Race morning breakfast consisted of a sweet potato and 2 eggs over medium, 2 hours before my race start, so I had to take it with me. I picked up fellow Mom and triathlete, Kathy, and we were on our way to celebrate Mothers Day with a race to start our day.
My new ride got a bit of attention from my friends. I love how happy and supportive they were for me. Riding this bike is like going from a Jeep to a Cadillac, seriously. It's just amazing to ride. I didn't really think there could be such a vast difference.
I got setup in transition and completed my usual routine (checked and re-checked my stuff, checked the ins and outs, did a short little run).
The first thing I took notice of was the water. It was windy and therefore choppy. I also learned that it wasn't an in water start! Usually I get in the water and slink my way to the front. Not because I'm the fastest, but because the fast people know how to swim around people. The average swimmer wants to stay back, but that's the worst place to be (I think!). This time I got stuck in middle-to-back of my wave and stood there a good :45 seconds before I even touched the water. That part blows, but what are you gonna do about it, except be better informed next time.
The swim was a challenge, for sure, and very similar to Kemah without the horrible, salty water. I had to swim freestyle with my head up out the whole first length of the triangle course. I was amazed by the shear number of women panicking and calling for kayaks. I felt badly for them and it was hard to block-out that maternal instinct to assist -- no one was in harm's way. They were more scared than anything. I have to say, it was not good conditions for a first-timer swim, but not impossible either, if one took the time to actually train in open water, and in different conditions. In short, if you survived the swim it's brag-worthy to anyone who will listen. :) My swim time, however sucked. It was 7:20 for 200 meters -- I just got slowed down by navigating and getting caught up in the anchor lines for the noodle ropes -- at one point on I was swimming on the inside of the triangle! It was madness. Unless you were in the first wave (no one in front of you), Everyone's time was slow; because even my time put me 9th out of the water in my age group of 39 athletes. Yep. I said Age Group -- there was no Athena category for this race! My first time racing age group.
I had a smooth transition in T1 for 1:38. Off I went on the bike.
|Me and "Caddy"|
The USAT official (on motorocycle) came by me about 3 miles in on the bike course and just kind of hung in my general area for about a mile. The course was a bit congested and full of people clearly were not fully aware of passing rules. I saw people being overtaken, but then the person being overtaken never dropped back out of the passing zone. I was afraid if I passed someone who didn't know better, they wouldn't drop back, and I'd get handed a mistaken penalty. I'm sure there was a way to do it, but my experience with passing this many people on a smaller, congested course is limited.
Anyway, the ride was great and I felt strong. I finished the ride in 23:38 -- that's an average of 20.3 mph -- I HAVE NEVER DONE 20+ IN A RACE OR ANYWHERE BEFORE! This was a total first and when I learned what I had done, I screamed, then teared up. This also gave me the 3rd fastest bike split in my age group! THIRD!! I recalled my very first tri where I averaged 10 mph doing the bike portion on a relay team. I've come a long way since then. A long way.
Another smooth transition, after I found my visor, for T2 and I was off on the run in 1:39.
|All smiles leaving transition -- that's Kathy in the pink, behind me... ready to overtake me, for sure!|
Another first... I raced this race with no running skirt on the run. I always wear my skirt sports race number skirt (it's nifty, it has snaps on it to snap your number on the front). I've always worn it because I'm completely self conscious of my lower belly's loose skin, and don't think anyone should look at "Mannus" the pannus, jiggling up and down as I run. Since dropping 25 lbs. since February 1st, I need to get over it. While I know I still have plenty of LB's to drop, I still decided there was no time in a super sprint to stop and put a skirt on over my shorts. I was going to roll with it and just keep smiling.
I left on the run and felt like I was moving slow as molasses. I started my run before some of my friends who are super fast on the bike. In fact, I kept waiting for Kathy, the Mom who went with me to the race, to catch me and then pass me on the bike, but she never did catch me on the bike, but came out of transition just behind me starting my run. She passed me and cheered me on... telling me, "You must have had a great bike; I never caught you!"
I continued my run and took a :30 second walk break at the 1 mile mark and headed back to the finish. At one point I took a :10 walk to shake the rocks from under my food and the girl behind me said, "Don't you start walking, you're keeping me running!" "Every time I want to stop I watch you keep going." I said, "Don't worry, I'm on my way." I finished the 2 mile run with a 23:17 for an 11:38 pace! I was running 13:45 (on a good day) last year. Unfortunately with my improvements the run was far from good enough to place leaving me 28th of 39 in my age group for the run. It's all good though... huge improvements, so I can't be happier... AND I ran sans running skirt!!
What to do better:
- Find out about the swim start and place myself strategically.
- Become more familiar with my timing devices! I had 3 different devices that day -- either I failed them, or they failed me! LOL In any case I was 0 for 3!
- Stay confident! I'm slimmin' down -- loosing the skirt = shorter transition time!
- Learn to be more aggressive with passing riding and swimming!
- Find good, portable recovery food!
What was good:
- Good pre-race b'fast
- Hydration on bike
- Hammered it, but not too much, on the bike; saved just enough legs for the run!
- Run was steady and consistent.