The race director had told us during the IG dress rehearsal that Sunday (Iron Girl) would be the best day of our lives...and I laughed all week wondering what my best day would be like I will say, that was the best 2 hours and twelve minutes that I’ve had in quite a while. The support, the fun, enthusiasm, my sisters and a friend with megaphones, the cameras...absolutely amazing.
The other amazing element that I’m noticing is how calm I am before a race. At 9:30 pm the night before, I was sipping a glass of wine (red), giving myself an ill-fated pink manicure (chipped & hideous before the end of the day Sunday), and chatting with my brother about the incredible placement of my bike in transition. I’m pretty certain that I was supposed to forgo any alcohol & get to bed earlier, but what do I know, this is my first tri.
Swim. I had hoped to finish the swim within 30-35 minutes. I just started swimming in January…well, I can float and I do scuba dive, but earlier this year, I took swim lessons to improve my technique. When I first started, I couldn’t swim more than 3 laps without being overwhelmed and in need of an additional lung.
The rain was coming down pretty hard pre-race. I was in a long line for the porta-potty, I figured I had enough time to get one last pit-stop in...when I exited the porta-potty, my wave was already treading water. I had to run through the other waves that were neatly lined up, to try to get in the water before the gun went off. I was knee deep when they started the "10-9-8..." countdown. Hysterical. Made it, did the 1100 yard swim in 29 minutes (very pleased), came running out of the water, up the ramp, hit the timing mat and fell. I mean big-time, on-my-knees, nothing-graceful-about-it, fell. The crowd got quiet, people were asking, "is she ok"...I had momentum going during the fall, so on impact, I started crawling forward, clawing my way to the grass and then to my feet & started running up the chute towards my bike, did a little victory dance...and the crowd started cheering. Holy crap, that was fabulous. I'm going to stage a fall during all my future tri's.
T1. My bike was racked in a prime location, 2nd row, 4th bike in...and I still managed to run by it. Twice! My T1 time needs alot of work; I also "lost" my race belt...I rummaged through my tri bag, checked my towel, rummaged through my tri bag again, checked a neighbors setup, and then I spied it, exactly where I left it, dangling from my handlebars. The belt and my taped bars are black. Oopsie daisy. Almost 5 minutes in here!
Bike. The bike leg was fabulous. I complimented as many volunteers that I could. At the turn-around at the school, there were a bunch of volunteers handing out water bottles. I didn't see anyone attempting to grab a water bottle, which is somewhat of a challenge when on a bike. I felt bad for the volunteers, so I pointed at one volunteer and yelled, "bring it on baby, you & me"...and I kept pointing at him like Babe Ruth did with his bat, indicating where he was going to crank the baseball. Anyway, my right arm is extended, his right arm is extended with the bottle, it was like jousting for beverages As we got closer I told him that I was going to try, but not sure I'd be able to grab it, regardless, I wasn't stopping, had to make up for my lousy T1 time. The hand-off was flawless, the other volunteers started clapping some women on their bikes cheered, it was all well & good until I realized that the top was fastened securely, tight plastic wrap & all. I spent a 1/4 mile trying to open that puppy to no avail.
When I was biking back into the park, my family was standing there, with a megaphone, doing the Pluebell chant. Loved that. Cowbells, megaphones, cameras...all that hoopla makes me bike/run faster. Bike time 1:03 – loved not having to stop at the traffic light @ 108. Thank you Howard County Police Dept.
T2 showed promise…I pulled off my biking cleats, put on socks, running shoes, sent off a pre-written text message to my support team that I was leaving transition and I’d see them in a half hour. T2 time: 2:27. Better (see evil T1 time above).
Run. About halfway through the run, I thought, "wow, I did it...I actually did my first triathlon". I couldn't wait to hear the announcer say, "Karen Pluebell, you are now an Iron Girl". 9:45 pace, which meant I kept my homies waiting 3 minutes longer than expected. I know, rude. I cried several times on the route...being appreciative and grateful that I was able to participate, it was a very good day. I'm hooked.
Thank you volunteers, cheerleaders, friends & family, I’m so touched with the support that I received for this event. And I can’t even begin to thank MMTC for the incredible guidance and wisdom that I’ve gleaned. Way too much fun!
- Karen Pluebell
PS: Sorry to those that may have temporary hearing loss from the bullhorn my sister was bellowing into.