325 registered, 248 finished (4DNF, 67 stayed in bed)
Overall: 188/248 overall
Women: 45/80 women
AG 30-34: 13/21
Swim: 29:44 3:24 min/100yard
T1: 2:47 (damn zippers)
Bike: 47:25 19mph
Run 29:00 9:50 min/mile
I woke up at 4:30 and it was raining. Loudly. I didnâ€™t care. I knew it would suck but I paid $70 to do this damn race and Iâ€™ve been preparing for it since I came home from Colorado. I wasnâ€™t staying home. I was racing. Itâ€™s my last chance at a tri this season and I didnâ€™t care if the bike got dirty as this is Pedroâ€™s last day as race bike. Heâ€™s retiring after today. Besides, how could I ever look one of last weekâ€™s Ironman participants in the face if I stayed home because it was raining and 65?
My teammate Jen said it was only because we carpooled that she even got out of bed though. The good news? The rain quit while I was still drinking coffee and, while It sprinkled a bit on the way there, that was it. No more rain.
Actual race weather:
07:53 S 14 Fog/Mist
08:53 SE 16 G 22 Light Rain Fog/Mist
10:53 SE 18 G 30 Partly Cloudy
The Swim (234/248, 74/80, 19/21--holy sh*t, I wasn't last in my age group)
The race started at 8. My wave started at 8:15. I got in the lake ahead of time to see what it would feel like and to get used to the water. Oddly enough, it was ok. The water wasnâ€™t rough, it was not too cold and the wetsuit was so buoyant that my feet almost stuck right out of the water.
When my wave took off, I felt super confident. I was actually right with the pack out to the first buoy. I actually held back a bit because I was swimming on feet and figured theyâ€™d drop me soon enough, I didnâ€™t need to annoy the other swimmers with that. What I didnâ€™t realize is that weâ€™d started in an area protected from the wind.
I got out to the first buoy and the wind hit me like a slap in the face. Literally. The wind was gusting out of the SE and there were whitecaps on the lake. This is my second competitive open water swim. Iâ€™ve done some other open water swims on nice days with calm waters. I expected a little grief from the lake because itâ€™s big and not known to be calm like the tiny pond I swam in the last race.
But Iâ€™ve never tried to swim with whitecaps breaking over my head. I can say that, if I had not had a wetsuit, I might not have made it. Whether I would have quit or drowned first, weâ€™ll never know. But I have never tried to swim in such rough conditions and it was hard. My swim was no longer about performance, but merely surviving to reach T1.
Everyone I talked to assured me that it was the hardest thing theyâ€™d ever swam in and my teammate who was going to do Racine (1.2 miles swimming in Lake Michigan) next year is reconsidering after this morning. She also said I was the only thing keeping her going out there. She hated every second but she knew I was out there and wouldnâ€™t quit for anything "unless I had to be scraped from the bottom of the lake" and felt like she had to keep going. She says stuff like that all the time though and nearly always places in her age group (3rd today).
When I hit the turbulence, my calm stroke ground to a halt. I tried to go for a while but the water hitting me in the face was freaking me out. I couldnâ€™t go forward. I breast stroked for what felt like forever and tried to remain calm. I actually considered whether I would make it at all at one point. This is probably about a third of the way through the swim. I spent forever out there trying to figure things out and find my Zen.
Then I rounded the outermost buoy and the swim was pretty much SE, head first into the wind for the rest of the distance. Oddly enough, it was here that I found my Zen. I found that it was actually easier to keep my head in the water as much as possible and try to time my breaths to coincide with the moment right after a wave washed over my head.
This worked really well and I managed a pretty good rhythm on the second half. I swallowed a bunch of the lake and ended up breathing water every so often, stopping to choke a bit. But so did everyone else. The announcer said at the beginning that the lake was low and I think it was lower by the time the 248 swimmers swallowed half of it.
So finally I finished. But it was hard. Mentally I was scared and freaking, although my swim did not involve a lot of kicking or flailing this time; just minutes where I didn't go far, keeping myself calm and thinking things through.
Also, boats broadcasting diesel fumes were all over. Now, I am sincerely grateful for every person in a boat and a kayak who crawled out of bed at 6 this morning to patrol the course and keep us safe, but I didnâ€™t need to breath that. They wouldnâ€™t sit still either which wasnâ€™t helping the turbulence sitch either. And the kayaks were all over the swim lane. I understand that they were probably scared people would drown, but having to site on the kayak to keep from running into it was not making my morning any easier. I saw at least one person dragged into a boat though.
The Bike (115/248, 16/80, 6/21)
As I ran into T1, I heard them announcing behind me, â€œLets welcome the last of our swimmers out of the water!â€? My wave was second to last, so that makes sense, but it still didnâ€™t do anything for my morale. The wetsuit came right off, socks came on, I tried to put on a wind vest but couldnâ€™t get it zipped and gave up. Shoes on, helmet, sunglasses with orange lenses. I was off.
Uphill out of town into the wind blowing 16, gusting to 22. Yeah baby. I love to race. I stood up and pounded out of town with my heartrate in the 180â€™s and my breathing loud in my ears. I passed more bikes that I can guess. I didnâ€™t bother to count. With my positioning, I had every slow biker between me and the finish. Iâ€™m pretty sure I passed 90% of them plus a few faster ones who might have had some trouble on the swim. Sersly, I passed some people just barely moving. They looked like they just wanted to go home.
I never had a problem with the 15 second rule and no one passed me. It belatedly occurred to me that I could have maybe counted people on actual road bikes in the 30-40 age range. But I didnâ€™t care. I was flying. I passed people on uphills, I passed â€˜em on downhills. No one passed me, but Iâ€™m not particularly proud of it since there were probably only about 10 people behind me when I started.
Apparently there was a really bad wind out on the course that everyone else was bitching about later. I never noticed the wind was that bad. It was just harder to pedal some times than others. I attribute this attitude to riding a single speed bike to work all the time. On a single speed, if itâ€™s windy, you just gotta suck it up. You donâ€™t get to shift down. Good mental conditioning.
I stood up on every hill. I could feel the lactic twinge in my legs for most of the ride and so I think I was doing it right. I was so focused I didnâ€™t even bother to farmer blow most of the time. I just let the snot run down my face or I would turn my head and just blow. mmmm, salty! Sometimes my heartrate slipped into the high 160â€™s but it spent most of the ride in the 170â€™s. I was still passing people on the last two blocks into town.
The Run (196/248, 48/80, 10/21)
I dismounted, ran into happy grassy T2 (no sand and good bike shoe traction). I sat down to put on my running shoes. Then I grabbed the race belt and I was off on the 3 mile out and back. I ran easy for a bit to get my heartrate steady. A few people passed me on the first mile. This leg was mostly uneventful. I think I could have run faster because my legs didnâ€™t hurt and, while I could hear my breathing, Iâ€™m not sure Iâ€™ve really tested the limits of my mental suffering. I donâ€™t like running short distances. Hate it really.
I wasnâ€™t passed by very many people on the run. This made me happy. And hey, big milestone for me: I passed two women in my age group on the run back into town. I ran out with my heart rate around 175, slapping hands with my teammate Jen and exchanging smiles with Jen Grant who was looking a bit spent. The trip back I kept at 180 or more. The run out seemed interminable and the run back only slightly less so. 3 miles feels like forever although I donâ€™t mind 13. I donâ€™t understand that at all.
I ran strong into the finish to the cheering of teammate Jen standing right there waiting and then debated on whether or not I was going to vomit. I opted for no vomiting and retrieved my Hammer recovery drink from transition and walked back see everyone and watch the BOUS Champs come in off the bikes and head out on the run. These people are amazing to watch in transition. They are so super fast, feet already out of the pedals and shoes, running barefoot, slipping their running shoes on super quick, grabbing belt and hat and out the door. Cathy Yndestad and Brian Bich both did extremely well and it was fun to cheer Cathy on as she finished 6th of the women.
We hung out for awards because not only did teammate Jen take 3 in our age group, teammate Paula doing her first triathlon took second in HER age group. Paula is a cat 2 cyclist and swam competitively in college. Oh and did I mention that she did the entire second leg of the bike on a flat tire? Sheâ€™s a rockstar and smoked us all. Pretty spiff.
So, while I didnâ€™t perform the way I wanted, Iâ€™ve been informed that I need to get over it because today was HARD. And to be fair, just surviving has never been a goal Iâ€™ve needed to embrace until this morningâ€™s swim. AND I finished exactly halfway through the women's pack where I was 2/3 down at Chaska. It was the swim that killed me because I was way up there on the bike and halfway through the pack on the run.
T2 time improved and I feel that lost time in T1 was more attributable to my zipper than the wetsuit (which probably saved my life anyway). Running time improved, although I would be surprised if it hadn't with the course being flat instead of half uphill. But I really feel that I need to work on my pain threshold and suffering ability while running. I know I could have done better there.
Revenge next year will come in the form of the Lake Minnetonka Triathlon in June. Same course. I will smoke it.