What a perfect day! I carpooled with Sadj (an excellent road-trip partner), and we left about 4:30 am to drive up to Perryville. We got there about 2 hours before the race started, and thus had plenty of time to get set up, chat with folks, and relax beforehand. A good number of MMTC members were there, and I got the chance to put a couple more faces to the names I see on the emails. I had absolutely no expectations for this race – this is only my third Olympic distance, and I was unfortunate enough to have another couple of 60 to 70 hours at work per week, severely minimizing my training, in the 3 weeks prior to the race. I just wanted to finish, enjoy, and have the experience of another Olympic distance.
There were only three waves, and all the women were in the first one, so we were ready to have the faster men swim over us. The swim was like going around a baseball diamond in reverse. Somehow I managed to be with a bunch of other women behind a kayak when the swim started, so there was a bit of a scramble to get going around it. The swim was the most perfect race swim I’ve seen yet – and though I’m not as experienced as many of the rest of you, this really has to be appreciated. There was no wind, no choppy water, a current that I only heard about but didn’t feel, and people spread out enough that I had plenty of space to be in my own rhythm and just enjoy it. While I typically stop myself several times during the swim to re-orient and keep calm before the panic takes over, I didn’t have to do that once. I only paused twice: once after the second buoy when I couldn’t locate the third for sighting, and once when I got my leg tangled in the rope around the third buoy. 1 mile = 30:55
T1 uneventful 1:56
The bike was – again – perfect. Some rolling hills, a couple short and fun fast downhills, a good long flat, and one long challenging uphill. The scenery was quite beautiful, the ride almost fully shaded throughout, and no notable traffic. 27 miles = 1:38:16 (16.5 pace – not great, but not bad for the year I’m having)
T2 uneventful 1:40 (no wetsuit to take off – wonder what took so long?)
The out-and-back run was relatively flat, a bit sunnier, and a bit hotter (but fortunately, a bit breezier). I didn’t really run – I jogged. I walked through the water stops, enjoying one cup of Gatorade to drink and one cup of water to pour on my head at each stop. Cheered each MMTC member I saw, cheered every woman I passed in either direction, and was grateful that the run was only 5 miles instead of 6.2. Got a great high-five from Shawn Rakes just before the finish line. 5 miles = 47:09 (9:26 pace, even slower than the hills at Columbia, curse the long work weeks! Oh, wait, they pay the mortgage…)
All in all, this was plenty of fun, plenty of camaraderie, and plenty of beautiful scenery. Loved taking a turn in the water hose to cool off, behind the finish line! Looking forward to next year!