We had a busy weekend - Eric and I were in Welland for both of our respective races. What fun!
I raced the sprint on Saturday and Eric raced the half-iron distance on Sunday.
I've been thinking back on my race experience in point-form, so here we go, pithy remarks included:
- got up 4:45am and had breakfast and started my hydration routine per Tara's instructions...
- we left home at 6:20am and drove to Welland to the race site
- I entered 'Race Mode' during the drive... ie. iPod on, ignored distractions and didn't do anything other than close my eyes visualize a strong race
- upon arrival, I set up my transition area and got marked, etc... visited the potty... and moved like a girl in a trance, mostly... 'shell-shocked' comes to mind...
- saw my friend Cathy but I was kind of 'in the zone' and had to tell her that because she looked worried that I might start to freak out or something ... ;)
- all of a sudden (it seemed) I had to go down to the water for the swim start
it was a time-trial start so we had to line up according to bib number - I was 160
- had a couple of 'aren't we happy and dry and we haven't hit the water yet' shots taken with Cathy and then it was time...
- got to the dock where we were to enter and ! Saw my friend, Paul - who just happened to be photographing the race! Woo hoo!!! BIG smile :)
- got in the water (no time for a warmup swim and my usual 'relaxation' routine in the water... ) and then waited for them to call my number
- we were going at :05 intervals... either people weren't listening, or don't know how to count... but I got bumped and shoved as I was readying to start my race (isn't the point to NOT have that happen??) anyhow... off we went...
- 50m in, I realized I'd forgotten to start my watch... fixed that and kept going...
- nice water in Welland - kind of clear... green... doesn't taste bad... I was noticing all of this as I watched the other swimmers pass me... oh well, keep on chugging... wow - the scenery in Welland is pretty...
- one lady was on her back doing the backstroke already... hope she did OK...
- got to the first buoy and another lady was waiting for the kayak as I asked her if she was okay... (asthma attack) - I would have waited with her but the kayak showed up so I swam on...
- first buoy was to my right and by now I was trying to figure out why I couldn't breathe...?? Literally... 3-5 strokes and I was back to breaststroke (Aargh! Maddening! I can SWIM now... I should not have needed to do that... grrrrrr!)
- it was weird... I wasn't afraid of the water... I wasn't afraid of the other swimmers (let's face it - most of them were already out of the water... LOL... ) so perhaps it was the heat and my asthma was acting up or else it really was mental anxiety... I am still trying to figure that one out... welcome to OCD, folks ;)
- kept going in my disjointed way and finally got out (I had figured on 20:00 - and it took me 21:00 - for 750m... I know... SLOW... oh well... when I got out, I was smiling and for once, able to immediately get upright and run a bit instead of spit out seaweed and water and look and feel like the swamp thing on the way to transition... PROGRESS :)
- being clumsy, I was praying I wouldn't get tripped up with my cleats and injure myself again... grabbed Lily (AKA The Green Goddess) and we were off... 30k of 'flat and fast roads'... welcome to Welland :)
- waved to the photographer and gave him a big smile and anyone I passed on the bike got words of cheerful encouragement
- tried smiling and waving at the people already on their way back (they weren't smiling or waving back...too focused) and shouted out whoops of delight to the obviously fast cyclists as they whizzed by me - almost finished as I was just starting... I'm sure they (like many) thought I was a lunatic
- I couldn't believe my eyes when I glanced at the speedometer and was hitting 28.5 kph and even higher at some points... who was doing that? ME?? Wow!! Haven't seen speeds like that - EVER! Cool! Physio is really helping!!!
- had a fabulous ride... my average was 25.8 kph and for me, that was ultra-fast
- even better... NO PAIN ... just a smooth ride and felt strong - YES!
- I figured 1:30 for the bike... in fact, it took me 1:09 what a nice surprise!
- here is where it all fell apart (yeah, the one part I was NOT worried about...)
- first time ever, I had major GI issues on the run - oh my lord...
- Firstly, I would like to say that the amount of volunteers on the course was wonderful - they were smiling and cheerful
- I would also like to say that it would be helpful if when you asked one of them something of great importance, like, "where is the nearest bathroom?" someone actually had an answer!!
- so, there I was, almost doubled over in agony, trying to run but more like a shuffle, desperately muttering to myself that it was over - I had to get to a bathroom NOW - no -- 5 MINUTES AGO!! I was so afraid that I would have to wait the entire 7.5km to find a bathroom and I was just about ready to cry
Entered Door #1: outhouse with bucket (no, I'm not kidding!)
- no paper
- lots of flies and insects
- no light
- I nearly wept... honestly...
Entered Door #2:
- I continued my shuffling... another km or so... saw a (up there on the hill... could it be???) Porta John - oh joy!!!
So... following the wasted time during the 'misery shuffle', the entrance and somewhat hasty exit from Door #1 and then followed up by Door #2, I tried desperately to figure out how long I'd been out there... my Garmin was in 'Race Mode' - great... except it wouldn't show me how long I'd been on the run course... aargh!
Gertrude was nattering away about Timberman and how it's all but an impossibility that I will finish it... I got so sick of the noise I (yes, I really did...) said 'Shut up, Gertrude' - out LOUD... there was no on around to hear but me... and somehow it worked... HA!
It was the longest 7.5km run of my life. My pace was averaged at 7:33/km - so I was out there almost an hour... good lord!
This was my first sprint tri - not only of the season - it was my first sprint distance tri EVER. Previously, I've raced try-a-tri's and one very memorable olympic duathlon (from Hell). So, I really didn't know what to expect when I put all 3 sports together for this distance plus, I took all last year off racing because I was in physio...
So...What Did I learn?
- to carry tissues in my pockets - I might need them!
- to put a bag or something over my shoes in transition so that if it rains (and it did) my running shoes will not be sopping wet when I put them on for the run
The biggest thing I learned:
I can be on a course for 2:36 (yes, it really did take me that long to do a 'sprint' - we can't all be fast...) and at the finish line, I can still be smiling and perky and NOT BROKEN! Woo hoo!!!! Consistency in training, a great coach, hard work, good physio and proper nutrition - YAY!! Oh - and a supportive husband... he was my support crew on Saturday :)
In fact, when I pulled my pictures from the race, I noticed that I was smiling when I exited the swim, smiling on the bike and smiling at the finish line... I think that sums it up. I had FUN. I didn't quit. I did something I'd never done before...
I'm ready for more...
Bring it ON!
** Pictures to follow **