Before getting to the race, I'd like to thank the driver of the double decker bus who clearly saw a clueless American not look the correct way before crossing the road. He honked, preventing me from getting squished.
Going into this race my goal was to go through the motions and experience the whole routine, making Friday less stressful. Mission accomplished.
I started at a healthclub and swam about 15 minutes in a 20m pool, then did 15 minutes on a stationary bike. It had a big touch screen that showed exercise data including watts, TV, and I even played a game of solitare.
My wave included men 40-49, totalling roughly 130 people, all lined up evenly. At home, I'm used to being out front and clear of the pack. A World Championships? Not so much. I went hard at the horn, couldn't get clear, and quickly realized I was going way way too hard. I even got kicked in the goggles, something that NEVER happens. So after about 200m of a horrible stroke, an effort that was too hard and getting pummelled, I decided to shut it down. The course was a counterclockwise rectangle, so I figured I would get to the right (after starting fairly far left). The problem was that there were several people in the way. So I slowed down to try to let them go past, which just resulted in about 5 people swimming right over me. It wasn't until the second left hand turn that I got free. From that point until just before the finish, I was able to take it easy.
Transition was cool (from a triathlete's perspective). It was on a nice blue carpet from the water exit to the end. And the only things people were allowed to have in there were sneakers and race number. No towels or mats.
I eased into the run and got down a bit below 7:00 pace in good time. My miles were 7:01, 6:45, and 6:5x. The run was identical to Friday, making it a very valuable experience. It's generally flat, but one side of th elong rectangle goes up slightly and the other side down a bit (funny how that works). I grabbed a small flag before the finish. Making the 180 degree turn and hitting the backstretch was incredible. I had every intention of keeping it controlled, but that scene gave me an incredible boost. The Olympic finish line, fans in the stands, and knowing Friday will be the last. It will be that times ten on Friday. Wow.
They started the Elites before the age groupers were done. I saw Richard Varga crush the field. He typically is in the top 3 out of the water in ITU triathlons, and on a good day can make the top 10 overall.
I met much of the 650 member team at Trafalgar Square for the team picture and Opening Ceremonies. It was great to see all of the countries. Team GB is huge, Australia has quite a few, and South Africa must have several dozen. Mexico and Canada are also well represented. No one from South America, and few from Asia.