I swam fast. Rode hard. Choked on the run....
Ok, no really. I did really well throughout except for the run. What the heck? I'm supposed to be good at running. It's what I do. I run, mostly. But I always choke on the run. I've been told it's because I need to ride more and that my legs are tired from biking so I die on the run. I'm sure that is true. So tomorrow I am moving the trainer back inside. He has been banished to the garage since May and it is time, time to bring him back in and set Nelly up so I can ride.
Anyway, we headed to the race site early since we didn't make packet pickup the night before. It was still dark when I got everything set up...but under the cover of darkness I discovered I had forgotten my race belt. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh! After a quick mini panic I realized all would be fine, I would just have to pin it. Old school style....No biggie. I closed my eyes and visualized how it would go down in transition: off with the bike shoes and helmet, on with the visor, running shoes, grab bib with pins already attached, pin it on as I run through the transition. I replayed it a couple of times and felt confident I could remember come race time. I use visualization a lot. I think it really helps me.
So here is my transition all set up and ready to go.
I headed over to J-Ninja's Hubster's transition to get some rubber bands so I could attach my repair kit to the back of my bike seat. Bad news, he had broken two of the rubber bands. There were none left to spare. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! I returned to my transition. I stared at my bike, then my wheels, then the repair kit. The conversation in my head went something like this: "I take the repair kit I don't need it. I leave it behind I get a flat. I have no pockets. Where do I put it? What do I do? I am doooomed. I will face certain flattage if I don't have it. That is just the way my life is...I need this repair kit. Think. Think. Where can I get rubber bands?" I looked around and no one in sight had rubber bands.
After a bit I had a brilliant idea. I headed over to the body marking area and grabbed two ankle straps.... I hooked up my repair kit and stepped back to admire my handy work. "Yes, this is going to be a good race." I should have been a boy scout.
With my transition all set up all I had to do now was wait. My wave started at 7:46. As I waited a girl came and introduced herself, Lacey! Lacey moved to NC from WA too and emailed me about doing the same tri. I was thrilled that she came up and introduced herself. It is so great to meet people in real life!!
Finally it was time for the pink caps (yay for pink caps!) to head to the water. J-Ninja wished me good luck, I wished Lacey good luck and then, then I did something weird. I went to the VERY FRONT. I mean smack dab in the front! The swim started and I was off. Nice and easy. I was working hard to concentrate on my stroke, kick, and breathing. I didn't want to get thrown off like I have so many other times.
The swim was in a river that meets the salty water of the Atlantic ocean. It was also really warm. And to make it worse there was a current. We were swimming into the current for a good part of the swim. It didn't phase me though, I felt good, except I was getting really, really warm. The water temp was around 86 and like a noob I put my swim cap over my ears. Why? Well at the time I thought it was a good idea, to help keep water out of my ears. Nope. FAIL. It was like wearing ear muffs in the summer. I got hotter and hotter. I could feel my face getting read and hot. As I came around the last buoy a dude smacked me, twice, in the head. Now I know things can get crazy in a race, but seriously, at the point where you were in a wave about 10 minutes earlier and you are getting passed, by a girl, let it go, don't punch. Wow. My goggles got knocked a little bit and I remember that is why I often put my swim cap OVER my goggles in a race. Oops.
I came out of the water and heard J-Ninja yelling for me!! I ran to the transition. I actually cannot remember what that run was like. I was ticked off because my watch had my swim at 17 minutes and something. I was mad. J-Ninja was at the side near my bike and her words rang in my ear, "Don't let it phase you." She was right, it was just the swim, I felt so good though? How could that be? The current? I guess? In the end, my swim time was 15:14 and I was ranked 2nd female in my age groups out of the water. I had no idea.
When I got on the bike I had no idea where I stood place wise. I knew there were only 9 in my age group. So I was somewhere between 1st and 9th. As I rode I passed one girl in my age group, there....8th or 1st. And that is how my ride went. I never saw anyone else in my age group until about a quarter mile to go. I rode hard the entire time, like there was a mob of girls trying to get me. My goal for this race was to place. I wanted a top three. So I rode hard and just at the last I passed a girl in my age group, putting me in first but again, I had no idea. As we came nearer the dismount she passed me quickly and I got caught behind a dude who could not get off his bike and I was trapped in the narrow dismount area, "Dude, move! Go! Go!!" I yelled, mainly because I was about to fall over and I couldn't stop, he had to get out of the way.
I ran to the transition area, feeling surprisingly good. I visualized again my transition, shoes, visor, bib. It all went down just as planned. My bib was pinned on before I even made it out and crossed the timing mat. I was off...running. Running in the heat. The humidity. Ugh. I was not prepared for this. But I could see the calf with the number 34 in front of me. I kept her in my sights. Surely the heat will get her too? Yes, there is no way she can keep this up. She is going to choke. And then she was further and further ahead. Ah, drat. I let her go. I could settle for 2nd or 9th. At the 1 Mile mark I saw J-Ninja's hubster, he had a mile to go-I cheered him on and kept going. 2 miles left for me. I held my own and saw no more age groupers....until the last half mile. My feet were on fire. The bottom on my right foot was burning, my speed laces were too tight paired with the hot asphalt it was killing my foot. I could hardly breath, the humidity was torturous. The heat unbearable. It was like running in a stupid sauna. I was thirsty and HOT and then this chick, some girl in my age group passed me on an uphill with maybe half a mile a go.
I had no fight left. I had no kick. I had no will. I kinda felt like dying. Like melting into the pavement and dripping off the bridge into the salty water, to be washed away at sea....but no relief came. I had to finish. I had to keep running until I finally saw the finish line. I knew I was at best third place, at worst 9th. Oh well. I felt like I had put up a good fight and finished a good race. I was spent.
I crossed the line and things went pretty black as the girl removed my chip. I stumbled to the water bucket and got a drink. My eyes were littered with black dots everywhere...I couldn't really focus. I was hot, my stomach was churning. I was light headed. J-Ninja and her hubster found me in the gaggle and we talked for a minute. I got more water then told them I needed to cool down before I passed out and we headed to the lake. I got into the lake and submerged my hot body (and no I do not mean that in a stuck up way). I was still hot and light headed. It took a good while for me to cool off and start feeling a little bit more human again. Pretty sure I was on the brink of heat exhaust.
Here is picture of the lake, those rocks harbor a snake. A mean man-biting snake. A poor racer had been standing on the rocks and got bit! The ambulance came and took him away. I have no details about what kind of snake but it was not good. But it did not deter me from sitting in the water, right there to the left of the rocks. Snake or heat stroke....I chose snake. At least that could have won me a ride in the Ambulance with AC.
Here is a picture of a crazy water tree....I think it is pretty, pretty creepy.
And so now you know the story of how I got 3rd in my age group. I was so close to 1st but I let it slip away...Maybe sweet victory will be mine on Aug 13th when I do my next Sprint tri....
And here is my new bling....nestled quietly and comfortably with all his brothers and sisters....Welcome home Tri Bling, I have been expecting you....