This was my first Columbia Triathlon and first Olympic distance tri. Usually I officiate them and have the luxury of sitting on the back of the motorcycle and ride the course for a few hours checking to make sure no one is violating any rules like drafting, blocking, throwing trash not even CLOSE to an aid station, etc. This year I decided to try my hand at racing it so I can prepare myself for a half ironman distance in the fall. I’ve been swimming Thursday evenings with Team Fight and Tuesdays with my Master’s Swim program so I’m more comfortable in the water. Not fast, just more efficient and comfortable. I bike whenever I can and love climbing hills, again, not fast but I’m strong (or so I’ve been told). And my run…well, let’s just say I tolerate running and running, well, running mocks me but I’m learning to wrestle it.
I got up at 4am, got the dogs up with them giving me the stank eye (16 & 17 year old Jack Russells so they like their sleep now), had a bagel with almond butter and 2 eggs and water. On my way to the park had a banana and some more water and made it to the park around 5:15. I like to park inside Centennial Park because, being a back-of-the-packer I really don’t have to contend with exiting traffic as much as you speedy types. I enjoy the scenery more..LOL. Got my transition area set-up and realized as Allen was commenting on timing chips that mine wasn’t on my ankle. It was still in the packet at home. EXCELLENT! If that was the worst to happen I’d be fine today. Went back to my truck to get some food that I made for the Team Fight tent and went back into transition to get some TriSlide sprayed on me for the wetsuit then made my way over to the Team Fight and MMTC tents to say hi, get some coffee and wait the 2.5 hours until my swim wave. I should’ve taken a nap or offered to make omelettes. I was a little anxious about being in the last wave so I moved to the Athena group to save myself a whole 8 minutes, which subconsciously helped me a great deal later on.
Swim: 41:30 (2:46/100m)
Okay swim, I expected to do better but for some reason I just couldn’t get into a decent groove. I think I started with the whole swarm instead of counting to 10 like I normally do then starting off allowing the whole pack of jumping beans to get ahead of me. This time I apparently thought there were snakes in the wave or something and jumped right in there. Ugh. The water temperature felt awesome for me. A nice chill but not so much so to cause an anxiety attack and trouble breathing. I just didn’t get a good stretch and catch in my stroke and then some chick next to me kept running into me, over me, under me, around me….sweet bejeezus learn to sight woman! I wasn’t sure if she was trying to follow me or she was just a hot mess. I’m voting Hot Mess. Anytime I tried to get away from her a whopping couple of minutes would go by slap-happy free and she’d be all over me again like chicken on waffles…geesh. As I passed the starting area on the way towards the finish I felt a little dizzy when I would sight and felt like I couldn’t get a decent breath on either side. Went away after a minute or so, but no idea what happened. Overall, “eh” with the time but I’m feeling more comfortable in open water and this was my first wetsuit swim in 2 years so no panic attack! (And no peeing in transition, peed in the water..SUCCESS!)
Bleh, walked into transition, realized the zipper strap to my wetsuit had come loose and was trying to strangle my right arm for most of the swim. Thanks. Got it down to my waist coming up to the bike area, slowly took the wetsuit off, maybe I heard some Bow-Chika-Wow-Wow music and wasn’t aware I was doing a strip in my wetsuit? No idea. Took me a minute to figure out which shoes I needed to put on next. Sprayed sunscreen on half-arsed, sunglasses, helmet, racing belt, and pulled some lake grass off me and out to the exit.
Bike: 1:57:49 (12.7mph)
I was tired when I headed out and didn’t feel like I was in the groove for quite some time. Just felt a little knackered. I had 2 bottles of Infinit on the bike and made sure I was drinking around every 10 minutes. I actually finished both bottles just before coming back into the park. Enjoyed seeing people coming back in on the bikes and getting the little “head nod” from other Team Fighters. I had ridden the course the day after the Irongirl Half Marathon and did it in 2 hours so thought I could push it to 1:45 or less, well, I guessed wrong. Poop. By this time I was trying to enjoy more and focus less on specific goals. After all, it’s my first Olympic triathlon and my real focus will be in the fall. Great weather, little to no humidity which is great for me because heat + humidity is not this New England girl’s friend. Heat I can deal with to a certain extent but I prefer cooler temps. Then, about half way through the bike I started craving a Coke Slurpee. What? Seriously, a COKE SLURPEE. I’m not even sure the last time I’ve had one. Bizarre. Kept passing a guy that would stop on the side of the road with calf cramps then he’d pass me on the bike..then I’d pass him when he’d stop. This happened a few times and I finally passed him for the final time after the round-about heading back up Homewood. He wanted to know the time and it was around 10:20am. He figured he had enough time to ride the final 4 miles before the cut-off. Keep moving forward!
Slow, I walked saw everyone leaving with their stuff, medals, etc. Yeah yeah yeah….You PR’d, you had a fast bike split…pphtpthpt!! I’m still out here, who’s working harder? Yeah, I rock, I know it, now get out of my way. Anyone have a Coke Slurpee?
Run: 1:45:08 (16:58/mile)
When I see my time like this I want to laugh. I need to start hanging with mall walkers because even my run/walk is so horribly slow that they would beat me into the ground. I was exhausted but in a way also felt pretty good. This was the first run that I didn’t feel nauseous, sick to my stomach or end up dry heaving on the side of the road (Irongirl Half – No Idea there). I have been trying to work on my nutrition and I still have some tweaks on the run but this time I had just plain water in my bottle and took gels. I’m not fond of gels but since I haven’t trained using chomps or stingers I stuck with gels. I took one Cherry Chocolate Clif gel in the beginning with my water and was able to tolerate it. YAY! Also, when I had run this course earlier I missed the first turn for that stupid hill so I was going into that blind. GOOD TIMES! I made the turn and said to myself “F*** ME” and walked it. I’ve got 5+ miles to go, that’s okay. Passed a guy stretching his hamstring and quads out. So far I wasn’t having an issue. Approached the split heading towards Gatorade Hill and saw Jenni Ferguson there to greet me. Happy to see her and yet just a bit apprehensive to have someone run with me. She ran my intervals with me up to the steep incline on that stupid turn and then saw Dawn Smyers yelling “Quick quick quick quick” at me to pick my feet up. I still hear that damn metronome in my head. It does help at times! I tried, got up the hill then ran down the hill and into the parking lot. Saw Suzy Serpico and Mike Lombardo on my way up the hill and Suzy told me work it and that she’d be back for me later. I just replied a little sarcastically “I’m looking forward to it”. Once heading towards the skating park Jenni said she’d meet me on the other side once I got back from the neighborhood. I had made sure to grab some ice at the water stop at the top of Gatorade hill and shoved it in my sports bra. That has GOT to be the best feeling in the world! Also, I was so excited to know that there was ice water and even ICE available for me being so far back! YIPPEE!!! Thanks CTA and everyone working the water stops!! Could you get Coke or Coke sno-cones next?? Just a thought
Okay, back in the neighborhood I was doing my little run/walk shuffle. Just overall tired feeling so I need to learn to push myself because I wasn’t aching, hurting, blistered, etc like I have been in past runs and races, just straight up tired, so I kept moving forward! Saw Suzy and Mike again climbing up that horrible first hill as they turned off to go grab Sara and I kept going. The run was slow but it seemed to pass quicker than I expected and it was pleasant. I don’t recall if I had another gel or not, I seem to think I did but honestly can’t recall. My hydration was fine since right around Mile 4 I realized I had to go. So I did what any good triathlete does since we seem to lose our modesty in this sport. I looked around and peed while I was running. Hey, I had my water bottle with me and washed myself off and honestly..it felt great! Now I didn’t have to worry about doing it when I crossed the finish line if I actually had anything left in the tank to sprint. At the next water stop the kids offered to hose me and throw water on me. I completely agreed, little do they know what a service they were doing for my friends! LOL
As I was coming back up on the park Jenni met me at the top of the hill and ran with me to the finish. I ran the down hills when I could and walked the uphills. Once we got to the damn I tried to run as much as possible but ended up walking just a bit more. I saw a friend of mine waiting for me before that little “Finisher’s Hill” with her baby and a little handmade sign “GO KEELY”, which really made my day. Then coming up the hill Toks joined us so I had my running angels with me and once I made that little incline from hell I saw Blake, Jessica P., Alyssa and Kristin all in Team Fight yellow cheering me on. I swear that’s the best feeling ever having people waiting there (no matter how long) just to get you across that finish! I crossed the finish and had the biggest smile on my face! When I stopped and got my bling the volunteer started to take my chip off and I stumbled a little so they held me up. I actually felt okay as I stumble sometimes on a normal day to day basis.
I wobbled my way over to the tent and had some Gatorade and water. Saw Marla Shapiro, who yelled, “I MISSED YOU?!?!” She gave me a big hug and I actually started crying I was so happy to finish and so grateful to see so many people cheering me on throughout the race that I guess the emotion finally took over. I’m not usually an emotional person so that kind of took me by surprise and Jenni just said, “About damn time you got emotional!”
No, I never did get a Coke Slurpee but did have an ice cold refreshing Coke post-race that day. I never drink soda but for some reason after a race it seems to help!