Tellico: 6 Minute Cheaters

The alarm went off early in the morning on race day. Having gone to bed fairly early, I was semi-awake for this part of the morning, but it was the pre-race jitters is what kept me out of bed. I turned the alarm clock off and wandered off to get some food in my belly and some caffiene in my system. We had a little while before we needed to leave so I made some peanut butter toast and the cup of coffee and tried to find out what the weather would be like that morning. No internet… huh. Go figure. For the next 20 minutes I tried to trouble shoot why I had no internet connection. THe short of the story is that the wireless router needed a reset.

I followed my pre-race rituals and laid out all my race clothes that I would be wearing for the 1st leg of the triathlon the night before. Also, my race bag  was ready to go. Just scoop and carry and I would be all set. All dressed and ready to go, Gray and I right on time, maybe even a little early. Dawn was peeking over the horizon, We took his Jeep down to the Sweetwater exit and made our way to the Mastercraft Manufacuring PLant where boats are made. Parking was easy and we went down to get our race packets and body markings.

In triathlons, there are 3 disciplines, swim bike run. Commonly in that order. The international distance (or Olympic Distance) is the standard accepted distance for triathlons. Anything shorter is called a sprint and anything longer is deemed in one of two categories Half-Ironman or FUll Ironman (really just 'Ironman'). The distances for the Olympic Distance are 1.5 km (~1 mile) swim, 40 (24.8 mile) km bike and a (6.2 mile) 10 km. The distances that Gray and I would be covering was 1/2 mile swim, 17 mile bike and 4 mile run. I would be doing the swim and run, Gray had the bike. Our number for the race was 126 and picked up our timing chip and then had our numbers written in Sharpie on our thighs, arms and our age on our calves. Having your age on your calf allows for some good stradegy. By knowing the age of the people in front of you, you can plan and scheme on how you will over take your rivals and there by knowing whether you need to expend the energy on someone who looks like they may be in your age group.

My cap was day-glo green and I was part of the relay group, but I had no idea what wave I was supposed to be in. So, I jumped into the second wave of the the men's…

Swimming in open water is so different that the pool for obvious reasons. It had been 4 or 5 years since I had swam in the open water and I was a little nervous about being in the water with all the other swimmers. Practicing my sighting stroke in the pool paid off because I was swimming just find in relationship to the bouys. I managed to be doing just fine swimmingwise, but I could not control my breathing… it was too fast. Even when I tried to control my breathing, it was not working. At the half way point I had to switch from freestyle to breast stroke, that helped some. As I got closer to the last bouy, the female swimmers were passing me. They were just gliding through the water. With just a little bit in the swim left, I prepped myself to go back to the freestyle. The transition back to freestyle was good. I ended up not kicking at all but using all arms for the last little bit. I made it to where I could stand in the water and got out of the water and race to the transition. Gray took the chip off me and got on his bike and took off.

While I was in transition, I didn't do a whole lot. I sat down to rest, after all I had about an hour or so. I stretched a tiny bit, but nothing  crazy. I could see the finish and studied how I would finish the race. I determined points where I would pick up speed if I could.  I went and changed out of my swim clothes and into my run clothes. I ran into a guy from my sunday school class, who was also on a relay team, he was only doing the swim. Then shortly after that the first biker came into transition. The guy in the lead, when to his spot, racked his bike, pulled off his shoes, put on his running shoes, grabbed his number and VOOM, he was gone. He had a clear 3ish minute lead over the next guy. More and more bikers started to come in. Soon, my friend's biker person came in and his runner friend took off. Then I saw Gray making his way in. He got off the bike, I took the chip, wrapped it around my leg and I was off.

Just as I was starting my run, the guy (and eventual winner) was running toward me. He was obvious in a great amount of pain. Looked like his hip. He still had a considerable lead though. I started pacing behind this one girl. She was running a decent pace that wasn't too fast, at least not early. We started to over take runners and by the first mile, we had over taken a handful of runners and saw my friend's runner buddy. That was my goal – Overtake him. He was about 0.1 or 0.15 miles ahead of me, so it would take quite a bit of work to get to him. Thankfully, I had the chick in front of me to help. By the second mile, we had closed the gap considerably, but then a cramp flared up in my side and I had to slow down a bit. Lucky for me, my target guy hadn't gained anything on me. Before I knew it, I was running behind him, letting him pace me. The stradegy behind this is that they are doing all the work. I can draft behind him, save some energy and then over take him. Well, at one of the waterstops, he had to stop to drink water and so I passed him. I passed him and then picked the paceback up slighty to put some distance between us. There were points where I heard runners started to pass me, but none were him. My last mile was definitely the fastest. I picked up speed on the small down hill right before the grass finish. On the part of the course where I had preplanned to finish I passed another realy guy. At this point I was running pretty fast. Then, in a last effort, I put everything I had into my legs and passed one more person before I finished. I was wiped but was pleased with my time.

I met back up with Gray and we chatted a bit. We got some drinks and alittle bit of food before deciding to go put the bike and stuff away and head back for the awards ceremony. I told him that I had past a couple of relay people and that we might have a chance for 3rd or something. It might be worth our while to stay and maybe get some swag.

When were returning to the race site after putting the equipment up, we heard that they were giving out door prizes. We looked at each other and I took off. Gray can't run right now due to an injury but we wanted to get something for free! We didn't get anything for free… pooh. Shortly after that they put up the preliminary results and I couldn't find my name on swim time. Huh… Now Gray had been telling me that I swam a 12 minute 800 meters and I told him… no freakin' way. So'nuff, I was 4th on the swim finisher with a time of around 11:40. Well, you know and I know that I don't swim that fast. My time was because, well, I cheated. I didn't know I was cheating and I cheated 6 whole minutes! What happened was that I had jumped into the wrong start wave. I didn't know which one I needed to be in and I just followed the green swimcaps. Even though I cheated, I didn't get any time penatlies, but I did drop the 4th place swim.

The results were called out for each age group and wouldn't you know that the relay teams were the last ones to be called. Now the age group awards were going three deep and there was a cool ass bag that was being awarded to the 2nd and 3rd place winner. But as they started the group awards they said that the Relay teams would one go one deep. So no bag for us. But for posterity, we did come in 3rd.

CRAP! I forgot the split times!

Split Split Distance Overall Distance Split Time Split Pace Overall Time Comments
1 800 meter 17:35 2:12 per 100m 17:35 Terry
2 Transition 1 1:03 18:38 &nbsp
3 17 mile 56:07 18.2 mph 1:14:45 Gray
4 Transition 2 0:26 1:15:11 &nbsp
5 4 mile 31:32 7:53 1:46:42 Terry

About planet3rry

I'm a husband, father and runner in the Knoxville area. I love the way that running makes me feel and how it has changed my thinking. I am always looking for the new PR whether in the 5k or the marathon