Saturday, June 7, 2008

I conquered the TRI

There were moments I thought I might die but all in all it was awesome! The day started at 5:15. I had a lot of trouble getting to sleep last night. I certainly did not go to bed at 8:00 as planned. After a last minute air pressure check on my bike tires, we got on the road at 6:15 and made it to the lake by 7:00ish.

First lesson learned, get there early. After getting my race number and time chip, we trotted the bike over to find a space on one of the racks. There was no space to be found and eventually just had to move some people over to make room. If I had gotten there earlier, I am assuming that would have been less of an issue. They wanted everyone down to the swim start by 7:30 so I was feeling a little rushed anyhow. I set out my brightly colored towel to make my bike easier to find in the sea of bikes and then laid out my needs for the bike leg and run leg. I grabbed my goggles and cap and head to the swim start.

As it turns out, the swim start is a pretty good distance from the bikes. It is easily a quarter mile or more. We get all the way down there, take a photo and I proceed to put my cap on. It tears in half. uh oh. I decide to take my ponytail holder and re-adjust it to get my hair out of the way and swim without the cap. It breaks in half. uh oh again. I can't swim with my hair all over the place, it makes it really hard to see and breathe. what to do... I have a spare cap and ponytail holder. I can't remember if they are in the bag I left in the car or the bag at my transition area. Rick offers to go get it. He can barely walk with that plate in his leg much less run 1/4 mile there and back in 7 minutes so I decide it is best for me to go. I needed to warm up, right? OK, I had not planned to warm up but...

This was taken right before "the incident"

I am running back to the bike to check there first. All of the racers are headed to the start. Some are telling me I am going the wrong way. Very funny, sir. I stopped and asked a lifeguard who had her hair up if she happened to have an extra ponytail holder. No. bummer. I keep running. Ironically, we had discussed whether I should run from the swim to the bike in my sandals or barefoot. I was convinced I should go barefoot. At the time, we didn't know I would have a chance to test it out. I get to the bike - AHHHH my extra cap and ponytail holder. At this point, there is no one in the bike area, they are all at the swim start. Mad dash all the way back to the swim start. I run up as they are making announcements and edge my way to the front. Crisis averted.

So, they are making all these announcements, you can't hear a word of it. They have everyone herded up at the top of these stairs. Basically, there are 2 waves for the swim, people who have done a tri before and people who haven't. They said if you were confident in the swim you could go in the first wave so I did. Unfortunately, they didn't really separate everyone so if you wanted to be in that first wave, once they started the race you kind of had to push your way through the crowd of people waiting for the second wave so you could start.

I push my way through down the stairs across the beach to the water.

The swim is insane. Lots of kicking, lots of pushing people out of the way in the water, lots of people swimming over the top of you. After the first 100 yards or so the crowd broke free and you could swim unobstructed. The only thing different from the pool was you had to keep looking up to make sure you were on course. You also get the Alcatraz effect in that the buoy at the finish seems so close but you keep swimming and it really isn't getting much closer. I can see where the prisoners at Alcatraz thought they could make a swim for it.

My exit from the swim. Not sure who the guy is but we look like we coordinated outfits.

I head out for the bikes, and make the barefoot run I had practiced earlier. So far so good. The transition was good, I felt like I got out on the bike fairly quickly. Basically just pull off the cap and goggles and throw on bike shoes, sunglasses and helmet. Quick drink of water and a half of an energy gel. The bike leg was not all that bad. I figured out the gearing a couple of miles in and really didn't have any issues other than a helmet thing. Halfway through the bike leg, my head feels like it is splitting in half and I can't figure out why. Eventually I had to reach up and readjust my ponytail and position of my helmet. Problem solved.

The bike was extremely hilly. On my way back, I saw several people walking their bikes up some of the larger hills. I am proud to say I rode the whole way. I feel like I held my own in the bike. I only had 2 ladies pass me. Several men passed me but I also passed a couple people as well. At the end of the ride, you can hear the crowd cheering and it is so exciting. I was so thrilled to have done well on the bike I actually started hyperventilating a bit which was a problem. I am riding in to the transition area gasping for air trying to calm down. Really weird. It definitely was just me getting emotional over finishing that leg. I am not normal.

Here are some shots of the end of the bike and transition to the run. According to clock, I just noticed was out on the run at 1:02.56. Pretty decent.

On to the run.. Not too bad. My legs were starting to tire and the first part of the run is a ridiculous uphill climb. I can't even describe it; it just looked like some kind of ramp. Everyone that was running with me at the time was commenting on what kind of sense of humor the race director must have. No issues with the run to speak of. Not too many people passed me, maybe just 3 or 4. I passed a couple myself so I felt like I was doing a good job of keeping my pace. At the end, for the last quarter mile you can hear the people cheering. DJ tells me to sprint to the end so I was going for it even though it was a crazy uphill climb. I must have passed 4 guys and then the excitement got to me again. What a freak. Hyperventilating 150 yards out. I have another weird ramp thing to climb and started to stop and walk it to catch my breath because my breathing is this weird loud gasping thing. Again, not exhaustion just getting emotionally choked up that I have almost completed this race and all the cheering. So crazy. I take a couple walking steps and there is Rick at the top of the ramp yelling at me to get moving (I forgot how competitive he was). I take off up the ramp and sprint to the finish. YAY YAY YAY They are announcing names as you finish so you could hear your name over the loudspeaker. So cool. My time was 1:26 (for you calorie counters, I burned 1265 calories). Fantastic! I am not sure where I finished in relation to others in my age group. I'll check tomorrow and find out.

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