Yes, it's true I spent hard time in the big house penalty tent. Surely I could have imagined it for other infractions: vomiting on someone's nice lawn, "sitting" on my crate in the transition area, wearing a wetsuit that says ORCA in public...but alas, it was for not passing within 40 seconds. You'll have to read on for the sordid details...
Headed down with regular training buddies Don Knott and Laurie Travisano, neighbor Lisa Farias (who blistered the run in 1:44!), and friend Abby Glassberg who probably got me started in triathlons and is an amazing life mentor. Anyhow, had lots of fun eating, taking silly pictures, and trying to figure out where Laurie gets her pre race spastic energy.
Race Day: The support of traveling with friends and having a team tent was huge. The camaraderie is certainly of the best things about the sport and helped me calm my nerves. This enjoying the socializing end of things would be my demise later, but I’ll take that over racing alone!
Swim: Apparently some of the women didn’t share my warm and fuzzy team feeling and I got clobbered for the first time ever in a swim. I think it was because I tried to stay far left at the beginning. I had heard previous stories of brutal swims, but had never really experienced this myself. I usually swim way too far off course to come into contact with anyone else. This time I got hit, pushed under, and pulled back. After the turn I did the usual swim zig zag but at least I felt safer. The second half was fine. Ended up 34:27, better than 42:58 last year.
T1: I liked my racking spot. I had a hard time wrestling off the wetsuit, but it was relatively uneventful. 3:39
Bike: Thought I had a flat when I first started. Pulled over and checked my tires, but it must have been a bumpy road and paranoid nerves. Felt good on the bike. Seemed to be keeping the same pace as another woman and kept leapfrogging each other. I had never had this during a race and was cognizant of staying back out of her draft zone and was quick to pass her. At about mile 10, another woman came up and rode with us. They were both very friendly and we all were talking back and forth either side by side momentarily while passing or from front/behind. There were times when there would be a pack of people to go around and it was difficult to pass and keep your distance apart. At one point I asked the girl about her jersey. It was for the Blazeman/ALS. While she passed me I told her about my friend who had passed away the month after his son’s 1st birthday. Through no one’s fault but my own and knowing better…I was absolutely too close to her from behind. We were passing another group and did not go one at a time. The motorcycle pulled up next to me, flashed the red card and told me I didn’t pass within 40 sec. And I had to go to the tent. I had the added pleasure of getting the triathlete equivalent of the scarlet letter: a black slash across every race number on me: helmet and belt. My Blazeman friend kept apologizing, but I told her it was my own fault and wished her well.
The Slammer: I pulled in, they take down all your information and I asked how much time I had to stay. They said 4 MINUTES. I lecture my kids about whinning, blaming a loss on a ref or umpire, and being a good sport in all circumstances. So, what did I do? I whined, I cried, I watched hundreds of people pass and then I cried some more. At some point I realized how pathetic my behavior was. I thought about Blazeman, my friend Gray, and our friend Bernadette. Amazing, vibrant people who had lost their lives to a horrid disease. I was healthy and competing in a half-ironman and I was crying? So, I sobbed for being such a self-absorbed baby. Finally time passed and I was on my way yet again. It was fun to cheer all the MMTC runners who were already coming back in. Finished in 2:49:30. Lots better than last year’s 2:58:38 and learned lots of lessons!
T2: Transition, love that crate. Uneventful 2:42
Run: I wanted to take it easy and have enough left to feel “good” at the end. This would be difficult, as I am accustomed to running with Laurie who encourages me along the way and supports me when I throw up with sayings like, “Uh, your just like a dog!” Since she and Donnie are officially old, I would have to go it alone. I had no idea how ugly that would be for me. It was fun to look through the crowd coming back in and beg them to trade places. Finally saw Donnie who reported Laurie was right on his heels..I know that feeling. I was still being a crybaby and whined to everyone about my timeout in the tent. I tried to get a negative split, which I think I did, but I couldn’t believe how slow I went. Met Hector and enjoyed talking with him for a few miles. With less than a mile to go a motorcycle pulled up next to me and started yelling something. I thought, OH NO..now I’m getting in trouble on the run too? Maybe I have to go sit in the big red tent with a sign on me that says “I SUCK! I CHEAT!”??? Well, it turns out it was my fun, crazy old spin instructor from the Y Burt asking me if I wanted a ride…see I told you the run was ugly for me. Disappointing run, but I didn’t completely yak and I felt pretty strong at the finish. 2:12:50, worse than 2:04:10 in 2006…I need my friends.
Post Race: I can’t say enough about MMTC and the cheering, support, tent/food, and for not slapping me with all my whining. I saw the peletons. I wasn’t doing that, but I clearly deserved what I got. I won’t make that mistake again. Ok well, maybe I will if I’m in a really good/heartbreaking conversation. I did tear up again, this time when I saw all those persevering triwomen…Abby, Kristen, and Cat cross the finish line. What a great day! Thanks Melissa, Bob, Sadj, all the MMTC competitors and volunteers. I couldn’t do this without Donnie (finished within almost a minute of each other again), Laurie (crushed it 5:29...write a report or Keith will), and my family. You rock!