I tried my best to stay calm and relaxed as I waited at the swim start, having friends with me really helped. The swim went great, I took my time and kept it steady. No crazy sprints only to avoids kicks to the face. I found that I was catching up to more people rather than getting passed by them. I knew my pace was going well and there was no need to aggressively try and push it. While others walked in the shallow sections I just adjusted my stroke. At the turn around I took a deep breath and picked it up a bit to finish things off. The 2.4 mile swim got done below my goal time in 1h17m and then it was off to the bike.
Was fun, a beautiful course and the weather was great. I felt that I kept it nice and steady on the first loop and managed my legs well on the second loop. The winds picked up on the second loop so that split was a bit slower as I expected. And I’m sure you heard from everyone else climbing chalk hill for a second time at mile 100 was no fun. But once I was at the top I found my legs again and got excited for the quick return to Windsor high to start my run. At the time I thought my nutrition was good on the bike but now that I am evaluating it I could have used more to carry me into the run. All good lessons to take with me on the next one. Thankful for no major mechanical issues or flats. Only a ridiculous tan line. 112 miles in 6:23:58
Then there was the run. I came out of T2 excited that I had legs and ready to start my marathon. The hilly three loop course was going to be a grind but there was no doubt I’d get through it. The legs and pace were right on point until mile 14 and then the cramps started setting in. By mile 16 I was on a walk/run pattern. I felt my stomach absolutely empty but I couldn’t eat, I felt like I wanted to throw up but couldn’t. I was able to drink water and Gatorade with an occasional coke but it had to be in small sips. GUs and salt were not playing well with my stomach and all solid foods such as pretzels and bananas were not appealing. I started walking. Very bummed that it was happening but I told myself that I was saving energy to run it in at the end. At mile 21 my CalTri team mate Josiah caught up to me and stuck by me. He and I jogged the last five miles to the finish line. It was the most emotional run of my life. I saw so many friends out there, gave tons of high fives and hugged to some awesome athletes. The run didn’t go as planned but I’m ok with it. The goal was to finish and that got done. Run split was 5h24m (12:21mm avg)
Two years ago I told my wife I wanted the title and have envisioned myself crossing this finish line many times. I took the advise of a lot of friends, I slowed down on the last point six and took it all in. I used the time to reflect. How I was forty pounds heavier two years ago when I started the journey. How proud my daughter is going to be when I tell her the race story, how two days ago I celebrated three years of sobriety. How truly supportive my wife is and how lucky I am to have her. I gave everyone a high five as I listened for my name. This moment will last forever.