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Transplant Athlete
Monday, September 13, 2010
  Great Atlantic Ocean Sprint Tri

My pre-race ritual involves working on my bike the day before the race, and when I say working, I mean cleaning it, lubing it, and sometimes talking to it. Saturday, I started fixing my sister's bike, which involved a lot more than cleaning. I was told the front derailleur wasn't shifting...OMG it was a mess. The cam plate for the quick release on the front wheel was on the other side, The front derailleur cable was out of the stop and twisted around the rear derailleur cable. I didn't have the right tools, so I had to wait for my Brother-In-Law to show up with his. I got everything fixed and working smoothly.

Sunday morning, I was up early, went down to the check-in table to get some safety pins for my number. When I got back, my dad told me Heather was going to ride my mom's bike. I told him I hadn't looked at it, I didn't know if the brakes work, if it shifts ok. He told me it's a singlespeed with coaster brakes, just pump up the tires...OK, works for me.

As the sun came up, it felt grey and overcast. I left my glasses hanging on the fence at the boardwalk. I was standing around on shore with 160 other triathletes, when 6:42 rolled around. It was supposed to be an in-water start at 6:45. The last thing I wanted was to be standing on shore when the gun went off, so I swam out to be near a buoy. There was three of us out there...So, the race director called us back into shore and explained that the currents near the pier were so strong that they were dragging the buoys and their moorings out of place and the slower swimmers among us would be fish food. So, they were re-thinking their plan.

They decided they would do a beach start, we'd swim out about 50 yards, turn left and swim parallel to the beach until we got to the swim finish marker, round a buoy and then head in to shore. As they were setting up a buoy offshore from the swim finish area, the ocean moved the first buoy down to the new one...So, they reset the first buoy and the gun went off. We ran into the water and started diving through the waves. My plan was to start at the back of the pack. but I soon found myself passing a few people. One guy came up choking on seawater. I'd put my head down, take a few strokes and the buoy would magically appear closer (I wasn't swimming that fast, it was probably my poor vision playing tricks on me). I rounded the first buoy and the second one seemed really far away (and it was drifting further by the minute). I got about halfway to it and started to think "maybe this wasn't such a bright idea after all."

But once again, putting my head down and swimming got me magically closer. I got the full triathlon swim experience when some guy started hitting my feet as we swam in to shore. He was really working those arms hard. I put my head down and got a few good strokes in and tried to work with the waves, that got me far enough ahead of him, I could take it easy in to shore. By this time, I was feeling pretty wiped out. I body surfed most of the way into shore and could barely drag my ass up the beach. I could hear my family encouraging me on, but it was all I could do to keep moving forward. By the time I got to the boardwalk and had put on my glasses, I was able to hussle a bit more. I think there was around 50 people in my wave and I beat about 6 of them out of the water; overall, I was in the bottom 1/3 for the swim leg (99/135). My T1 was a respectable 1:46, about mid-pack.

I rolled out for the bike and felt really fast on my softride. The wind was blowing North so we had a headwind on the first leg south, then we crossed over the island to the bay side, went North a ways and turned back south. On the southbound bay side, there was a lot of vegetation on the side of the road that helped shelter me from the headwind. We crossed back over the island and headed North with a pretty good tailwind. I was able to hold 24 mph. On the second lap, I was able to notch up the speed a little bit. It felt like every time I passed someone, two people would pass me. My average speed was a hair under 20 mph according to the results and overall was near the top 1/3 (47/135). The fastest bike time was 34:16 and my time was 43:15, that's just nine minutes (or another 5 mph).

My T2 was a little slow. I started the run and my calves were all locked up, so I tried to run a pace I could hold. That wasn't working very well, I was breathing really fast and I knew that wasn't good. As I was suffering out to the turn-around, I saw my dad ride by and then my sister. I picked up the pace a bit for the return leg and once I got to the point where I could see the finish line, I started sprinting. About halfway there, I had to back off the pace for a bit, and then was able to sprint some more. I saw the clock say 1 hour, 30 minutes, and some seconds as I passed and I focused on getting my left foot (with the chip timer) to hit the blue mat to stop my clock. My family was all there, so that was exciting, but I really needed to sit down and catch my breath. My dad finished 3rd in his age group. When my sister came in, I ran down to the announcer and said, "that's my sister Heather Lamoureux and she donated a kidney for me." They said that's awesome, go run with her to the finish...As he called that out it, then corrected himself to "Heather Snover" I realized how wiped out I really was...She hasn't been Heather Lamoureux in over a decade. Yes, it takes awhile for the brain to kick back in after a really hard or really long effort.

 

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Comments:
Yes, I will do another triathlon and possibly longer, I don't think I'll be doing another ocean swim though...That was brutal.
 
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I've gone through kidney failure twice. The first time in 2000, my mother donated a kidney; and again in 2008, I'm on dialysis waiting for a breakthrough in immuno-suppression medicines before seeking a new kidney.

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