Sunday, March 26, 2006

SLOG, BIKE RUN?

Tim and I just got back from the triathlon. I'm a bit tired, no surprise, so this might ramble a bit and have a few typos, but I wanted to share my experience with you.

Some of you know that this is not my first tri. In fact, it's my 4th! You might be impressed by that, but I feel like I just finished my first triathlon. I'm tired and I don't think I did as well as I wanted. But I have to remember that I did push myself a bit harder this time than I normally do (I felt a bit nauseaous at the end of it all) so I guess I did the best I could.

One nice thing about this particular race is the start time, 9am. That's nice and late. The sun was even up when we woke up at 6.30, and we had plenty of time to dress and eat brekkie. We even gave Janola her meds. We arrived at 8, as planned, and good thing, too. I'm not sure about the men's transition area, but the women's was crowded! Someone actually moved somebody else's stuff so I could fit my bike on the rack. I mean, I had to be right there as I'm between 35-39.

Anyway, that was no big whoop. Tim and I gathered around for the pre-race talk and learned that there was a change in the swim route. Yesterday's talk (when we picked up our packets) informed us that the course would be rectangular: go out, turn left, swim straight, turn left again, and head on in. Due to the swell and strong ass current, the course was a triangle: swim out, go round the buoy, swim in. OK-we got it.

Now, picture this- 1000 people in wetsuits (except for the few macho guys in speedos) and colored swimcaps (OT-I used to think swimcaps were yucky; my grandma wore one in the pool! now, I'm proud of my small but growing collection of race caps). We're anxiously awaiting the start of the race. Most of us jump into the ocean for a pre-swim warm-up and not only is it frikken' cold (we knew that), but the current was killer. You were pulled south, even in hip-deep water! And the surf! Even the swim-buoy was rockin' and rollin' in the swell and, eventually, the surf. One of the race directors was giving out last minute instructions, telling us to head north on the beach a bit before getting in the water; they even moved the starting line up the beach for the first wave which was composed of the elite men. These young men all were good, strong swimmers. Countdown, airhorn, and they're off! They enter the water and WHOOSH there they go! South! and reeeaaaallll fast! I mean, these are hot young studs who could swim in their sleep. Only 3 actually made it out to the buoy after what seemed like forever (to us on the beach) of fighting the current and swell. 1 young boy had to be "resuced" by a lifeguard and escorted back. We were very sad for him. All the others looked like they were swimming on a treadmill; you could see them swimming, but they didn't get anywhere!. I don't know what they did or how they did it, but eventually (again, it seemed like a long time) they must've swum out far enough, turned around, and swum back.

While witnessing this display of the ocean's raw power against puny man, the race directors decided to change the course (obviously; I mean, sheesh, tri's are supposed to be challenging, but not impossible). Now, we were going to swim past the first bad surf and lifeguard #1, turn around, and swim in the trough between the shallow surf and the deep surf in about 6ft of water to the next lifeguard, turn toward the shore, and head out. OK-cool. The next wave was the elite women, again composed of hot young studettes who do this for fun. Countdown (again), airhorn (again) and BAM! there they all go running up the beach for a few yards before heading into the water--very smart move, I thought. Sadly, they didn't do much better than the guys, being tossed by the surf and strong current, and having to dodge the lifeguard jetski. One young athelete was also rescued and escorted out.

More discussion by the racing folks. In the mean time, I'm freezing 'cuz I was playing in the water earlier, remember? and the wind was picking up. Also, I had to pee. That was my plan for staying warm in the ocean, but my original wave start (and everyone else's, for that matter) had come and gone. Get this, our back-up back-up plan-- we're to run out to the lifeguard, turn left, run 400yds south in knee-deep water, then turn left again at the last lifeguard, and head in. I mean, I didn't train to run 400yds in the water in my wetsuit, but there you have it and yes, that is what we all ended up doing, wave group after wave group. It was funny to watch. We'd all run into the water, high-step run for a bit, then the "screw this, this sucks" hit everyone at about 200yds and we all walked the next 100yds, picking up the pace for the last 50-100yds 'cuz, after all, it was still a race.

bleh. Then the running through dry sand. Not my favorite part. I really need to train for that more. Also, the bike. I mean, I did it and pushed myself and all that, but I wasn't in bike shape. The run was much better, but from using so much energy during the bike I opted to walk through the water stations.... and after the final turn around. But I ran my heart out (or ass off, as the case may be) the last bit to finish strong. Jessica finished just ahead of me and Tim had been done for a while.

Now that it's all over, I'm glad I did it. I'm always glad I did it and look forward to my next one!

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