I was actually REALLY nervous for this race. This year, I promised myself that it would be the “Year of No Fear” when it came to racing (and life, really). Up until this race, I was doing just fine. Triathlon is a different beast entirely from running races. I’m always so afraid that I forgot something, and the thought of maneuvering around other competitors with my brand new bike scared the crap out of me. The aerobars and I are NOT friends yet. I’m hoping to be soon though.
When I got to the transition area, I carefully placed all my belongings on a bright yellow towel so I could find it easily in between sports. I also chatted it up with other nervous participants. It helped my nerves!!
Soon enough, it was time to get in the freezing cold water. I think it was 62 degrees, and let me tell you, I felt every bit of it as it slowly seeped into my wetsuit. We happily chatted away until it was time to go. I could be wrong, but I don’t think men are so chummy like women are before the start. The women were the last wave out of 4. The race directors had the waves start in two minute intervals. They saved the best for last!
The Swim: 1/2 mile (~800 meters)
The first 5 minutes of the swim did not go very well for me. I almost starting having a panic attack because it was so cold, and my legs absolutely refused to move. I couldn’t breathe. After 5 minutes of pure agony, I decided to chill the F out, and do a few breast strokes to get my bearings and catch my breath. That’s right. Just calm down. Focus. And it worked. I got my stroke back, and it was smooth sailing from there.
I passed a few men, and one was having a bad time in particular. He looked like he was really struggling and just doing the side stroke. I asked him if he was doing okay, and he said he was. I told him he was doing a great job and that we were almost done. Then I went on my way. I’ve SO been there. No matter how horrible you think you are at something, there is always someone much worse!! Trust me on this! Be thankful for what you can do.
Finally I was out of the water!! I finished about 2 minutes faster than I thought I would. Masters swimming is finally paying off, and I haven’t even gone that much!
The Bike: 14.4 Miles
The only thing that I was really scared of was being down in the areo position for the majority of the ride. The weather has been crap here lately (I know you really can’t tell from all these nice photos), and when it has been warm out, I have been traveling. Indoor rides do not equal outdoor rides. My goal was to maintain above 30 km/hr, and not loose my balance, fall off, get run over and/or die. The headwind was a little insane in some parts, but I managed that pace for most of the ride. Why in km? I accidentally changed the odometer to km when I hopped on my bike. Oops!!
I’ve done just one other sprint before, and I wasn’t sure how hard to push myself so that I would have something left in my legs. I probably should have pushed a little harder, and you will know why in a second.
The Run: 3.1 Miles
Ah, the run. The infamous run of this particular triathlon. It started off pretty crappy. My legs were heavy and felt like bricks.
I couldn’t get my breathing under control, and truly felt like I sounded similar to a freight train. I passed a few people and tried to chat with them, but no one really wants to chat during a triathlon. Apparently, I’m really annoying when I race. haha. I kept checking out other chick’s calves to see if there was anyone in my age group around. I wasn’t sure where I was in the placement or even if I had a chance at placing, but I didn’t want to be the last one.
I spotted my prey about 1/2 mile ahead of me. She passed me on her way back from a turn around when I noticed she was in my age group. I sped up steadily to catch her. Her breathing was just as labored as mine. I pushed forward, and as I passed her, I managed to get out a “Hey.” She sped up her pace to stay on my back for the last 1/2 mile of the race. I could hear her behind me breathing hard over my breathing. This was going to be close.
As soon as we reached the last turn, the pace rapidly increased to a full on sprint when we saw the finishline.
I could hear Steve cheering for me, but I don’t think he understood what was going on. Our elbows kept brushing up against each others. I surged in front of her right in front of the finishline…
Then, she surged back literally as we crossed. She beat me by ONE second. We both bent over wheezing to catch our breath after the finishline, then gave each other a hug with smiles afterwards. That was awesome.
Kai and I hung out waiting for the awards ceremony to begin while my wonderful sherpa, ahem, husband loaded the bike in the car…
Then, I found out that I came in 3rd place. I was SO freaking happy. I had NEVER placed in a race before. I felt SO proud standing on that podium. Smiling ear to ear!!
That is, until I logged on the next morning to check my times on the race website and noticed that I was NOT 3rd, but 4th. After several emails back and forth with the race director I found out what had gone wrong. Apparently, the girl who really took second was accidentally registered as a male since she registered late. Her time was never added in to my age group. I know it wasn’t the girl’s fault, but I was PISSED.
I stood up on that podium so proud. I tweeted and wrote about my 3rd place finish on facebook, and it wasn’t true. I would have been perfectly happy NOT placing at the race, but to call me up on the podium and hand me a medal, then take it all away?? To say the least, I was and still am a little upset. Plus, I just look like a liar to my readers and to family and friends when I’m not one.
And I also feel bad for the girl who actually deserved to be up on the podium who wasn’t even called up there due to the mistakes made at registration.
I received an email from the race director that made me feel a little better today. She sounded deeply apologetic regarding the whole mix-up, and offered a free entry to the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place (me now) to the race next year. Even though I’m still a little bitter, I’m considering taking her up on the offer. The 1st place winner beat me by 4 minutes. I KNOW that I can shave that off to take 1st next year for this race.
I’m not going to obsess about this sprint anymore. Time to focus on my next big race of the season: the Troika Half Ironman!!
A big thanks goes to my husband who also doubles as my sherpa, paparazzi, medic, and therapist. Thank you for putting up with my craziness especially on race days.
Another big thanks goes to Team Blaze. Even though I haven’t done a lot with them this year, the small amount of guidance that I have recieved from them has been invaluable. I look forward to extensively growing as a triathlete with them this year!
The Spokane Swifts. Thank you for kicking my butt EVERY single time I show up to practice. You girls see my potential more than I do, and I appreciate that.
YOU GUYS! My readers!! Thank you for all the encouragement throughout almost the last 2 years. You guys always support me and bring new perspectives to the table.