Race morning began with me getting to the race site just before most of the volunteers and I was able to park about 50-60 feet from the transition area, which really made set up easy. Being a shorter race I had minimal setup to worry about and I was done fairly early.
If you look right behind me you can see the exit from the aquatic center pool to the transition area, which was close and allowed for a quick move between the two events.
The swim was a 300 yard seeded swim done in 25 yard lanes and swimmers went off every 10 seconds from both ends of the pool and got out in the center lanes as they switched lanes after every out and back. I had listed 5:20 as my seeding placement time, which I thought might be a tad fast but I was hoping to feel motivated to go fast. As it was I was exiting the pool around 5:10 and officially finished my swim in 5:29.1, including the pool exit and run out the building.
T1: Although I had some minor fumbling with my helmet straps, this was of minimal concern and I was on my way in a T1 time of 49.5 seconds.
Bike: This was listed as a 10 mile course and I had about 10.1 miles on my bike (maybe a shade more) so this was pretty accurate. In a relatively flat area, they seemed to find some decent hills as we seemed to be going up or down a lot. My strategy was to go hard the whole ride--it was only 10 miles, right? Well, I did keep with this plan and passed a fair number of cyclists and was passed by none.I finished the bike in 29:41.6.
T2: I made an effort to be quick in transition and only had a minor issue with my shoes. Then I grabbed my visor and race number belt and put each of those on as I ran off, finishing T2 in 59.2 seconds.
Run: The run was a cross country run around the high school athletic property. Most of the first mile was on pavement but most of the rest was off road, sometimes on somewhat muddy trails. Finally, the last 300 yards or so were on the school track to the finish. My goal was to run as hard as I could for as long as I could, and hold on to the finish. I passed a fair number of runners and was only passed by two others. The first guy who passed me early in the run proved to be the eventual race winner and he ran a 3 mile time under 17 minutes. The other runner who passed me got by me around the half way point and though I was not able to catch him, I stayed near him for the rest of the race and was only about 40-50 feet back of him at the finish line. I pretty much accomplished my running goals and was able to finish in 23:36.3.
This gave me a final time of 1:00:35.9. I had previous supposed a perfect race for me could be done in just under an hour, and I came pretty close to that. What was more important is that this race felt close to the best I could have done in terms of execution during the race, and that made me really happy. I felt that I had run about as strong and complete a race as had in me on that day, and that also made me feel happy. This was my 19th triathlon to complete since I began doing triathlons in May 2009 and this was definitely the most complete race I had run overall (with last month's race being a close second).
The reason I do events such as these is for reasons of health and fitness, as well as for personal satisfaction. I'd never won awards, nor did I think I would ever expect to win any--although, I would have expected it would be good to win something at some point--but not in any way that made me feel like there was something I needed to prove anything to myself, or to others.
However, this day held something else in store for me. When they called out the name of the winner of the Men's 45-49 age group, the name they called was mine. It did not take me long to get over to the Race Director for my prize (an iTunes gift card, with a more formal award to be sent later after my name is added to it).
For once, I had the distinctly different view while standing next to the race official and of looking back at the crowd while the cheers were for me---and that really was very nice. Hopefully, I will be able to win another award or two at some point.
However, that still is not the reason I do these races. I do them because I enjoy them and they help me be a better person by keeping me healthy physically and probably also mentally--and I hope I will always do these things for those same reasons for a long time to come.