I did more than try. I finished!
I was so nervous leading up to the race and I couldn’t figure out why. Not as much nervous as anxious, but still no clue why (more than usual). The whole day before I couldn’t relax, I kept thinking about the race. I had hoped that the OSU game would take my mind off the race, and it did, but only by making me worry so much more about the outcome of the game that I hardly had any worry left for the race. I was feeling calmer after the game – went home
and packed my transition bag, made my morning to-do list and attempted to sleep. Ha. I seriously think I got less than 2.5 hrs of sleep. I had a mini-dream after my first alarm went off that it was only 2:28am and I STILL hadn’t fallen asleep, then I actually looked over at the clock and it said 4:48….. Time to get up! JC had a bunch of dreams that involved getting stuck in traffic, sleeping in, and them moving the pool portion to Benbrook lake! Ah!
So, no problems getting there plenty early, I even got the end spot in my row, barely getting there before a 9 yr old (seriously, I looked it up), by about 2 minutes. At least I swam faster than her. Geesh. Anyways…once I got my pretty red numbers written all over me, I set up my transition area and amazingly felt so much better. I think that’s what was making me so anxious – getting that transition area set up. Now all I had to do was race. JC set up her area and we got our timing chips and hung out with the boys. The pre-race meeting was fairly informative. I learned there were a lot of newbies to triathlon there, not just us. Good in that I might theoretically be able to beat some of these ladies, and bad because everyone didn’t necessarily “know the drill” as to how to keep things going smoothly. I mean, that really only applies to the pool, but it certainly can affect other racers. No headphones – duh (at least not in this race). Stay to this side or that side of these or those cones, don’t do this, do that. Let’s go!
I was 55th to start based on my reported swim time. Ah, the ‘reported’ swim time. Either some people typed in a ‘six’ when they meant to enter a ‘nine’, or they just guessed reeeeeeeeeeaaaalllly wrong about how long it would take them to swim 300yds. I was actually glad to be a little further back where I was because the first 25 or so girls had a lot of shouldn’t-have-swam-that-early girls mixed in with them and it got really clogged up in a lot of places. At one point there were 5 girls at the same turn. I understand mistakes happen, but I feel bad for the really fast girls (amazing, I know) for getting slowed down like that when you know they train really hard for this. Anyways, I knew my real time was actually faster than what I put down but 30 seconds isn’t the same as 5 minutes. Plus, I would hopefully be passing people, not slowing others down. I didn’t get the best push off the wall, but it was fine. I ended up passing at least 2, maybe three women (it was kind of hard to tell) about the middle of the pool and I had caught up to another girl by the end but it wasn’t worth the energy to pass her in the last lap or so.
And thus ends the portion of the race that I’m good at…now, onto the bike.
Transition 1 (T1) didn’t go too badly, but it could’ve been faster. No major difficulties or hang-ups though. Dried off some (which I could’ve done without), race belt on, socks, shoes (which took time to tie, but I did it right the first time so I didn’t have to mess with them later) sunglasses, helmet, gloves, energy chews….bike! Out of transition and I didn’t even take a million years to get on the bike.
The bike portion went well, as far as I’m concerned. I finished about 4 minutes faster than any previous time, so that was awesome. The ride itself was actually a lot of fun. Being an all girl race, people were just friendlier. And if there were cut-throat people out there, they just passed you and were gone. No one was being rude. I was proud of myself on the hills, especially “Nice hill” and I was so glad I had trained not only on the course itself, but worked on hills a lot. There were girls who could pass me on the regular parts, but I would pass them every time on the uphills. I did NOT have to get out and walk up either side of the hill and I used my gears a lot during the whole race, which helped so much. I saw both JC and another friend on my way back during the bike portion. Because we all started one at a time, everyone was really spread out and the only way to know if someone was really going to beat your total time was if there number was bigger than yours. They wrote our ages on the back of our right calves, so you could see that a 45 yr old woman just smoked you. Or a 9 yr old. Good times.
My second transition (T2) also went well, although getting my gloves off wasted time. I should’ve just run with them and stuff them down my top or into my race belt. Maybe it would’ve stayed still that way.
My run started ok, but I had some back pain come on pretty quick. I knew I had been keeping my arms/back too tense during some of the ride and I’d tried to stretch out towards the end, but it caught up to me, so that hurt for about half a mile and then went away. I was getting my running legs back and starting to feel better.
My first mile was 11 minutes, so I figured I hadn’t done bad at all for having my back hurt and would be able to finish pretty fast. Ha. Then my left knee started. At first, I thought it was just the ‘why-are-you-still-running?-wouldn’t-you-rather-go-get-some-ice-cream’ aches, but then it started to feel more like the pain from a few weeks ago when I had to STOP running and could hardly walk on it for a few hours. NOT COOL. My first thought when I recognized the pain was ” THIS IS the RACE. This is not practice where you should stop if it hurts like this. THIS is what the other running was for. Don’t stop.” I wasn’t going to stop unless I just couldn’t move it anymore, but I wasn’t crazy, so I slowed down quite a bit. [Post race – now that I’ve looked up the symptoms, I’m pretty sure it’s ‘runners knee’ which is fixable]. Luckily I had a slight incline (where it hurts way less than a decline), so I ran with a little more weight on my right leg. This was only a 5k, (with only 2.1 miles left) so I figured my leg could take it. I tried little form corrections to see if that helped the pain subside and certain things did. Running on my toes more, and being extra careful about form in general seemed to help some. The pain was there worse/better for about 1.5 miles and then it started to go away finally. For most of the last mile it was 95% gone, so I was able to speed up some to make up for my super slow middle mile. I liked the run course though because it wasn’t some long boring out and back, there were lots of short sections that made it feel shorter overall.
I finally was approaching the finish! I was tired, but I had that lovely burst of seeing-the-finish-line energy (a very small burst) and was so glad to finish. Yeah! Really? I’m done? No more transitions? Seriously? Hehe. John was there along with some other friends with snacks and water and cameras. =) JC finished a little while later and she beat her expected time by 7 minutes! I pretty much ended up where I thought I’d be. If the run hadn’t slowed me down, I could have done better, but that knee problem could have made me soooooo much slower if it had been worse. I’m glad I didn’t have to stop and walk.
We hung out and ate some snacks and then headed back to transition to pick up our stuff and go home.
I had tator tots and burgers for lunch. They were awesome. Then, some much needed veg time on the couch.
I had a great time. It was difficult but fun and I would definitely do it again, just let me get some more time in on that bike. =)
Updates: My times are posted in the comments.
See JC’s story HERE at the SWAT page!