Transplant Athlete
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
  Jersey Shore Multisport Cheap, Fast, And Not So Easy

I arrived in New Jersey Saturday night. My cousin Matt, his wife Michelle, and my Aunt Sue and Uncle Steve were at my parent's house, along with my sister Clair, and her boyfriend Matt. My cousin Matt and my dad were planning on doing the Cheap, Fast, and Easy triathlon on Memorial day and I was planning on doing the slightly longer version.

I had stopped at Bonzai to pick up a wetsuit and realized I had forgotten a cycling jersey, so I picked up a tri-top as well. This time, I ordered the next size wetsuit up, a large.

Sunday we had a great BBQ and went to bed early. Monday morning the three of us woke up ready to go and we got out quickly. It was a beautiful morning, although just before the start, we started to see storm clouds in the distance. The wetsuit felt like a great fit and I felt great and fast for the first leg of the swim. I felt like I was keeping up with the pack up to the first turn. By the second turn, I was still with the pack and soon after I heard the gun indicating the women had started. So, I was facing the last long stretch before the turn into the beach. I got about halfway to the last green buoy when it started to rain. On top of the that, I started to feel like the wetsuit had tightened up around my chest and I was veering off course and further into the bay. My head was telling me that I was making the swim longer than it had to be and I felt a bit of panic.

To calm down, I started breathing every time on my right side. I started to feel like I was fighting the suit and I was desperate to finish. I finally turned the corner and headed for the shore. I passed a guy who was standing in chest deep water and walking in and I knew I could stand up at anytime and "dolphin" in to shore.

The wetsuit came off quickly. I got to my bike and everything was soaked from the rain. I threw on my cycling shoes and helmet and took off. It was tough to see in the rain, my glasses were fogged and covered in drops. Standing water was obscuring the road conditions like potholes or cracks. I was riding on my Zipps at regular pressure, so I couldn't corner very well. Since I was pretty much last out of the water again, I had a lot of people to pass on the bike. There was one short steep climb in the course. I made it through the first lap and on the second lap, I started getting passed by women. I was under the impression at the time that I was so slow out of the water that these women were on the same lap as me, but I think they were starting their first laps. My swim time was only a minute slower than the first place woman and she had started ten minutes behind me. At the top of the only hill, a woman rode straight across the turn and caused a couple guys to veer around her. My guess is her brakes were wet and she couldn't slow down. I booked past that group and passed a couple more people on a long gentle downhill. We had to drag back up that hill and with two turns left, another woman misjudged the turn and caused more cyclists to veer around her.

I raced into the transition area, passing my dad on his way out and grabbed my hat, race belt with my number, and I got my Vibram 5 Fingers on. I started to hobble out and realized that two of my toes were jammed in the same slot, so I leaned against an ambulance and adjusted my toes. I didn't feel fast at all during the first mile. I got passed by a couple guys and girls. There was an aid station at the first mile and I hoped I was near the turn around. I picked up the pace on a downhill and finally started feeling strong on my way out to the turnaround. There were kids cheering us near the turnaround and that felt really good. I suffered back up the hill and start giving it some gas. I wasn't reeling anyone in, but I wasn't losing ground either. I saw my cousin Matt on his way out on the run. With about a third of a mile to go, I gave it all I had and passed a few people. I was so focused on stopping the clock, it didn't even register that they were handing out flags right before the finish line. Looking back, I was pushing so hard, I couldn't tell you when it had stopped raining. I placed 7th in my age group, two more seconds would have put me in 6th place. I'm still chasing that mid-pack though.

My cousin finished in an awesome time of 47 minutes putting him squarely mid-pack. My dad also posted a great time a hair under 55 minutes.

On a side note, a guy got DQed for wearing headphones on the bike and the run. What an idiot.


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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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