The title should probably say “…where it all comes together”, sadly my case was a bit different. I should probably start with a general disclaimer that I am a horrible runner, or perhaps I should just call myself a jogger. On a good day I can probably keep a steady 10 min-mile pace, going down hill, with the wind in my favor. I also put minimal amount of training on my run as that seems like the least complicated part of a tri. I figured that if I can get to the run start I should be able to drag my but over the 10Km in just over an hour…boy was I wrong.
So what went wrong? well the route was a lot hillier than I expected. You exit the transition area on the southwest and take the steps up Beach City, then across the bridge and down to the trails along the shoreline. More trails thru Harris Creek campgrounds, past the launch ramp parking lot and onto Lake San Antonio Drive. After a few more trails the finish is just after you descend down Lynch Hill. In addition to the difficulty with the heat, I was also not prepared for the dusty trails as I had primarily run on flat roads. The short of it is that I had been “exercising” for over 3 hours in the heat, running up hilly trails when my quads were worn out and I had depleted my body of all the necessary carbs and more importantly electrolytes. As a result I had one of the worst cramps of my life with my quads fully seized up and I was sidelined for a good 12-15 minutes.
Fortunately, this happened near an aid station and the volunteers were very helpful. They were constantly bringing over Gatorade, Power Gel and Power Gel Blasts which eventually got my system going again. I was now exhausted, in pain and sore from the cramped up leg muscles…only 4 miles to go. Had it not been for the encouraging volunteers and friendly and supportive athletes I may have called opted out, but I stuck with it. As per the advice I received, I was walking up hills and barely jogging on flats. It was when I saw Lynch Hill that adrenaline completely took over. I got to the bottom of the hill and started my victory screams.
I did not realize that I still had a couple hundred yards to go. From all my screaming I had churned up my stomach and I was doing everything in my power to hold back as I crossed over the finish line. With my family cheering me on, I was delighted to receive the “finisher” medal and a couple of wet towels to cool off. What a relief, what an amazing sensation of accomplishment, what a victory. And as I was looking for the medic tent for some ice and electrolytes, my only thoughts were what event should I sign up for next. This insane sport is certainly addictive.