I signed up for the Olympic distance event for this race put on by Richmond Mutisport in Virgina. These people put on a great event and a GREEN event. Well done!!
Now as you all know I have been training for the Marine Corp Marathon and pretty much that has been my focus since the beginning of July. There have been some swims and some cycling during these past months, but the focus has been more on running. Going into this event I was not sure how I would do, especially since I haven't been in the pool in a few weeks.
Saturday, I drove down to Tappahannock and Warsaw VA from my suburban Maryland location. Amazingly I didn't hit any traffic on I-95 South - that never happens. I went to Naylors Beach campground (start/finish area) to pick up my packet and attend the race briefing. The race organizers were placing the buoys for the swim in the river while I was there. They looked FAR away. "gulp". The river looked like it was really moving too. "double gulp". At the race briefing, the race director tells us that the tide will be going out during the olympic distance waves and should be flat for the sprint distance. Okay. Tide going out, helpful ? maybe?
After the briefing I headed over to my hotel. Checked in. Go to room. Someone else has already occupied this room. Go back to the front desk. She tells me, "Uh oh! This can't be. We are fully booked! I am going to have to call corporate." I am thinking - YOU WILL FIND ME A ROOM HERE OR SOMEWHERE ELSE - and before I have to get uncharacteristically nasty - she flips through some papers and realizes I am to be in room 103 not the 303 she gave me. Whew! After that, I grabbed some dinner and then did some reading and tv watching before calling it a night.
This was a race with reasonable start times. Compared to races in Wash DC, which have really early times. Transition opened at 7 and my wave start was 9:10 am. I got up, dressed, ate some food and headed over to the course. Since this was a small race, I easily found all my Ancient Mariner (my Master's swim team) friends that were also racing. We had people in all the categories - both the olympic and sprint tris, the duathlon, and the aquabike, and the swim -run (I don't know what that is called). This event definitely had something for everyone. I set up my transition, hit the bathroom, donned my wetsuit and went to play in the water. All morning I debated the wetsuit. It was a wetsuit legal event, but the water was comfortable without a wetsuit. The air was in the mid-70's at start time. I ended up wearing it.
SWIM - The swim was in the Rapphannock River. This is a swift moving river and it is a tidal river. Tide was to be going out with our start. It was an in water start and we could stand were we started. The course was set that you went out on a diagonal to the first turn buoy then straight down the river to the next turn buoy and then back into shore. The first two waves went. Then my wave went. I am swimming and swimming. I am feeling constricted and tired and can't catch my breath. The first turn buoy doesn't look like it is getting any closer. I freak momentarily and call a kayaker over. I hang on for a bit. I consider get out. I am thinking "Why in the hell am I doing this?" The kayaker tells me, "you have gone quite a bit. You can do it." I catch my breath and thank her and start swimming again. The tide/current pulling me and everyone else off course. FINALLY I get to the first turn buoy. I get around that and I am just wiped out. UGH, I still have quite a bit of swimming to do. There is a kayak nearby I hang on his tip for a minute. Again considering getting pulled out of the water. WHY DOES THE MIND DO THIS - WHY DO WE GO THERE? The kayak guy says something encouraging and I head out again. With the help of the tide/current I make it fairly easily to the next turn buoy. Then it gets really fun..... NOT . This was the hardest part of the swim. I was right at the yellow turn buoy when I turned and I am swimming and sighting and all of a sudden the red marker buoy is way off to my left. The tide/current is pulling me and many others way off course. I felt like I was swimming in place and not getting any closer to the shore line. I was so happy when I could finally touch ground as that meant I was closer to shore. I swim and walk in to the shoreline. I am beat up at this point. I climb up the berm as I am taking off my wet suit and head into transition. 37:16 for 1500 meters. I bet I swam more than 1500 meters with all of the off course business that happened.
T1: 3:30 - I walked to my bike. I was wiped out from the swim. There were hardly any other bikes left in transition for the olympic distance. I was thinking negative thoughts - like YOU REALLY SUCKED ON THAT SWIM MICHELLE. Helpful, I know. I got the rest of my wetsuit off, tried to get the dirt and crap off my feet - I did put socks on - can't go without -then shoes, got my helmet and glasses, grabbed my gels and gloves and I was out. I was lucky my rack spot was right next to the bike/run out.
BIKE - I was still a little shaky from the swim. I drank some nuun water and just pedaled. I grabbed a gel and proceeded to eat that and goo it all over my left hand, handle bar. Yuck what a sticky mess for the rest of the ride. LOL . Pure talent that is me. While it had been a bit cloudy in the morning, then sun was starting to break through and a lovely breeze (NOT) had started up. First turn and I am heading into the wind. GREAT, first the tide now the wind. But I just barrelled through. I had been warned about a couple steep hills on this course, and there was one that was steep and one that was a long, slow climb - nice rollers for the most part. I was able to pass a few folks so that made me feel a little better after the crappy swim. I needed anything I could get. Edited to add for Tri Diesel's benefit - I had a burp with substance while on the last part of the bike. It hought I was just going to burp, but there was more to it. Blah! It was gross. I was rinsing my mouth out with my nuun water spitting on myself and on the road and trying to keep up the pace. Towards the end of the course the olympic distance merged with the sprint. Those sprint distance folks looked so fresh. (The sprint waves started an hour after the last olympic wave). As you came into the dismount area you hit a road with speed bumps. LOL I started prepping my legs for the run by standing up and going over the speed bumps. I dismount in my normal awkard and slow manner and trot into transition. 1:28:43 - 26 miles. I will take it.
T2 - 2:18 Legs are feeling tired by not totally trashed. I really need tri-specific cycling shoes for these events. I fumbled trying to get my shoes off and I need to put zip ties on my running shoes. Then this would be faster. I grab some honey stingers and pour some water over my stinky gel hand and head off.
Run - The sun was out fully now and it was heating up. So much for the forecast of 69 as the high. It was warmer than that when the race started. Legs are feeling okay, but I am having trouble getting any kind of speed going. I just feel tired. I proceed to run/walk the whole 6.2 miles. At one point, I misstepped off the road and roll my right ankle. (Now I have rolled both ankles in one month). I cuss, rub my ankle, spit on my left knee that is bleeding now and get back going. I walk for a bit then start up my shuffle. You would think with all the running that I have been doing this would be better. NOT SO MUCH. I wasn't the last person on the course, but I was close. 10k - 1:21:34 pitiful
My Official finish time 3:33:20 This is not pretty.
Overall women's olympic distance winner's time - 2:32:59. How awesome is that and she was 16th overall!! Even more wonderful - she was in my age group (45-49). She BEAT many people much younger. And due to her amazing performance, that left myself and one other person for the age group awards. So even with my not so stellar performance I GOT FIRST IN MY AGE GROUP. I will take it as it may never happen again. The joy of a small race. Also getting older - less women in the brackets.
Next up - 13.1 miles to run at the Half Full Triathlon. Yep - I was the bike leg (56miles), but the runner on our relay team can't run as of last week. She is able to bike or swim. Well our swimmer is unable to do 13.1 miles, so since I am in marathon training and this should be something I can do - I am now running. I am not totally unhappy with this switch as MCM is only 33 days away. I need to be running.
Thanks for reading if you made it this far!
Happy Training and Racing