Sunday, December 30, 2012

The good, the bad, and the ugly. A look back at 2012

With one day left in 2012, I decided to take a look back on the past year.  It ended up being very interesting and a mixed bag of results.  Things were good at times.  There were bad times and it got ugly sometimes.  In deciding if this year was a success or not.  It really depends on how you look at it.  I enjoyed some of the biggest successes in 2012 and I had some massive fails this year too.  I learned a lot from those fails and have been working hard the past two months so they do not happen again.

The good:  Coming in too 2012.  I had never won my age group or placed in a race.  Not only did I do that, but I placed first in my group 3 times this year.  Even winning my group in my first ever olympic distance triathlon.  Speaking of triathlons,  I completed my first ever Triathlon this year.  It had been a goal of mine for a long time and it was an experience i'll never forget.

The Bad:  The 2013 Cleveland Marathon.  This race was a complete debacle.  When I talk to anybody who ran this race.  We never mention our times.  This race wasn't about time, it was about survival and the will to not let the weather get to you.  I think everyone who ran this race looks at the their finish medal and considers it a badge of honor.  Still,  I was pretty crushed with how this race went and it was months before I did another road race.  I spent over 100 hours preparing for this race and it just wasn't my day.  I guess thats just a life lesson.

The ugly:  Rev3 Sandusky.  I really mishandled the preparation for this race and had a mild panic attack while thinking about swimming 1.2 miles in Lake Erie.  Doing your first ever Triathlon then your first half ironman 6 weeks later ended up being a bigger task than I anticipated.  I spent so much time getting my swim endurance, that my bike and run suffered and I made the decision to DNS.  The good news is that I learned a lot from this whole experience.  I get asked a lot if I regret my decision not to start the race.  No, I am not upset with my decision.  I tried my best to get ready and wasn't able too.  I'll never be ashamed of trying my best.  I'm looking forward to finishing what I started and returning to this race in 2013.  I'm already counting down the days and my official training will begin on 3/3/2013.

You'll notice that I haven't mentioned much about 2013 in this point.  Good news!!  I was asked back to be an Official Cleveland Marathon Blogger for a 3rd year!  Look for my first post next week in which I will discuss next year!

Training totals:

Swimming:  41 miles

Running:  1,029 miles

Cycling:  3,738

Total miles in 2012: 4,809

Hours spent training:  404 hours 39 minutes 49 seconds

Calories burned:  362,659

Races completed in 2012:

Pigskin Classic 5K
Twinsburg Turkey Trot 5 miler
Midtown 10K
Akron Marathon Relay
Vermilion Triathlon - 1st in AG
MS 150:  Pedal to the Point
Fairport Harbor Triathlon
Lorain Summer Sprint Triathlon - 1st in AG
CrossFit Duathlon - 1st in AG
Twinsburg Duathlon
Cleveland Marathon
Shamrock 15K
St. Malachi 5 miler
Twinsburg Indoor Triathlon

Monday, November 26, 2012

2012 Twinsburg Turkey Trot 5 miler

Ok, I have been a terrible blogger lately.  I am not only behind in my writing, I am behind in my reading as well.  I'll be working to get caught up over the next few days.

A couple weeks ago I went back to my old hood and ran the Twinsburg Turkey Trot 5 miler.

Competing in this race was a last minute decision and I am glad I did it.  How last minute??  After deciding to run, I had enough time to get dressed, grab a granola bar, and take a swig of Gatorade.  Needless to say, I had no expectations.

I arrived at the start with exactly enough time to register and run to the start.  Good thing I consumed my granola bar during the drive, but didn't have time to get any water.  I was a little worried as I had a small amount of adult beverages the night before.  

This race was probably the most interesting course I ever ran as it included road, trail, bike path, and sidewalk.  Not only was it interesting, but it was HARD.  There were several large hills and a couple long false flats.

I started off at a moderate pace and eased into the race.  On first few hills I kept things moderate and tried to save energy for the end.  I took it especially easy on the trail and sidewalk as I didn't want to twist and ankle.  My strategy paid off as I consistently got stronger as the race went on.

I finished in 43:16, which was good enough for 8th in my age group.  I couldn't be a happier with the results as this was a very hard race.  I highly recommend this race as it was very well organized, challenging, and a great deal.

Post race with Steve, Pam, Jill, and Steve

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

2012 Akron Marathon Relay: Beal's B*tches

Post race beers with Angela, Molly, and Steph

This past weekend I competed in the relay division of the Akron Marathon.  Akron is my favorite race of the year for several reasons.  Before I was a runner, I would always admire how fast the leaders of the race were as I would watch them run through my neighborhood.  The race also special to me as I grew up in Akron and my first road race was in the half marathon event 2 years ago.  I can not recommend this race enough.  It is very well supported by the town, has a challenging route, highlights the whole town, and is extremely well organized.  If you ever get a chance to run this race.  I highly recommend doing it.

This past Spring I met with my sister and some of her friends for happy hour and a little Melt.  They were forming a relay team for Akron and asked if I would be interested in joining.  How can you say no to a bunch of good looking girls who like beer, running, and Melt!  So, I joined the team.  Jokingly I said we should name our team Beal's B*ches.  They loved the name, except for my sister who would be running her first race with us.  Sadly, due to a work conflict.  My sister had to drop out.  With an open space, I decided to reach out to someone who would fit in with our team and that person was the Logo.  The Logo has been fighting injuries since April and I couldn't be happier that she was able to make her return to racing with Beal's B*tches.

Waiting at the finish with Jess and my buddy John (who crushed his 1/2 PR that day)

I was running the 2nd leg of the marathon.  This leg starts downtown and winds through lower Akron and Firestone park then ends at Akron U.  I spent most of the summer working on running after riding for Triathlons.  My comfort and speed had improved a lot.  I figured that I would immediately switch to running only and be faster since I wouldn't tired from the bike.  Well, this wasn't the case.  I struggled mightily in the week leading up to this race with my run.  My pace was about 1 minute off from my brick workouts.  I was really worried I'd hold my team back with a bad run and even considered riding to the race to help warm up.  I decided to rest as the more I tried to get my run straight, the worse I felt and hoped it was just due to fatigue.

My route was 4.9 miles and I felt good at the start.  After taking the slap bracelet from Jess, I immediately began a climb up the on ramp back into the race.  Yes, the first exchange was under a bridge.  Nothing like kicking a race off with a climb.  This route is mostly uphill.  You only get two moments to catch your breath around Firestone park and on Brown.  I felt pretty good on my run except for a little shin discomfort.  I had a great run by making it through the 4.9 miles in 40:37!

After passing off to Stephanie, Molly and Angela jumped in and rocked this course.  Our team finished in 3:41:03!!!!  Good enough for 183rd place out of 1,224 teams!!!  Needless to say....My b*tches are fast!!  I had a blast running with this team and hopefully we get the chance to do it again.

The logo leading us off with SPEED!!!

The man in black returns!!! 1st run only race since the marathon.

Stephanie flying into the Valley

Molly is literally floating out of the valley. 

Angela is making it look easy as she flies to the finish.  
You can find Jessica's race report here:  Akron Marathon Relay

You can find Molly's race report here:  Akron Marathon Relay

Sunday, September 23, 2012

You asked, Siri answers.

I was lucky enough to be due for a cellular contract renewal and even luckier to be one of the first to get the new iPhone 5.  This will be my 4th iPhone, so it's safe to say.  I'm a big fan of them.  Since this will be my first with Siri.  To have some fun, I decided to let people on Twitter and Facebook  choose some questions for Siri.  Below is what you guys requested.

Question:  Where's the closet place to find bacon?

Siri:  I found 11 restaurants in your area whose reviews mention the word bacon.

Question:  Talk dirty to me?

Siri:  The carpet needs vacuuming.

Question:  What mile will Christian Heller puke during his marathon?

Siri:  Searched the web and found Christian's blog.

Question:  Where have you been all my life?

Siri:  There are 15 churches in your area.

Question:  Where is the meat?

Siri:  I found 4 restaurants in your area that mention meat.

Question:  When will the Cleveland Browns win the Superbowl?

Siri:  Sorry, even I can't predict the future.

Question:  Where do the cougars hang out in Westlake, Ohio?

Siri:  According to reviews.  Savannah Bar and Grill is a cougar hang out.

Question:  How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Siri:  I imagine ground hogs would prefer a different question by now.

Question:  What is a cheater bike?

Siri:  According to reviews, the Specialized Shiv is a cheater bike.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Vermilion Harbor Triathlon

I competed in the Vermilion Harbor Triathlon this past Sunday.  It was my 2nd ever Triathlon and my first Olympic distance.  It consisted of a 1500 yard swim, 26 mile bike, and a 6.2 mile run.  That's double the distance of my first Triathlon and half the distance on my next race on 9/9/12.  I haven't said much about it, but since the Cleveland Marathon.  I've been training for Rev3 Sandusky Half Ironman on 9/9/12.  My plan was to train for the event and compete in a sprint distance as well as a olympic distance.  After surviving the Olympic distance, I would then register for the Rev3 race.  Well, that didn't work out so well as there was a price increase of $50 dollars on 8/1.  So, that kinda forced my hand a bit and I registered.  My worry all along wasn't the bike or the run as I've been able to ride/run that distance since completing the marathon.  My issue is swimming.  I've spent most of the summer in the pool and at the lake improving my swim.  I've made great strides and have come a long way, but still struggle at times.  Going into this race, I was very worried about swimming 1500 yards in race conditions.

This was my first trip to Vermilion and I never realized how far away it is from Stow.  Being roughly 60 miles away, made for a very early Sunday morning.  This race consisted of a variety of events to choose from including sprint and olympic versions of Triathlons, Duathlons, and relays.  My race was scheduled to start last, which was about 45 minutes after the first event.  I arrived extra early to ensure decent parking and a rack spot if necessary.  I made my way to the registration and to my surprise, they were already out of S,M, and L race shirts.  I was very disappointed as I was guaranteed a shirt for pre-registering and I was there 2 hours before the event.  They did say I will get it in the mail, but we'll have to see about that.  Still, very poor in my opinion.  Things continued to go South as I arrived at my assigned rack along with what seemed like the whole race in my row.  We were packed like sardines.  Everyone made the best of it and we worked it all out, but our row was by far the most crowded.  Once getting everything set up.  I tried to relax and finally got the courage to look at the Lake.  For those of you not familiar with Lake Erie.  Its a fickle beast and its truly like a box of chocolates.  You never know what your going to get.


From the beach the Lake appeared to be as calm as I've seen it in awhile.  The swim itself began on the beach.  From there we would swim out about a hundred yards make a left and swim about 400 yards or so then another left back to the starting area.  The sprint group would make 1 loop and I would make 2 loops.  I was a little nervous as this would be my first "you can't touch the bottom" race.  I was equipped with the security of my wetsuit, but this would be my first can't touch experience since the drowning incident a few years ago.  As I mentioned earlier.  I've come a long way and can easily swim over this distance, but if you compared it to running.  I'm still run/walking.  I need some breaks to calm down and reset.  Well, this wan't going to happen today.  I lined up in the back of my group, which consisted of clydesdales and men in the 30's.  My swim started out pretty good, but the swells were already throwing me off.  Making the left and heading down the backstretch.  I started to panic.  I wasn't ready for these conditions and not touching.  I tried to swim best I could making it to the next turn.  I took this part a little long, ensuring I could touch.  I felt tired and was not looking forward to the next loop.  At this point, I decided to quit.  I wasn't having fun and didn't want to be in the water any more.  After completing the first loop, I deciding to forge on as I didn't want to dnf my first race.  About half way through the 2nd lap.  I freaked!  I was tired.  My stroke was off and I got water instead of air a couple times.  To calm myself, I flipped over and did the backstroke.  I began to settle until someone started to swim of top of me.  I freaked again.  Swimming for my life.  I made the final left and headed back to shallower waters.  I was wore out and grossly underestimated the difference between swimming in an inland lake and swimming in Lake Erie.

Time:  27:49

Before things got crowded.

Transition 1

I managed this much better than races past.  I had no issues this time and even remembered to take off my Garmin before removing my wetsuit.

Time:  1:51


I went out aggressive on the bike.  I needed to make up for a crap swim and wanted to take advantage of the flat roads.  Or so I thought.  According to the race, this course was 386 feet of climbing.  Well, thats true if you were judging from the low point to the high point.  This course was full of rollers and it involved a lot of climbing.  To make things even more technical.  All the large descents had turns at the bottom.  This was a hard course and it took a lot of concentration.  A few roads were chipped and you had to search around for smooth parts.  Around mile 5, I had a major fail.  I recently purchased a aero helmet on eBay.  It was working out well, but a screw came loose and my sunglass shield separated on on one side.  I quickly move it behind me to save it, but only flapped around.  I had no other choice than unscrew it and toss it into someones yard and spent the next 21 miles riding with no eye protection.  I managed to ride pretty well.  Some riders tried to pass and then would squat right in front.  This was fairly annoying.  Luckily, I caught a second wind and rode away from everyone to the end.

Time:  1:17:12

Transition 2

The ride into transition 2 was really cool as it was a flat road surrounded by townspeople on each side cheering me on.  I had another great transition and even got my socks on with ease.


The plan was to establish a nice endurance pace for the first 3.1 miles.  The route was a little annoying as it was on grass the first few tenths and I was paranoid about twisting an ankle.  I ran the first mile in 8:50 and felt pretty good.  I didn't realize how well I was doing until I started to get passed repeatedly by racers in team uniforms.  They were all really supportive and I continued to clomp along on my 9 minute per mile pace.  It was a fairly flat route and had a ton of water stops.  It was really nice to have.  I didn't have any issues until mile 4 when stomach cramps began to set in.  These cost me a few minutes towards the end.  Once arriving at the last turn, I saw my buddy Alex video taping the finish. As I turned, I almost made a Tosh.O moment as I tripped over a rock.  After recovering from the near disaster, I sprinted to the finish for a time of 2:46:21

Time:  57:48


This race was insane!  A lot harder than I had expected it be.  My thoughts were that it would be comparable to running a half marathon, but it was harder than that.  I can't say enough good things about Vermillion.  The town support was the best I have ever seen and there were more volunteers here than any race i've done.  It was really nice and allowed us to concentrate on racing.  I was pleased with my overall time.  It was good enough to win my clydesdale group.  Better yet, my time was good enough to beat all the groups that chose to race by weight over age!  The only problem was the swim.  I feel like I dodged a bullet on that one.  Being in open water with out the being able to touch is not fun for me.  That kind of ruined the day for me and I wasn't a happy camper after the race.  I'm not sure what I am going to do about Sandusky now.  I emailed them about doing a shorter event or deferring to next year and they said no.  Hopefully after another 3 weeks of hard swim training.  I'll change my mind, but right now.  I have zero desire to step foot in that lake again.  Its a shame I feel that way because I wish I could celebrate what was a great accomplishment, but I can't get over the fear and panic I felt.

Christmas Ale and my winner's medal!

Monday, August 20, 2012

My Liebster Post

Hey everyone.  I haven't blogged in awhile.  Mostly because I haven't raced since the Fairport Triathlon and I have been too busy training for Rev3 Sandusky.  This week, I got Liebstered by two inspiration friends of mine.  What does Liebster mean?  I am not exactly sure what it means, but I need to list 11 random facts about me.  Then answer 11 questions posed from Adena and Kristy.

While writing this blog.  I remembered I owe some answers to a few of my friends.  Over the winter, I asked if anyone had any random questions they wanted answered by Beal.  Ask and I would answer them in a blog.  Well, I got busy and never answered the questions.  So, I will try and find those questions and will be answering them soon.  Also, if you have a question, feel free to leave a comment or message me and I will answer them in a soon to be posted blog.

11 Random Beal facts:

1. I grew up refusing to eat vegetables.  As a baby I would scrape them off my tongue.  My mom spoiled my as I grew up by always cooking me a separate dish that had the vegetables taken out.  They still even do this today with certain things.

2. I was recruited while in college to train for being a professional wrestler in the WWE.

3. I'm a huge NASCAR fan and my favorite driver is Dale Earnhardt Jr.

4.  I hate when people sing out loud in public.

5. My favorite movie of all time is Smokey and the Bandit.  As a kid, I wanted to grow up and be a truck driver.

6.  My biggest fear is snakes

7.  I'm a big creature of habit and am not comfortable when my routine changes.

8.  Apparently, I tell good stories while training.

9.   I've lived in Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, and Michigan.

10.  I struggle at choosing between two things.

11.  I'm left handed.

Adena's 11 questions for me:
1. If I gave you $5000 right this minute what would you do with it?

As tempted as I would be to spend it on some new Zipp 404 carbon clinchers and a new Sram Red drivetrain for my bike.  I think I would go on a killer vacation.  I haven't been on a vacation in awhile and I think I deserve one. 

2. What’s in your fridge RIGHT NOW?

Beer, Gatorade, steak, and lunch meat. 

3. Do you have any tricks to motivate yourself out the door on days when you don’t feel like working out?

I really don't need motivation.  If I am not really into it, I just tell myself the sooner I start.  The sooner I'll be finished. 

4. What’s your favourite meal?

Duh, Chipotle. 

5. Have you always been athletic?
  If no, what got you started?

I have always been athletic and have played sports since I was a little kid. 

7. Where is your favorite place to be?

Out riding my bike on a calm sunny day. 

8. Favorite song at the moment? 

It is Recharger by Fear Factory

9. What was the last thing that made you laugh so hard you practically (or did) cried?

I can't remember any specific instance, but probably something on Tosh.O

10. Starbucks or Tim Hortons?

I've never been to Tim Hortons, so Starbucks

11. What is your guilty pleasure? 

I have 2.  One is playing Call Of Duty online.  My other is watching the Jersey Shore. 
Kristy's questions for me:

1. How/Why did you start running?

I started running to lose weight.  

2. What is your reach goal (time, race or distance challenge)?

My goal is to complete an Ironman someday. 

3. How has running changed your life?

It has helped me lose weight.  It has also helped me meet some really cool people and i've made some great friends through running. 

4. Do you treat yourself for a great race or well done hard workout? If so, with what?

After a race I like to enjoy a few Christmas Ales and some Chipotle.  If its a long race, then I may get some pizza. 

5. Are you involved in your local running community/running groups?

Not at the moment. 

6. Do you prefer to run with a group or solo?

I prefer to train solo, but I enjoy group runs from time to time. 

7. What's your favorite race (event not distance) that you've run so far? and why?

Akron Marathon.  It is such a great event.  A fun yet challenging route, great crowd support, plenty of volunteers, finish inside a minor league baseball stadium, free beer at the finish, and its on a Saturday. 

8. Which ONE Olympic running event/performance inspired you the most?

Probably the 5K.  Watching them run a sub 4 minute mile after running 2 miles was truly amazing. 

9. If you could run one event in the Olympics, which would it be?

Which ever one is the shortest.  Lol.  Na, I would love to do the Individual Time Trial (cycling)

10. What do you think about the minimalist movement, and do you wear minimalist shoes?

I think it is good for the right people.  It isn't something you can just jump into, which most people do and get hurt.  I think when used correctly, minimalist shoes are great.  I do have a pair of Brooks Pure Cadence, which are a in between minimalist and standard shoe. 

11. If you could go on a run with any person, who would it be and why?

If you are talking famous people, I would say Miranda Carfrae.  Or I would run with my old Sunday run crew.  I don't miss the weather, but they were fun to run with.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My First Triathlon - Fairport Harbor Lighthouse Triathlon

The sweet race shirt

Doing a triathlon has been on my mind for several years now.  For those of you that know me, you're probably tired of hearing me saying I'm gonna do one.  But never really making an effort to do it.   I ride and run a lot and could easily complete one if I could swim.  I found myself coming up with repeated excuses.  I'm busy training for a marathon, I want to run this race or ride that tour. Always coming up with a reason not to swim.  Why?  Swimming has been a life long struggle for me.   Going all the way back to my childhood.  As a stocky kid, I was routinely teased by others and dreaded time at the pool.  To make matters worse, I have a birthmark on my chest that led to even more teasing. I hated the pool and I hated swimming even more.  The bullying kept me away from the water and helped grow a lifelong hatred of swimming.  Things didn't get much better as an adult.  During my 20's I was out of shape and obese.  Things had gotten so bad that I nearly drowned in a lake as I was so out of shape.  I couldn't even save myself.  I spare you the details, but if you'd like more of the story.  You can find that here. Welcome

The water was pretty calm, but got really choppy prior to the race.

I've always looked up to triathletes.  Always amazed at their dedication and conditioning to be able to be successful in not only 1 event, but 3 disciplines.  I wanted to do one so badly, but it would be mean i'd have to swim.  I had sworn to myself I would never go in a lake again, but as years past.  I began to wonder if I could do it.  Would I panic?  Could I save myself this time?  Will I get kicked in the face and drown?  All were things I'd constantly think about.  After this year's disappointment with how I ran at the Cleveland Marathon.  I was ready for a change.  Completely burned out from running and needing to try something different.  I sucked it up and hired a swim coach.  Fighting a lot of fears, I began to swim in a pool.  It helped at first, but I found myself failing to practice.  My favorite line was, I'll go tomorrow.  I never would and I didn't improve.  Continuing with the lessons.  I continued to flounder and wasn't getting any better.  The realization of this happening in 2012 was becoming more of a reality each day. It wasn't until I started training with Laurie and her constant motivation to swim in a lake that I began to improve and be at peace with swimming.  The support and help of swimming 3 times a week led to some personal bests and the confidence to finally give it a TRI!

Race day arrived and I was fairly nervous.  I kept telling myself that today is a day of firsts and success will only be measured by standing on two feet as I cross the finish line.  Fairport Harbor is about 50 miles from me and I needed to get to the start at 6:30 to get a good transition spot.  It was definitely an early morning for me.  When I arrived, I wouldn't look at the lake.  I was scared it would be rough and I didn't want to know.  Being a nervous wreck, I must have made 8 trips from my car to my transition spot.  Is it time for this?  Is it time for that?  How soon so I put my wetsuit on?  Are all things that kept repeated in my head.  

Trying to hide that I was pretty scared at this point. 

The last 30 minutes prior the race were a blur.  I found myself in a mob of people listening to directions and trying to figure where to go.  The race began with the Kayak group and the the first wave of males.  I was in the second wave.  As the race began, I entered the water.  HOLY MOSES!!!!  The water was ice cold.  It was by far the coldest water I have ever swam in.  Thank goodness I had my wetsuit on.  I continued to make my way into the water and BAM!!!!  I stubbed my toe on a rock and it began to throb.  I began to panic.  Is it broke?  Can I ride?  How will I make it through the run?  All began to run through me head.  The start was about 40 yards from the beach and I could barely touch still.   I hid in the back as I am still a pretty slow swimming.  Except everyone else wanted to hang back too.  I kept repeating.  I'm slow go ahead and they kept saying, no.  I'm slow too.   The count down was going on 2 minutes.  1:30.  1 minute.  Holy crap this is for real now.  45 seconds.  30 seconds.  15 seconds blared over the loud speaker.  GO!!!  Mass hysteria broke out everywhere.  Immediately the fast people took off and the rest of us seemed to converge upon each other.  I swam as hard as I could, trying to stay in the open water.  2 minutes in and I could already hear someone screaming for help.  I looked to my right and saw a guy in trouble.  Do I stop?  We can still touch, right?  What's the right thing to do?  I quickly saw he was helped and I forged on.  Around 200 yards, I began to fatigue.  My shoulders ached really bad.  I do not if it was stress or the cold water.   Bet I never felt this fatigued before while swimming.  Fighting through it, I continued on.  Hitting the 250 yard mark, which should have been half way.  I could see the turn around in the distance.  This was a 500 yard swim, yet I'm not even half way.  Continuing on again, I could see people when I would sight turning early.  I couldn't believe how many people were cheating! I made it to the turn around and headed back.  About half way, the next wave started coming through.  It was the first female wave and the leaders were flying by.  I tried to stay out of everyone's way as I didn't want to ruin someones race.  Coming to the final turn and making the left. I headed to the beach.  Of course, I started to run in the water too early and fatigued my legs pretty good.  But I made it!!!!!! I survived!!!!

616 yards in 14 minutes and 49 seconds.

I survived!!!!!

This is when I first realized my wetsuit was going to put up a fight. 

Transition 1
Wow, did things go horribly wrong here.  I forgot to take my Garmin off, which meant I could not get my hand out of the wetsuit sleeve.  I lost a ton of time here.  

Time:  5 minutes 18 seconds

I needed a big ride this time.  Not only was I needing to make up time for my lack of running skills.  I need to make up for being a bad swimmer and the comedy of errors that was my transition.  The ride was flat, except for the start.  As soon as you mount your bike.  There was a steep climb that was about 2 tenths of a mile.  I had my bike already set in a 34x25 gear and just spun my legs easily to get up it.  Traffic at this point was bad and I kept yelling passing, so people would move over.  Cresting the first hill and making a quick left, it was time to show them who was boss.  Turning the after burners on, I was through the first 5 miles in 13 minutes flat.  The next 5 miles were a little more technical and I made it through them in 14 miles flat.  Going all pac man on every one I gobbled up one after another and wasn't passed by anyone.  Mostly because all the fast people were too far ahead, but anyways.  It was still cool not get over taken over by anyone.  The last 3 were killer.  It was a false flat up and into a stiff headwind.  Dropping to an easier gear, I couldn't regulate my breathing.  I continued to spin as best I could, but lost a bit of time here.  The end of the route was pretty cool as it was downhill and the street was lined with people.  I think I freaked a few volunteers out as I was coming in pretty hot.  The people were so loud.  I had to ride fast for them right?  

Time:  12.32 miles in 35 minutes 20 seconds.  

Transition 2
Things went a little better for me this time.  Though, I did lose some time putting socks on.  Yes, I have learned to go sock free yet.  

Time:  2 minutes 26 seconds.  

The run sort of followed the same bike route.  So it was back up the hill!  I walked it.  I was still in need of catching my breath and I wanted to conserve energy.  Once atop the hill.  I did feel much better and eased into a decent pace.  The first mile and a half felt like 5 miles.  Grabbing some water at the half way mark, I pressed on.  I kept telling myself only a mile and a half and your a triathlete.  1 more mile and your a triathlete.  This is happening!  I kept running as hard as I could.  Fighting back the emotions that this day was brining.  Volunteers were cheering, only 1 more turn.  Only 1 more block.  One last turn on to the grass and I could see a massive finish sign.  I went as hard as I could and almost tripped on the hill as I hit it wrong with my foot.  Recovering, I floated to the finish line. 

The announcer raised my arm in congratulations and I was a Triathlete.  

Time:  3.1 miles in 25 minutes in 32 seconds.

1/2 mile to go!!!!

My official time was 1 hour and 23 minutes.  It was good enough for 144th out of 343 people and I was 15th in my age group.  I honestly have no idea if this was a good time or not, but it doesn't matter.  Today was about achieving a goal and a new beginning.

I love this photo.

I'm still on cloud 9 after this race and feel like I need to pinch myself ensure I am not dreaming.  I want to thank everyone for their support and well wishes.  It has been greatly appreciated.  I also want to thank Laurie, Alex, and Colleen.  Without your help with training and motivation, none of this would have been possible.  Another big thanks to Jason Mursch and Alex for the sweet photos.

Post race with Laurie.  I'm still in shock I made it. 

To answer everyone's question.  Yes!  I will definitely do another one and I look forward to working on becoming a better swimmer.  My next race will be an olympic distance triathlon in August and I have even bigger plans for this Fall.  It won't be easy and I have an aggressive training program in place to go with an aggressive race schedule.  With everyone's help and support.  Along with a lot of hard work.  I'm sure I can achieve my goals.

Lighthouse photo with Alex.

Post race.  Yes, still can't believe I made it.