Had a sprint tri scheduled for Sunday morning, early, but the unseasonable thunderstorms threatened the race. As late as midnight on Saturday I still wasn't convinced it was going to happen. Apparently, race directors don't like to put athletes on a course, much less the lake, when it is lightning. Something about instant death or whatever.
But as soon as the sun came out Sunday morning, we could see that the skies were clearing up. The rain brought a nice breeze and cooler temps - it was going to be a great morning for racing! Since I got there early, I lucked out and got to rack my bike at the very front of my designated rack. Yesssss, no searching for my bike! All I had to remember was that the rack was under the lightpole. Easy enough.
You see the same people over and over at local tris and even if you don't actually know them, it's exciting to exchange greetings and wish swift feet. One woman, recognizing my kit from the last tri, introduced herself and we spent some time chatting about our upcoming races. We all ran in to people we really do know, including sweet Elaine. No make up, it's just past stupid thirty and they look fantastic! Me, I look dazed and sleep deprived. How do y'all do that, look so cute so early?
Ambling over to the swim start, we met up with more peeps still. (but, duh, no cameras since we were all about to jump in the lake) You could have knocked me over with a feather when I turned around to see my surprise visitor. You just never know who will turn up at a race! Again, no pics because, duh, water and all. But there was glitter involved and it absolutely made my day.
Totally worth getting up at stupid thirty to get to see this.
Swim: Last minute kisses, hugs, high fives and shouts of "Good luck" and single file by age group, we were in the water. I've never been one to wish myself older, but dangit, the AG just after mine got pink caps! The water was nice and warm and I dunked my face in a few times. We bobbed for a few minutes letting the group in front of us get past the first few bouys and then got the okay to take off. Ugh. I just cannot keep my heart rate down in an OWS. Using the skills I've learned, I quickly swam over anyone in my way. My heart rate might be out of control, but I'm not afraid of the washing machine. I know they'll leave me behind soon enough. I beat my time from my last race, but I'm still significantly slower than in the gym pool. When am I going to learn to race OWS? When?!!? Oh, with more practice you say? Gotcha. No panic and no drowning, so when my arms touched sand, I gratefully got up and ran towards T1, smacking Elaine on the bottom as I ran by.
Fixin to smack Elaine on the bootay
Bike: Swim survived, my goal for the bike and run was to go out as hard I as could maintain. And I did. There were quite a few sharp u-turns and loopys and ginormous cracks in the road, but I was determined to really race this course. At the pre-race meeting they suggested that we stay out of aero for the first few miles since the road conditions were so poor. (because of all the rain - it's a park, yo) Heidi and I exchanged looks, yeah, that's not gonna happen. As soon as I crossed the bike mount line, I got up out of the saddle, keeping in mind my goal to pass everyone I came upon. I might be the slowest swimmer ever, but I can ride a bike! It was a really flat course so I was able to stay in my big chain ring and really push. Another woman in my AG and I kept leapfrogging, we laughed about it and exchanged pleasantries. But in the back of my mind, I knew that as we got closer to the end of the 12 miles, I'd do whatever it took to pass her and not let her catch me. Eventually a group of 4 women, all in my AG, ended up clumped together, all riding the same pace. Hard. Yeah, there was plenty of unintentional illegal drafting. One would pass, the others would catch up. Finally, having enough of this goo-goo-cluster of love, I dropped the hammer, hopped in the hurt box, passed them all and pretty much ran on the bike the rest of the course. I never saw them again. Hey, you're a marked woman with your age on your calf.
Heidi is so cute in her SOAS kit!
Run: As soon as I started running I though my lungs were going to explode. My heart rate spiked at the beginning on the swim and hadn't gone down yet. On the bike, I kept telling myself, "Your legs are fine, your lungs will keep up" but I was breathing ridiculously loud. This did not change on the run. Glancing at my watch I realized the reason for the hurt, 7:27. Yikes! That's a suitable pace for fresh legs on a 5K, but I was unsure if I could hold that now. Figured I'd try. Well, I couldn't. I finished the 2 loop run course, averaging just over an 8 mi mile, getting passed in the chute by another woman in my AG. Someone called out, "She's in your age group!" But I just let her go, I didn't have any more sprint left in me than I was already doing. Good for her for digging deep and nearly knocking me over in the process. It was just not my day to battle it out in the last 1/10 mile.
Finished. I am really pleased with my effort out there. I was going as hard as I could the entire time and landed a nice PR. The fact that it was about 15 degrees cooler certainly helped. Elaine landed on the podium, that was my favorite podium moment of the day. My second favorite was when a dude brought his great big dog on the podium with him. I do love to spot a dog at races! I walked away with a medal for placing in my AG as well. All around, it was a great day for racing.
Elaine n TPG
Post race I ended up nursing a bad dehydration headache. Even with the straw just inches from my face, I didn't drink much on the bike. I drank even less on the run, my handheld was nearly full when I finished. Hey, I was concentrating! Nutrition? I had peanut butter on toast on the drive over, but that was about 2 and half hours before I ever got in the water. I gobbled down half a Honey Stinger Waffle before the swim and crammed the rest of it in my cake hole in T1. So yeah, about 150 calories during the race. Which for me, for only an hour of racing, is a lot. But I enjoyed that a Waffle before my ride. Gave me a little boost of sugar. It may be all mental but hey, I'll take whatever advantage I can get.
I may have one more sprint before Austin. Racing a sprint is so different than a 70.3. I mean, I've only done it once, but from what I remember, it takes longer than an hour! Sprints are a fun distance and it's easier for me to know I only have to hurt for a short while.
I've learned a lot this racing season and every moment has been crazy fun!
All photos courtesey of the not-so-creepy-guy with the camera and certainly my most favorite spectator. Thank you for sharing your pics!