I missed cheering on my sisters in Tri at Iron Girl Columbia because the 24th Annual West Point Sprint Triathlon was on the same date – August 4th.
Ever since I started doing Triathlons, I wanted to participate in this race. Why? Well, DUH! I’m a gray hog. I’m the 12th Man. West Point is my Rockbound Highland Home. I am the Long Gray Line. ALL DAT.
DUTY HONOR COUNTRY!
I HAD to do this race. AWESOMENESS!
My Sherpa and Spectathlete, The FireMarshall, drove me up to West Point, NY and our classmates, Irv & Mavis Smith, put us up for the weekend. It turned out to be an awesome weekend as I was asked to make a presentation to the new Superintendent, got to shop at the Cadet Store, hung out in the new fangled Grant Hall (and am getting my very own DEAN APPROVED coffee mug) AND spent time with several of our classmates up at Bull Pond. WHO KNEW that there were two cottages up there and you could rent out the whole place for the weekend. A lake retreat up near Lake Frederick. Our classmates Poly & John Combs rented it out for the weekend and invited all our classmates that were in town to come up for a get together. I mooched a little early on Friday by getting in an OWS at Bull Pond. More Awesomeness.
The race was on Sunday. The goal that my coach gave me was simple. NO PIDDLING IN TRANSITION. Get in/Get out. Cut my transition times significantly. With that as my only concern, I relaxed and enjoyed the experience.
We got to the Camp Buckner early but kinda late for the limited parking and had to walk about a mile to the transition area. The FireMarshall took his role as Sherpa seriously and carried all my gear and pushed my bike all the way to transition. I was a all emotional as we walked down the hill to transition together and was bummed that I didn’t get a picture of us to put side by side with the one below taken about 28 years ago. All I have are some shots Ron took of me running up that same hill. The memories came flooding back every step of the way.
He handed everything off to me and I got things set up and then hung out with other West Pointers I met in transition. …and then, just like that, my girl – my BFF, rides in on her Harley to cheer me on. When I saw her I started crying. I told her that it was because of the Wounded Warrior that had just started the swim (and that did get me misty), but It was really seeing her. You just don’t know how much it means to have your own personal cheering squad and paparazzi. I know how much energy and time it takes to hang out for 2-3 hours (or longer) while we swim, bike, run. Being a spectathlete is hard work. And she rode and hour to cheer. ILAGATOR!!!
So let’s get to the race…
SWIM 800m (23:55): The swim was in Lake Popolopen and wet suit legal at 72 degrees, but I didn’t bring mine. It was warm enough for me to swim as for Army. My only concern was I didn’t think they put out enough buoys. You had to swim out about 100m, make a hard right (without a buoy to guide you) following the shore line and then make a straight beeline to the 1st turn buoy. Yeah, sighting and fighting was the name of the game and I believe I lost some time in the cluster fugg trying to get around that corner. Other than that, I felt great on the swim and got out the water not feeling exhausted.
Bike – 14 mile (1:07:18): Hill work is the name of the game. This was a challenging course – to me. Not in the short steep hills of Howard County challenging, but in the mile long (or it seemed even longer) steep climbs. It got to the point where, again, I simply did not look up – EVER – until all of a sudden I realized that I could pedal easier and was going down hill. I just kept spinning and moving my legs, chanting “Pull, Pull” until it was over.
Run – 5k (44:44): It is what it is. I’m getting better. At least I can keep moving and the foot pain is pretty much gone (then again, I wear a compression sock). AND you can’t help but hustle up when ILAGATOR is behind you yelling “I’M RIGHT BEHIND YOU!!!!” Well, I couldn’t have that. And when I thought I was all alone out there on course, thinking “OH MY GOD. I’M DEAD ASS LAST. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN.” I heard Ila’s voice into the woods…”LIIIIIIIIIIIISSSSSSSAAAAAAA!!! GOOOOOOOOOO!!!” I had to keep moving. “COME ONNNNN, LIIIIISSSSAAAA!!!! ALMOST THERE!” It was the energy boost that kept me going.
Did I achieve the goal? YES. I cut my average transition times in half. Another milestone…I cut my clock time down by an average of 16 min. Now I am comparing sprint races that are variable distances and terrain, but it is close enough for government work for me.
But the coup de grâce to the race for me was finding out (all after the fact) that I had place 3rd in the Athena Class. Granted, only 4 of the 11 registered actually participated – WHO CARES – Imma take it. Made my day, week, month, year!!
I put together a little slide show from the day. Stick to the end to see the OLD GRAD WOBBLE.