The Rookie Triathlon – Anatomy of a Race

Published May 6, 2014 by Tritrigirl

After 5 years I’m no rookie…it’s certainly not my first rodeo, but this is the start of the Texas Tri Series and so I’m in the veterans category.

I’m proud to share that on Sunday I did not drown, I did not wreck nor get run over, I did not pass out, I did not sprain anything, I did not puke, I did not finish last (not even in my age group) and I did not quit.

The morning dawned like any other.  I was fast asleep when my alarm went off at 5:15 am.  Transition opens at 6 and we’re relatively close.  I woke Scott up, and took Oreo out to go potty before bitching and grunting myself into my super spandex magic tri outfit.  Then I had to do the usual morning…um, er, evacuation.  Here’s the thing, I hate porta potties with a vengeance and race morning they are always packed with long lines of people doing just that….so I try to get it out of the way early.  So anyway.  I forgot to have Scott put my fast laces (laces on shoes that don’t require tying…just pull on and voila…shoes on feet and ready to go) prior so he did it the night before…and tightened them…without my wide ass feet, but I thought it would be okay.

All my water bottles were filled.  All my crap was packed.  We loaded up and went off.  But I forgot socks so we had to stop by my house for socks.  Good thing I’m close.

We got there relatively early…a little after 6 and traffic was a mess.  But it always moves quickly.  As it did.  And then Scott did the pre-transition check of my air pressure and wheel overview.  (This is something I can do too, but it’s nice to have him handle it all for me since messing with my race wheels is a little unnerving.)  Once it’s all ready I jaunt over to “body marking” (exactly what it sounds like) race number and age are written all over your arms and legs with a giant sharpie.  So people know who you are for 2/3’s of the race.  I head into transition and try to find somewhere to set up that I’ll remember.  Saw my friend Kelly and chatted while I set up.  Set up includes: Large towel, bike shoes in front, helmet open on shoes, GU packs, sunglasses inside.  Run shoes with rolled socks for easier access, race belt with number, and hat next.  Thick hand towel draped over tire and tri bag stashed by shoes.  All this in as small a space as possible to give others room.

Kelly took numerous selfies of us that eventually were never posted to FB.  Jaime shows up and unpacks next to me.  Hoping her bright orange mat will help me find my shit later.  We head to the water, decide there are too many stickers and we’ll leave our flip flops by the wetsuit removal area so we don’t have to run through them (they are BRUTAL – tons of goat heads – OWCH).  We attempt pre-race yoga but really just end up chatting.  Scott is hanging with his buddy Nate as it’s Nate’s first race.  Too soon it’s race time.  Swim caps on, goggles on, nausea in full effect and we’re in the water.  It’s chilly but not too chilly.  I’m sure I’ll warm up.  Count down.  Then gun and we’re off.  I don’t get half way to the first buoy before I can’t breathe.  It’s not a out of breath because we’re just getting started thing, it’s a can’t catch my breath no matter how often I breathe thing.  So I swim MOST of it breast stroke…AKA slow as hell.  I count off the waves after me before I get to the end and note that I’m third or second to last in my group to get out.  Scott’s waiting to cheer or goad or harass me as I get out.  I tell Nate’s the water’s not that bad.  I tell Scott I can’t breathe.  And walk up the hill, get my flip flops and try to jog.

Get into Transition (AKA T1) find my stuff because I have blue rims on my wheels.  Get my shoes on, helmet on, shit together, feeling discombobulated but we’re going.  On the bike, trying to catch my breath, Aero bottle (the one between my Aero bars – Bike pic here) is frozen.  Trying to drink, trying to breathe, trying to catch up.  Once we get to the big right hand turn I can breath again, but alas then we have the 90 degree right hand turn with an instant mother fuckin’ hill.  Short, steep and it sucks.  A lot of people walk this.  A lot of wrecks here.  I usually swing wide and downshift seriously (or is it upshift?) so I’m in the easiest gear and then curse my way up.  Can’t breath again after that, but we keep going.  I drank almost all my water in the bottle in the cage.  Aero bottle was frozen until almost the end.  I got to a point on the last steep hill where it my inner monologue was along the lines of  “Come on, bitch, you’re mine!  Get your ass up this bleep bleep bleep bleep hill.  No excuses.   You got this.  Get up there.  Make it your bitch.  Let’s go.  I’m a survivor, I’m gonna make it, I’m gon’ survive, keep on surviving…(yes, this happened).  Got to the top turned right.  Saw Scott.  Threatened to make him a snot rocket target.  Turned right.  Asked Jaime’s bf if he would finish my run if I hung out with his daughter.  Dismount line.

Get into Transition (AKA T2).  CAN.NOT.FIND.MY.SHIT.  I wasted at least a minute trying to find my crap.  Finally did.  Took forever to get my shoes on because remember how I told you Scott put the laces on?  THEY WERE TOO TIGHT.  But, I gotta get going.  Grabbed some Gatorade and I’m out to the run.  Run / jog-ish down the hill.  Run by this guy yelling at everyone that the pain and the cramps go away!  No excuses, get up the hill.  I wanted to punch him.  I walked up most of the hill.  It’s a long one, not too steep but my feet were cramping and I felt like I had an elephant sitting on my chest.  I continue walking / jogging and as I’m starting to question my life choices and my sanity I hit the mile 1 marker.  It’s a 2 mile run.  Thank the pink unicorn in the sky (or whomever you prefer).  I get to the only water stop.  Get some gatorade, get some water.  Try to talk myself into the rest of the run.  I walk / jog.  Almost cry at least twice because I think I suck then remind myself that I’m a helluva lot better than those who can’t or won’t do these stupid things.  Finally we’re about 1/4 mile left.  I can see the finish line.  I can see Scott.  He’s trying to cajole me, but I remind him. CAN’T.BREATHE.  I finally get to the end.  I get my new water bottle, get to a picnic table and get my god forsaken shoes off.  Jamie finds me.  I’m talking to Scott and Jamie and start coughing and wheezing and my awesome friend hands me her inhaler.  1 puff and I can breathe again.  Will be taking my inhaler next time around.  I don’t have asthma per se, but when my allergies are bad (as they currently are) I have issues breathing.  Lesson learned.

Took some time to recover before I headed to the beer tent.  Got me a beer and then a turkey hot dog.  Which was amazing.  Tasted like smoked turkey.  YUM.  Then some ice cream.  I was ready to go but Nate placed so we waited for the awards ceremony.  I got sunburned.  Took a 3 1/2 hour nap after.

In the end: Overall time- 1:43:21 (Last year 1:44:34) Swim – 13:13, Bike 51:56, Run 30:55.  300m swim, 11 mile ride, 2 mile run.  Knocked 5 minutes off bike time.  Added to minutes to swim and run time.  The next triathlon is the same course.  Am hoping (expecting) to see improvements.

More sore today than yesterday as to be expected.  Will be going on a short jog / walk later today.

I didn’t give up.  🙂  Another race completed.


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