Yay! I did it! And it was surprisingly awesome!
So here is my recap for the race because I don’t want to forget any of it.
On Friday I picked up my packet with Laura. This was a fairly unexciting process, but it did give me a chance to buy Rob a very cute (and incredibly dorky) tee shirt that said “My Wife is an IronGirl.” It made me a little giddy that he agreed to wear it.
On Saturday, Laura and I racked our bikes and then took a look at the lake. I kept telling Laura that it would be ok, not to worry and it really wasn’t that far to swim. And I was only half lying. I wanted to make sure to put on a brave face for her sake, but honestly, I was thinking, “There is an awful lot of algea gunk it there and it doesn’t look that clear. How will I know where I’m going?”
Very early Saturday morning, like 4:30 early, Rob and I got up and went to the park. It was still dark out and we were some of the first ones there, although definitely not the first ones there. I set up my transition area. My bike was in a kind of a funny place. There were three columns of racks and I was in the middle one, in the middle row, in the middle of the row. So I was very nearly dead-center. Ehh, made it easy to find.
I had a mini stroke of genius about setting up my area. I don’t have one of those fancy triathlon mats because I actively tried to avoid buying tri gear that didn’t at least have some future purpose. I knew I would be setting up on a towel. So which towel? It really shouldn’t matter, but I saw my old Rainbow Brite towel from when I was a little kid. It is completely useless as an actual towel because it is stained and worn down to almost see-through, but as a tri mat it is brilliant. Added advantage, it makes me super happy every time I look at it.
I had all my gear in separate little Ziploc bags because it was supposed to rain. I felt so organized.
I went around to look for someone to help me pump up my tires, which proved more difficult than expected. Eventually I found someone and he gave me his two cents on the “old wives tale” (his words, not mine) about pumping to a pressure 5 psi less than normal for wet conditions. I was willing to believe anything at that moment, so I let him fully pump up and honestly, it didn’t seem to make a lick of difference, so I might be calling bull$hit on that wives tale myself.
After setting up, there was a lot of standing around chitchatting with Laura’s friends. She knows so many people from the gym that were doing this, so there were plenty of people to talk to.
By 5:45 we hadn’t heard from Rachelle, so we texted her to see when she was getting there. She was still at home! She hadn’t planned on leaving until later because our wave started so late. When we told her the transition area closed at 6:30 she threw her stuff in a bag and raced over. I was sweating bullets for her. Can you imagine if she hadn’t made it? I guess I gave it away, but she made it just in the nick of time. After that, we headed over to the swim start area and just kind of checked out the scene.
Our wave was in about the middle of all of the waves. Laura went off 6 minutes before Rachelle and I. So we went in and treaded water for about 5 minutes before they started us. It was a little chilly, but I figured that would work to our advantage. The announcer sent us off and away we went. I just put my head down and swam. Albeit, a little off course. It is a bit hard to swim straight. Especially when you can’t see the person in front of you. I guess I managed ok, but people kept getting in my way. It really wasn’t long until I had caught up with the wave ahead of us (Laura’s wave). That actually made it worse because it meant you were getting caught behind even slower people. I saw two women with cardinal (my color) caps so I tried to sort of stick with them. I felt good on the swim. I didn’t really “race” until the end but I felt strong and powerful. Well, I should have raced, because Rachelle beat me by one minute, but I didn’t know that until later. I won’t let that happen again!
I got out and saw our cheering crew at the transition. I could tell from Jimmy’s face that Laura wasn’t out yet and he was a little worried about her. She made it, she was just a little slower. I sort of walked to the bike. I didn’t remember until I walked by Rob, Jimmy and Andrea that I was supposed to be racing. Duh! I think I had told myself so many times that my goal was just to finish, that I had let that get into my head and I kind of forgot that I was there to race.
At the transition area, I really didn’t care about my fancy Ziploc bags. I didn’t want anything but shoes on my feet and a helmet on my head. So that is what I left with. I mounted the bike and started to go. All I can say is, thank god we did that course the week before. Was it still hilly? Yes. Was it raining? Yes. Did my legs hurt? Hell yes. But at least I 1) Knew I could do it and 2) Knew what to expect where. Even though I had been super scared about the rain, I think it helped me in one very specific way. In addition to rain, I am also scared of going downhill fast. Well, apparently my fear of braking in the rain is stronger than my fear of going fast because on those big downhills, I just went for it! I was absolutely going, “fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck” the whole way, sometimes in my head, sometimes out loud, but I did it!
Around mile 10 or 12 Laura passed me. We yelled encouragement at each other for a few seconds and then I kept her in my sights for a few miles, but eventually she got far enough ahead that I couldn’t see her anymore.
I rolled back into transition and my butt hurt! and not from having it in the saddle for so long. More because I must have really worked those muscles hard on the hills. For the briefest of seconds I wasn’t sure I would be able to run. But of course I was. Again, I barely touched anything in my neatly laid out transition area and I took off. That’s an exaggeration. I limped out in some sort of shuffle/jog hybrid. I ran some. I walked more. I was just tired. And I hate running. So I did what I had to do. At one point I started my watch and told myself to run for 5 minutes before walking again. And then I ran for six minutes. I did that a few more times until the hills got the best of me. At the really big hill, I crossed paths with Laura. No, I had not caught up to her. Are you kidding? She was way ahead. There just happens to be a part of the course that has people crossing paths and we happened to be there at the same time. She looked beat. I can honestly say that I have never seen her look so dang tired. She usually comes out of any of our training looking no worse for the wear. Later she said that the run really beat her up. Well, the run beat me up too. As I’m sure it did for a lot of the participants.
For most of the run, I was thinking to myself, “you should have trained more, you’re getting what you deserve, this could be easier if you had put the time into training.” I realize now that this is a dialogue I often have in running races and it really isn’t helpful. Why beat yourself up when it’s too late to do anything about it? Why not say encouraging things that make the run seem a little less horrific? Suddenly a weird thing happened in the last mile. My inner dialogue switched a much more positive tone. I started thinking about how dang amazing it was that I was doing this. First, I thought about how I couldn’t even ride a bike when I signed up. How I had taught myself and learned and how really great my ride had been today. Then I thought about how amazing it was that a month ago I had been pregnant and unsure about the race and then I had lost the pregnancy and my body still had time to recover and I was doing this. Did I get as much training as I wanted to? No. Could I have been faster? Maybe. Was my body amazing in so many ways for just completing such a task? Absolutely! I actually started to tear up at that point and it really helped to propel me to the finish. ok, truth be told, I’m tearing up again now.
I crossed the finish line, got my medal and met up with Laura and Rachelle. I heard all about their races and we hugged a lot and congratulated a lot. Rachelle turned out a fabulous race, all three legs. Laura really powered through and overcame her fear of the water. And I did darn well too, if I do say so myself.
Swim Time: 21:16 Pace/100m: 1.57 Place: 126 🙂 T1: 5:20
Bike Time: 1:15:12 Pace MPH: 12.8 Place: 1168 T2: 2:09
Run Time: 43:21 Pace/mile: 12:45 Place: 1206
Total Time: 2:27:18 Overall Place: 908 Age Group Place: 131/208
I was under 2:30 which was my secret goal. When I finished the clock said 3:15 and I was secretly heartbroken until I remember the clock started at the first wave and we were 45 minutes back from that. It was overall, really amazing. So amazing, in fact, that I signed up to do IronGirl Rocky Gap in 3 weeks! Wish me luck!