I made my long distance debut this weekend at the 2009 Brasschaat ITU LD event. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so ecstatic, exhausted and, above all, sore. Here are a few things I’ve learned:
* Overall: triathlon is the single most rewarding sport in the world: 3 basic discplines, 1 huge adrenaline rush, more than 8000 calories burned, 4 cramps suffered, 1 clenched fist when crossing the finish line. A priceless experience.
* Rookie mistake made during the bike leg: not enough food intake. Capital error. During the first run loop, I couldn’t remember my own name. Next time, I’m packing food like this athlete:
* Random observations: energy gels taste like feet but they do help. So does good ol’ Coca Cola. My favorite brand of race nutrition = Squeezy energy fruit gums. Eating bananas on the bike at full speed is not a pretty sight. Memo to self: never race in white Skinfit tri pants.
* The women’s overall winner, Sofie Goos, gave me a serious cold by literally flying by me during the run. Impressive race, Sofie.
* Pictured below is Koen Hoeyberghs seconds after crossing the finishing line. At age 43, Koen is triathlon nobility in Belgium. He placed 5th overall. In the picture he looks like he went for a stroll. I bow humbly.
* By way of comparison, this is how I looked during the run. Notice any difference?
* For the record, here are my splits:
swim: 2700m in 0:42:27 (91st AG, 170th overall)
bike: 80km in 2:08:32 (73rd AG, 128th overall)
run: 20km in 1:48:10 (144th AG, 282nd overall)
Total: 4:41:51 (114th AG (192 finishers), 197th overall (417 finishers))
Complete results available here (.pdf)
* Conclusion: this was the best athletic experience I have ever had. Perfect setting and race organization, great value for money, lovely weather and atmosphere. Well-refereed too. I’d do this again in heartbeat.
* Thank you: Wendy & Jerre, Luc & Annick, Jim De Sitter, Marc Pollet, the race organizers and the countless aid station volunteers. I never meant to dose you.