I went to bed around 10pm Saturday night, all packed up and ready to go, but took awhile to fall asleep. I did my usual wake-up-every-few-hours thing and then woke up for good at 3:50 despite having the alarm set for 4:30, so I decided to just do some positive race visualization as I lay there in the dark. 5 hours of sleep before a race - no problem. :)
(Kind of funny "posing" picture of me after the race. Hahaha...)
I actually got out of bed at 4:30, showered, drank a little coffee, ate a little yogurt, and drank some water then headed out of the house at 5:35. Last year, I left at 5:40, took awhile to find a parking spot, waited in a long line for body marking etc so I hoped the extra 5 minutes would give me a bit more time. Erik dropped me off right at Prospera Place and went to park the car and I was surprised to see NO lineups for body marking, so by the time he arrived over at the fence by transition, I was all set up. He gave me the pump and I carefully pumped up my tires (I'm always terrified I will break the stem because I find it hard to attach the pump thingy and keep it straight.)
My new Zoot Tri bag was awesome! It was so nice to have all my stuff in a single back pack, easy to access and know I hadn't forgotten anything. Once I was ready, I took the backpack and pump to Erik and he put them in the car while I hung around and chatted with my fellow age groupers. I'm in a new age group this year (50-54) and I didn't know the women but they all seemed to know each other. I was able to answer a few questions for some first-timers which was nice. Some of these ladies looked like serious triathletes, one had her name on her tri suit, and with 16 women in our division (only 6 last year), I knew I'd have some serious competition. It sounded like quite a few of them were strong swimmers so I figured if they were also strong cyclists, I may not even see them on the course.
The morning was cloudy, and very windy, which did not bode well for a bike PR, and would make for choppy water on the swim. There were showers in the forecast but it looked like they would hold off until later in the morning. This picture shows the wind on the beach, and although the water doesn't look too rough here, it was 'rollier' further out. Rough water doesn't scare me much but it does slow me down a bit. Although the air temp was warmer than expected, the wind made it feel quite chilly so I put my jersey out to wear on the bike and I left my shoes in large ziplock bags in case it rained while I was on the course.
I was able to make two trips to the bathroom before I put on my wetsuit and I could see that there were now LONG lineups for body marking etc so I was really glad I had come early. I finally put on my wetsuit around 6:45 and headed down to the beach. The lake water actually felt warmer than the air temp but I held off going in for a bit so I didn't have to hang around wet. Soon enough it was time to assemble on the beach and I kept to the left (on the buoy side) and in the front. When the horn went off, I ran into the water and started swimming. I felt good and swam about 20 feet or so before I realized I wasn't breathing out under water. LOL. Got into a good stride and just swam steady and as fast and I could without getting too out of breath. The waves were pretty rolling but the chop only hit me in the face if I looked up to sight so it wasn't too bad. I was about 1/3 way back from my group which was all sprint women, 40 and up. There were about 75 women, plus some Olympic relay racers.
I got out of the water and ran as fast as I could up to my bike. There is a long run and it hurt the ball of my right foot a bit on the cement but overall I was ok. Erik was there on the beach cheering and taking pics.
Swim Time: 16:21 ~ 205/378 overall ~ 97/202 women ~ 7/16 in age group
(2008 - 17:30, 2009 - 16:27)
T1 - I really tried to hurry as fast as I could in T1 because my time is always slow for some reason. Some women weren't wearing wetsuits and were on their bikes more quickly of course, but I got mine off fast, bike shoes on no sox, helmet, sunglasses, and I was off.
T1 Time: 3:01 ~ 197/378 overall ~ 100/202 women ~ 5/16 in age group
(2008 - 3:01 no wetsuit, 2009- 3:34 wetsuit)
Overall the bike portion was uneventful. I tried to ride as fast, and as aggressively as I could. It's always fun going up Knox the first time and passing everyone that I can. I'm not the best cyclist, but I can hold my own on the hill and it's not too hard to pass people who are fast swimmers because their strength is often on the swim. :) It was windy in sections and that slowed me down a bit and when I finished the first lap in just over 20 minutes, I knew I wouldn't be breaking my best course time of 38 minutes. I went harder on the second lap and managed to have a negative split which made me happy. I passed lots of people and played leap frog with a few more.
Bike Time: 40:53 ~ 155/378 overall ~ 50/202 women ~ 4/16 in age group
(2008 - 38:18 no wind, 2009 - 40:12 windy)
T2 - again tried to speed up in transition. I always put my sox on here so that slow me down a put but I did manage to shave some time off the last two years. Change shoes, helmet off, cap and race belt on and we're off!
T2 Time: 1:26 ~ 219/378 overall ~ ?/202 women ~ 4/16 in age group
(2008 - 1:49, 2009 - 1:53)
Right away, my legs felt good. Nothing was stiff or heavy and I knew I was going to have a good run if my ITB didn't act up. I went out at a steady pace and tried to keep it steady for the whole run. My heart rate was pretty high and my legs felt good so I kept plugging away and tried to keep loose. It was a more a mental battle than a physical one - my brain kept saying it was time to slow down but I wouldn't let myself do that. The last km was the hardest and I was SO happy to see the finish line with Erik waiting at the end taking pictures, that I ran straight over to him and kissed him once I crossed the finish line!
Here are my splits: (5:30/km is about 8:50 mile)
5:22, 5:25, 5:30, 5:35, 5:25
Run Time: 27:39 ~ 236/378 overall ~ 105/202 women ~ 5/16 in age group
(2008 - 29:45, 2009 - 31:01, Oliver 2010 - 27:31)
Whoo hoo! I was SO happy!!!!
Time: 1:29:18 ~ 190/378 overall ~ 82/202 women ~ 4/16 in age group
(2008 (perfect weather) - 1:30:04, 2009 (windy, sore itb) - 1:33:11)
I am very happy - the ladies who "podiumed" were pretty far ahead of me so any small improvements wouldn't really help my chances and obviously better weather would have helped all of us.
Here are their times:
1st - 1:23:26
2nd - 1:24:48
3rd - 1:25:30 - (she was 2 min faster swim, 1 min faster T1, and 30 seconds faster run.)
Thank you so much to everyone who tweeted, emailed, DMed, and FBed good wishes. I brought all of you with me and kept your thoughts in my head to keep me going. I appreciate it all!
And of course, as always, thanks to my darling husband who got up early, followed me around carrying my stuff, lent me his brand new goggles, took pictures, and cheered me on before, during and after my race, and drank wine with me last night. I love you!