It's a long one...sorry!
It was a great day for me! Eagleman was the first triathlon that I signed up for. I volunteered at the club tent last year and saw how much fun it was, that I knew I wanted to do it in 2010! I was able to fit in a Sprint and Olympic distance in prior to Eman to give me some tri experience.
My goals for this race were simply to feel good and have a good experience. I had time goals as well (based on my training), but since I had never done anything like this before, I had no idea what to expect. Honestly, I had doubts as to how my body would be able to run 13 miles after biking 56 miles and swimming 1.2 miles, but I trusted my wise tri friends and my training plan!
The week leading up to Eman was hard for me mentally. Just tried to keep focused and manage the nervous energy, fear and doubts that kept creeping in. I have a fear of “critters” in the water. I had a very bad experience in the ocean many years ago that has made me very afraid of swimming in anything but a pool. I have tried to overcome that fear by doing a few OWS at Sandy Point and then my 2 previous tri’s at Lake Anna. However, I knew that I wouldn’t do ANY tri w/out my wetsuit!! In fact, I remember telling Erik Cohen about a month ago that if Eman doesn’t allow wetsuits, I wasn’t going to do it. But knowing that they prefer participants to use a wetsuit (per the website) I knew I would be just fine!!!
I arrived in Cambridge around 2pm for packet pick-up. Ran into some other MMTC folks and hung around for the 2:30 Pro talk. Met up with Michele, Cat and Joe and headed over to rack my bike and get into the water in bathing suits. The water was a little choppy, but the temperature felt great! However, the idea of not wearing a wetsuit didn’t even cross my mind and wasn’t an option!
Arrived on Sunday at 5:15am. As I was walking into the park I hear the end of an announcement that due to the water temps being 79.6, wetsuits were prohibited. What?? Did I just hear that right? So, I asked people around me and someone said that it’s just for pros. I didn’t think they said pros—I knew they said PROHIBITED! No way! How could this be? Wouldn’t they be more concerned with the fact that people could drown without a wetsuit? I kept moving forward towards the transition area. Fortunately, I ran into Erik C. and he once again talked me off the ledge. I knew I had trained this distance and was very comfortable with it—my concern was the panic at the start of the race. What if I couldn’t get my breathing under control and sucked in too much water? My day changed at that moment. I was no longer worrying about my time, I was just hoping that I would make it out of the water. Michele and I walked over to the swim start and I saw that the water was very calm. She continued to reassure me as did many other MMTC folks including Melinda, Cat and Teresa. I was ready just to get this party started!
My family and the Cohen clan arrived and I was so happy to see them. Seeing my kids and Erik’s kids was so great. Kept it all in perspective for me. I was ready!
They announced my wave and I walked in the water with Melinda. It was so good that I got into the water the day before because I was prepared. I actually liked having that ramp area to begin getting comfortable with my stroke before the start. I decided to start by the far buoy because the orange buoy seemed to be more in line with that one. The swim was pretty uneventful and I enjoyed being out there. I got out and saw my time—was expecting to do better, but I just swam 1.2 miles in open water with critters and NO WETSUIT! I’m happy!
Applied sunscreen, helmet, sunglasses, socks on wet feet and shoes and off I went. Not sure what took so long…
I had trained on the bike course two other times, so I knew it pretty well. My plan was to just stay steady between 16-17 mph, so I knew I would have enough for the run. I was able to stay focused on being in aero position, getting out of the saddle every 15-20 min to work out my legs and keep hydrated. Had 2 gu’s, 2 bottles of sports drink and 1 bottle of water.
Was surprised by a good friend of mine who was helping people locate their bikes, so I caught up w/ her briefly as I was getting ready for the run. I got my shoes on, put on my MMTC visor and my 13 livestrong bracelets (for Team Inspiration) w/ cancer warriors’ names on them. What an inspiration! How could I feel anything but incredibly grateful that I am able to do this. I felt good and was ready to run.
I got to see my family as I headed out of Great Marsh park for the run. As soon as I hit the neighborhood, less than 1 mile into it, my feet felt like they were on fire. Fortunately it went away pretty quickly or else it would have been a very long day! When I reached the first aid station, I saw Cat and Michele—what a nice surprise. Grabbed water for my head, ice for my sports bra and Gatorade to drink. I was feeling good, no heaviness in the legs, but definitely feeling the heat. As I was running through the neighborhood prior to “Death Valley, “ I ran up to someone wearing a MMTC jersey. It was Sandi Delcore. I didn’t know who she was at that point, but knew her name very well. We decided we were going to get through this run together. Our strategy quickly became run for 7-8 minutes, walk for 1 minute—get to the next aid station and pour water over the head, ice in the bra and drink the Gatorade. It was great to see all the MMTC folks out there. It made the time go by a little faster waiting for the next one to run by. For me, the last couple of miles of the run were the hardest. It was so hot and I was ready for this to be over. Coming around the bend and seeing the finish was great, but that was the longest mile ever! Reaching that finish line and seeing my family, Melinda and the MMTC tent was the best feeling. Running has always been my passion, but after Sunday, I’m not so sure that I love running when it is part of a triathlon.
It was truly a great experience for me. I enjoyed getting to know more MMTC people at this event and look forward to many more in the future. Thanks MMTC and Sara for the special shout-out...felt like a rockstar! ;-)