I was supposed to sign up for the Blalock Lakes Sprint Triathlon and … I procrastinated and it sold out! Luckily, I was able to get on the waiting list – I had to come prepared to race, but was not guaranteed a number until 7:30am on race day. That just added an extra element to my usual race day nerves. No issues, after a point, all nerves jumble into one big mass and they fight it out amongst themselves.
So I prep everything the night before, set three alarms for wake up time, get prepared to leave time and start driving NOW time. And I go to bed. There are faint disturbances and ringing alarms that I register but I toss around and sleep. Then I get a call from Laurie. My first reaction – why is she calling me this early? My second reaction – I hope she is not in trouble! My third reaction when she asks in a chirpy voice if I’m on the road – OH $%@& !!!!!!! IT IS RACE DAY AND I OVERSLEPT. Never ever had that happen when I didn’t realize that it was race day!!!
This was me … sigh … why separate knobs why separate knobs!!
That was my fastest transition time EVER! Out of bed and in the car in 10 minutes flat. I’d be 30 minutes later than planned, but I’d still make it with 30minutes to spare! Parking was easy and I was soon waiting around until 7:30am to see if I could get a number. I finally did and Laurie helped me set up transition and get everything in order quickly before lining up.
There were 2-3 minutes between each corrals and I used that to get used to the water. We’d planned on 10-15 minutes, but 2 minutes was better than nothing! When I got into the water, it was COLD!! (not really cold at 79.2, not even wetsuit legal, but cold to me who is used to swimming at the Y). I used all the calming techniques that I’d learnt and relaxed and got my hyperventilation out of the way.
The swim was 600 meters. And I swam 750 meters. When Mike told me to stay on the outside, I don’t think he meant go away from the course. The first bouy was had to spot with the sun but the rest was all my lack of sighting abilities.
I had a couple of moments when the colder lake water would hit me and I’d almost gasp. But each of those were met with a few shut ups! Race results say 24:xx for swim. Which I would’ve been happy with if only the race course was the distance I actually swam.
I’ve heard people talk about it, but I’d never felt it before in any of my tris – when I got out of the water, I was disoriented. When I went to put my socks on – I felt dizzy and had to lean on the bike rack to steady myself. Nothing that a few deep breaths and the cheery feeling of swim done without freakouts didn’t clear, but still weird feeling from never before.
Ah the bike … the bike
I had had issues with my mounting “technique” and Mike had made me go out and practice mounting and dismounting the night before. So here I was, on a gorgeous evening practicing while my minions watched from the driveway, instead of the other way around. But working on that helped. A lot. I figured out what was going on and why, along with Mike’s tips to work on to avoiding it.
When I came to the mounting line, a tow truck occupied one lane leaving about 5-6 of us to mount from one crowded lane. Mike had told me to go to the right but I ended up being in the left and I was in front of the other people. For a nano-second, I was caught up and wanted to quickly start and get out of there. But immediately clarity reigned. I let everyone else go and when space cleared up – I took a deep breath, said my prayers and pushed off.
The shorts caught!!!
But with all that practice, I was prepared and I got it together. Mike said later that he couldn’t tell that I had had a hiccup there.
I was worried about the hills on the bike. Although there hills, only a couple made me mutter. I played tag with a girl on a cruiser who’d catch me on the hills and I’d pass her on the flat/downs. When I came back in and saw the photographer, I even lifted my hand in a thumbs up!
This was the only place in the race that I wasn’t happy with the organizing.
When I was trying to find my rack (another pain), the guys who had finished were inside retrieving their bikes and changing and chatting around and blocking the path.
And I ended up racking on someother rack that was empty nearby (very near the number so I didn’t cause issues if the bike owner was bike out riding) and then looked around for my run shoes. Much easier running with bike shoes rather than bike shoes + bike. I grabbed my race number and my skirt and ran.
I was too preoccupied to ask about run goals , so I just ran.
Starting on the run is a long hill (actually the out and back course is all hills, there’s an up and a down). At the top of the hill, I was trying to catch my breath and walked a few steps. Immediately, I heard a voice behind me – there’s no walking in running … For a minute I wondered if I was getting loopy and I was hearing voices in my head.
No, I wasn’t.
Mike was on his bike behind. So I picked up my feet and started running again.
Just as I was getting to the top of the hill and beginning to utter some choice words, I saw a wheelchair athlete trying hard, harder than I ever could, to crest it. And that was the last time I thought of the toughness of the run.
I got SO many compliments over my skirt on the run. One girl even said that it was the brightest thing on the horrible run course 🙂
The run was an out and back and I loved seeing all the people coming back and having an entourage greet me at the finish, including Endurance Concepts and Dan Arnett, the man with the wig, and All3Sports who were everywhere!
I was pleasantly surprised at the pace on my run. Official time was 38:42 which is a 12:22 pace. Good one for me! The hills took my breath away, but after I finished I didn’t have that “done” feeling, could’ve run for more (minus hills, if possible!).
First tri leading up to Augusta – DONE!
Things to work on – Bike Confidence. Bike Skills. Swim Sighting.
Silly or not so silly piece of information – I was the last one in my age group. I always expect that in a triathlon, so no surprises there. Last or not, the thing is to keep training and do what is supposed to be done. There is still a long road ahead.
And a day when I could not stop smiling during the race and for atleast 2 hours AFTER the race – I think I will catalogue that as a great day!
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