Monday, July 27, 2009

Race #4 of the Season: My Way or the Tri Way

So. I posted my times in my preview post and I'll put them in again here in the sections.

Anyway, here is my post for my third triathlon - My Way or the Tri Way. If you recall from last year, I was so despondent after my tri that I didn't even want to post. Well, this year's post is a lot more upbeat than last year. So that's good.


We woke up early Saturday morning, only needing to get dressed and eat breakfast ... as we were smart and packed up the Rav the night before. So, we got dressed and made some scrambled eggs and ham with toast. We left a few minutes later than we wanted, but we still made it to transition just after it opened - right after 6am.

We got there and unloaded the bikes.

My Way or the Tri Way

We put the front tires back on and made sure we were all full of air and ready to go. Once we had tires all full of air, we grabbed spots in transition.

My Way or the Tri Way

After making sure we had spots next to each other, it was time to get body marked. In honor of fellow blogger Steve in a Speedo, I got a smiley face on my calf (which, weirdly enough, is the last part of my body marking to fade).

My Way or the Tri Way

Once marked, it was time to get transition officially officially set up.

My Way or the Tri Way
My spot all set up ... except for my run shorts which I was still wearing.

My Way or the Tri Way
Our buddy Mark who came along to take pictures.

After we made sure our transition area was all set up, we went to test out the water as our open-water at Aurora Reservoir the week prior was COLD. 7.18.2009 - water temp about 68 degrees. 7.25.2009 - water temp in the mid-70s. So glad for that.

My Way or the Tri Way
Brandon happy the water is warm. Photo is backlit, but I actually like it that way.

My Way or the Tri Way
The soon to be triathlete couple!

Satisfied that the water would be a lot warmer than it was, we headed back up to transition. We both had sand on our feet and we couldn't find showers ... and I didn't want to use our water bucket just quite yet ... so I went for the unconventional (but fun!) method - the sprinklers.

My Way or the Tri Way

From then, it was time to start prepping and stretching.

My Way or the Tri Way
Brandon stretching me out.

Soon enough, though, it was time to start.

The Swim

At 8:07, seven minutes after Brandon started his first-ever triathlon, and after talking with some other women in the group, the women started their first leg of the race. I ran down the 150 yards or so down to the water ... which was a bad idea as it hurt me for the first part of the swim. Due to that small sprint, my breathing got elevated to the point where it was extremely difficult to get into a good rhythm. So difficult, in fact, that I swam most of the way to the first buoy with my head above water. Yeah. I also had to stop at one of the kayaks to clear out my goggles ... as my first attempt to do so while bobbing in the water trying to keep myself afloat didn't work out so well.

After I got my goggles cleaned out (well, mostly), my breathing got back into normal enough to get into a good groove in the water. By the time I hit the turn around, I felt great and was swimming well. I kept swimming even as I saw other people getting out of the water (and pretty sure i peed with about 100m to go) but waited until I got fairly close to the shore.
I mostly ran up the hill back to transition - total leg time (sprints and 750m swim): 24:07.


This race was awesome in that there was only 550 participants so the transition area was pretty small. When we set up, we decided we'd rather be closer to the bike in/out. So, I rinsed off my feet (someone loved my water bucket), put on my cycling stuff, fished a glove out of said water bucket and trotted back out to the bike course. Total time in transition: 3:10.

The Bike

I'm glad Brandon and I rode at least part of this course a week ago as we knew what the first two miles and the last two miles of the 14 mile course would be.

The powers that be described the course as "rolling" ... which I'm convinced would be "hilly" most anywhere else in the country. I didn't get passed too often on the course and in fact, passed quite a few people - mostly on the uphills (which i'm so proud of). I didn't have too many issues on the first half of the ride ... except with the stupid cardboard race number I attached to the frame that kept trying to fly off and annoy me. I finally got that figured out, though.

My cyclometer was spazzing on the ride (although, in hind sight, i probably should have just cleared it out again and it would have worked), so I couldn't notice anything but cadence. My mph for the entire ride? 0.0.

Okay, not really, but it was nice to just have to pay attention to cadence and not be dispirited with my slow-ass speeds on the uphills.

I kept waiting to see Brandon on the bike and just as the turnaround was coming into view, I saw him. I yelled "SUSHI POWER!" at him in reference to the delicious dinner we had the night before and what our sushi chef jokingly said. He yelled something back and I kept on going.

Only about three people passed me on the second half of the bike course - one I don't remember, one was someone I had already passed and the other was when I was fiddling with my damn race number again and took a swallow of diluted Gatorade. My calves were starting to ache a little and I started going a tad numb, but I pushed it through, thanking course volunteers as I could.

I eventually rolled back into the transition area. Total leg time: 54:57.


As I trotted my bike back into transition, I saw Brandon heading out for the run, so I naturally yelled at him. He waved and ran out while I got ready for my run. I changed shoes, tossed on my BU shorts, changed shirts, took the 30 seconds to put my hair clips in and I was off. Total time: 2:20.

The Run

I jogged out of transition and started the run ... though I had to stop very soon after to stretch out my calves which were cramping ridiculously. After getting them to the point where they weren't ouchy, I started running again. The run course, much like the bike course, was Colorado "rolling." I walked quite a bit within the first mile as well as saw a snake (probably a rattlesnake) and passed one or two people.

Soon after starting the second mile and right before I hit the water station, I saw Brandon not too far in front of me. However, I was still running/walking. I walked three total times in mile two - once was at the water station to get some water (damn sun finally came out) and the other times were on some killer uphills.

Fairly soon after I passed the second mile marker and started on the last 1.5 miles of the race, I started seeing Brandon in front of me. And he stayed in his sights in front of me until probably the last half mile of the race when I finally caught up to him. We stayed together for most of the end of the run until I finally took off (a stark contrast to our other races this season when he's left ME in the dust). Total leg time: 37:41.


Yes, because this race was "My Way or the Tri Way" with people doing the disciplines in whatever order they so desired, we had a T3 which took us back into transition and down another 200 yards or so to the finish. I ran through transition, confused on why this one guy right near Brandon and I just walked and continued on down toward the actual finish line.

I waited to kick due to a few curves and pedestrians crossing the course, but I finally did ... with one killer curve left where I almost biffed it. Still, I blew through the finish line for a total leg time of 1:26 and a tri time of 2:03:38.

Our buddy Mark got a picture of me crossing that is similar to Steve in a Speedo's "one-legged pirate" shots, but only Brandon has a copy of that one. Boo. FotoJack got some good shots of my kick, but those are for tomorrow.

When I finished, I grabbed my shirt and immediately started looking for Brandon because I knew he'd be finishing right behind me. He crossed the finish line, dove into my arms and almost collapsed from the joy, exhaustion and exhiliration. I know that training for, doing and completing this race meant so much to him and I was so ridiculously proud of him when he crossed that finish line. Honey, I love you and I am SO PROUD OF YOU. Even now, three days later. SO PROUD.

Et Cetera

I'm glad this tri went well especially considering my training this year has been a struggle. Cycling has been crappy. My running has been downright awful. Swimming had been the only good thing for me. Somehow, though, everything came together. This was my fastest ride I've done all year which was AMAZING. The run was about average and the swim was slower (open water, goggle issues, etc.), but I don't care. I'm just happy I was happy after this race.

I think the key is for me to not care and just go into the race with an "eh, whatever, this is going to be fun!" attitude ... which is weird for me to have as an athlete and as a competitor. I am a competitive person ... who performs best when she's chilled out. Finally figured it out for hockey and I guess triathlon's going to be the same way. That's probably the reason why last year's race went so poorly - I had so many goals and aspirations and expectations that I set myself up to fail.

This year, I say "screw it" to all of that and I bust out a time that's sure, a few minutes slower than last year, but on an overall longer course. Mentally, I go to another place during competition and I think it helps.

Next year? Hopefully an Olympic. I know I'm mentally ready, but physically will still be the question. And for sure ... Ironman by 40. I've got 14 years - I'll do it.

1 comment:

Dr. J said...

Loved the post!!

PS I ran into a buddy of mine today, Bernard Williams. He got the silver at the Oylmpics in Greece for the 200 meter sprint! He's fast. Afraid to fly though :-)