The Sylvania Women’s Tri did not start off on a good note. I lost my race belt…with my bib # already on it. A few frantic moments would pass before I finally discovered it had slipped next to the bench where I had my pile of “to go gear” and then we were on our way.
Not exactly sure where we were on our way to exactly considering we missed our exit and then went the wrong way, ending up somewhere in Toledo. But eventually we did end up at Centennial Terrace and Quarry (A.K.A. Curly to my 4 year old) the location of the tri, with only 15 minutes left before the transition area closed and the swim staging began.
Despite our tardiness, I was determined not to panic and to maintain composure. I set up my transition area fairly quickly, noting a small tree at the end of my row that I could use as a landmark to quickly identify the location of my bike following the swim and also noticed I was pretty much the only person who put my helmet on the seat of my bike. This made me a little bit nervous as if maybe everybody knew something I didn’t about sudden earthquakes that would shake the bike racks and make your helmet fall off or something, but it worked for me at the first tri and I had no time DANGIT (not panicking, not panicking)…to figure something else out.
Next I ran to pick up my chip, take a quick potty break, then back through the transition area just to get a visual on my bike one last time before running down to the swim staging area throwing my pink swim cap as I ran. I was seriously in danger of missing the start and still needed to figure out where to seed myself (or is it seat myself? I just realized I don’t actually know the correct term. Kind of like the way I was never really sure if it was a lap top or a lab top computer, but as long as I didn’t have to write it, no one was the wiser).
Weaving my way through the crowd of about 300 women, I found a sign that said 9-12 minutes and slipped in there. We had a time trial start which meant we would enter the water one at a time, fastest swimmers first. Now my first tri swim was 400 meters and I just barely squeaked in under 13 minutes, but I had panicked some and spent a bit of time on my back to regain composure (you know, rather than my other option…drowning), plus this swim would be a little shorter- 400 yards. So I was hoping to do better this time…much much better.
But as I stood there listening to one of the participants sing the national anthem, the nerves totally set in. I’d never swam in a quarry before and I didn’t have a chance to test the waters during the warm-up b/c I was late. It was 22-24 feet deep from the moment I got in, which really doesn’t matter since you swim on the surface of the water not the bottom but somehow so DOES seem to matter to your head. And what if I had over estimated my ability and wound up plowed over again?
Despite knowing that the minute I finally got going I’d be fine, I can’t even begin to tell you the anxiety that I felt the closer and closer I got to the water as my turn to enter approach. If someone would have ran up and yanked me out of line for pretty much any reason at all, I think I would have been fine with that. Somehow it made me feel better though that the first woman to finish her swim did so before I was even in the water, and she exited to throngs of cheers which almost brought me to tears. If she can do it, I can do it, I thought (although not be any means nearly as fast as she did which was somewhere in the 6 minute range).
Before I knew it, I was in the water and swimming. To my surprise, even with the time trial start and the lack of crowd in the water at the beginning, I still panicked a bit and toyed with the idea of flipping over on my back to calm down. I have no idea what’s up with that. Maybe I just need a little more experience or maybe it’s just something that I’ll have to swim through at the beginning of every tri, but the good news is: I did not succumb to temptation. I did not flip over onto my back at all during the swim and that, my friends was goal number 1.
SWIM TIME- 10:16 (which includes a run up a flight of 37 stairs)
Then it was onto transition #1, where I totally lost my bike. Totally. And the funniest part of this was, I totally thought I knew right where it was. I saw my red helmet and didn’t see any other helmets around just the way it was when I left transition before the race, one of the last people to do so. But when I got there, my sunglasses were not on my helmet and when I looked down all my stuff was gone. “You’ve got to be kidding me.” I thought “Someone stole my stuff?” Then I figured, no somebody must have just moved it to fit in their bike. So I looked all around that area and couldn’t find it until I finally glanced to the end of the row and saw my little tree landmark was not there. I was completely in the wrong row, a good two rows off.
T1- 1:43 (ouch)
Now the only weird thing about the bike was right at the beginning, the guy that was screaming “Mount here! Mount here!” I realized after the fact that he was only trying to let us all know where the mount line was, but he completely threw me off my game. I was all ready to do this running mount my dad had taught me (I have bruises to prove it. Oh how I wish I had that on film, we could all get a good chuckle out of my lack of coordination and my being swallowed whole by a bicycle), but there wasn’t much room between the “bike out” and a turn onto a street. So when he was yelling, “mount here! Mount here!” I literally thought the dude wanted us on our bikes right there before we turned. I figured I had passed the (bright orange) mount line already and just missed it, so I stopped and started to get on my bike all the while looking around for the line which I discovered was still a few feet in front of me. So I inched forward, hoping since my butt had not actually hit the seat yet, I wouldn’t be disqualified. Since nobody yanked me off course, I guess that means I was ok.
This rest of the bike course was pretty uneventful. A totally flat fast course, except for one 3-4 mile stretch on the second half that was ridiculously bumpy and not the kind of bumps you can steer around either. Unintentionally, I found myself slowing down due to having no control over my quads which would tense up in anticipation of every bump to protect my poor pitiful behind which was taking a brutal beating (and is still store today btw). Besides rounding the corners, this was the only time I dipped down into the 17 mph range and I was right back up in the 18-19 mph range as soon as I got off of that God forsaken road.
My goal for the bike was to average a faster pace than last tri (17.0 mph) , ideally at least 18 mph. I knew the run would be touch and go, because of my woe is me feet troubles, so I really gave it all I had on the bike, hoping I’d make up for whatever I couldn’t do on the run. And the good news:
Bike (11 miles) – 35:48 (18.4 mph)
And then it was onto transition for the run. All I can say about T2 is I must have been dawdling. All I had to do was rack the bike, step into a skirt and grab my hat, but for some reason I did this very very sloooooow;y. Actually, I think I just stood there and put my hat on. I must have been tired.
T2 – 1:06
As for the run, I was slightly disappointed. Mostly because I just don’t have the run post bike figured out yet. Last time, I tanked at the end and could hardly drag myself across the finish. So this time, I figured I’d take it easy at the start wait ‘til I had my legs back and then push it. The only problem this time is I had way too much left at the end. There’s got to be a middle ground here. I just can’t seem to find it.
Run 3.1 Miles- 27:28 (8:52 min/mile)
Finishing Time- 1:16:19 (14th of 42 in my age group & 63rd of 305 total)
So that’s it for me for tri's this year. In fact, that’s it for racing for now. Time to focus on the big goal: The Air Force Marathon…dun dun duuuuuuun. It’s right around the corner…
P.S. I’ve got pictures and a little more to this story (ie, cheater cheater pumpkin eaters, a long lost friend, and my mom’s first trophy), but since this is super long already, I’ll fill you in on the rest tomorrow (or Thursday, I’m kind of waiting on some more pictures).