Monday, October 7, 2013

Wet & Wild Triathlon

My third triathlon was last week!  It was the substitute race due to one last month being cancelled.  As I said in last week's post - I wasn't too psyched about the weather.  But all week was much better than forecast..warmer and sunnier.  The night before, the forecast said PM showers.  "Great!", I thought, "that will work out great for tomorrow morning's tri!".

The next morning I woke up at 6ish to the light pitter patter of rain on my roof.  I nervously checked the radar and there was rain right over the area, but it looked like it would move out in the next couple of hours, in time enough for the 9am tri start.  (Obviously I could tell this from the radar, being a meteorologist and all...*thick sarcasm*)  I went to the bathroom to get ready and as I popped in my contacts, it started - nearly a monsoon!  I knew it would pass, so I finished getting ready and went to load my bike on my car.  Still a monsoon :/

View from my front door:  Rainy and dark :/

I take the interstate most of the way to the tri - with a speed limit of 70.  Oh, and construction.  And my window's fogging up (because I drive a '99 and it has issues).  And let's not forget the "special" window in the back that slides down on its own, pelting my back seat with rain too.  It was one of the scariest experiences ever!  I was running late, so I was pushing it to begin with, but there were semis and other nervous/break tapping drivers.  There was a song on the radio during that time with the lyric "If you don't know what to say, just say Jesus".  I was all "JESUSJESUSJESUSJESUSJESUSJESUSJESUSJESUSJESUS"!  :)  Or "Jesus take the wheel" would have been an apt choice, as well.  I missed the freaking exit and was panicking because I was not pre-registered.  They were supposed to automatically transfer the entries from the cancelled tri to this one, but when I checked the list for my name the day before - no dice!  I called and they told me just to show up.  They said that the onsite registration was an hour long, and I got there 10 minutes late, so I parked my car - "special" window still down, and high tailed it to the pavillion.  I explained my situation to the race director's wife and she was very apologetic.  They had also run out of triathlon t-shirts, so they gave me one for the adventure race (canoe/kayak, trail run, canoe/kayak) that was going on a little ways down the lake.  LOL

I got back to my car, jimmied the window back up, and by that time, my entire sweatshirt was drenched.  I had my swimsuit on underneath, so I just stripped down, right there in the parking lot, standing in the middle of a giant mud puddle.  I took a pic of myself standing there with my sub par phone...

Water, water everywhere

 I went to take my stuff to transition...the bike racks/spots went up to number 144...I was number 145.  The last two rows near the highest numbers were jam packed too.  Not a spot to be found.  Curiously, the numbers 1-16 had been given out to adventure racers who did not need bike racks.  So I mosied on up the front and placed my bike by itself on a rack!  I got plenty of room and by the start of the race, there were only 2 other bikes on the rack.  It was great!  I found the port-a-potty (the ones brought in just for the race, not the ones there at the beach all summer - important difference!) and as I was standing in line, this gentlemen, maybe 48-50 years of age asked me for help w/his wet suit.  He had the back all whopper-jawed and I had to fix it and pull it tighter so it would zip.  It was hilarious.  I did all but say "suck it in!".  How quickly you make friends when you need to get in your wet suit!  The water temp was 71 degrees, and I had debated about trying to rent one, but I decided to go without.  There were 5-10 other people w/o wetsuits too.  I wandered on over to the pre-race meeting and saw that nearly 40-50 people were crammed under the pavilion.  Really?  The majority of these people were in wet suits!  We were going to be in the water shortly!  Made me chuckle.  All that excitement - and the tri had not even begun!

We made our way down to the beach.  It was probably around 65 degrees air temp with warm rain, so it wasn't that bad because I had been running around from my car to transition etc.  But standing there waiting my turn to enter the water, it got a little chilly!

Someone was trying to be artsy!  Mine are the non-wetsuit, very pale legs!

Before I knew it, I was off!  I was nervous because my "race goggles" were in the car.  I had grabbed my favorite practice goggles, which fog up terribly and have no reflective layer.  Well, overcast is amazing for sighting while swimming, and they didn't fog up that much, so it was pretty wonderful.  71 degrees can be freezing if you are just hanging out in the water, but as far as a race temp - I thought it was perfect!  Cold, but not chilly.  I passed a couple of guys on the swim, but had no idea of my time because I forgot my watch (sense a theme?).  The timing mats seemed farther up the beach this time.  I jogged until I crossed them and walked a bit.  As I got passed by one person, I decided I felt good enough to jog up to my bike.  It was still lightly raining at this point, so I had a couple of decisions to make.  Socks with my bike shoes?  Why not, I was just going to struggle with them later.  Shirt with race bib on it or no shirt (still have swim suit on btw)?  I forgot my race belt, so the bib went with the shirt.  I put that on and told myself that if I needed a new shirt by the time I got done with the bike, I could put on my newly acquired adventure race shirt (not thinking that it didn't have my bib on it!).

Took this shot from the fb page to show you all how wet it and dreary it started out!

I did that, grabbed my found Vega gel, and sunglasses (which was also a debate - I would need them both if it became sunny or if it was raining harder and water was blowing into my eyes).  I shoved the above mentioned things into the chest of my swimsuit and I made my way to the road!  I clipped in easily and was off!  The first thing I noticed was that I was very wet still.  My bike was spraying some water up from the road.  If I stopped pedaling, my shoes both filled with water.  It was weird and gross.  I put my sunglasses on when the wind and the rain picked up.  Despite that, I felt pretty good.  I was getting passed like crazy, but that is to be expected.  The course was different that I remembered, in the sense that the parts that I remembered being hard were relatively easy and there were others that I did not remember that were hard.  At mile 7, I decided to take the gel.  I opened it, took a little bit and instantly regretted the decision.  Was that how it was supposed to taste?  Was it expired?  Yeah, I'm an idiot for picking it up off the ground!  I really wanted to throw it to the side of the road, but we had been warned about penalties for littering and I didn't want to test my luck!  I stuck it back into my swimsuit (which, in the end, warranted me some weird chafe marks on my chest!).  The bike felt like it was taking F-O-R-E-V-E-R.  Near mile 9, it stopped raining and cleared up a bit.  The leaves were just starting to change and I passed the far end of the lake and saw several cranes sitting peacefully by.  I love moments like that!  If only I wasn't huffing and puffing on my bike!

The majority of people were on the 5K course, which is the last 1.5 miles of the bike.  It was weird riding by and being like "hey, i'm still on my bike and you're almost done!".  I got back to transition, safely unclipping, and a guy who was done and collecting his stuff from transition said "good job" to me.  I thanked him and asked him if he felt up to another run.  There was an awkward pause and he started laughing.  Then I was like "oh, I should laugh too", although I was mostly serious!  I grabbed my running shoes, which were squishy because I had not covered them up when I left transition, grabbed a gel I knew was good, and hit the road.

I told myself I didn't care if I walked the entire way, just to finish.  Well, I'm a little more hard headed than that, so I did a walk/run combo (naturally), where I ran until I kind of didn't feel like it anymore :)  It is an out and back, so the runners on the way back were very encouraging.  I knew there was a woman just behind me in transition, a man shortly behind her and then I saw a man later, still on his bike.  Just felt glad at that point that I wasn't alone!  There was water at the mile marker and I grabbed 2 cups as there was not one at the turnaround (which is open, not shaded like the rest of the course).  I finally tossed that stupid gel that had been in my upper swimsuit for so long!  After the turn around, I saw the woman shortly behind me.  When she got closer, she started saying things like "Let's go 145!  Don't let me pass you!".  And because I am lacking in social graces, I said "Nah, I'm good".  LOL  She did encourage me to run a whole lot more than I initially would have, but it was getting to the point where it was a little annoying!  She passed me a little before we were back at the water stop at with 1 mile left to go.  I can never really pick up the pace to a sprint when I'm running, but I did my best climbing that dreaded hill at the end and running into the finisher's chute.

There is the same lady at every race I have been to that hands out the medals and she is so sweet.  I'm always glad to see her face because it means I am done!  I had no idea what my time was, although I knew it was probably slower than my first tri there.  I scooped up my soggy transition items and flung them into my backseat.  By this time, of course, it was warm and sunny out!  I hung around a little bit, drinking my camelbak elixir and water.  I saw they had set up the food at the far pavilion, so I walked out there and got some food.  They were doing age group awards at the same time, so I probably missed getting second in my age group (out of 2!).  Oh well, the awards are glass mugs that have a plastic decal/sticker of the event on it.  Not that exciting.

I grabbed 2 cookies and one of the ladies asked me if I wanted apple cider.  I didn't particularly want it, but that stuff is like $6/gallon!  Heck yes, bring on the cider!   I grabbed a banana for later and as I was talking to a tri buddy, I kept getting swarmed by bees *slight exaggeration*.  I realized when I got to the car that the banana had this crack in it and was actually rotten.  Ugh!  They posted the results for the slow people :) a little later, so I saw my time - 3 mins slower this time.  4 mins slower on the bike alone.  That was frustrating.  Slower on the swim too, but good enough for 2nd fastest woman.  The run was faster than my first, but not by much.  It cracks me up that in the 3 triathlons I have done this summer, all my 5Ks at the end have been within 26 seconds of each other.  Glad I can be consistent!

So there it is, wet & wild triathlon.  3rd one of the year.  Last one of the season.  Can't really believe I have come so far this year alone.  I did NOT think I would be doing any big triathlons this year and would have been satisfied with the Super tri in February.  Let me just say - I can't wait for the next tri season to start!!!


  1. Holy crap. Great job. I honestly probably would have no-showed!

  2. Holy crap, indeed!! You are a beast!! Can't believe you did a tri in those kinds of conditions! Brava!! I enjoyed your retelling. :)