Okay campers...I know some of y'all are waiting for the race report. So...here's the short version:
I KICKED ASS.
Seriously. It was an absolute blast. I meant it when I said it's the most fun I've ever had with my clothes on.
Alright. So I'm sure some of you are looking for the not so short version. Welp...here you go!
If you want the technical hodge podge details of the race go here. It's my race log over at BeginnerTriathlete.com.
Weather? Low/Mid 80's at the start, low 90's by the run. Not a cloud in the sky.
I am absolutely amazed at how calm and relaxed I was this morning. I'm not sure if it was the nature of the event, or the small little happy pill I took this morning to help keep the anxiety at bay...but the only unusual feeling was complete and total excitement. Mike dropped me off early in the morning and I walked a good 1.5 miles to the transition area to finish getting everything set up. Much to my surprise, some salty wench moved my shit a good three feet over (I'm still pretty annoyed that this happened!) so my spotting in transition wasn't lined up with what I was mentally preparing for...c'est la vie, I suppose.
But the transition area was out of control. Nearly 4,000 bikes all racked up in a small confined area. That was my only beef with the race was the crazy number of participants. But really, that's my only complaint. It was well organized given its size and the course support was incredible.
After getting everything all set up in transition, I started to make my way over to the swim start since it was a point to point swim across a lake. I had my first "YOU GO GIRLFRIEND!" experience (it's apparently a Danskin tradition to high five everyone around you and say that) and then watched the elite women take off, followed by the wave of cancer survivors. A quick trip to the porta potty and a dip into the lake and I was ready to go...
...with the exception that I was wave 24.
...and so I waited. And waited. And then waited some more. Probably an hour and forty minutes or so total. Mike came and found me...and then in turn, had to run back to the car for the camera battery.
The waiting part was amazing because the first woman to finish the race was done before I even took to the water. I told you it was a big race!
Standing in the swim corral waiting to be led into the water was the first time I felt the butterflies in my stomach. I think it was more excitement than anything else though. There were probably around 60-70 of us in my wave...
I positioned myself in the middle/back on the right hand side of the pack. From the side of the lake, the distance didn't look so bad, but when you're wading in the water waiting for the countdown it was slightly unnerving. The swim finished seemed like a tiny speck on the horizon. A half mile never looked so far away. I focused on the first buoy...just get to the first buoy, Barb, and then you can worry about finding the next one.
Before I knew it, we were counting down and without hesitation I plowed right into the water. It took about 80 yards or so before I slipped into an okay position and got comfortable. Some hoss swam over me at one point, but other than that everyone was really cool and supportive of each other.
I rotated between strokes...freestyle and back stroke...breast stroke when I needed to make sure I was going the right direction and for relaxation. I nearly ran into the halfway mark buoy mid-stroke (which actually was more like 65% of the way there). Totally awesome, right?
A little over halfway there I had caught up to some of the folks in the far back of the pack of the wave in front of us...and in turn, the front of the wave behind us caught up to me. The swim, much to my surprise, was a smashing success.
When approaching the swim finish you could actually hear the crowd cheering 80 yards out while under water. It was nuts. As soon as my hand grazed the bottom of the lake mid-stroke, I put my feet down and sloshed my way up to the shore.
I'll definitely need to invest in tinted goggles for open water swimming. Everytime I looked up to sight the next buoy or finish line all I got was the glare of the sun off the water. In turn, I did a good amount of zig zagging across the lake...which wasted energy. Some more practice in open water ought to do the trick.
My goal on the swim was to just do the half mile in under a half an hour, since I wasn't really sure what to expect. Needless to say, I'm pretty pleased with myself on this one...
Swim Time: 19:38
Overall swim rank: 2323/3919
I kept telling myself to just take it easy and stay calm in transition. So I walked. Part to keep
myself from getting in a tizzy and part to save my legs for the bike/run portions. I had some technical difficulties with my helmet and my pony tail and easy lost a minute or so trying to get everything situated and comfortable.
My T1 time was 5:35. Ridiculously long. Definitely need to work on speeding things up here.The Bike...
I was amazed at how quickly I was able to clip in and go to town. I shouted out to Mike just as I was riding by him and gave a hearty cheer.
It took about a mile to get comfortable on the bike. At this point the wind was working to my advantage. It helped push my up the hills and I was able to pass a few folks...and of course, get passed in turn as well. I played cat and mouse with 2 women the entire course (and ended up beating both of them in the end).
The first six miles flew by in 20-something minutes it seemed. Just around mile 6.5 we turned a corner and BOOM...HOLY HEADWINDS AND CROSSWINDS, BATMAN. I dropped from 17-18 mph to about 8...and of course, we have to go UP. It was awful. All I could think about was...how in the hell am I going to 56 miles of this in May?!
And then after a while, I just loosened up and had fun with it. Yeah...it was really hot. The sun was brutal and there was no shade at all...but I smiled...and enjoyed myself. Savored the aches in my legs and the crazy amount of effort it took get to the crest of the hills...and of course, I loved the downward zips. Pure bliss.
I hadn't done much timed bike work in training so I was hoping to average 12mph throughout the course and come in right around an hour...clearly there's plenty of room for improvement...
Bike Time: 58:59
Average mph: 13.2
Overall Bike Rank: 3248/3919Transition 2...
With jelly-like legs, I ran my back to transition area, racked and got everything ready to go for the run. I pulled my fuel belt out of my mini cooler, doused my head, changed shoes, and took off...
T2 time: 4:20The Run...
Oooooh, I wish I could say this was the best part...but not today. It just wasn't my
day to run. I was hoping to pull around an 11:30 pace. But with the extreme heat in the mid-90's at this point and absolutely no shade whatsoever on the run course, I knew I was in for a long run. The course was flat and took us around the lake with one out and back portion about halfway through. My mantra? Just get under 40 minutes.
Not even a quarter mile in my right calf started cramping up. I sucked down a Gu and a few swigs of gatorade/water and walked it out, stopping to massage it for a moment. My legs felt like jello. Mike had warned me that I may have issues finding my running legs...and boy did I! I brought it down to a run/walk and then finally, somewhere between mile 1.75 and 2, my legs felt strong once again.
I grabbed water at both ends of the out and back portion of the course and took my time walking through the hydrants and water hoses they had out spray the athletes (which was heavenly). Even though I was soaked, the sun dried me up rather quickly.
There were tons of folks walking because of the awful heat, so passing the slow(er) runners and walkers was a nice confidence booster. I cheered folks on that were struggling and go a big boost of energy with about a half mile left.
I kicked it up and passed a handful of folks on my way into the finish...
Mile 1 - 12:34
Mile 2 - 12:54 (water stations and hoses/hydrants)
Mile 3: 12:08
.1: 8:24 pace
With a high five to Sally Edwards (the Danskin Tri Series spokeswoman and Ironman Masters Champ) I was grinning ear to ear and cruised right on through the finish line.
It was complete and total awesomeness.
A whole different kind of accomplished feeling for a whole different kind of race. Euphoric, if you will.
It wasn't your local 5k race or a marathon. It was three disciplines. Three separate obstacles. Three challenges to overcome. Each one taking you closer to the finish line.
Throughout the entire race I was smiling. I truly enjoyed challenging myself in this new way. And I loved every last minute of it. I really think that everyone who is physically able to, should do at least one triathlon in their life. There are no words to describe it...even in its most brutal moments with the weather and with leg cramps, it was absolutely fantastic.
I know where I need to improve and I'm hoping to make those adjustments before Harbor Lights in two weeks...
Holy cow, kids...I'M A TRIATHLETE!!!!!!!
Overall Ranking: 2886/3919
Age Group Ranking (25-29): 315/363
Final Time: 2:07:17
And...big kudos to my hubby extraordinaire...the rockstar made a shirt to wear during the race that said "Swim Barb! Bike Barb! Run Barb!" ...and on the back it said "Go Barb!!" Apparently he was asked to take photos with another athlete named Barb.
He even surprised me with a shirt of my own...
And on the back it says, "GO ME!!!" I looooooove it. :)