my first time. (not that... )

there were a lot of firsts in the second race of the season. first time i've eaten two powerbars for breakfast at 4:30am, first race without emily and/or family, first time i did the health net triathlon in connecticut, first time i went slower than 20 minutes in the swim, first race i used sox on the run, first time i broke 39 minutes in the run, and first time i earned a giant check as a prize! since there were so many firsts in this race, i thought it would be a good way medium for sharing the story of the race:

"first time i've eaten two powerbars for breakfast at 4:30am ..." training this year with will as my coach has brought a new focus on my nutrition in addition to my workouts. i've had to come to grips with the notion that eating is no longer always going to be about pleasing my palette. i've had to start eating things, not because they are delicious, but because they are what my body needs. case in point - will's advice to "eat a full breakfast or 2 to 4 powerbars 2 to 3 hours before your race." since gered and i stayed in a hotel this weekend, we didn't have access to our regular breakfast at 4 in the morning, so we had to take the powerbar route. apparently powerbars are only composed of about 250 calories a piece, so in a race that burns upwards of 3000 calories, 2 to 4 powerbars just gets the furnace burning! that said two chocolate powerbars that resemble vacuum packed pooh at 4:30am is NOT pleasant. normally, when it comes to food, i'm what you would call an "inhaler". but on this particular morning, gered and i both took on one of my wifes more adorable traits, and became "nibblers" by the end of our second bars. we finished them just as we pulled into indian well state park (the race venue).

"first race without emily and/or family..." obviously it's nice to have you're own cheering section in and out of transition and at random points along the course. but before a race, i think i usually prefer my space. for me, getting in the zone mentally requires a delicate balance of outside encouragement, and internal focus. family and friends are great for the encouragement piece, but establishing focus can be very difficult when in conversation with others. i definitely missed the encouragement, but it was nice to be indisturbed as i set up transition, and prepared to race.

"first time i went slower than 20 minutes on the swim..." well if we're going to be completely honest, i think i might have went 20 minutes at keuka lake last year, but i wasn't anywhere near 22:53! i know that sounds bad, but it really wasn't - it's because we were in a river... obviously, when you swim in a loop in a river, you're going to spend half your time swimming upstream, and half your time swimming downstream. but there's a way to do it, and there's a way not to do it. because the middle of the river flows faster than the banks, it's more conducive to a fast swim to swim with the current in the middle and against it along the river bank. unfortunately, this course loop demanded that we swim with the current along the bank and against it down the middle of the river. despite my unusually slow time, i came out of the water with the second fastest time!

"...first race i used sox on the run, first time i broke 39 minutes in the run..." unrelated - i think. i used sox this time, not because i thought it would be faster, but because i still had some pretty bad blisters from the weekend before. in fact, it actually added about 20 seconds to my transition - NOT something i'll be doing in future races. the run was the most encouraging part about the race. the swim and bike courses were super challenging so i wasn't looking for any spectacular times out of those, and when i got on the run course and saw how frickin hilly it was, i didn't think i'd be too pleased with my time there either. but will had given me the clear goal of taking out the first half of the run at 6:15 per mile pace, and i was determined to give it a shot no matter what the course looked like, and hope for the best in the last 3 miles. it was a success! i held steady at 6:15 for both the first 3 miles and the last 3! very good stuff.

"...and first time i earned a giant check as a prize!" that's right - big time. unfortunately, without emily or family there to take 1000 pictures, the only shot i have is on my phone (which i proudly show to everyone I talk to).