I'm sure people are getting tired of reading all these Columbia race reports, but I figured I'd write mine anyway.
This was my third Columbia Triathlon. I did my first in 2007 as my post baby goal after Kaylie was born. I did it again in 2008, and then didn't do it last year because it was only 6 weeks after Hayden was born (hey not even I am that crazy ; ) ). I was at last year's Columbia, newborn in tow, to watch my husband, Dave, race his first Columbia. This year, we both did the race, and though I only saw him once on the course (as he was turning down Carralon and I was turning back onto Old Annapolis), it made me feel good knowing he was out there somewhere.
So, anyway, on to the report itself. Dave and I stayed overnight at his parents' place in Catonsville so they could watch Hayden (Kaylie was spending the night with "Aunt Jennifer"). I never sleep that well the first night away from home, so I was up several times during the night. Finally got up for good around 4am. Had a banana and an instant breakfast at the house then we drove to the park. We didn't even try to park down near transition, opting instead to park in the "overflow lot" near the basketball courts and walk the 10 minutes to transition. Not having to deal with the traffic and muddy parking lot was well worth the extra walking!
Got to transition around 5:45 or so, uncovered the bike, and set my stuff up. Didn't bother to cover anything, because, really, what was the point. It was just going to get soaked soon anyway. Saw Bill W. and Michelle B. wandering around, offering help. Found my friend from work, Leigh, and helped her get set up. She did Iron Girl for the first time last summer and I convinced her to sign up for Columbia. I think she has forgiven me by now : )
After setting up, Dave, Leigh, and I headed over to the tent, where we hung out and joked about the wonderful conditions. Waiting is the worst part for me, so I was glad when it was finally time to get the wetsuit on. Around then I also ate a mini-bagle with peanut butter. My wave was supposed to be 7:48, but ended up being a just before 8, I think, with the delay.
I was so glad when I could finally get into the water. I tried to position myself at the front, near the left-hand bouy. I'm willing to fight for that position so I can be closest to the turn bouys. When the horn went of, there was quite a bit of pushing and shoving. I finally got some clear space and tried to keep a steady, but not too hard of a pace. Since the swim is my best leg, I tend to push too hard, which gets me more winded that I should be. I guess I just don't know how to go easy on the swim. Too many years of swimming races, I guess. Still, my swim just did not feel that great. I still think it felt long, but maybe I just wasn't as fast. I've had a lot going on this year (the biggest being the launch of the satellite I worked on for the past 8 years, in the middle of blizzard number 3 - launch and early operations really cut into meaningful training time). Anyway, even if the swim wasn't as fast as I would have liked, I executed it well. I kept right next to all the bouys and made tight turns at the turn bouys. After the last turn, I went straight for the middle of the finish bouys, kept my head down and sighting to a minimum and swam until my hand hit the mud. Stood up and headed for transition.
Did not try to be fast in T1, given how slippery it was. Got the wetsuit off, sat myself on the mud. Put my socks, shoes, helmet, glasses, and Garmin on. Ran through the mud, up the hill.
Had a hard time mounting with my shoes and pedals slick, but finally got clipped in and took off. Had a package of Sport Beans once I got out of the park and onto 108. Once I got moving, I started passing a lot of folks. I tried not to go too hard because I did that in 2008 and really bonked on the run. I just took each uphill as it came and tried to push a bit on the straight downhills. The course seemed really crowded and I tried to be very concious of how much space was between me and the bike in front of me. I did not want to be penalized for drafting. Got a big lift seeing Linda and Aldona at the Ten Oaks Circle. Had a bit of a scary moment when I went down the "S" curve and everyone was breaking due to the accident. I was pumping my breaks at that point anyway, but wasn't expecting to have to slow down that quickly. All the bikers around me made it safely through that section. After the Green Bridge hill, I took another package of Sport Beans. The rest of the bike went well. Towards the end I started getting passed by the fast guys in the wave behind me, along with a bunch of folks I had passed on the swim. Ah well, I was fine with that. Made it back to the park safe and sound, so was happy with that. Drank 1 bottle of Cytomax on the bike. I did not take the Endurolyte tablets I had brought for the bike because I was too scared to fiddle with opening my container while on the wet roads. I also didn't think I would need them because it was a relatively cool day.
Bike: 1:22:51 - 18.4 mph - Given the conditions, I'll take it!
Nothing exciting about T2. Helmet and bike shoes off, running shoes and visor on. Grabbed another swig of Cytomax and off I go.
I actually felt great as I started the run. I was smiling and joked with one guy "only 6.2 to go". I've really been working on my run, so I had high hopes for the run. I took the switch back hill, which I hate, pretty well. Slow, but steady. Even though I wore my Garmin, I refused to look at my pace during the run. I just ran how I felt. I backed off the hills when I felt my breathing get tight, picked back up when I felt better. Had one more package of Sport Beans around mile 2. I drank water or Gatorade at the first few water stops. Started getting passed by more people, including a bunch I had passed on the bike. I wanted to chase them down, but at that point I knew I couldn't if I wanted to run the whole race. I was starting to feel some cramping in my calves and my stomach was a little unsettled. I could not stomach anything to drink at the last 2 water stops. The Gatorade wall was hard, but I ran the whole thing. Along the dam, I was passed by another woman in my age group, but couldn't do anything about it. Once over the last little hill, I was able to pick the pace up and passed a few people in the last tenth of a mile, unfortunatley not anyone in my age group.
Run: 55:26 - 8:26/mile
When I looked down at my Garmin after the finish, I was actually disappointed with my run pace. I was really hoping for a faster run. Based on my age group results, the run is still my weakest leg. I was 13th after the bike, and finished in 19th place. I still beat my best time by about a minute, so I really was happy overall. Part of my problem is still the nutrition. Even though the day wasn't that hot, I should have taken the Endurolyte tablets. I sweat a lot, and really needed them. Also, I think my stomach needs more solid food, rather than just the Sport Beans. I'm going to try PB&J or PB&Bananna on my next long bike.
Coming up, I'm doing the Zooma half marathon on June 6th, DIRT in July, Annapolis 10 miler in August, and still hope to do Diamond Man in September. Jury is still out on that one because I would rather spend time on the weekends with the kids, not on long training rides/runs. We shall see. I had a good time and it was great seeing all the MMTC folks!