I had just completed my second olympic triathlon ever only 2 weeks earlier, with a new PR on a harder course, but I knew my PR could be and should be faster.
Daisy and I had been swimming on and off for the last couple weeks together and she suggested I do the Milton Man oly. It was rumored to be very fast. It was not part of my race schedule and I was very apprehensive to do it as last minute races just are not my thing. Of course, this course was so much easier I could have done nothing for the 2 weeks prior to the race and PR'd. Finally after some playful teasing from Daisy and my mom I signed up on the Thursday before the race.
We arrived with plenty of time to set-up and get organized as usual. I did not like the transition set-up for this race at all from the get go. Fences were attached to trees, in's and out's were the same and it showed in my transitions.
I only managed less than a 10 minute warm-up of running before donning my wetsuit and heading to the lake. The swim was 2 loops parallel to the shore. The swim started by swimming between 2 green triangles and then down a few pink/orange colored buoys on your left. You then turn around a final buoy and swim back keeping the pink/orange buoys on your left, passed the green triangles and to a final green buoy where you turn and start your second lap before exiting.
Swim - I was treading water, feeling really calm when the horn went off and all of a sudden my body tightened up and it hit me: You have a race today...wake-up!!! I started swimming for the triangles and headed out for my first loop. It wasn't long before I felt utterly and completely alone!! There were only 17 girls in the race and we spread out pretty fast. I had no idea how many were way in front and how many were right behind me. I had a hard time seeing the buoys, so I swam straight at them and tried to take the tightest line. I made the turn to come back on my first loop and thought I could see some caps way in the distance. As I made my way back to the green triangles I realized I was unsure if I was to swim between them or around them to my far right, so just to be certain I took the long way and went around them and headed for the green buoy that marked the start line where I had thought I had seen other swimmers headed. I wasn't sure if they were in my wave or if they were people in other ways warming-up, but better safe than sorry I swam back and went around that buoy and headed back to the 2 green triangles for my second lap. I was still swimming as tight to the buoys and as I passed the first pink/orange buoy, keeping it on my left I somehow ended up to the right of the next buoy and in on-coming traffic!! The men's wave had gone off and I saw a 15+ yellow caps coming straight at me! "Oh, God!! Oh NO!!" I tried to swim back to the right as quickly as I could but, too late. Men were swimming straight into me. I was brushed and smacked by flailing arms. One guy even managed to punch me in the boob... OUCH!!! I struggled to get out of the way and back into the man-free water. Safely, back on my side I tried to settle back into a rhythm. I made the final turn and looked up to see if there was anybody at all ahead of me. I didn't see anybody, anywhere coming or going! What the heck had I done? I looked at my watch and it showed 22:xx. I was so angry. Had I swam too far to the green buoys and messed up my swim? Was every girl out of the water and on the bike already? I was so frustrated I let out a roar underwater so nobody would hear full of anger and disappointed with myself. I had wanted to swim under 30:00, just once time and I knew I couldn't make it back in less than 8 minutes...FUCK!!! I proceeded to go around the outside of the green triangles and the far green one again as my sense of honesty is greater than my urgency to PR. Then I wondered if I should not have swam passed that last green buoy before cutting in because when I stood up people were screaming at me from the shore to come back and go through this tiny-ass chute. I struggled to run through the water back down the beach and even managed to find a hole and fell in the water face-first. Between swimming extra and the embarassing fall I had, by the time I got up to T1 I had forgottent to unzip my wetsuit and pull off my cap and goggles. Lo' and behold my swim time was 28:45. Humppphhhh! I had still hit my goal even with all my antics.
T1 - I had my chip on the outside of my suit and ony body glided my legs, usually I use Pam, so I struggled to get it off for the first time in a long time. Grabbed my arm warmers, just in case it was cold and headed out on the bike. Time: 2:19.
Bike - starts by leaving the park and going to the right for .75 mile and then a U-turn and back passed the start. The road seems to climb only slightly for about 3 miles before making a left and starting the first loop. I looked down to check my speed and it was 0! I looked at my time. I had cycled for 0:00:00. My magnet on my back wheel had come loose and flipped. My computer was not picking up anything. What had I done to anger the triathlon Gods today???? I just shook my head and kept riding. Completed the first loop and only the course was fairly flat with only 2 climbs that were barely even worth mentioning, before starting my 2nd loop. Got about 1 or miles into the 2nd loop when AH went flying by. He was moving so fast, I thought it felt like I was standing still. I was worried I wasn't pushing hard enough on the bike because of how fast he went by, but was relieved to find out later he had killed himself on the bike, so I that meant I was somewhere in the ballpark for my riding. My effort felt like I was right about where it should be. My cadence was higher than normal at 105-110 since it was the only thing working. Normally, I race between 95-105, but without my computer I was worried I would kill my quads, so I opted for the easier gear with the higher cadence. On the back side of the loop the wind caught the front of the Rev-x and pushed me onto some gravel and the bike did a nice little shimmy that added a few extra beats to my heartrate. Pulled it back out of the gravel with no wrecking..whooo!!! I know if I ever wreck on my bicycle I will lose a few teeth...i just know it. Today, however, was not that day. Completed my 2nd loop and headed back down to the park. Took my last endurolytes, and drank some Heed, which I hate!! I usually use diluted Powerade, but we only had Heed with us today...YUCK!! Pulled off my gloves and stuffed them in the back of my jersey with my arm warmers making a mental note to remember to pull all that stuff out in T2. Entered the park and saw arrow pointing in the opposite direction I was going, so I asked which way to be certain and I was indeed directed to go against the arrow, but not before I heard a spectator yell "follow the arrow." I replied with "the arrow points the other way jackass!!" I saw a lady motioning and yelling "come to me, ride to me." I rode up to her and dismounted. She then yelled "No, no, no...keep going to that lady up ahead." Dammit!! What was it gonna take today. I hopped back on my bike and rolled down a bit farther before re-dismounting. I have no bike split because my computer wasn't working and Champs chip-timing was all fucked up after the swim. The bike course was also clocked at about 25.5 instead of the advertised 24.7.
T2 - I threw off my helmet and racked my bike donned my running attire and took a gel with me just in case. I exited T2 for the run and immediately dropped my gel. Stopped to grab it and continue on my way. There was no one in front of me to follow so after I exited transition I turned right to run up to the road. As I was turning right someone shouted "No wait, come this way!" I turned around and ran back to the path that went through the wood. Wow! I really pissed somebody off at swim, bike, run central today....haha :)
Run - Made it out of the woods and did the switchback incline up to the road for the first loop. That's when I realized I had forgotten to take my arm warmers and my gloves out of the back of my jersey. I felt the little hump bouncing around on my back and though "nice dumbass, now you get to carry that for 6 miles." I then saw Daisy for the first time since the start blazing out of the woods only a bit behind me and she was hauling ass. In the few seconds that I saw her I watched her easily pass 5+ people. I tried to pick it up a little, but for the first time all year I felt the nagging sensation of cramps in my cavs. I was confused. The course was completely flat and I had taken my endurolytes. Hmmm, the only think I could think of was the Heed. It did not carry as many electrolytes as the Powerade and I know I sweat a lot during these events, so maybe that was it. Well, I was just going to continue doing my best at the pace my body allowed. I saw AH a little after the first mile marker on his way back thinking it was his second loop, but it was only his first. Managed to get to the water stop and grab some to cool myself off as I had started to really heat up. The course was shaded on and off and everytime I hit the shade I was able to pick it up for a few seconds. Just as I hit the 3 mile mark Daisy came flying by, looking really strong and holding her form well. I knew I was running faster than I have ever ran in a triathlon, but I am just not as fast as her, so she passed by and continued on her way. As I approached the end of the first loop I saw Daisy's hubby sitting on a picnic bench yelling some words of encouragement "C'mon you can run faster than that!!!" I knew he was totally joking and teasing me, but a small part of me was thinking he was crazy and I was half tempted to tackle him and tell him that!!! Started my 2nd loop and could tell I was getting tired after completing the section through the woods and the incline to the road. I maintained my effort through mile 4 and then I started pushing. It felt like the intensity had jumped exponentially, but I knew I was only moving a few seconds a mile faster, if anything at all. With a little over a mile to go AH saw me and began running with me. He urged me to pick it up some more, but my body was pooped. My breathing was labored and had a bit of a wheeze to it. I could do nothing, but maintain and hope the finish was coming soon. I was tired physically and mentally. I didn't have a big kick, no wait I had no kick. I just finsihed the race.
Total time was 2:36:12 and I have no time after T1 because the chips were not working appropriately, my bike computer was haywire and the run course was short at only 6.08 miles. I had a monster PR by over 14 minutes, but the taste in my mouth was a little sour. My motivation and excitement I used to get from racing is MIA.