Ugh! I did NOT sleep well last night. I never do before a race, so I don’t know why I expected last night to be different. 4:45 came way too soon and I really didn’t want to get up. Regardless I got up and dressed and tried to combat my nerves while I waited for my friends Lindsay and Shannon to pick me up.
I had swam one time since The Rookie Triathlon in April so my confidence wasn’t exactly at an all time high. Once we arrived at the venue my confidence began to wane further. It was clearly very windy and the waters looked rough. We chatted with one of Shannon’s friends and she let us know, in no uncertain terms, that both the swim and the bike would be tough due to the wind. If I didn’t believe her at the time, I do now.
I tried to calm my nerves with my usual technique of picturing myself completing the task and remaining calm. I kept reminding myself that the swim (500m) was less than 15 minutes of exercise and I could easily do that. I just had to find a good, slow, steady groove and go with it.
I actually felt pretty calm once I got in the water. The water was warm, but definitely choppy. I tried not to look at the red turn around buoy that seemed 100 miles away. I would just take this swim one stroke at a time.
When the air horn sounded and my wave was released I jumped right in. I got kicked A LOT. After the first 100 to 200 yards I decided to hold up and let the group that had surrounded me go ahead so I could alleviate getting kicked in the face and shoulders.
Did y’all know there is no black line at the bottom of the lake? Yes, you knew? Damn you for not telling me because I didn’t practice my straight line open water swimming. Check this out…. it’s SO embarrassing.
How does this even happen? Someone please advise! Clearly I need some open water swim technique lessons. Noted!
My garmin actually said I swam .6 miles or 900 plus meters. The swim was to be 500 meters. I realize I did a LOT of zigzagging, but did I really swim almost double? Regardless the actual swim took me 13:44, but it took me until 14:41 to cross the mat into the transition area.
I definitely felt tired after the swim, but not spent. My legs were wobbly and I was pretty thirsty. I concentrated on getting on my socks, bike shoes, sunglasses, helmet and Chapstick knowing I could drink once in route. T1 took 2:16 seconds which was over a full minute off my previous time at The Rookie Tri.
It was clear from almost the moment I got on the bike that the wind would be a factor. Ok, ok not right from the beginning, but from about 3 miles to 7.5 miles the wind was BRU-TAL. There were times where I could barely maintain 9 mph. From 7.5 until about 11 miles there was a break from the wind and I prayed it would last… it didn’t. At 11 miles (or so) the wind was back in my face and wearing me down physically and mentally. I just wanted to be D.O.N.E. Soon enough the bike finish was in my sight and so were the athletes on the run portion of the race. They were a tall/slender, fit looking bunch and they appeared to be moving so slowly. Hmmm I wondered why??? I wound up finishing the bike in 1:01 averaging 13.9 miles per hour. Here are my splits.
I was so proud of my T2 transition. I was in and out in 1:38. That’s REALLY good for me.
I wish things kept going well as I moved out onto the run course. As soon as I hit the crushed granite path my achilles starting crying. Screaming and crying! And then I realized… remember those tall/slender/fit looking people that were running so slowly? Oh yes, they were running so slowly because they had 30 mph winds blowing in their face. So now I’m on unstable-I –just-got-off-a-bike-legs, and my achilles hate me AND I’m dealing with wind.
Sometimes it seemed as though my brain was telling my legs to move, but they just couldn’t carry out the message. Every time the wind would let up and I’d gain ground, the wind would gust back up and I’d be barely running. I can’t tell you the amount of people that were walking/running or just plain walking. If you know me, you know… I WOULD NOT WALK. Trust me when I tell you I wanted to walk. From mile 1.3 I wanted to walk. Finally around the 2 mile mark my achilles started to feel somewhat better. I passed the last water stop, dumped water on my head and chest and trudged on.
I finished the run in 32:26, an 11:12 average pace. Of all parts of the course I was most disappointed with the run. For this distance I should have been able to go much, much faster. I’m trying not to be so hard on myself because I know I had nothing more to give.
The wind definitely played a factor in ALL parts of the course and there is nothing I could have done about that. I really did have fun putting myself to the test and completing this triathlon.