much better. After getting set up I made my way to the swim start to see the pros go off. There were 32 waves total and I was in 19. I took a quick warm up swim which proved to be helpful. The water was not too cold and the wind was starting to settle a bit. My swim was steady. Better than Ft Desoto. There was a lot of bumping but I didn't seem to get rattled by it. I kept a pretty good rhythm even though my form was not as good as it could have been mainly due to the crowding. I stopped only to adjust my goggles after getting them knocked out of place by a young guy speeding through our wave. After exiting the water we had to run on the sidewalk about a half mile. That was enough for me to get blisters on the pads of my toes.
My bike was near the swim in so in was easy to find in the crowded transition area but that meant a long run to the bike out. The bike was great. I have decided I really like the bike and like to go fast. Fast as I can. I did hold back for the first half not knowing how I would feel as I went along. It was still windy so it was hard to drink. I actually lost my back bottle going over a bump. There were speed bumps around a golf course road that were a little scary since you caught some air but not enough to clear them. The course was technical but not scary.
When I got off the bike it took me longer to get my running legs then I thought. I took a gel but new my hydration was not great. I took Gatorade at all the stations plus had an 8oz hand bottle of infinit . The run course was very scenic with a lot of crowd support. The finish was in the park. There was a good finishers medal, cold towel, and drinks. Food was OK. The free cold beer tasted the best. All in all it was a good event. I look forward to doing it again. Go Team!