June 13: Yellow Creek Triathlon

Mike Maher competed in the Jackie Kallal Triathlon - Indiana Habitat for Humanity, at Yellow Creek State Park.
This was Mike first ever full Tri... finishing in 2nd Place in the 40-44 Category.
Swim - 23:17 (1:46 transition)
Bike - 27:40 (1:01 transition)
Run - 23:58
... for a total time of 1:17.42
Mike's Story:
Tri It You’ll Like it! Yellow Creek 2009 Well I had a plan. After learning to run in preparation for a half marathon the next logical step was to learn to swim and do a triathlon. So I hit the pool and had a couple sessions where I had worked my way up to swimming a whole lap of an Olympic pool before pulling myself to the edge, gasping for air and spitting up water. So things were progressing smoothly when I had eye surgery and missed 4 weeks in the pool. During that time I was sentenced to watching Total Immersion swim videos (Horrible swim porn with a pudgy 50 year old guy and bad music) .
So 3 weeks ago I’m back in the pool thanks to Mary Grace and some super secret pool espionage. Then off to the Y to get some more pointers from my coach and all around swell lady…Sue. So I swim a lap or two and ask Sue for some constructive criticism. Her rather puzzled response started with,” You haven’t swum in a month, how are you better than before?” Who says TV can only rot your brain. Swim videos! Man I know how to party. So 2 weeks later and a couple more pool sessions, I figure it’s time to man up and try an open water swim with a used wetsuit in Keystone Lake. Not exactly sure why this is freaky, but it is. Like I told Maria, I’ve swam over waterfalls after botched kayak runs, I’m not gonna drown in a lake. Now as I’m standing on the shore of this deserted, murky lake, in the pouring rain….and I’m telling myself the same thing. I will not drown. Snapping turtles will not eat the evidence if I do. It’ll be OK Mike. So I swim a couple hundred yards in the lake; all the while fighting the disconcerting feeling that I can’t see my hands in the water in front of me and the hope that the combined ingredients of fish flesh and goose poop will not mutate into a toxic combination of ecosludge and bring on some horrible disease. After 30 minutes I’ve had enough and I am out of the water. Thanks to the wetsuit and swim voyeurism I feel relatively confident that I can swim ¼ mile nonstop. Let’s see... ¼ mile swim will cover the out half of the ½ mile swim leg of the triathlon course at Yellow Creek. It’s 2 days away. If I swim ¼ mile out; I won’t let myself drown and I’m too stupid to stop. A plan is hatched. I will wait till Saturday morning and decide. If my mojo is good, my chakra is centered and the stars are aligned, I will do the race. Saturday comes and the aforementioned, plus the Magic 8 Ball all say go. DAMN! It’s 8:45 and frankly I’m a little worried. The buoys marking the swim turn around extend at least ¾’s of the way across the lake. Man that’s friggin far! I’m nervous. I’ve been anxious at the start of every race I’ve ever done. How will I do? Can I win? Will I finish? Now I sitting on shore watching the first wave hit the water and my fears are much more basic…will I survive? The three minutes between waves is over in a flash and the gun goes off. I’m supposed to do something. CRAP! That’s right swim.
I let my entire wave enter the water all sprinting and splashing furiously. I think I have just seen a killer white torpedo a seal when I realize that I am subconsciously chest deep and moving deeper. I’m in and swimming. Stroke. Stroke. Breath. Stroke. Stroke. Breath. Slow down and concentrate. I have no idea how hard or easy I should go since the longest distance I’ve swum to this point is 200 meters. Stroke. Stroke. Breath. Stroke. Stroke. GRAB. What the hey? Something is catching on my hands during the pull. I getting trapped by seaweed….This is it! I’m gonna die….wait a second it just breaks off like Cray paper. Shew…that was a close one.
Settle in and Stroke. Stroke. Breath. Stroke. Stroke. Breath. WHAP! Right in the forehead. I catch a big toe in the forehead. I’m actually catching a swimmer ahead of me??? So I move over. Stroke. Stroke. Breath. Stroke. Stroke. Breath. I can tell by the string of floaties and the 2 big buoys that I passed, that I’m almost to the turn around and feeling pretty good. So Stroke. Stroke. Breath. Stroke. Stroke. Breath. SCRATCH! Stroke. Stroke. Breath. SCRATCH! Someone coming up behind me has hit my feet on each of the last 8 strokes. Is this the tri way of flashing the high beams to get me to move over? Too bad.
If I can’t see the rope, I’ll have no idea where the hell I’m going. See (pun intended) I have no idea how to sight while swimming yet and I cannot afford to break whatever rhythm I have. Finally someone passes me on the outside. So Stroke. Stroke. Breath. Stroke. Stroke. Breath. THUMP! WHAM! I have now been rear ended. I know I’m going slowly but someone came up behind me with enough force that I actually got jolted forward. It didn’t hurt, so I’ll try and stay in front of this swimmer and hope they push me all the way in. I’m not much of a NASCAR fan, but I think they call that bump drafting.
I finish the swim and the rest of the race is pretty uneventful. It hurts when I’m moving and feels better at the end when I stop. Hell racing is racing. Pretty fun all in all. For what its’ worth the THUMP! was my coach Sue who started in a wave 32 minutes behind me. I think she just wanted to make sure she got out of the water before me and figured swimming thru me was the shortest distance!

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