Thursday, August 24, 2006

Strangman's Beach Biathlon 2005

My very first experience with any type of multi sporting event was at the Strangeman's Beach Biathlon in 2005. I had decided that I would experiment with a few double sport races before moving to the triathlon. This event, held in Clearwater, Florida seemed like a good place to start.
To prepare I had jumped in the local pool and gotten in a few laps the week before the race. Pretty sad looking back. I wanted to make sure I could complete the distance. I was not concerned at all about the running, since that is my background. I had planned to just get through the swimming parts and cruise through the run parts. Oh, and I had never swum in open water and the 2 swims are in the Gulf of Mexico. Sounds like a set up for disaster, but it actually turned out okay.
The event is unlike any other. It starts with a 2 mile beach run, then a 1/4 mile Gulf swim, then back out for another 2 miles on the sand and finally once more into the water for another 1/4 mile and a dash to the finish line on the beach.
The first 2 miles were cake. No sweat... (well actually lots of sweat 'cause it's hotter then Haiti here in Florida). I took my time at the first transition. Put on my cap, goggles and ear plugs and off into the Gulf I went for my first open water swim ever! I was kicked a couple times, punched too. So, to be fair, I kicked and punched a couple folks too (not on purpose off course). It's an out and back swim and at one point I was swimming into oncoming traffic. That hurt.
Run out of the water. Transition again into my running shoes. I took a bit longer during this transition. Wet feet into dry socks is rough!
Okay the second run was hard. I was surprised at how I felt. All I did for those 2 miles was worry about that last swim. Was there a graceful way for me to bow out? I had to tell those voices in my head to stop!
3rd transition, I sit for a few minutes getting on all my swimming gear.... AGAIN! I sucked it up and went back into the water. I had to finish this darn thing! At the turn around buoy I knew I had it. I came out of the water and sprinted to the finish line they had set up 50 meters away. Well, maybe "sprint" is an exaggeration. More like some form of walk/jog/crawl.
I ended up with 5th in my age group and was very proud of myself. They had a great post race party at the Palm Pavilion and gave away of ton of freebies.
This year will be the 14th running of the event. It is being held October 14, 2006.

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