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Marin Triathlon

McNear Beach and China Camp State Park
Nov. 1, 2009

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I was a bit of a party pooper on Halloween, focused instead on the fact that I had to wake up at 5am to eat a pasta breakfast ahead of my first triathlon -- in fact, my first competitive athletic event in more 20 years.

"Competitive" may be a bit of an exaggeration: all I wanted to do was finish. I trained for four months (and raised $2,610 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society at the same time) and was surprised that I never got sick or injured or even just distracted enough to keep me from reaching my goal. I did manage to get laid off while training, but that may have been unrelated.

I knew I could make the swim (about a mile) in the Bay, and I knew I could make the cycle ride (about 22 miles, up and down the hills of China Camp). The run, however, was an unknown quantity. I might have run 10K at some point in our training, but certainly not after a swim and a 22-mile ride. Luckily, our coaches had trained us well: the first mile with, its climb up a steep trail, was a bit tough. But the first mile is always sloppy. Once I crested the ridge, the rest was just sort of ... one foot after the other.

After I realized I was going to finish, I came up with two new goals: to finish under four hours and not to be the last man across the finish line. I finished in 3:54:52, and about six guys came in after me. My girls ran the final 100 feet with me, and I was never more proud to receive a gift than I was that alumninum water bottle that they handed me (full of cool, refreshing water) at the finish.