This was more than a race; this was an entire weekend event. Here was the schedule of events, in the order that they happened.
7:00pm Friday: Took the train to Madison, NJ to meet J___. (Note: The entire reason I chose to do this race is because my coworker and fellow running friend J___ came to me earlier this year saying that he wanted to try competing in a triathlon. Offhanded, I suggested the Pittsburgh Triathlon, saying that if he drove, I'd do it with him. To my great surprise, he agreed, and what's more, he wanted to compete in the International/Olympic distance race, not the Sprint distance. This suited me just fine, although I was a little concerned for him, as he did not even own a bike at this point, and had only recently begun swimming laps at his local Y....)
10:00pm Friday: Departed Madison with our bikes secured--handy-man style, using plywood, bungee cords, duct tape, and bubble wrap--to the back of J___'s car.
4:00am Saturday: Arrived at my parents' house in Pittsburgh, with our bikes--fortunately--still in tow.
10:30am Saturday: Drove down to the startingarea to pick up race materials. Inspected the mud pit that would be our transition area the next day, took a preparatory walk through the transition from swim to bike, and listened to a "beginner briefing."
2:00pm Saturday: Stifled my complaints as we left Heinz Stadium (J___ wanted to buy a Terrible Towel, which is a desire I fully support) and drove up to Mount Washington where my dad could give J___ a more complete Pittsburgh Tour.
4:00pm Saturday: Arrived back home. Collapsed on an inflatable mattress in my sister's old bedroom for an hour nap.
6:30pm Saturday: E___ and her husband and child, K___ and her boyfriend, P___ (a guy I met a few weekends ago at Brighton Beach), J___, my parents, my sister, my cousin K___, and I sat down to a delicious pre-race meal of rice, salmon, and broccoli. And, of course, plenty of water.
8:00pm Saturday: M___ arrived, just in time for dessert: homemade chocolate chip cookies, compliments of my wonderful mom.
10:30pm Saturday: My things have been packed and laid at the foot of the air mattress. Bedtime.
4:30am Sunday: In the car and off to the race start!
6:45/6:50/6:55am Sunday: P___ starts/J___ starts/I start. I pass both on the swim.
7:18am Sunday: I un-rack my bike alongside the girl who will eventually go on to place 2nd overall.
8am-ish Sunday: The man who will go on to win the entire race zooms past me wearing a speedo and an aero helmet. I'm still on my first lap of the bike; he is finishing his second.
8:48am Sunday: Starting the run, and finally starting to pass people who blew by me on the bike.
9:30am Sunday: Run past screaming fans (i.e. my parents) and cross the finish line!
10:45am Sunday: Stand on a podium for the first time since I was about 12 years old.
4:00pm Sunday: Back in the car for our 7-hour ride back to NJ. Ready to hash out the entire race with J___, who also had success. He completed the race and did not place last in his age group!