The weekend started Friday evening when my girlfriend Lori from PA came down with her 17 year old daughter, Katie…I babysat Katie when she was 6, and now she wants do make Iron Girl her first triathlon! We spent all of Saturday preparing…went to the pool to teach her how to sight (she never swam in open water) and then did a short ride & run (she never did a brick workout). We got her bike checked, took it over to Centennial to rack it, drove through the bike course so she’d have some idea of what to expect…but she did just get through a couple weeks of riding the Adirondack’s with her youth group, so she wasn’t fazed by Howard County’s rolling hills. She loved the Expo, spent lots of her mom’s money, and learned a lot from Vig’s talk. Then we got take-out sushi with Melissa and went back to watch the movie on Judy Flannery…where Katie and Lori shed a couple tears. We packed transition bags together, and got a good night’s sleep.
I had to laugh in the morning, when Lori prepared our half-bagels with peanut butter, juice, and coffee/tea and we had breakfast at the table…I’ve only ever eaten in the car on the way to the race, on race-day morning! She’s an Iron Mom (Katie is the oldest of 4)! On the way to the park, I decided it would be best to warn Lori ahead of time that if she heard anyone being called a jock-strap, it wasn’t an insult…which was a good thing, because she heard it that day. She was amazed at the entire “culture” of triathlon – the camaraderie, the language, the rules, all the preparations, and then navigating from transition to transition to cheer for her daughter!
We set up transition…first Katie watched me, then she set up her own…and I was proud to overhear her give advice to others in her area who weren’t sure of one aspect or another. She’s a quick study! We went to the tent, put out a blanket, and got comfortable. Thanks to everyone who made Lori and Katie feel welcome…they got a wonderful first impression of MMTC! Katie was in the first wave, so having never done an open water swim, she didn’t even get the opportunity to watch…she was going purely on that teenage sense of invincibility. Lori was so worried about her in the water that we actually walked along the shoreline trying to pick her out. Finally I realized that my own wave was lining up, so I had to rush to get my own cap and goggles…which fortunately meant I had less time to feel nervous for myself.
I decided that I like the in-water start, since treading water for a few minutes helped stabilize my heart rate. I was jazzed and ready to go…and so I just went. No panic, no hyperventilating, not even a hesitation. Didn’t even stop when I got bumped or bumped someone else. I stayed far right…closer to the shoreline than the buoys on the way out, but was comfortable with a more direct line among more people on the swim back. Katie reported no problems…found her stroke rhythm on the way back. 0.6 mile in 22:03 for me, 22:05 for Katie.
T1 3:42 for me, 3:22 for Katie. This was the first time I’ve ever had enough breath left over after the swim to actually be able to run (ok, jog) from the water to the bike rack. I like that!
The bike ride was fun…I felt good and kept my cadence high. There were lots of people out there, lots of people to pass and a couple reminders to others that riding next to your friend is blocking…cut off once…blocked by the Princeton van in the lane after they passed me but couldn’t pass the group in front of me…unnerved by the ambulance siren directly behind me…but all in all, went well. It was good to see other MMTC-ers out there, having a couple brief chats as people went by, and saying “Way to go, girl” to everyone who passed me and everyone I passed. That got some great responses! I was looking for Katie to be going back on Folly Quarter Road as I was heading out to the school, and was getting worried that I didn’t see her. Then right at the corner of the school, I saw her getting back on her bike. Apparently she had a flat earlier and had to wait for Princeton support, then her chain popped off and the school and someone else helped her put it back on. Apparently, I didn’t teach her enough the day before. When I came in to transition, I saw Lori (who was clearly worried about her daughter, knowing she should be in by then) and hollered to her that Katie was fine and on her way. We ended up with 17.5 miles in 1:02:52 for me and 1:32:15 for Katie…pretty good for all her mishaps!
T2 2:34 for me and 2:07 for Katie. I think I need to work on my transitions!
The run and those hills in the back of the course! I simply promised myself that I wouldn’t walk, and so refused to look up to the top of any hill…if I see how long it is, I give up. So I didn’t. I LOVED the Village People and the big high fives from Chip, and I LOVED hearing Santana with the guys in grass skirts…laughed out loud when I saw the generator hooked up and the speakers on the car…who picked out that music? It was great! Going up that steep hill to the road, I was finally able to understand the purpose of a mantra…left foot said “not”…right foot said “walking”…left…right…not walking…all the way to the top. Maybe the slowest jog ever, but not walking! Passed Katie and got a high five on the way back to the lake…so glad she still had her head up high and was happy! She loves running, so she was glad to finish with what she knew best. 3.3 miles in 31:56 for me and 38:35 for Katie.
Total time for Katie was 2:38:22 with a promise to go to a bike maintenance clinic…and she’s considering another sprint triathlon back home with another ex-babysitter who also does this, as soon as next month. She hopes to be back here next year!
Thanks to the guys at the water stops, whose costumes, antics, dances, music and enthusiasm kept us going on the hills! Thanks to the gang at the tent… to Kristin for everything with sugar, for the post-race electrolyte replacement in the form of chips… Bob’s smoothies were fantastic and I promise to search the web for a battery-powered blender so MMTC can have them every time the tent is up! And Jesse on the grill…those kebobs were perfect! What a treat! Who brought the salsa? It tasted homemade...mmm. I ate a ton of food after the race…and it was all great! Thanks again to all! What a great day!