It's 4 a.m. and my watch alarm goes off. OK here we go - Steelman time. The morning prep was quite regular so I'll not bore you with how I made myself a coffee and breakfast. I left the house about 40 minutes later so I can get to the Steelman site and get a good spot on the rack. When I got to the park Nockamixon the place was already buzzing with activity. I had enough time to get my markings, get the bike and transition setup. During the setup the race director announced that the water temperature is 80 degrees and the wet suits are not legal. Anyways since this was my first race I decided to wear wet suit as the distance to the furthest buoy seemed quite long and I knew I'll not win or even place in my age group.
When I was setting up the transition I kept looking for my cell phone. It was like a mystery. I heard it ringing in my backpack on the way out of the house so it was there, but I was searching all the pockets and places and did not find it. Oh well I'll find it after the race and then meet up with the folks from Nike+ site that are also racing here.
At 6:50 I lined-up for the practice swim and the water was really warm. I was debating whether I should swim in the wet suit in such warm water, but then decided to keep it on and play it safe. After the practice swim we left water, walked over the mat and got ready for the start. After few minutes of waiting we heard the gun and off we went to the lake. I started the swim pretty fast and I think I took off too fast. After the first long stretch I was very tired and had another almost kilometer to swim. Oh well I said and changed my swim style to breast stroke and later to backstroke. I was going between the three styles for the rest of the swim, but mostly I did the breast stroke which is not very fast. I got through the swim and my time was not the best - 30 minutes to be exact. Even though it was not great I was still on pace to make my target time.
Getting out of the water was fun - the exit was slippery and thanks to the race volunteers for helping us out. Short run in wet-suit (yeah already warm from the water and now I run it this) to my bike stand. My T1 time was quite good considering I had to get out of the wet-suit and had to run the whole distance of the transition area with the bike. The 35-39 age group rack were the furthest from the bike exit - I guess we are supposed to be strong ;-). I hopped on the bike and got ready for that nasty hill that leads out of the park. It is bad even when you don't swim 1500m before trying to get up. It was quite bad, but I stayed seated the whole way up and got little break once I got on the main road. The bike ride was pretty uneventful except I had to stop before finishing the first loop (out of two) for little bio break. I lost few minutes due to that, but it was a good decision given that I still had some 15 miles to ride and then the run. I finished the bike in 1 hour 13 minutes and 49 seconds.
Then I ran to the T2 and transitioned to run shoes, grabbed my race belt and hat and off I was to the last leg. There was one surprise when I was getting my running shoes on - I finally found my cell phone. It was stuck in my shoe, so I just threw it on the transition mat and went for the run. Only after leaving the transition area I realized that I forgot the water bottle, but luckily there was enough water on the course. Also after running few hundred meters my race belt came off so I spent about 50 meters putting it back together which was fun and helped me to keep reasonable pace. I'm serious because in the previous bricks I had tendency to run too fast in the beginning and then I had cramps after 2-3 miles. The run was very good and I really enjoyed it although few people passed me, but I passed even more people including fellow olympic distance athletes. It felt good. I saved enough energy to sprint to the finish. And I beat my run PR by few seconds - so I guess my running performance is getting better even when I do all three sports and do not focus solely on running.
After I finished I took full advantage of the services for athletes and loaded up on bananas, grapes, water melon, but I skipped pizza. Did not feel like eating-up the fatty stuff. During the awards ceremony I finally met with the few folks from Nike+ site (first face to face meeting with fellow Nike plusers). And short after that I was heading home to get some shower, real food and some sleep. It was a great race and I am officially hooked. I'm really looking forward to the half ironman in September. It is not that far away - only 4 weeks to be exact. That is less that 30 days of training. I better work on my swimming.
Here is the official time from LinMark site as recorded by my chip for each leg of the race (there seems to be some rounding as I miss 2 seconds somewhere ;-):