Monday, September 8, 2008

Hey -- I'll take it.

Ta-daaaa! Here I am, accepting my very first (note that I don't say last) age group "trophy" (or, as Sweet Johnny V likes to say, my first "major award") at the Triamerica short course last weekend. Sweet! (I got fourth in my age group. More to follow.)

Not bad -- not bad at all.

And, actually, not all that good (race report to follow)...

So here is my very first Official Race Report, my first Report of the Season, about my Third Triathlon Ever In The History Of Belly, and my First Official Race-Place.

The race weekend portion of our weekend started with a trip to Michigan City, to stay at a little B&B called Tryon Farm. Adorable! We were welcomed with chocolate chip cookies (mmmm!) and iced tea. It was our first experience at a B&B together, and even though we weren't going to be able to enjoy the second "b" in the B&B the next morning, it was a lot of fun to stay somewhere that was so ... homey feeling. So we sat on the porch swing and snuggled. Awwww. :) The proprietor also gave us a bag breakfast for the next morning -- including yogurt, blueberries, orange juice and a little granola bar. Much appreciated, even if we are both lactose intolerant...

So we went out to dinner and I had my pre-race beer, and then we were off to get some shut eye. Bed was comfy, good weather for sleeping, and there were lots of country sounds for these cityfolk to comment on. And then....


A train. At, oh, say, 3:00 a.m. And then again around 4:00 a.m.

*sigh* Whatchagonnado.

Still -- got generally great sleep, and woke up on time to brush the sleep out of our eyes and get started for the day. And what a day... I was a ball of nerves when we walked out -- I had awoken during one of the aforementioned train whistles to hear rain -- Sweet Johnny said that he had heard it on and off all night -- so now I was worried that the weather was going to tank. *sigh*

But we get down there, and I set up my stuff in transition, get bodymarked, and head down to the beach, where the swim is going to start. Now, let me explain -- this was a TINY race. Teeny weeny. Less than 200 people signed up TOTAL (for the long and the short course). Wee little race.

I looked out at the lake, and rather than being the picture of serenity that it was the day before, there were some ... um ... waves. And they seemed pretty big... I contemplated (see photo of said contemplation).

So, after looking out there, and seeing that they were taking their sweet time getting the swim underway, I started to wonder whether they were going to cancel the swim. Seemed like they were getting ready to call it... But, quite a bit late, they went ahead and told the first group to get ready to go. There would be three waves -- the first of ALL the long course folks, and the second all boys under 50, and the third all the ladies and the men over 50.

I watched the first wave go off, and they seemed to be going pretty slow -- and getting bashed pretty good by the waves. John and I talked for a minute about how to play it -- maybe go out a little further where the waves weren't breaking... Then I just got quiet and started to wonder if I could swim in that much chop. Swimming is normally a strong suit for me -- but this was a little nuts.

But pretty soon it was my time to go. So, I get ready to go, give John a kiss for good luck, and off I go into the waves...

Right off the bat, I figured this was going to be a rough one. (It could have been the long course men coming off that were shaking their heads saying "ugh - rough - sucked"...) I can normally crank out a strong swim, but every time I went to take a breath, I got a swig of water. Every stroke was off a little because I was in and out of the water. And I couldn't see -- unless you timed a sighting stroke just right, you couldn't see the buoys in front of you. So, I zig-zagged a little (not too bad), but I'm sure that would have been better if I didn't have such a hard time sighting. (It was bad enough that I couldn't even really see the people around me... very interesting feeling.) What was worse about that was the fact that you could only see one buoy at a time -- so I thought at one point that I was done going parallel to shore and was getting ready to turn, when I realized there was a buoy off in the distance (that was on a diagnol from where I was at that point). *sigh* I guess you get the picture that the swim was rough, eh? ;) Later Johnny V told me that they fished some folks out, and I can attest to the coast guard going around and shouting -- asking if folks wanted to get fished out. I didn't take them up on their offer... In any event, I passed quite a few people holding on to the buoys for dear life, and there were plenty of times when I stopped and did a few breaststrokes to try to give myself some time above water. So I was suuuper happy when I finished that last buoy and turned into shore -- very fun bodysurfing to shore! Of course, I was disappointed with my time...

Johnny V took this of me coming out -- I was totally miffed. You can't see my face, but I was totally p*ss*&. My goal had been to finish the swim (.61 miles) in 20 minutes or less -- a goal that was more than do-able based upon my practice swims. I finished more than 10 minutes off that pace... *sigh*

Anyhoo -- I tried to shake that off, but transition was pretty barren and those of us that were there were all talking to one another about how hard the swim was, and about the fact that it felt long (I mean, LOOK at those waves! Of COURSE it felt long!). I still think it was probably a little longer than .61, but that's a darn hard distance to hit ... Anyway, my performance on the swim got me a little blue, and I wish I would have just powered through and not cared... Still, nothing like getting the tar beat out of you for a half hour to revise your personal expectations...

So, off I go onto the bike. The course there was ... well ... "rugged." LOTS of potholes, lots of seams, and cracks, and sand. That said, it was pretty straight for a few portions, and darn pretty. There was also a really brutal hill, at the end of which was a 90degree turn on sand. Nice for a little technical riding, I guess, but I think I took that at -- oohh -- maybe 5 miles an hour. The wind seemed to come from every direction that wasn't helpful, and I never really got my groove. Plus, I got stopped by a train (yes, another train) which again killed my groove a little. Added to that -- I don't have the clipless pedals or aerobars, so I'm about the most un-aerodynamic woman on the race course. Still -- I finished the 18 miles (longest ride ever!) with a 17.3 average speed (not bad!). I came into the parking lot where I was going to stop and saw my sugar...

And then I hopped off my bike, stumbled into transition (when in the heck am I going to start feeling like I can run with grace and ease after a ride? Sheesh...) dropped a gu and grabbed a water bottle for the run. (This was the first time I used glukos in a water bottle for myself on the run -- excellent idea because this was my best run during a tri this season...).

The run was ... well ... AWESOME. I hit a pretty good stride around the 1/2 mile mark, and kept it all the way in. The spectators were great, the race support was great (although I had my own provisions) and the view was pretty cool, too. Plus, I got the feeling that either I was coming in dead last, or there were just not that many of us ladies 30-34. We all had our ages on our calves, and I hadn't seen a woman with my age on her calf in some time. So I figured either I was so far behind that they smoked me (a few did) or I was the only one... ;)

I had a little battle of wills with a woman there near the end -- I passed her, and she caught me, and then we paced each other until we hit a hill and then she dropped off. Then I just put one foot in front of the other until the end...

Then I sprinted to the finish (see dramatic hair flying in the sprint-induced-breeze!).

And then I enjoyed my finisher's medal, a little water, and some R&R.

After a few minutes, I began to realize that I really hadn't done all that bad -- 2:27:15 was my official time, and shucks but that's not bad for a first season chick. Plus, when they started putting up the totals for everyone, it became pretty clear that I was going to be in the top five ladies in my age group... because there were only five listed! (There would ultimately be six, but when I first looked, there were only five). Now, mind you, I don't know how many DNF'd because of the swim, so the field might have been larger than six...

But, since I gave away the punch line above, you all know that I got 4th in my age group overall! Yay me! And congrats to the ladies that whomped me. I'll getcha next year. ;)

Let me say that the SWAG at Triamerica Indiana Dunes was pretty sweet. Two shirts (neither technical, but both relatively stylish and not altogether ill-fitting), a cell phone carrier, a license plate holder (yes, a license plate holder) a pretty sweet medal, and, for most, a plaque for your finishing place (mine was fourth, as I said) -- all in all, pretty great.

Sorry this was so long -- more to follow on this first season in general, and other race reports from races gone by. In the meantime, I'm enjoying a bit of a rest and some relaxation after a fun but rough weekend...

Take care, train well!

1 comment:

robyn|baptistnomad said...

CONGRATULATIONS is in order!!! WOW! I have some catching up to do...!!

Idgy the Cat

Idgy the Cat