Pre Race stuff:
I got into this race as a free entry through Team FeXY (FYI: my "other club", although Mid MD is truly my first club! My coach is prez of FeXY hence my wearing the uni. But who'd really want ME representing them??). Originally signed up as a half, then realized I really really didn't want to do the course twice. I love the half distance, but I wanted to do a flat half first, so I did Skipjack last week and switched to the Oly for this race.
I wasn't too enthused about it. Hills are my weakness. Combine that with rain, cold (I did Louisville, so I was gearing my whole year to hot!), and having our school's 50th anniversary celebration weekend the same weekend, it was going to be kind of an afterthought race. But, I KNEW I wanted to do. People had said it was amazing. So I got my packet, dropped my bike off, read the athlete's guide, did my best with the tattoos. (although I had NO idea what the extra 0 was for on my age. I made a sunshine out of it. I didn't realize until I saw people with H that it was for Olympic. Hee).
So cold! Like I said, I was used to hot! I just coldn't get warm. Had no idea what to wear. Spent all the morning deciding about that (next time do Sadj's cold shower test, note to self) and I was so distracting by seeing so many friends (this was my first Centennial Park race since 2008!) that I didn't pay attention to the swim course or start.
I heard time trial start, but I thought we were all just walking in first, since it seemed so casual. My fault for not clearing it up. I also didn't even bother looking at the course. Oops. Needless to say I was surprised that we went into the water and just took off. Took me about 10 seconds to realize that my swim had started!
The course was nice, until we made the last turn. They had the buoys way off to the middle, which didn't make sense to me b/c I knew where the boat ramp exit was. So, I was hugging the shore like most folks. And like most folks, I ended up in the lily pads! The two orange buoys at the end were confusing. We were supposed to go through them, but one buoy drifted. kInd of dangerous b/c there was a concrete boat ramp that should be marked in my opinion.
Anyways, swim was just ok. I tried to swim hard, but with my shoulder still being an issue (I got an MRI the day before! don't know results yet). I can swim, but just need to not pull hard. time: 27:58 not too good for me. But ok! on to the bike.
Wow, its hard to pedal when you are that cold! My legs were very tired from the start, it took about 45 minutes to get into biking zone, and by then my feet were completely frozen. There were a lot of beginners on the course. I had twice people coming from the left of the course (they were stopped and for some reason on the wrong side of the road) and were trying to merge onto the course in front of me on a hill. One time I had a girl wobble right into me going up hill. Plus I saw several odd crashes, where people just fell over.
I didn't go hard, I couldn't. I hadn't been training hills at all, just doing intervals on the flat or trainer. Plus it was hard to get around people when they were timid and going slowly down hills.
I can't tell you the number of times I wanted to stop. It was just foolish to me to be out there, risking getting sick when my season should have been over. But since this was for cancer, I decided that I'd use that as my inspiration, and pray to my family and friends that have succumbed to cancer. I just reminded myself that as much as this sucked, its not nearly as bad as chemotherapy. Perspective really helps.
Oh!! the coolest part? Going right by my barn where I grew up riding I'm by myself, in my own little world. I hear "Good Morning!" and WHOOOOSH. Totally was Lance Armstrong just going by!! I screamed, "Oh hi! Lance!" and giggled like a school girl. I'm not a Lance apologist, and I was ambivalent all week about him being there. That being said, man, it really was a thrill to have him pass me. And now I can say, I was only passed by a few, and one of those guys was Lance Armstrong!
Imagine my surprise when I saw my slow time ended up being the fastest in the group. Nothing to brag about, but I certainly felt better knowing i wasn't the only one that felt like poop! Time 1:58
Ah, my worst leg of triathlon. Even better when you can't feel a thing! all you feel are stumps! I asked some people if I had feet. It was funny b/c one guy laughed and said, "only one!". I of course said, "oh poop. Must have left the other in transition." It was that kind of run.
I decided that since running is not a friend of mine, I was going to set a goal to run the entire race (except for 6 steps or so at the water stops to drink). And I did it!!! I even skipped the last two stops. Some of the hills are steep, but I DID THEM ALL. I can't believe that I managed a 9:25 on the last 3.5 miles.
Favorite part: the signs along the run course stating who they were racing for. My favorite was one that said Diane's Boobies. :)
Another funny moment: one water stop was getting pizza delivered just as I came by. I shouted to them, "this is my favorite stop ever!! You guys have pizza!" they told me not until I was done, but they'd save me a piece. :)
Disheartening to work so hard only to get passed with only 0.1 mile left on the run (the girl beat me by 3 seconds) but you know what? Thats not what the race is about. I did as well as I could, and finished despite difficult conditions.
very, very good race. Incredible swag. Great volunteers who were cheerful even in the rain and cold.
I only wish it were in July! October is just seems way too late for this race, its the third year of cold/rainy weather. However, in a way, it seems appropriate. We were suffering, and it pushed us to our limits, just like cancer does. It was a day when all had to dig deep and that I love.