Olympic tri in the books

I did my first olympic distance triathlon yesterday. Well, I suppose I’ll start with the bad first, then I can focus on the good…
I was last in my age group, 48 of 48. WOOO!
Ok, that’s pretty much the bad.
I wasn’t as prepared for this race as I meant to be. Aaron and I spent a lot of time getting things ready for the alpacas and with the alpacas. And after work, almost every day for what seemed like six weeks was thunderstorms which curtailed (although it wasn’t impossible) efforts to exercise. I rode the trainer, ran on the treadmill, and even got kicked out of the INDOOR pool on an attempt to get a swim workout in on a Saturday. So, in short, things were not ideal for me, but then again, they probably weren’t for many others either. I was pretty close to bailing altogether, because I just didn’t feel prepared. But, after thinking about it, I decided I should do it anyway, and just get the experience. Every race is a chance for experience…
I headed down to the hotel Saturday evening. The parking lot was completely full with tri cars, yet not a person in sight in the lobby. I immediately went to sleep as well. Was awakened only once by the sound of sirens, and actually got a pretty good night’s sleep.
At 5:15 the alarm went off and I got dressed and ready. I wasn’t able to eat but I was only feeling a little queasy. The race location was very nearby and I got to register and get body marked right at 6:30 or so, well before the main crowds. In fact the race was delayed since there was a line wrapped around the building to register about an hour later. The bike racks were marked with your number which I liked (better than no marking or not using those nifty racks where the back tire goes in – like those too). I had plenty of space to set out my gear. There were something like 750 racers (632 individual racers per the results).
Aaron got down to the race around 8 am, and found some of his coworkers doing the race. I got ready for the swim which was wetsuit legal @ 75 degrees. I was in one of the later waves so there was plenty of waiting around. Finally my wave went into the murky, mucky water (seriously, you could not see your hands in it at parts) and yet I wasn’t freaked out, just a little nervous. Finally it was our wave’s start, and as the bulk of it took off, I took my time. I’m still not sure about being in the pack, and I just focused on alternating breast stroke with freestyle, and getting to each buoy one at a time. The swim felt long, and it was – the most I have ever swum at once in open water, at least at one time. The course was around a small pond, and at points the swim pack constricted so that I had no choice, and for the first time I got a few pokes and prods, felt someone swim onto my legs, and it was a little nerve wracking with all the arms and people around. I managed to keep my cool and make my way around the buoys. Finally, I saw the starting gates come back into view, and came out of the water – hungry at that.
Transitions at this race are crazy long. I mean you have to run from the water, across a lawn, a little road, down the back of all the bikes and then back into the transition area. Lots of sticks and gravel and stuff I usually don’t walk on… I wouldn’t be surprised if it were a tenth of a mile, I mean they were long. Anyway, my T time was 5 minutes and I can’t imagine more than 2:30-3 of that was me actually getting ready. I didn’t wear socks, did have a gu, and a swig of gator, but I don’t feel like I wasted a lot of time there. I didn’t dry anything other than my feet. Aaron was there watching me.
Back out on the bike, and I had a pretty good ride. I kept the pace up the whole time, though I got passed by plenty of others. I only passed a few people. I was a little concerned by this, but just kept riding. The course was overall quite flat, and scenic at points. There were some very minor hills but well spaced apart and not too challenging. I did take a few looks around and enjoyed the route. Coming back in from the bike, I could see that there were runners coming in, lots of them, and thought, wow, a lot of people are going to be done before I’ve even started my run… granted the first wave started a long time before me, and swimmers were coming out of the water before I even went in, too!
Another confusing and long run around transition to get out to the run course. I started out reasonably but my left knee area was getting pre-cramp twitchy already, and I knew it was going to be a bit of a battle. After one mile down, two miles down, still hanging in there. Three miles, still good enough. Snuck in water at nearly each stop (probably not the best racing plan) and by mile 4 it was getting tough, and I had to walk some of it. Over the last 2 miles there were some hills which made it particularly challenging; I know my times dropped way down there.
I never doubted I would finish, but under what circumstances less clear. As it was, I was pretty cooked by the end, but even in that there is some learning that I’ll take away for future info…
here are the times and info.
T VAN ES PEPPERELL MA 3:37:11 48/48 F3539 575 34:39 [swim] 5:06[t1] 585 1:35:54[bike] 3:00[t2] 601 1:18:34 [run]


I promised some photos of our boys and got the chance this weekend. I took some of the chickens, too. They are now maturing and maybe just a month away from laying. They look like adults.
So, here are the pics:
Canon at the fence:

Wally (Emerson) looking for anything tasty near the barn:

The boys in the paddock:

Here’s one of Charlie, and you can see he’s growing into being a rooster:

Life is good!
More pictures are up at Flickr

From http://www.lastnightsdinner.net/2008/08/13/the-omnivores-hundred/

My 100 is
at the bottom.

My friend
Andrew over at Very
Good Taste
came up with a fun little meme which I couldn’t resist. Want to
play along? It’s simple:

1) Copy
this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold
all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never
consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk
linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea

3. Huevos rancheros

4. Steak tartare

5. Crocodile (does Alligator count?)
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp

9. Borscht

10. Baba ghanoush

11. Calamari

12. Pho

13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi

15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses

17. Black truffle

18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes

19. Steamed pork buns

20. Pistachio ice cream

21. Heirloom tomatoes

22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras

24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese

26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper

27. Dulce de leche

28. Oysters
29. Baklava

30. Bagna cauda

31. Wasabi peas

32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl

33. Salted lassi

34. Sauerkraut

35. Root beer float

36. Cognac with a fat cigar (…what?)

37. Clotted cream tea

38. Vodka jelly

39. Gumbo

40. Oxtail

41. Curried goat

42. Whole insects
43. Phaal

44. Goat’s milk

45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more

46. Fugu

47. Chicken tikka masala

48. Eel

49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut

50. Sea urchin

51. Prickly pear

52. Umeboshi

53. Abalone

54. Paneer

55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal

56. Spaetzle

57. Dirty gin martini

58. Beer above 8% ABV

59. Poutine

60. Carob chips

61. S’mores

62. Sweetbreads

63. Kaolin

64. Currywurst

65. Durian

66. Frogs’ legs

67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake

68. Haggis

69. Fried plantain

70. Chitterlings, or andouillette

71. Gazpacho

72. Caviar and blini

73. Louche absinthe

74. Gjetost, or brunost

75. Roadkill

76. Baijiu

77. Hostess Fruit Pie

78. Snail

79. Lapsang souchong

80. Bellini

81. Tom yum

82. Eggs Benedict

83. Pocky

84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.

85. Kobe beef

86. Hare

87. Goulash

88. Flowers

89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate

91. Spam

92. Soft shell crab

93. Rose harissa

94. Catfish

95. Mole poblano

96. Bagel and lox

97. Lobster Thermidor

98. Polenta

99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee

100. Snake

Alpacas in the barn…

This is going to be pretty short as I am feeling fried from work. Of course, during the day I have all these great thoughts I want to blog about but after evening tasks and dinner, I’m now feeling sluglike.
But, I think we are a real farm now. We both have mucked the poop to prove it. On Monday, two of our alpacas arrived and are managing to settle in now. Tonight they even had some fun running around after the chickens which were out for some early evening grazing. It’s nice to let the chickens out in the evening because they will return to the coop on their own – so I take advantage of that! Anyway the boys haven’t been around chickens before so they spend a lot of time studying them. When the chickens are out, they try to follow them and the chickens get all scatterbrained. Really, the chickens are not very intelligent creatures. But still adorable.
I don’t have pictures yet of this momentous event, in part due to our continuing afternoon rainy/stormy weather. This weekend I hope to have the time and inclination to snap some pictures and I’ll post them up here.
I’m amazed at how quickly the presence of the alpacas has caused that sweet alive pasture smell – and I mean that in a good way. Alpaca pastures smell really pleasant to me.
Aaron picked a few more quarts of blackberries, and fought the weed whacker (it’ll be going back to the store for a return) to get the back split rail growth cleared up. Our paddock almost looks nice again. And there’s no way the two boys will run out of greens anytime soon. We could have all the boys here and still have plenty.
Speaking of boys, yep, we had our fourth and final cria for the year, a fawn male. He’s looking really nice so we’re holding on to hope that at least one of our 8 boys will blossom into a special herdsire.
This weekend will feature in no particular order: barn office cleaning, coop muck out, hanging with the boys, blueberry picking, exercise at some point… that’s been the real casualty these last two weeks, minimal exercising. Not ideal for race preparation… oh well – the farm has to come first.
I’ll be back with more updates soon!