This was my first Olympic distance triathlon and my second triathlon ever (last year's Iron Girl started me on this road). I spent 2 days/week in the pool since last fall because I knew that my swim needed a lot of help. So my nerves on Sunday morning were difficult to control if only because I was worried about the swim.
At the transition area early that morning, I checked my tires and decided to add some air. While adding air to the rear tire, my 10 year old pump blew up, literally. Then panic set in and I decided that it blew up because I'd pumped too much air into my tire and now the tire was deflating because the tube burst. Lucky for me, Walt Smith, a friend from a past life, found me in transition and immediately recognized the panic. He came over, assured me that my tire wasn't going flat and in fact, that there was more air in there than he ever ran in his. He also helped me set up my transition area and talked me through what I needed to do each time. Thanks Walt! I don't know if I would have made it over to the start without you.
Even though I still don't know most of you, I was so happy to have the MMTC tent set up at the start. It gave me a place to put my stuff, put on my wet suit, and watch everyone with more experience prepare for the race. Thankfully, Michele Bull was pulling on her wet suit early and so I did the same (it took me awhile). You are all such professionals! I even had some tattoos added to my shoulders prior to zipping up my wetsuit. And yes, they are still there!
Swim - 28:44
I had no idea what to expect time-wise for this segment but I was hoping for a sub-30 minute swim. I was pleasantly surprised to see my time at the end. I started toward the right side and after a couple of minutes of attempting to freestyle, I started breaststroking to catch my breath and watch where everyone was. I didn't want to be kicked so I tried to steer clear of people. Coming to the first buoy I was frustrated with myself - 6 months swimming freestyle in a pool and here I was doing the breaststroke all over again. But by the 3rd buoy, I had more space and I started swimming the way I wanted down the long side of the lake. Once I warmed up, I felt much better and got into a swim groove of some sort. I was happy to see the end, if only because I knew I could have continued swimming if necessary!
T1 - 2:57
I was so dizzy coming out of the water that I had to walk for a while. I managed to smile at my friends who were cheering me on and got my wet suit off my shoulders and arms by the time I reached the bike. Someone in front of me ran directly to a trash can to throw up so I figured other people must have been dizzy as well! The suit came off my legs easily, my damp socks went on quickly as did my shoes, my ponytail got stuck in the helmet but I decided that was okay, and off I went, running up to the bike start.
Bike - 1:18:54
It was raining and the roads were slick when I started - plus I was still a little dizzy - so I took it easier on 108 than I'd planned to. The Gu disaster occurred during the early part of the ride. In T1, I decided to rip open 2 packets of chocolate Gu and stuffed them in my shorts leg so that I'd be able to eat them during the ride. If you do this with unopened Gu packets, it's all fine. My recommendation is NOT to do what I did! By the time I reached the first circle, I had chocolate Gu running down my right thigh. So I went ahead and quickly ate a packet, shoving the used one into my left leg as I continued riding. By the time I reached the water stop at High's where my family and friends were cheering, I had chocolate Gu running down both legs, on my elbow, on my bike, and on my hands. I was a complete mess! I found out later that my cheering crowd thought it was blood and that I'd had some horrific crash!
Despite the great Gu debacle, my legs kicked in somewhere over by the reservoir and I felt like I climbed pretty well. I spent a good amount of time saying "on your left" and trying to figure out where everyone in my age group was. Happily, there was only 1 truck that caused me and some others to pause briefly - other than that I can't remember any traffic problems. By the time I reached 108 again, I was rolling along at a good clip. I came cautiously through the turn into the transition and dismounted without too many troubles, although I felt dizzy again!
T2 - 1:27
This transition felt great - bike on rack, helmet off, bike shoes off, and then on with the running shoes. I had to double back before completely leaving the transition zone to throw out what remained of the Gu packets in my shorts but then I was off onto the run course.
Run - 45:16
My feet were numb during the first mile of the run, but I was smiling. My cheering crew had moved from the bike to the run course and I could hear the conch shell my father was blowing way before I saw him. My nephew and mother were ringing cowbells and everyone was yelling my nickname (Kiki) so loud that the people running around me commented about my great fan club. Out in the neighborhood, I saw some friends just after a gatorade stop where I tried to consume a few sips while running. This turned out to be another mess, so I joked to them about how sticky I was when I went by.
Since I hadn't really paid attention to my watch as I went through the run transition, I had no idea what my time was for the 10K. Another friend ran met me along the road before going back into the park and told me that I was running really well. I apparently told her that this was the hardest 10K I'd ever run! My brother-in-law and nephew cheered me on as I reached the path by the lake again, but this was getting close to the end so I was in survival mode. Despite his encouragement to drop my arms and go, there was no go left! I crossed the line happy to be finished, but excited to do this again!
I was thrilled when I found out my times and that I was 3rd in my age group. I was a runner in high school, but haven't considered myself one since then. I proved to myself on Sunday that these ol' legs still have some "go" left in them. I think I even approached a personal best time for a 10K!
My time in the MMTC tent made me realize how special this club is. I hope to get to know many more of you as the year progresses.