Thursday before the tri we drove from Jefferson City, MO to sis's house in Oconomowoc, WI. We left kind of late, but got a half decent night of sleep when we got there about 11:00.
Friday was pretty much a hang out at my sis's house (she lives on a lake). Sis and I ran into Pewaukee to pick up the race packets for the kids and ourselves. I bought a neat neoprene timing chip band that I didn't think would dig into my ankle as much as the plastic band that they gave us. Pretty quiet evening, but not quite as early as I had hoped. Weather was GORGEOUS!
Sat morning we got all the kids up early and headed out to the kids' triathlon. We set up transitions and talked through some things and then waited as the waves were called. My nephew did the 3 year old race (too cute)! My other nephew competed with the 6 year olds. My daughter was in the 7s and son was in the 10s. It was another beautiful day - maybe a smidge warm by the end in the sun, but still perfect weather. My kids both did a 100' swim (or running in the shallow water LOL), 1 mi bike and 1/4 mi run. They both looked strongest on the bike, but that is probably what we do the most.
My daughter looked strong on the run, but fought the kids that were running when she was trying to swim in the water. She also fought her transitions. Mostly because I didn't know the race #s were waterproof so I pinned her # to her shirt and she had to pull it on her wet body and then she didn't seem to really know which way to bike out and my sister was waving her towards it, but I could tell she was confused. Definitely my bad for not walking through that better with her. That was a plus for my son having watched her so he didn't make that mistake. She also fought getting her helmet off and dropped it trying to take it back to her bike when she remembered she had it on.
My son looked hot and tired by the time he got back from the bike (although it had gotten warmer). But I was pleased to see him jog out of the transition. He made it about a half block before he started walking. Oh well. He ran about the last 1/3 of it, but you could tell it was hard. My daughter didn't look like it was even work. LOL She came in 4th in the 7 year old girls - one place shy of a trophy, but she was tickled with her medal and the whole experience. My son was totally in a mood that morning - pissed about getting up early to be there and annoyed about having to do it and just sour all the way around. He beat 3 or 4 other boys in his age group, but definitely had others that were WAY ahead of him. They don't post times for the kids' races, just places. But after all was said and done (and he was a bit more rested I think), I heard him tell one of my brother-in-law's family members that he would consider doing it again which surprised me.
I went to the course talk at noon and then another seminar called Tri 101 that was given by this funny older couple that apparently was sponsored by PowerBar to do these talks. My sis and bil did practice swims. I skipped it since I did one in sis's lake the day before and I didn't want to postpone nephews' naps any longer as they were really fussy.
Later that evening I started laying out tri stuff and did a bonfire with smores before sending everyone to bed. Except sis didn't go to bed b/c she seemed to forget how much she had to do when she was putzing around with the kids all evening. So at midnight I woke up when I heard her go to bed and then I was up again at 1:30 when her dishwasher was beeping it was done (and it doesn't stop until you open it??) and then still awake when the dryer dinged that it was done at 2:30 and then about 3 I went back to sleep only to wake up about 4:15 thinking about the tri and 4:30 got up to get ready to go. Ugh!
Although sis promised she would be ready to go at 5, we finally left at 5:15. We got to the race about 5:40 and set up our transition areas. Another BEAUTIFUL morning. Water temp nice, sun out (even that early), not cold, etc. I talked to sis and some of her inlaws for a bit. Kind of did a walk-through of our transitions so we didn't have the "freakout moment" and then hung out on the beach until it was time to start. First wave went in the water at 6:30. I didn't have a watch, but the other waves followed at between 1.5-3 min intervals. Sis was in Wave 7 and I got to see her come out of the first transition and cheered her as she left on her bike. I tried to just take deep breaths and clear my mind and before I knew it, time for Wave 21! LOL The waves are apparently mostly set up by when you register so there were some "real" athletes, but mostly not in my wave.
Got in the water and tried to get to the outside and the back, but my wave quickly spread out as it was a tough swim. There was a lot of lake vegetation. Luckily, bil had warned me about that from the day before so I tried not to let it throw me. But in trying to find my spot in the water and dealing with the stuff hanging from my arms as I brought them out of the water and getting in my face when I put my face in the water and then just having trouble finding my “stride” or “pace” or whatever, I just tried to finish the damn swim. I used every stroke from dog paddle to crawl to backstroke to sidestroke. Before long, the buoys were slowly going by and I managed to finish without having to rest on any of them or any of the lifeguard boats that were there if you needed them. In the end, I came out of the water in under 15 min for the quarter mile swim. About as I expected, but slower than I can do it in a pool. But some folks jogged out of the swim – not me. I was BEAT! And so I just walked to the transition area (across the street and my bike was at the back of the area across a parking lot of 1300 other bikes, but close to the middle aisle so pretty easy to find). Most of my wave had already left, but a few were changing into their biking gear and thanking God for having gotten the swim behind them. I dried off best I could and slipped on my shirt, bike shorts, socks/tennis shoes and helmet and took off out of transition (3.5 min after trudging in).
Bike was hard from the get go. I just was tired from the swim – much more than I had anticipated being. And as I saw mile marker 2, I was like “Oh shit – I was hoping I just hadn’t seen one of the markers”. They seemed to creep by. Some of the more gentle hills still seemed hard. But I never got off my bike – always managed to gear down and stay peddling – even if slowly. About mile 4 or 5, I figured out I had made a critical error in choosing to bring a bottle of Gatorade that I swapped for my normal water bottle at the transition. Wrong because it had a SCREW CAP! So I waited until the top of a pretty good hill where it started to flatten out and have a slight downgrade and managed to get the cap off and get a good drink, but dropped the damn bottle trying to get it back in the holder so I cussed, got quickly off the bike and picked it up and got back on only losing a few seconds, but it pissed me off! Every mile marker seemed to take forever to come around, but after the halfway mark I was getting some hope. I tried everything to keep up some kind of spirit. I said prayers, I thought about my favorite upbeat song, I told myself on some hills simply that I was not getting off this bike and damn it, just keep gearing down every 10-20 peddle strokes. LOL There were people at a few spots cheering for the athletes which really did lift my spirits. One family particularly was at the top of the most brutal hill about the middle of mile 14 and they blew their air horn and assured me it was nearly all down hill from there and to hang in there. I nearly broke into tears in mile 15 thinking about how tired I was and how freaking happy I was that the bike portion was nearly over, but how bummed I was to be facing the 5K now. Tears came to my eyes again when I saw my family sitting on the curb near the bike dismount cheering me on. I had planned for nearly a 1.5 hour ride and hoped for more like 1.25 and finished it in 1 hour 28.5 min. But another goal was to never have to walk my bike and I did meet that one too!
I trudged through to rack my bike - a little disheartened by the fact that most people were done (and had been done with the race for a long time). I sucked it up and racked my bike and nearly forgot to take my helmet off, but grabbed my Gatorade that was now pretty luke warm and headed out walking as best I could. My Achilles tendons were feeling tight and the bottom of my feet hurt and it was getting very hot and humid. I think the earlier waves definitely had the advantage of less sun beating on them. I just tried to focus on one foot in front of the other, but I was regretting not bringing my MP3 player (which was allowed on the run portion, but not bike) when I saw another heavier lady zing past me with her tunes going. I made it up the nasty hills and hit a flat spot by the high school where some volunteers were with music going out the back of a car and a water station. The song “Dynamite” came on and I could feel my pace pick up. I didn’t think I was walking that slow, but I must have been. As I came up to the water station, my sister and her husband came by on their bikes and cheered for me and then road next to me almost all the way in. That was at about 1.5 mi in. A family had a mister set up at the 2 mi marker and there were more water stations. I drank some more, but the entire walk I needed to pee. Oops. I should have gone before! As we approached the finish line, I picked up to a jog and got another tear in my eye when my daughter was cheering me into the finish line. They called my name as I crossed the finish line after nearly 55 min on the “run”. I had hoped to do that section in 45 min and the whole race in 2.5 hours. I did it in 2:43. Not the slowest person, but damn near it.
But the goal to finished was reached. I was super hot so I got some water and a couple rice krispy treats from the finish line hospitality area. My kids and sis and family all congratulated me. We gathered up my stuff at transition and loaded it up and went back to sis’s house. I took a hot shower, stretched, tried to take a short nap, went out for lunch, ran a little laundry through, etc. Later, while sis’s family was napping, my husband took my daughter and I out on the boat on sis's lake. The water was pretty choppy (must have been that wind I fought on the bike ride!). Went to dinner at brother-in-law's parents house. Got home and gathered up all of our stuff and laid out clothes and got everyone ready for bed after looking at race results. Starting feeling a bit more stiff, but took some ibuprofen and got some rest. Up the next morning pretty early and out the door just before 8 AM, stopping in Springfield, IL for gas and food and home about 4 PM Monday.
So that is it – I’m now officially a triathlete. During a part of the ride I was thinking there is no way in hell I will ever do this again. And part of it was like “next time I won’t make this or that mistake” or “next time I spend more time training in this area”. So who knows. Maybe I’ll do it again with sis (which really is a bit of a pita – such a long way to go with all the gear, etc) or maybe on my own. I did find myself looking up potential future races this year yet. Maybe…
The professional photographer took some shots of me, but I can't bring myself to buy them for $8. My husband took one of me coming into T2 that is now my profile pic. I think I look really heavy in the ones that the photographer took, but thankfully smiled nice. Fake it if you can’t make it, right? There is an awesome one of my daughter that I am still waffling on purchasing.
I got one pretty nasty chafe wound on the upper part of my crack (sorry tmi) and two smaller, but painful, chafes at the seams of my bike shorts (the padding seam rubbed during the 5K). I’m a little stiff and sore, but not really as bad as I had kind of expected. I enjoyed glancing down at my leftover body markings for a few days. Just hard to wrap my head around how proud I am to have finished this.
Final Stats:Rank (Athena category) = 22/26 (incl one that was DNF)
Swim = 00:14:37.7
Swim pace = 03:38 min/100 m
T1 = 00:03:48.9
Bike = 01:28:32.2
Bike pace = 10.5 mph (very slow, even for me - lots of wind though) - usually about 12-13 mph on "my loop"
T2 = 00:01:22.2
"Run" (aka "very slow walk") = 00:54:47.8
"Run" pace = 17:40 m/mi - sucking wind - usually about 15 min miles on "my loop"
Total Time = 02:43:08.9 - had hoped to do it in under 2.5 hours - but such is life