2008 Ragin' Cajun Triathlon
25 October 2008

200 meter swim / 8.5 mile bike / 2.5 mile run

The University of Lafayette Triathlon, held annually in Lafayette, Louisiana, would be my 20th and my last triathlon of the year.   The 200m swim, 8.5 mile bike and 2.5 mile run would also be the shortest distances of any race I've done this year as well.  My buddy Hunter, who raced with with me in my my first ever triathlon, the Hunad Challenge Triathlon, which we both created back in January, would be racing with me today.  This would be his first 'official' triathlon since the Hunad Challenge was an unsanctioned race.  Heh, he and I were the only participants in the Hunad Challenge so I guess it would have been kinda hard to get the USAT down to sanction our race.

We arrived on the campus of the University of Louisiana, Lafayette around 6:30AM.  After rushing through registration and body marking I was anxious to go scope out the pool.  

"Oh that's just awesome, the pool is outside. I just LOVE swimming in 60 degree water!  It rocks!" I sarcastically commented to Hunter. 

My wetsuit was with my bike somewhere in Texas on the way back from Pumpkinman from last weekend.  The temperature outside was in the lower 50s.   I was pleasantly surprised to find out shortly after my hissy fit that the steam floating off the surface of the water indicated that the pool was heated.   A dip of my toes in the water confirmed it's toasty warmth.  No cold swim or shrinkage for me today!

When I registered for the race I seeded both Hunter and I way up front stating that we had a 3 minute 200 meter swim.  That's probably a minute or so faster than I really am but I didn't want to get stuck in the back waiting for an hour after the race started so that's what I put down.  He wasn't too happy about that since his primary swim stroke is the breaststroke.  He has freakishly long arms and hands the size of baseball mitts so strangely enough he can swim faster doing breaststroke than most people, including me, swim freestyle.  I was seeded with race number 17 and Hunter was 44. 

The race director made some quick introductions and started the race promptly at 7:30.   Each participant was started at 10 second intervals.   The clock said 4:20 when it was my turn to get in the drink.  The 200 yard swim was easy.   If I ever learn to do flip turns it would probably be even easier.   As it is I would get to the end of the pool, grab the side and then push off under the lane rope.   I reflected back on my struggles in the pool in Athens for my first "official" tri and smiled broadly as I grabbed the ladder to exit the pool.  

I ran into transition and quickly slipped on my bike shoes and rolled my bike out to the mount line.   A good friend of mine, Llew Hughes, was kind enough to loan me his bike for the race.  The bike performed wonderfully but I felt a little awkward because I couldn't get in the aero position.   The course was mostly flat with the exception of a couple of small hills.   Any speed gained was quickly slowed by the two 180 degree turns and multiple 90s.   It was only 8.5 miles so I was done in no time.

My feet were cold so starting the run I felt like I had blocks on the bottom of my feet.   I maintained a good 8:15 pace for the first mile but as soon as I passed the volunteers at the first aid station I stepped in a crack and tweaked my ankle.   My pace slowed to 9:30 as I limped my way through the rest of the race.   I finished with the clock still showing 59 minutes so even with my start time I knew that I broke an hour.    My final time was 56:57.0.   Had I been 27 seconds faster I would have had a 3rd place podium finish for my age group... and this time it was even in the MALE 35 - 39 division and not the 35 - 39 female divison as what happened to me at Eagleman.

It was fun racing the U of L tri and maybe I will do it again in a couple of years.  Full course Ironman training will limit my racing schedule to a few select races next year and unfortunately the sprints that I did this year will not be on the schedule.   Next year those few select races will be Ironman 70.3 New Orleans, Gulf Coast 70.3, Escape from Alcatraz (fingers crossed), Ironman Florida and, God willing, Ironman Championship Series in Kona.

It's surely been an AMAZING year and while my tri season is over with this race I still have a few road races left.   I'll be doing a couple of 5K races and the Baton Rouge Beach Half Marathon.   Sometime around the end of the year I will write a summary of my entire experience for the year.    It's surely been one to remember and next year will only be better!

Thanks for reading my account of the University of Louisiana, Lafayette Triathlon. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing (and living) it!