May 25th, 2008
After a long day of travel, I made it safely to Peru. All 4 of my flights went smoothly (San Francisco to Houston to Panama City to Lima to Cusco), and I got into Cusco around 7am this morning. The hardest part was the six hours in the Lima airport from midnight to six am, although the airport was surprisingly busy during those hours. Unfortunately, Eric’s flights did not go as planned. His flight to Lima got cancelled and he won’t be able to get in until tomorrow.
After I caught up on my sleep, I went to go explore the city. My first impression of Cusco is that I love it. It is a maze of narrow cobblestone streets with lots of open plazas and interesting old buildings, plus there are the occasional llamas walking around (or are those alpaca?), which you don’t see everyday. It definitely caters to the tourists and there are lots of gringos walking around, but it still has a lot of character of its own and the locals seem to outnumber the tourists. It is also in a beautiful location, being surrounded on all sides by mountains. I’m looking forward to checking out other parts of the city and trying out some more of the local cuisine (I had some Alpaca pizza for lunch. That was a first for me.)
More updates to come.
May 6th, 2008
This past Sunday, May 4, I finished my first ever Olympic distance triathlon. Well, not just finish but did better than I ever expected. I was very happy with my time and proud of the accomplishment. I was surprised to learn yesterday, that I am now the first in the Church family to complete an Olympic tri. My brother has done just about every other athletic event imaginable, but apparently as far as triathlons he has only done sprints.
I did the Wildflower Triathlon, which is known as the “Woodstock of triathlons” because everyone camps out all weekend at the event. It is located on Lake San Antonio about 4 hours south of San Fran. We drove down Friday after work and camped out both Friday and Saturday nights. During the day on Saturday, we watched/cheered on the triathletes doing the Long Course and walked around the festival expo area. It was nice to be able to get a feel for the course before doing it myself, but Saturday was a very long day for me. It was hard to sit around waiting when I just wanted to get my race over with.
On Sunday morning I was ready to go. I wasn’t very nervous; I felt well prepared and well rested. Luckily, I was in one of the first heats, so I started at 9:15 am. The swim was 1.5 km (~.9 miles) in Lake San Antonio. It was frustrating because there were so many people swimming on top of each other that I had to keep my head out of the water for the first 1/4 mile of the swim, which is more tiring than just being able to swim normally. But after we got around the first buoy, people started to separate out. As I finished the swim, I felt like I was around the middle of the pack for my heat. The 40km (~25 mile) bike route starts out with a long climb up Lynch Hill. I felt good coming out of the transition and started passing people on the way up the first hill, but after about halfway up, I realized how long the climb actually was and I had to slow down a bit to make sure I didn’t use up all of my energy too soon. The rest of the ride was an out-and-back that went over another 3 big hills. Going down the back of one of the hills, I got up to 40 mph — a new record for me. The ride felt pretty good and I definitely passed more people than passed me. The last leg was the 10km (6.2 mile) run. I hadn’t realized how brutal the run was going to be. The first 8 km are almost all uphill, and then the last 2 km are a steep downhill into the finish line. My legs started cramping up on the run and I had to stop and walk to stretch them out for awhile around the 7km mark. But I was able to keep going and finally make it to the top of that never-ending hill. As I came down the finish chute, another guy was trying to pass me and the two of us ended up in an all out sprint across the finish line. I think he beat me out in the end, but I was just happy to be done with the run and to have finished the race!
My goal for the triathlon was 3 hours: 35 minutes swim, 1 hour 30 minutes bike, 55 minutes run (I completely forgot to take transition time into account when making this goal). I ended up beating my goals for every single event, and still beating my overall goal by 9 minutes even with the transition times added in. My overall time was 2 hours 51 minutes and 8 seconds.
|Swim (1.5 km)
||Bike (40 km)
||Run (10 km)
I placed 85th out of 247 finishers in my age group (Men 25-29) — top 35%, and I placed 519th overall out of ~2400 — top 22%.
Results can be found online in two places – Tri-California Events and BazuMedia (bib # 5398).
More pictures on Flickr
Between my Stickk.com weight loss commitment and the great tri training plan that Nina made for me (Thanks Nina!), I have managed to lose about 14 pounds in the last 10 weeks. I’m sure that not carrying around those extra lbs certainly helped my time in the tri!