First of all, let me just say, it's a whole heck of a lotta work to get your stuff together for a triathlon. I must have gone over my list a million times. Helmet-check. Towel-check. Goggles-check. And so on, and so on. All my rechecking, and I still somehow managed to leave the number that goes on your bike in my car, which was parked about a mile away. In my infinite wisdom, I decided the best way to retrieve that number from my car was to run back and get it. Um - nevermind the perfectly good bike I had with me? I'm an idiot.
So, I ran back to get the number. I passed Jon and Waverly as they were making their way to the start area. I'm sure they were wondering why I was running down the street in the opposite direction of the race. Once I made it back to the transition area with my number (100 - I thought that was a pretty cool number) I had about 10 minutes to get all my stuff set up. The lady next to me brought her entire closet, so I didn't have much space, but I got everything laid out in what seemed like a logically ordered arrangement. Off to the port-a-potty line.
Desperate times call for desperate measures - I went inside a port-a-potty with no shoes on. I suddenly felt very Britney Spearsish, but I had no choice. The only shoes I had were on my little towel in the transition area that was already closed off. A second pair of shoes is something I will definitely add to my list for next time.
Sarah was waiting in line with me, and was giving me some last minute pointers and trying to ease my mind a little about the swimming. While Sarah was trying to ease my mind, the lady behind me was scaring me to death. She was going on and on about how hard open water swimming is, and how lots of people freak out, and how it's completely different from swimming in a pool (which is all I've been doing). I left the port-a-potties thinking I was going to die, and with who knows what on the bottom of my feet!
I had about thirty minutes before my wave started, which I spent chatting with Jon, Waverly, Edwin, Cassie, Manny, and Sarah. Then they called my wave, and it hit me - I'm not ready for this! We all got in the water, and when the guy said "ok...10 seconds" I started to panic. The gun sounded and we were off. I hung back in the pack, but still managed to get kicked in the face almost immediately. I did exactly what the scary lady in the port-a-potty line said. I freaked out, inhaled some water, and couldn't get myself together enough to swim.
I was headed for the rescue boat when I heard a familiar voice yelling words of encouragement in my direction. I looked over at the bank, and Jon had run around the side of the lake and was cheering for me. That "you can do it!" saved my race. I decided I could do it. I would just take it buoy to buoy. I never could get my composure together enough to actually swim freestyle. I did a doggie-paddle/breaststroke hybrid and stopped at every buoy.
It took me a little over 13 minutes to swim 400 meters. Pathetic! It actually would have been longer except for the fact that the people in the boats kept yelling at me to get off the buoys. Apparently, that's not what they're for. They put the buoys there to mark the course not to cling to for dear life. I've never been happier to see astro turf! I dried my feet off, put my shoes, helmet, and sunglasses on, and headed out on my bike.
The bike leg went smoothly enough I guess. I got passed too much. I'm not sure how many times I heard "on your left", but it was too many for my liking. I definitely need to get faster on the bike. 36 minutes to cover 10 miles leaves lots of room for improvement.
There wasn't much to transition 2. I just switched out my helmet for my visor, racked my bike, and put on my race belt. Off for the run. I hadn't actually done any brick workouts, so this was the first time I had run directly after biking. Weird. My legs wouldn't work for about half a mile or so. I felt like I was going in slow motion, and I'm sure I was. Once the jello legs went away I kicked it up as much as I could, and for the first time during the race I was doing the passing. The run was 3 miles in 25:49, which is my typical pace. I felt like I was running slower than normal, but I guess not.
Finally the finish line. It took me 1:19:18 to get there, and I'm fine with that. I had no big expectations for this race. The goal was to finish, and learn a little about how this whole triathlon thing works. I learned I need to practice open water swimming, I need to hammer out more miles on my bike, and I need to bring shoes for the port-a-potties.
After the race I hung out with my fellow TIR teammates for a while before heading back. I picked up a few new nicknames like "buoy-hugger" and such. I guess I've been called worse. Congrats to Sarah for her awesome 3rd place finish, and to Cassie who completed the whole thing with one of the worst coughs I have ever heard. I have no idea how she did it. Jeremy Webb and his sister, Jennifer, were also there competing. Jeremy totally rocked the course, and came in under the one hour mark with a time of 59 minutes and some change, which put him in the ever so annoying 4th place slot. 4th place drives me crazy!
I had a rough start, but when it's all said and done, I had a great day. Thank goodness for all the familiar faces, especially Jon and Edwin. You guys are the best!