Well, I finished! I move up to the Olympic Distance with moderate success I do think.
I am proud. I love the medal. It is my favorite one so far. IN TRI WE TRUST! Indeed!
Stats for those that don't want the long, long read:
- Overall: 3:20:37
- Swim 1500m: 34:20 (I want to shave off 4:30 please!)
- T1: 4:4:5 (omg this is so bad!)
- Bike 40k: 1:18:24 (I am happy! Still want to be faster!)
- T2: 3:48 (no idea why so long)
- now here is well it fell apart
- Run 10k: 1:19:21 (gee think I might need to work on this!?)
So for the long story... first a little history...
I think back to March 2006, where I was in a hospital bed in the acute care unit on the stroke ward at GW University Hospital wondering what was happening to my feet, legs, hands, arms, head, eyes...etc. I had not done a triathlon at that time. I had thought about them. I grew up as an athlete - swimming, running track and cross country, playing soccer, riding my bike everywhere possible. As an adult I had not given up on those things, I just wasn't doing them all that much. Obviously, and I've mentioned it before, getting a rare syndrome was my epiphany. I completed a mini-sprint tri 6 months after getting out of the hospital...but I didn't do another until last June. I certainly do not know why I waited so long! Although, I will say my life was a bit of a roller coaster between Sept 2006 and June 2009.
ANYWAY.... I am happy to be here doing this, no matter the time. I do have a bit of the competitive bug still though. I want to be faster. I want to get better. But I also want to have fun. If it stops being fun, then I shouldn't be doing it.
Saturday I took Gina (my bike) on the metro to go to packet pick up, the expo and to leave Gina in transition. I love riding around downtown DC. I need to remember to do that more often. Packet pick up was well organized. The volunteers were absolutely AWESOME! Expo was tiny. Not unusual. I saw my favorite bike shop peeps, bought some Hammer Gel and Heed packets. Then I was off to transition. I road Gina down through DC with a couple other women. This was going to be their first tri. This race had a TON of first timers. It was well promoted and supported with training groups for newbies. I think that was great. Got to transition, racked Gina. She was flirting with the cute boy Cervelo on the rack next to her. I took a little air out of her tires as it was HOT HOT HOT and to keep her in line. Some one's tube exploded while I was there...I don't think they were thrilled to find that on Sunday morning.
Then it was off for a practice dip in the Potomac. They had the course marked, but with just little buoys. On race day they had GIANT cubes every 100m and the turn spots for the sprint and olympic. It was nice! Last June, I did the Dextro Energy Triathlon - sprint distance - with the very same swim location. I think the mighty Potomac river won that day. Last year the river was running colder and was rough due to recent storms. Last year was wetsuit legal. This year though.. the temps were up. You could wear the wetsuit, but you would not win awards. At first I wasn't sure how I felt about that, but then I thought - who cares! You know how to swim either way. Back to practice dip. I jumped in and did 750 m. I felt fine. I was happy. Time to get something to eat and head home to relax.
I engaged in my pre-race ritual of painting my toenails, watched tv, chatted with a friend - which helped a ton!, and finally decided I should try to get to sleep, although I was keyed-up. Like most of us, I don't sleep well the night before a race. I think my dog picked up on my vibe, cause he was being a nuisance too. I think I got up to pee 2 or 3 times in the night. Well hydrated I was. Finally 3 am rolled around and the alarm went off. I got up had my pre-race oatmeal with blueberries and a banana, coffee and of course water. Took the dog out to pee - and hit the wall of humidity. Yuck. I was 3:30 and the air was thick. No fun! I gather my stuff, check of my list in my head and headed out the door. I had to park about 2 miles from transition and then catch a shuttle to transition. I got to transition a little before 5 am. I had to touch up my markings as I had gotten marked on Saturday, pick up my timing chip and set up my area - all before 5:15 which is when transition was to close! I was a little nervous that I wouldn't have enough time or I would forget something, but I got it all done. Then it was just the waiting game.
Race complaint #1: ~20-25 port-a-potties for 2500 racers! Are you kidding me!?! Also they were crammed around near the corrals for the start. Just not efficient. Now, since it was now 5:20 I did have over an hour to "hang out", but I really didn't want it spent in the port-a-potty line, but wait I did. I chatted with the people in line and that was fun. Met more newbie women. While in line the announcer starts telling us the start will be delayed as there are still trying to get all the roads secured. The first sprint wave was to start at 5:30. I think they ended up closer to 6 am for the start. My original start time was 6:35. They did shorten the interval between waves to help with the time though. I wasn't happy about standing around longer, but not much I could do about that so I wasn't stressing it. I took in a gel and some water while I waited. I had thought on Saturday I might need something more substantial, but I had butterflies so eating wasn't really an option at this point.
Swim :Interestingly, my age group which tends to be one of the last waves at most races was going off right after the Olympic distance elite age group racers. I didn't mind, but it was different. Finally, it is my turn! We jump off the floating platform, tread water for a bit and the horn went off. I started swimming. It was a bit crowded and I bumped into a few people, but I just tried to get it going. My left arm is a bit weird (I think from above mentioned illness) - it takes awhile for it to warm up. At about 400m all was feeling good. I just kept think strong arms, consistent strokes, steady your breathing, breath both sides. I got a little off course a couple of times. At the turns things were a little congested. Lots of jostling and there were some men from the wave after mine that were catching up and getting into the mix. You are fighting the current the first half of the swim and then it is with you the second half of the swim. I am not sure if I noticed the difference. So I get up the ramp. I was happy with my swim. I didn't let the Potomac get the best of me this year. Also, I was happy to not have to start wrestling out of a wetsuit and make my way to T1.
T1 - was slow. Now it was quite a distance from river's edge to my rack spot, but I know I am slow in this area. I think I may try no socks on bike next time. I think it could work. I also put on my shoes. Then have to run out in them. Not very quick. One day I may master the shoes on bike maneuver, but not a real priority at this time.
Bike course was 2 loops for the 40k. The course had four 180 degree turns - so I got them twice. I liked the course. The false flat up Rock Creek wasn't bad. I had no technical difficulties. I kept my cadence up. I worked on trying to get my heart rate stable. I could tell it was getting hot out there. I took in a gel when I got going and then again at the start of the second loop. I kept hydrated. I took in all of one bottle and part of the second bottle. I enjoyed my ride. I was very happy with it. It was a little shy of my goal, but I am still stoked about it!
T2 - getting off the bike, running in my shoes to my rack. Bleh! My legs had that gee you just got off the bike after averaging 19 mph and you want me to do what feeling. I had to move a rack mates bike over so that Gina could be on her spot. Took off the shoes,helmet, sprayed on more sunscreen, drank some more. put on shoes, hat, grabbed a gel and headed out. My legs were not happy
Run I love running past the monuments! So I am heading out. I start jogging next to another woman and we comment about the heat and humidity. Her name is Pauline. We decide to stick together. I am glad I did. Her enthusiasm was contagious. I needed a little enthusiasm for this run. And she was doing her first tri ever!! We jogged for a bit and then would walk for a bit and we continued that through the whole course. Again the spectators and course volunteers were awesome. Pauline saw people she knew and her husband was also out on the course. I will see the pictures soon as we have been in touch. Towards the beginning of the course I saw my friend and former running coach - Jenn (Coach_Jenn on twitter). Her husband John was also racing. I got a shout out on the course! I was happy. I don't ever have spectators! The hills on this course were tough. Shade was very limited. Motorcycle playing music in the 9th street tunnel was wonderful! Nothing like a little Van Halen to perk you up. Pauline and I were singing. At one aid stop I had the volunteer just toss the cold water on me. I told her that I loved her. It was hot, but the aid stations were ready with cold wet towels, ice, water, powerade. It was nice. I had ice in my bra, my hat, down the back of my shirt. Now, during the run my stomach was not being friendly. Did I take in too much liquid on the bike? I started burping. Yuck. My run buddy was also having some issues. I think we were meant to run together yesterday. The cruel part of this running course was that you run past the finish line and loop around near it before you actually start making your way down Pennsylvania Ave to the finish. Not nice! I love the view from Capitol Hill, but I really didn't need it on the course yesterday. We turned onto Pennsylvania Ave, Capitol Hill at our backs. Pauline and I high-fived it and said lets finish this thing! I kicked in the last of what I had. The announcer said my name as I crossed the finish (a first for me), I put my hands up in the air and shouted a woo hoo! I got an ice cold towel, my medal, hugged Pauline and thanked her and went to find a trash can - the nausea was coming..I had tears in my eyes. I truly thought I was going puke up what ever gel, water, heed, powerade I had taken in. Stomach cramped and I had that feeling in my throat, but it never happened. I went by the food tent. They had burritos! OH GROSS! Not after a tri! No bananas left only oranges. Acid fruit no thank you. I did grab a cookie, but I couldn't even eat that. I drank water. The Pom Juice booth was handing out Pom Juice recovery smoothies. I took one. I kept it down and it was delicious.
I got my gear bag, changed into dry clothes. Took the shuttle bus back to transition. Packed up my stuff and then made the awful 2 mile trek back to my car. I think I would have tried to ride my bike, but I had my pump and my pack felt heavy and awkward. I didn't want to risk crashing post race. Thankfully, one of my rack mates was walking back that way too. She and I chatted and tried to find the shady sides of the street. That will be my complaint #2 about this race. It is a lovely venue, but parking near where transition is quite limited. And I totally get why there are not shuttles to take you, your bike and gear back to parking, but man that sucks to have to trudge after you gave your all on the race course.
Time to find the next Tri and start into my marathon training plan.