This was my last race of my first tri season. I signed up for it a while back, liking that it was raising funds for conservation and small - a good way to keep me training and end the season with a low key race and end on a high note with a flat and fast race. Unfortunately, my body had other ideas. The two weeks leading up to the race were full of aches, pains, strains, migraines and more. I didn't know if I'd be able to race at all. On Friday, I thought about pulling out - for a fleeting moment. I've had way too much fun with triathlon so figured I could just suck it up and push through it. So I did.
We drove to Snow Hill after work on Friday and traffic was crazy. A 3 hour trip ended up being much longer and we were both tired and cranky by the time we got to the hotel. I didn't get to sleep until midnight and was feeling very thankful it was a late race start. Morning came fast and we got up, I got dressed and we headed out to Public Landing. Breakfast was crunchy granola bars and a banana on the ride over. Temps were just a little chilly but not too bad. Race prep was super low key which went well with my generalized battered body feeling. No one knew what the water temp was but I was able to get my foot in off the end of the dock and it didn't feel too cold. While I wiped off my barely used sunglasses, they broke. Jacek saved the day and lent me his. Looks like I'll be adding spare sunglasses to my tri packing list.
Swim: 19:12 (2:11/100m) (312/373)
I wavered for a long time with the wet suit or no wet suit decision. I don't like swimming in one so I decided to suck up the chill and join the minority sans suit. It was a good decision. The water chill didn't last long and the water felt great. The water was a little choppy-ish and the little frequent swells were at just the right angle to push me back and off course and I swear every 3rd time I would turn my head to breath away from the swells, one would come up and over my head and right into my mouth and/or up my nose. My mouth was soooo dried out by the end of the swim. It was frustrating (and funny!) and I tried to avoid it to no avail. So I switched to breast stroke on and off to try to stay above and under them and stay on course. Despite all of that my time is awesome so I assume we were riding an outgoing tide even while I felt the swells were pushing against me. I'll take it!
T1: 2:45 (221/373)
It was a long jog from the end of the dock to transition and it was nicely carpeted - happy feet! This T1 time is pretty good for me so I must be getting more efficient at my routine. I switched into my bike gear and downed 1/2 an espresso Hammer Gel and headed out.
Bike: 1:05:03 (14.0 mph) (342/373)
Ah, a flat bike. It was a great ride, albeit slow. My strained shoulder and upper arm were not at all happy after the first few miles and my legs weren't feeling strong. Still, I enjoyed it. The weather was perfect and the roads were in good shape. A nice tail wind at one point was a welcome bit of fun. I was passed a lot and passed few and at one point the demons started in my head telling me that maybe I'm not cut out for triath - then I cut them off and started recounting my accomplishments over the past year. I've come a long way to get here and I have a long way to go. I focused on how much I enjoy the training and the races and the demons were quickly banished.
T2: 2:15 (324/373)
An improvement for me, but still need to work on this time. Coming out of transition there was a huge crowd and no obvious path. I had to ask someone which way to go at which point they cleared the course entry.
Run: 46:16 (14:55/mi) (361/373)
Jacek decided to walk/run with me (barefoot!) to keep me company which was so nice! Within the first 1/4 mile the calf cramping started and it was the worst yet. I fought off anger and tears and just kept plodding forward, mostly walking. Eventually my left toes went numb again, too. This was a flat run but was much slower for me than either Iron Girl. Near the end of the run the cramping subsided but the numb toes remained. I ran in the very last of it and was so happy I didn't let the annoyances and pains of the last two weeks stop me.
This was a fun, low key race with a nice course that I would do again - it's a nice season wrap up. My first goal for off-season is to figure out my calf issue. I'm adding strength training and yoga to my training schedule. Both of those things will help my performance in swim/bike/run and help me reach my goal of finishing an olympic distance in 2014 - hopefully Columbia Triathlon.