The race went like this swim, fumble around, bike, fumble around, run -- finish.
My last triathlon had been the full at Rev3 last year. Other than that it had been nearly 2 years since I had done anything. I had no intention of doing this race, heck I was seriously considering giving the Eastern Ohio TT a shot, but after Roark signed up I was scraping for some quality time with him, even if it meant suffering a little (who am I kidding, -- a lot).
I saw so many familiar faces and was happy to rack my bike and gear quickly so I could socialize. The nervous feeling I used to get was barely there. I had never done this race and having been in the water less than 5 times this year and all but boycotting running, the goal was 1:15, smash the bike and have fun!
I originally, thought I would be in the first women's wave so I was a little surprised to see the wave break at 34 and under. I had a rather large moment of sadness as I realized I was going off in the "old lady wave." I don't know why it bothers me so much these days, maybe it's because I am closer to 40 than 30 or maybe it's the few gray hairs I have found, or maybe it's the fact that Roark is over 10 years younger than me and I am just trying to hide my oldness from him for as long as possible.... I even had a little discussion with TriSaraTops at the shoreline about it.
Shoulder to shoulder we left the beach running head on into the waves. My left goggle was leaking in the warm-up, so I knew it was going to be a 1-eyed swim eventually. I waited until there was a break in the wave sets and plunged in swimming for the first buoy. The swim was clockwise and I breathe to the right so I could sight off the shore. The waves were fine once out past the break wall and I just settled in to a comfortably hard pace, figuring I would be in the water a good 10 minutes and I didn't know where the last buoy was. I was actually, a little surprised how quick the swim actually was and when I hit the shore I glanced at my watch to see just a hair over 9:00. I attempted to strip my wetsuit in the water as Roark had instructed me (which I have never done before) and I fumbled around for a minute or so, with the waves crashing into me, unable to get the right leg of my suit off -- DAMN!!!! At last, I was successful and ran my unhappy ass up to T1. I was surprised at all the people walking up and I passed at least 5 or 6 people on my little trek.
T1 was uneventful and I was on my way in no time. I did take note of the many very empty bike racks. The thought that I was in the last wave had escaped me and critical thinking was not my forte at the moment. Worried I might not make my goal of 1:15 due to the water fumbling and lack of intensity I was racing with I hustled out determined to have a better bike than swim.
The course was of course, FLAT (we were on the west side). I tried to ride aero, but it would only last for a little bit at a time. I was not comfortable and most of my riding these days has been on hilly routes and with groups -- herein lies the problem. I didn't get passed by one person (guy or girl) and rode by effort only, unable to see my speed on my Garmin and without a heart rate monitor. My quads were a little baked from the race last night, but I have raced soar before and it was completely tolerable. I decided to do a flying dismount after debating with myself for a few minutes as it had been a few years since my last one. What do ya know, it was like riding a bike, no issues off the bike and high tailing it into T2 successfully. Garmin split on my bike was 12.4 miles in 33:57, avg 21.9mph and my avg watts were 204, which is great for me (normally, I push 170-190 watts on a ride). I got the QOM on Strava for the course to boot (course, I am the only girl too -- hehe).
T2 I had forgotten my tri shoes with the Yankz and had to pull on my trainers that had the broken shoe string. Fumbled around trying to get them tied and double knotted before heading out to my impending punishment.
I had no idea where I was in relation to the other girls. I did see my friend BS running up the last hill toward the finish thinking he probably won the men's race. As I made my way out I saw Roark directing me to the left and cheering along with JL and some of the Spin peeps. I smiled and yelled something about this being my top speed and I was already suffering on the run.
I can never tell my pace when I come off the bike, but it felt slow. I was guessing around 8:45/mile. I was hoping to be 8:00/mile flat. I hit the first mile marker and saw 8:24 --- ooiii. Not good. As I made the turn around I saw a few girls hot on my heels, one of them being TriSaraTops. She looked strong and I felt miserable. My first thought was there was no way I could hold them off for 2 miles. She, especially was just too close, and then I had a plan. I was going to surge in the shaded spots as much as possible. I wouldn't be able to hold a faster pace, but maybe surging on and off would keep them at bay. I pushed and pushed. The sun actually took a little "behind the clouds break" so I surged a little more than I really wanted, which would probably be my saving grace. I dare not look behind me again and right after mile 2, I saw Roark running the other way. I hoped he would run with me and encourage me but nope. He yelled at me to pick it up and ditched me :) To add insult to injury my shoe came untied. I debated tying it and decided it wasn't worth it and if the damn thing came off I would come back for it. I knew I was so close to the finish making the final turn to run up the last hill, but I knew the other girls were even closer. I gave it all I had to get up that last hill. I saw Roark and TK screaming at me to hurry and that there were girls right behind me. One girl caught me right at the top of the hill, but she was in the wave ahead of me, so I already had 4 minutes on her. I crossed the line, only to turn around and see TriSaraTops RIGHT behind me (you can read her version here). She had run out of road, literally. I was spent and it had hurt. Next time I would not be so lucky.
I was elated to see my time had been 1:12:47, over 2 minutes faster than my goal. No splits were available, but it's safe to say my bike split was probably one of the fastest for the women, and minus the part where TriSaraTops made me run so hard that I wanted to puke, I had fun.
Reflecting on this race, I find my nervous intensity and seriousness regarding triathlon racing is pretty much gone. I don't expect to win anything overall or in my age group, so it's a bonus if I do now. I don't train much (except riding my bike), hence I don't have huge expectations. I'm not a pro. I feel my glory days are passed me in regards to racing, but I'm having fun, a lot of fun.