5:30 came pretty early Yesterday morning. I'd been at a friend's house warming party the night before and hadn't got in bed as early as I should have. I felt bad as Jay and I were the first to leave, but she is a runner and triathlete and said she understood. Even leaving the party first I didn't manage to get in bed until around 11:30.
Today I would become a triathlete. And I would do it on 6 hours sleep.
I didn't want to drink coffee because I feared the bathroom issues it would cause. Let's face it, going in a portapotty while wearing a 1 piece bathing suit under your tank and shorts isn't a fun prospect.
So I turned to God's natural, drug free way of waking people up - a loud stereo. Thankfully I could crank it up downstairs. Jay's 500 disc changer and subwoffers are a little too high tech for me, but I had him load two of my favorite CDs the night before.
Nothing like waking up to Alabama's Roll On CD. Of course when it was recorded no one new what a CD was and my mom would put the record on her turn table and blast it while she cleaned the house.
Anyhoo - I loaded up my stuff, ate breakfast, danced around the house, and tweeted for a bit before I woke Jay up and told him it was time to go. We left the house around 6:30 for an 8 AM start. I wasn't sure where we would be parking or unloaded so I wanted to get there a little early.
We'd gotten half way down our driveway and a thought occurred to me. "Turn around."
The Mutant: What?
Me: Turn around, I don't have the race map to know where we are going.
When I retrieved it from the house I realized that not only had I left the map, but I had tucked my bib number inside the map. Hopefully I wasn't forgetting anything else important.
When we arrived the Police Officer informed us that there was no parking or unloading around the transition area and that we would need to go to the garage a block away. We parked, unloaded (I love having a pit crew along side to carry my bag for me), and headed to transition.
The race was informal - a little too informal for my taste as there wasn't enough race information before hand to satisfy my
We were there early enough that the lines were short for registration and body markings, so I could have waited to pick up my packet day of. Instead I had driven out to the local running store the day before to pick it up. I was desperate for more information about the race - the official race web site only had distances and a course map that told me next to nothing.
I fought the urge to complain about what a waste of time picking up my packet early had been. In fact it wasn't a waste at all. I had found a really sweet pair of running shoes (which were desperately needed as my newest pair are a year old and my oldest pair were fatalities of the mud run) on sale for $59!! Not a waste at all.
I didn't have to wait at all to pick up my chip and the body marking girl had her big marker out waiting for me. Humiliating telling a girl who's age your mind still thinks you are, that you are, in fact, a decade older than her.
I pinned my number to my tank (no bike numbers, so they asked that you wear the number during the bike as well as the run) then headed outside to get everything laid out. I set up my transition area just like the youtube video had instructed me.
I saw the 2 girls nearby leer at my bike. With her nose snarled one of them said "That's a sweet bike." Sarcasm dripping from her voice. "It sure is bitch." I mumbled. Of course it wasn't loud enough for her to hear. It wasn't even loud enough for Jay to hear and he was standing right next to me.
I reminded myself that punching someone would most definitely get me DQed from the race. Taking a deep breath I walked away.
I took a look at the pool set up to try and figure out how it would all go down. Nothing in the prerace information had mentioned if I'd be sharing a lane and doing 6 laps up and back or if we'd all be traveling up one lane and down another. Luckily I found a man who'd looked like he'd been around the block a few times. I chatted him up for a few minutes before he headed into the pool for a warm up. The swim would be up one lane and down another.
As it got closer to time, my nerves started to kick in. It was a cool enough morning that I didn't want to take a few laps in the pool, then have to stand on the edge cold and wet waiting for my turn. Instead I did some random warming up moves that I'd seen Olympic swimmers do.
At 8 o'clock, they called all the participants to the pool deck. I kissed Jay goodbye and headed down. You have to admit, I look pretty sexy in a swim cap don't I?
Because I was nervous, I chatted with the people around me. See that cold looking lady beside me? 7 ironman distance races under her belt. I was in awe. I didn't know real people could actually do those things. How do you work, have a family and still train? But she did it. 7 times.
The told us to line up in bib number order, but that if we were a faster swimmer we could move around accordingly. I tried to talk the guys behind me in line into getting in front of me but they wouldn't.
I guess they just wanted the feeling of passing someone in the race. Or else thought that I was just being modest about my time. I put in my ear plugs, put down my goggles, and stepped up to the starting line.
I was told that there was no diving allowed (good thing since I didn't know how to dive). A lot of people were doing a cannon ball type run and jump in move. I decided that I wasn't doing anything that I hadn't practiced and went for the more subdued entry.
When I first got in the pool it took my breath away. It wasn't the water temperature, but rather the realization that I was actually doing a triathlon! It took a couple laps to settle in, but I finally got comfortable. I got passed by at least 5 people (probably more) but the lanes were wide enough that it wasn't an issue. Passing at the lane end was only a bit more tricky, but I managed to finish the swim without getting kicked or hit as I'd been warned would happen.
Exiting the pool I quickly removed my goggles, cap and ear plugs.
Hat...erm...swim cap in hand and a competitor on my heels I headed toward the bike. Unfortunately I don't have any T1 pictures. Jay took a really long video of the whole process, but because its long it'd be difficult to share. I noticed that a biker had already finished the course and was heading out on the run. I calmed myself. Its okay, I knew I'd be slower than most.
Thankfully I was talking to myself out loud and Jay reminded me that the first starters had entered the pool 30 minutes before me - plenty of time to get on the bike course and finished before I'd had a chance to start.
What little information I had manged to scrape up about the race said that the course was hilly. The girls at the packet pickup hadn't been helpful in describing just what "hilly" meant. Around here it could mean a long gradual assent or a steep sharp incline.
I headed out on the bike course not really knowing what to expect but it was a loop so if I was going to have to walk my bike - it'd happen at least twice. The first portion wasn't bad at all. More flat and rolling I'd say than hilly. The last maybe half mile was where the hills came in. I had just passed a couple bikers (on a mountain bike - they were on road bikes. No clue how that happened but it did.) and there were a couple ahead of me.
"Grannie gear time" I said aloud. I shifted down and started the climb. I noticed the guy in front of me had to stand for a few seconds. I hadn't wanted to do that because I'd read it takes more energy, but I feared not getting to the top so I stood long enough to get my wheels turning again at a good pace and took my seat.
The whole time saying out loud "For God does not give a spirit of fear, but of peace, love and a sound mind." Over and over and over. Who knew that races were good for scripture memorization? As I reached the top of the hill I did have to question whether doing 3 sports back to back qualified as having a sound mind.
I reached a small flat and put the question out of my mind. Just a few seconds to recover and on to the next hill. Two things I noticed about this one - it wasn't as bad as the first and it was the road I'd walked up to transition. I'd almost made it through the first loop!
That was the point I realized I would survive. I looked for Jay but didn't see him. On my second pass he was right there cheering me on. We've got it up on facebook now. (If you aren't my FB friend yet then you deserve to miss out! J/K but seriously!)
After the 2nd loop it was time to park the bike. I was 2/3 done! Well not technically since the swim didn't take nearly as long as the bike or run. But I didn't get into semantics as I was encouraging myself on the course.
It had started to rain pretty steadily by this point and I still had my sunglasses on. I had always kept them on through the brick workouts I had done and it hadn't crossed my mind to remove them. I put down my kickstand and ran out of T2.
The wrong direction.
Only a few steps.
Have I mentioned I didn't get enough info about this stuff prerace? The workers pointed me in the right direction and I was on my way.
I had put on my SPI belt (full of energy gels) before the bike, but hadn't needed them. I had Gatorade in my water bottle and that was enough to get me through the race. There were some pretty substantial hills on the run. Mile 2 had a molly-whopper. As I headed down hill preparing for the next uphill I heard a fast cadence behind me.
"On your left." Then as he passed "But you'll get me again on the uphill.
Sure enough as I
I passed him and another person on the up hill and knew I had done it - There wasn't much ground left to cover and I was feeling great. Another down hill and I heard that quick cadence behind me again. It was my friend passing me for a 2nd time.
"I remember when I thought 30 was really old." Gee thanks. (Our right calf marking was our age.)
Looking down at his leg I saw what appeared to be a 7 and a 5. No way.
"Really? How old are you?"
"75" He answered.
"No way - I saw that but thought it must be wrong. I wanna be where you are some day!"
"Keep it up and you will be." We rounded another corner, me still behind him, and he shouted back "You're not going to let a 75 year old man beat you?!" The final corner and we saw the finish line just ahead.
I kicked it into high gear for a sprint to the finish. I just about caught up with him and just a few steps before the finish line I said "I'm right behind you pick it up!"
The results show that with the staggered start he actually beat me by 3 minutes. I'm still in awe of him.
After grabbing a quick snack - donuts, bananas, chicken nuggets and pancakes. I packed up my transition area and headed to the car. I knew I wasn't winning any awards, so there was no need to stick around. Although I am disappointed that there was no finishers medal.
The official race report showed that my times were as follows:
Swim - 8:55
I swam the same distance in 9:45 3 days prior to the race
I thought it was supposed to be 8 miles (turns out it was 7) so this time shocked me
147/155 (people either dropped out or their chip didn't work after the swim)
It was a 3 mile run (not the 3.1 of 5K races, but this blows my spring 5K times out of the water. Considering my 5K PR is 33:08 I'd say I did pretty good on the run!
Final time: 1:16:06 a full 14 minutes faster than I'd hope to complete it!
I'm very thankful that I got the chance to do it, and feel great that I have one more accomplishment under my belt. But I've got a secret for you. Come close, I'd hate for it to get out to Christie O, Pubsgal, Thea or any of the rest of my triathlete buddies.
*whispers* I don't care if I ever do another.
Its not that it wasn't fun, or challenging. It was both. Although if I can brag a moment it wasn't nearly as difficult as I'd expected. It just didn't provide me with anything regular running races don't.
Biking hurts my knees, running makes them feel better (completely backwards I know - tell my body that!). Why not do the sport that I love, that makes me feel great, instead of distracting myself with 2 other sports.
Or as I said to my sister last night - why be mediocre at 3 sports when you can be mediocre at 1?