being a spectator

(And I will never do an Olympic triathlon)

Yesterday, Dan had his first tri ever. He has a half ironman in 6 weeks. And it’s about time he actually complete one triathlon before then. I mean, he’s not even training (kidding! He’s training plenty! Just not crazy, and over-training like I would be)

So, as a dutiful girlfriend and fellow athlete, I decided to go for moral support, and to help pace him on the run part.

We got there bright and early at 8am, and wandered through the body markings area and I started SoccerMom’ing it up- making friends with all the other ‘supporters’.

The swim was first (1500m or almost a mile), and the first guy came charging out of the water in like 18:30 or something… Insane! And he had a few minute lead on the others. We all cheered violently when we saw the first white cap come out of the water (40+ male), and even harder when the first pink cap came running out (female).

Still no Dan.
But it was like 30-minutes, so these people were smoking it! Finally a group emerged with Dan at 37:30. I hit ‘lap time’ on my iPhone’s timer, and ran to the transition area sidelines, as Dan got ready for the bike. He seemed to take his time changing out of his wetsuit and preparing for the ride, and told me he got kicked several times and got a little freaked during the swim (so it was a tad slower than he had hoped).

Yep, he sat down to change. I would have too!

Yep, he eventually sat down. I would have too!

And he took off, biking around the lake for 26.5 miles. I made mental notes that I could run that far…

mouth full of shot blocks

mouth full of shot blocks

We had no idea how long this ride would take. He had been going 16-18 mph with a local bike group . But, I couldn’t do the simplest math, so I just waited until I saw him come to the transition area.

Finally, an hour and a half after he left for the bike, he came rolling in. The clock read 2:12, but the winner had already finished (2:04! That’s crazy!). I cheered as loudly as I could to get Dan’s attention, but he was tired and the music was loud. So I jogged/walked to the run start to help him get started.

Dan is fast. BTW. Like 20-minute 5K, and could probably pull a 41 or 42 minute 10K time. I’m not that fast, so I thought I’d pace him a little, and if he was really hurting, I’d stay with him longer.

I saw him and started smiling (like a dope, waiting for him to see me). He finally saw me, and I set off with him. He told me a little about the tri, and told me he felt like he couldn’t get his feet back under him after cycling for that long. So we started at nice easy 8’s. And I stayed with him for .34 miles before I had to drop off.

Look him taking out that old man. Who cares if the 75-year old started 4 minutes later?

Look him taking out that old man. Who cares if the 75-year old started 4 minutes later?

The course was an out-and-back 5K twice. Which made it easy for me to pace in pieces. I walked ahead and cheered for other runners, as they finished up their tri. I kept walking until I saw a turn, and stopped there, waiting for Dan. He wanted to finish in less than 3:00, which meant he had to finish the 10K in less than 48:00, which is very do-able for him. But would be hard, and I could tell he was getting tired.

Have I mentioned Dan doesn’t really do distance? Like 8-9 miles (in an hour and change) is the longest he trains. 🙂

I finally saw him, and I felt a surge of energy, so I wanted to stay with him for close to a mile (back to the 5K completion). We were pushing 7:40s. And I felt strong, but could tell Dan was struggling to keep that pace. So I stayed with him a little longer, and we pushed down to 7:20s before I needed to drop off again (after 0.7 miles). And he was almost to the 5K marker/ turn-around. I hit my iPhone timer for another lap (25min or so), but that was including his transition time.

I looked for him. I ran with him again for another 0.5 miles. He was struggling. Barely keeping up my 7:45 pace, so we dropped down to a 8:00 pace, to let him adjust before the home stretch. I made jokes that I was taking it easy on him now, because I wouldn’t on the last mile.  I wanted to make sure he came in under 3:00, and the run is his easiest part.

I dropped off again before the same turn (just by the final turn-around). I glanced at his overall time- 2:50. 2:51… Okay, Dan, you need to get here by 2:52 to safely bring it in before 3:00. 2:53 may work… C’mon, c’mon!

Finally, I saw him again (clock read 2:52:30), and we took off. One mile left babe. You’re at 2:52 on the clock, you can do it but you’re gonna have to work for it! I forgot that meant I’d have to run that fast too… And pushed quickly down to a 6:30 pace. I told him to just stay steady with my legs, Just stay with this pace. You’re doing great. We’re down in the 6:30s. Keep it up. Keep it steady, etc. We got to the finish so quickly. And I felt really strong (I know, it’s not about me, but I can’t usually run that fast). I gave him a final pat on the ass, and yelled ‘Bring it on it!’ And just cheered as he hit the final 0.2 miles. As I peeled off and ran through the cycle finish, I stopped my timer- 2:59:02, but I had no idea when he finished…

He had finished in 2:58:40! Wooo!

"It hurts to smile. This is the best you're getting out of me"

“It hurts to smile. This is the best you’re getting out of me”

I was so proud. And proud to have been a part of it, and able to help. Turns out we ran the last mile (according to my garmin) in sub-6:00 pace. Not sure if that’s accurate. But we were flying. And eventually going too fast for me to glance down, so it’s possible. And he brought it in in under 7-minutes FTW (from 5 mile mark to the finish, or 1.2 miles).

We went to shower (ugh! Boys smell so gross after endurance events), and then to Raleigh Times for a celebratory beer (Mother Earth Second Wind. Mother Earth makes good stuff and the name attracted me to it. It was a good solid American Pale Ale).

And in case you were curious, Dan finished the 10K portion in 46:21, faster than I can run a 10K, and all in all, a good solid time. Proudest girlfriend ever. And glad I got to be a part of it all.

Ironman will be interesting. I might have to run the whole half marathon with him. To help him keep a slower, steady pace (which is still fast for me). We will see. We joked that I might have to pace Tom, his brother, as well. And I was like, Ummm. I ain’t running a marathon to support you two 🙂 with a kiss. Also we estimated he will finish the Ironman in 6.5 hours. Better bring my sunblock (I’ll be in the sun 930am-230pm then). And I’ll give you all the highlights for that as well.

3 thoughts on “being a spectator

  1. Sweet race report, fun race! Just FYI, a non-racer pacing a racer is called “outside assistance” in triathlon and the racer can be penalized up to a DQ. It is not advised.

    • Wow! Good to know. I’m guessing that is to keep the prize money going to the true winners. No offense to Dan, but I don’t think he’ll be winning any of these in the future… I apologize if my “assistance” somehow altered the integrity of the event. Whoops!

      • No problem. It just stinks if in your support of him, he actually gets penalized time. And 99% of us don’t have a chance at prize “money”, but we dig and scrape for every second or minute we can find, and having a 2-minute or 4-minute penalty tacked on is not something we look forward to. I’ve raced 20 triathlons without a penalty, and I just don’t want to see folks get hit with them due to not knowing.
        Also, it’s a liability to have non-racers on the course, in case there was an accident/incident.
        Keep him racing, we’ll see him at IMRAL70.3 (I’ll be volunteering AND racing there). Member of the old guy’s group (M40-44).

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