Monday, August 01, 2005

Tri-Virgin no longer!

Danskin Women's Triathlon, Webster Lake, July 31, 2005 Race Report
(Advance apologies for the length, I wanted to document as much as I could remember!)

Short version:
I offered my triginity to Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg (Webster) and it was accepted!

318/338 35-39 age group
1517/1747 Overall
Swim (.75K): 00:16:02 (1000)
T1: 00:08:16
Bike (20K): 00:56:19 (1403) 13.2 mph
T2: 00:05:16
Run (5): 00:43:27 (1598) 00:14:59 pace
Final: 02:09:22
Long Version:
I drove over Saturday morning with Mom to pick up my packet, attend some of the pre-race seminars, check out the Expo, and meet up with a bunch of women from the WW tri-ers board who were also racing. Checked the board for my number and wave. #880, and 8 is my lucky number so I was happy. Wave 9 of 20, first half, thank goodness I won't be waiting around too late to start. Find ER and Tandy at Heartzones booth and get a leis for all WW Tri-ers, and a flowered headbands for us tri virgins. I promptly put mine on :-) Sis, BIL, and 20 month old nephew arrive and we walk around the expo, have lunch, hang out. I'm taking it all in. Everyone asks me if I'm nervous, and I'm not. I got a few minutes with Sally Edwards, have her autograph one of the super posters they have for the race (bike), and head out.
Before we leave for dinner (leis still in place), my sister sends over my nephew and says, "show Auntie what you're wearing tomorrow." I see a cool bright red shirt and I think, "nice" red is my favorite color. Then I notice the lettering on the front which says: "GO KARIS!" She turns him around and the back reads: "Auntie Rocks, Webster MA, July 31, 2005." Mom then hands me a matching hat with Auntie Rocks embroidered on the front. The HUGE grin started about then, and didn't stop until I went to sleep on Sunday night. Pre-race dinner with the WW group was a treat, so nice to put faces to names!
Had a decent nights sleep, was up at 4 to shower, managed some breakfast, and had the bike loaded around 5. Training a couple of days a week at that hour is great practice for getting up and going without feeling awful. Still not nervous.
Got to the beach, parked Mom, and then went to set up my transition area. I had a super location I knew I wouldn't forget, right by the run start. I remembered everything (thank god for lists!) and was organized quickly. Lei went with my running things, and headband wrapped around the bike computer. Sure, this is serious business, and I'm going to race as hard as I can, but I still want to have fun. I was hoping I'd run into Jackie, who was a wave ahead of me. She's so calm cool and collected, I knew I could feed off of that. I was hanging out, then turned around and there she was! She looked over my transition area, gave me a few tips and reorganized a few things, and then directed the women around me to put their bikes on the other side of the rack so we'd all have more space. Yahoo! As we were chatting, Rebecca ran by on her way to her rack and gave me a big hug. It is SO GREAT to see friendly faces around when you race.
Walked down to the beach to watch the start and stopped in to see the Lost in Transition Ladies, and also saw Tandy with then. We marked our call signs on shoulders and calves, high fived each other, and then headed out. Still not nervous. On the beach I ran into MJ/Arachne and her crew, listened to the anthem, watched the sun rise, jumped into the lake to get wet and get my cap on. Saw Suzy briefly, and then she was gone. I hugged Mom goodbye, tried not to cry and walked over to the corral, where I get choked up. Waiting for our group to go down, I was able to cheer Rebecca coming out of the swim.
Finally, they call wave 9. We go through all the high fives, our word "Awesome," and the countdown. I see Mom at the edge of the lake taking pictures and I wave, then I focus. I seeded myself to the inside and near the back. Started swimming and it was pretty crowded. Legs and arms everywhere, I'm mostly doing a lifeguard crawl trying not to run anyone over, and passing a few people. The first turn was crowded but I finally found some room coming around and was able to get a little rhythm. Half way across the long leg (triangle course) I ran into swim angels and some women from the previous wave struggling, but I swam around them and kept going. At the second buoy I put my head down to try and finish strong, passed a few more stragglers from the earlier wave, and then a couple of the leaders from the wave behind passed me (including MJ!). Came out of the water and felt great, 16:02, 2 minutes better than I hoped, 4 minutes better than the max I was giving myself.
T1: A lot of women passed me on the long rocky run up to T1, but I felt good when I got there and saw at least half the bikes still racked. I struggled getting the sand and yuck off my feet and getting wet socks on. Finally got my shoes clipped and head to the start. Another long sandy run, women passing me left and right. Urg. 8:16.
Bike: Just was I was heading out on the bike Sis, BIL, and nephew came in to the race, so I got a great send off! I waved goodbye and then focussed on my cadence and getting some water. The first part of the race has one good downward slope, then is all uphill, until you crest "killer hill." I managed to pass a few women on the down, and the first small hill, and some passed me back by the top of the hill. Continued trying to drink and move as fast as I could. Approaching "KH" I was getting anxious - fears of falling while clipped, not making it up, etc. The course was busy, no one was flying. About half way up the first hill I really slowed down but kept grinding and made it up the hill, with the help of #331, who talks me up the hill. I'm breathing hard and for the first time I feel super tense. Too short a respite and the second part of the hill is in front of us. I run out of gear too quickly and start grinding. About 2/3 up I felt like I couldn't breathe, so I unclipped and walked the last bit. Clipped in as soon as possible on the top, and start spinning to relax my legs. Drink as much as I can before the downhill. We hit the steep downhill and its bumpy and narrow. Men with flags are telling us to slow down and I ride my breaks most of the way down, making the turn at around 24 mph - too slow. The next part of the course is rollers with one good hill where I hit 38 mph going down, and used that speed to cruise up most of the other side. More rollers and I pass some women, others pass me. One more long steady climb, a turn, and the course flattens out. I start hammering my pedals and pass the hybrids, but road bikes are still passing me. Give it my all, and picked up my pace by about 4-5 mph from the first half of the course. Thanked every volunteer I see, cheered on the women I passed, and the ones that passed me. I cruise into transition at 56:19, 6 or 8 minutes faster then when I rode the course 2 months ago. My family is all right there, cheering and pointing to my rack. I'm thrilled until I get there and see most of the bikes are already back.
T2: Better, but still slow. 5:16
Run: Not my best event, and my back feels tight and achy, something I've never felt coming off the bike before. I run all the way out of the park, and I see Jackie and Rebecca who cheer me on. On the first uphill I start walking and that's pretty much the story the rest of the run. I walked the uphills and through the water stations, ran the down hills. I see Christine and ER when I'm going out on the run, and get more cheers. At the half way, I look at my watch and see 2 hours isn't possible, but I can break 2:15 if I keep moving. At that point I realize that 300+ pound woman I was 2 years ago is completely gone, and I start crying: I'm actually going to finish my first race. At the last water stop I finally feel much better and speed up my pace. Just after, I see #331 again and give her a big hug and thank her for helping me up the hill, then run off. About 1/4 mi. out from the park entrance Jackie picks me up and runs me in and I feel terrific. She peels off at the last turn, I run hard and cross the finish line with arms raised and a big smile. 43:27 run/ 2:09:22 final time. Get my medal, see my red shirts and get hugs and kisses, and gosh durn it, if I'm not a TRIATHLETE!
Man did I have an incredible time yesterday, and I'm pretty sure it showed. I had women high-fiving me on the course, calling me "Aloha" and cheering me on, and more taking my picture after the race (where the tri-v lei went back on for all the final photos). I'm 95% pleased with my efforts - my reasonable calculated time was 2:15, worst case scenario, 2:30, and I beat both of them. I thought 2 hours might be possible, and so the 5% is the little bit I left on the course. Had I hustled more in transition and fought harder on the run, I might have gotten there. It's something to shoot for.
I am still hyped up, couldn't sleep last night even after sharing a bottle of Blanc de Noir bubbly with Mom. I feel like the Red Sox after they won the Series. So now what do I do?
Hmmm, I guess enjoy the first, and train like heck for the next one: Saturday, Sept. 10, Hyannis Sprint II, Cape Cod!