I did the Presque Isle Triathlon! Here is a copy of a mail I sent to Chemda of the Keith and the Girl Podcast regarding my entire experience.
Dear Chemda (and Ironman Bobby)-
I just wanted to tell you how much the episode with you and Ironman Bobby discussing your triathlon inspired me. I had been biking to work quite regularly over the summer, 12 miles each way, and was in decent shape from that exercise. When I heard the episode, I did a search on triathlons in my area. I found out that there was going to be one in two weeks, and I felt that if I had prepared for it a few months ago, I would be ready. I had not swum for a long time, and I had never run at all, much less run a road race.
Over the next two weeks, the idea kept eating at my head, until the day before the race, I went down to the preregistration area. I talked with the people down there, and they encouraged me to join, just for the fun of it all.
I biked home unconvinced, and was up late, watching movies and eating popcorn, falling asleep on the couch. When I woke up, I went to bed, and set my alarm in time to register for the day of the race, in case I decided to do so at the last minute.
When the alarm clock went off, I figured to myself, "if I don't do this, it's just going to be one more thing that I haven't done, and I'll regret it." So, I dug around in the house, dug out a ratty pair of shorts, an old swimsuit, a short wetsuit that I had, a pair of swim goggles, and put my mountain bike, a fairly slow bike, in the back of the car. I drove down to the starting area where there must have been 300 or so competitors. I went up, registered, and was in the waiting list for no shows. 15 minutes before the race, I got lucky, and got a number. I went to pick up my chip, which I had no idea how it works or what to do with it, and put it on.
The swim portion was pretty short, in Lake Erie, but in 4 foot waves, so just going into the water was pretty scary. About 10 people turned around after 5 minutes due to the height of the waves, and the helpers in kayaks had to rescue several swimmers. I plugged along doing backstroke most of the way so I could keep my head above water and breathe in the huge waves. It was unnerving following so many people in the water, with occasional cries of "Help!" around me. When I hit the beach, I was pretty spent, but I kept going. I stripped out of the wetsuit which didn't want to come off, put another pair of shorts over my swim trunks, and hopped on the bike.
The bike leg went pretty quick. All the bike commuting paid off, and I actually passed a few people on it. As I reentered the transition area, the fellow in front of me, when dismounting his bike, lost his balance and crashed in front of the timing pads, throwing his bike into the trees.
The last leg, a 5k run, was painful, but I pushed through it regardless. I had never run anything before, but I figure if I made it so far, I can at least run 5k. I just kept telling myself to go on, and so I did. When I reached the end of the race, I felt fantastic. Just having done the race was a tremendous rush.
When I was done, a fellow came up to me and asked my time, which I had no idea of as I wasn't paying attention and didn't even realize there was a giant clock at the end of the race. He wondered how I had done it with no equipment, and that I hadn't even taken my bike lock off the bike. I laughed to myself...in my haste, I didn't even bother to remove it. Oh well.
Chemda, I just wanted to thank you and Ironman Bobby for the inspiration you provided to me - not only in convincing myself to take up the challenge, but also along the route.
James in Erie PA.