This was my second triathlon - IronGirl Columbia 2008 was my first. Training is really not my strong point, so I had high aspirations of actually training this year, but never really did much. I rode the bike course a few times, spent some time in the pool, and got in a few runs. Enough to know I'd finish the race, but not much more.
My plan was to get up around 3:30, leave the house by 4:15 to get to the park around 4:45 and avoid traffic and parking issues. I woke up around 3 instead and was awake, so I got up. My husband got up a bit later, we got ready, and he drove while I fidgeted nervously. We got to the park before body marking had even started, and got in line behind Sadj. Got marked, and went to set up transition. I was happy to see that the person next to me hadn't shown up, so I had extra room for my stuff. Got everything laid out, and headed over to the club tent.
I think I should have sat down at some point. I spent the next 3+ hours standing around talking to people, and really should have sat, laid down, stretched, relaxed, anything! Oh well.
Finally it was my turn to go (last wave before the relays!) and I headed down to get in line by the water.
Swim - 20:45
The swim is pretty much the only thing I'm good at. I was a competitive swimmer growing up, and did a lot of open water swimming, so I'm used to it. Since I had actually done some swimming leading up to the race this year, I expected to beat my time from last year (19 minutes), and was disappointed to see I hadn't. This is why I'm sticking with the story that the course was longer this year.
I liked my swim strategy - I started about 10 feet or so to the right of the start buoy, and slowly made my way left towards the buoys. This kept me a bit out of the way of the chaotic limb-flailing, but not too far off course. After the turnaround, I stayed tight to the buoys all the way in.
Started to climb out of the water and heard someone say "oooh, a Mid-Marylander!" - I looked up and saw Bob reaching over to help me out of the water. Very nice finish to the swim! :-)
I think I took the time to bake a cake or something! I ran out of the water, got to my bike easily, and then putzed around. I literally got to the point where I was ready and thought to myself "huh, maybe I should GO!"
I struggled up the hill pushing my bike (I really need to spend some time getting used to walking in my bike shoes, I guess) and had a less-than-graceful time getting on my bike (need to work on that too!) and headed out of the park. I wasn't feeling great as I started the ride - my heartrate was still up from the swim, I guess, despite the extended transition, and I concentrated on just getting into a rhythm. Once I turned on to Homewood I was feeling better, but that was right around when I started getting into the crowded portion of the course.
I think because my wave was next to last, I ended up running into a lot of people on the bike course, rather than having a lot of people passing me as would have happened if I was in an earlier wave. There were several times where bikes were clumped up 4 or 5 together, making it difficult to pass.
I was really starting to feel good and get a good pace, but was really nervous coming up to Mt. Albert. It has always been a struggle for me, and I've been working on standing up out of the saddle to get up it, but was nervous that I'd have more trouble if there were a lot of people on the hill. I made the turn, shifted down, stood up, and powered up the hill. I was thrilled! I even recovered after the hill much better than I normally do.
The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful, except for getting stuck behind a car who couldn't pass some riders for a bit - stinky exhaust!
I was a little disappointed when I came in to Centennial to see that I was about 3 minutes slower on the bike than last year, but knew I hadn't trained as much on the bike so couldn't complain too much.
Need to speed this one up too.
I am not a good runner :-P Doesn't help that I haven't trained consistently at all. I started out running, took some walk breaks, got some shin splints, stopped to stretch, ran, walked, ran, etc. As I headed up to the water stop everyone started cheering for me (yay for the yellow visor!) and that really got me going! They gave me the boost I needed to finish up strong.
My time this year was about 45 seconds slower than last year, and I'm blaming that on the swim course being longer! :-)
Maybe next year I'll train a little more...
Thanks to all the volunteers, cheering squads, and other IronGirls for all the support!!!