Like my play on words there?
I am so clever.
Even after my announcement post earlier in the week (which I partially did so I wouldn’t chicken out), I hemmed, hawed and procrastinated registering. My contact lenses showed up on Thursday, and still I waited. This type of race was SO out of my comfort zone I actually debated not participating at all. Finally Friday afternoon, a mere 45 minutes before the registration deadline, I clicked submit.
I was in.
I rode with a friend and am SO glad I did, as he was able to give me some pointers on how to set up my transition area, pumped some extra (much needed) air in my bike tires, point out that they accidentally gave me the wrong color swim cap (I am, in fact, not a male aged 40-49) and generally kept me calmer since I wasn’t spending the entire drive wondering what the heck I was thinking.
Still, I was nervous. So nervous in fact that I tried on my bike helmet to make sure it fit over my ponytail without checking to see that it was on the right way and had some very kind gentleman (who likely thought I was really a blonde) point out that I was wearing my helmet backwards. *facepalm*. I told him that I had put it on to make sure it fit over my ponytail and then just didn’t check it, but if he didn’t believe me I totally understood. He said he did. (But I don’t believe him.)
I go to get on my bike for a warmup and CRAP, my chain is coming off of the….holder things (I really need to get up on the bike lingo). I wheel it back and ask the nice gentleman (luckily a different one from the first) if he knows how to put a chain back on when he gently points out to me that it just mid gear shift. The shifter must have gotten pushed on the ride. *facepalm*
So now that I’ve looked like a complete idiot to not just one but TWO people, I did short run/bike a warm up, switched my swim cap and was ready as I’d ever be.
My (not too lofty) goals were as follows:
1. Don’t drown
2. Don’t finish last in my age group
3. Assuming #1 doesn’t happen, finish in under 90 minutes.
Distance: .3 miles
Hoped for time: 14:00ish
Actual time: 17:51
So a more experienced, VERY smart blogger once recommended practicing an open water swim before race day. In her experience, she found herself a bit panicked after realizing she couldn’t see underwater. Now, I technically don’t have a freestyle stroke. What I’ve done is more of a side stroke and so my head is out of the water anyway. In fact, since I’d managed a whole (slow) one mile swim prior to this I figured, no biggie.
Wrong. So very wrong.
Standing in the water waiting for the gun to go off sucked. I have never in my life been this nervous for a race. And suddenly the distance they have mapped out seems like way longer than .3 miles. I’m pretty sure I flapped my hands like a crazy person a couple of times. The gun went off and I was being kicked and splashed and had water in my nose. And suddenly I realize Oh My God I CAN’T TOUCH THE GROUND! I CAN’T TOUCH THE GROUND! Why are the lifeguards so far away?!? The first bouy (there were three to go around) is seriously eleventy billion miles away!
I’ve been practicing in a pool, and totally underestimated the feeling of safety doing lap swim in a pool with a max depth of 5ft and walls on either end should I ever feel tired.
I seriously had to refocus. I could do this. I’ve done this. I’ve done a distance longer than this. I could do this. So I focused on my breathing and started swimming, but with no side of the pool to use to keep myself straight, I went off course and took the very scenic route to the first bouy. I WAS second to last but got so far off that I ended up falling way behind. Getting to the second one was better, but I swear the distance from the second to the third was twenty trillion miles away (no seriously – thirty eight bajillion). I tried to come in from the inside to make up some time but it just didn’t happen. I was not only the LAST person in my age group out of the water, but about 12 people from the age group after me and 1-2 in the one after THAT finished before me too.
Aside from the fact that I had to walk for a bit once out of the water because my legs were all jello-y, this went fairly smoothly. I had no expectation on transition times simply because I’d never done it before. Practice is totally different than race day.
Distance: 12 miles
Hoped for time: under 45 minutes (I started out biking 12 miles in 48 minutes)
Actual time: 42:38!!
Out of the 300 or so participants, I’d say 90% had road or triathlon bikes. 10% had mountain or hybrid bikes. I was one of the 10%. I did not expect to do fabulously on the bike.
Literally the day before I had Bryan change my pedals for the kind with the clips and straps. My chiropractor recommended it because it would help me push AND pull and therefore fatigue my running muscles less. I had a bit of trouble getting my shoes in the pedals at first, but other than that the bike felt great. I passed probably 6-7 bikers (all on mountain bikes) and got passed by probably 25 (all on road or triathlon bikes). Still, I cut almost 2 whole minutes and so that almost made up for my abysmal swim time.
It helped that I had no fancy biking shoes with clips here so I literally just had to take off my helmet, put the bike on the frame and start running. (Also, despite the fact that my buddy I rode with started 16 minutes after me, he had managed to catch up by this point – show off.)
Distance: 3.1 miles
Hoped for time: under 30 minutes (I mean, I had just finished swimming and biking and by then it was not only hot and humid but also sunny. I had low expectations)
Actual time: 25:56
Either my chiropractor is a genius or pure adrenaline got me through this run, because even though my legs felt like jelly for at least .5 miles after every practice bike/run on my old pedals, I got off the bike this time and felt great. In fact, my finish time was only 30 seconds more than the virtual 5k I did earlier in the week – and that was just the run! The fact that I was still wet from the water and there was plenty of shade in the park really helped here.
Crossing the finish line was not as cool as the marathon, but it wasn’t far behind.
Finish time: 1:29:01
Age group finish: 8/15
Overall women finish: 52/98
I finished and I didn’t drown!
And I kinda want to do it again…..but that’s just crazy, right?