Well race day driving downtown I was nervous. I luckily found a free place to park so things were off to a good start.
Like usual I overpacked and had way too much stuff to carry so I was real happy after my long walk to finally get to the transition area. Fortunately there was plenty of room on the first rack so I set up my little area amongst many familiar faces. I set my extra bags alongside the fence so they would be out of the way and I was ready to go with plenty of time to spare...this would turn out to be a good thing given the port-o-potty lines.
Prior to the race I had a chance to hang out with some fellow Cleveland Tri Club members and check out the super sprint and sprint races going on. I suited up into my wetsuit and really did not have the chance to get too nervous with all the friendly banter between the ladies in the wave. With the start I was off. As usual I felt good for the first 4 minutes and then I started to slow down and tire some. I had been a little nervous about getting beat around in the water but all swimmers seemed courteous. The floating balls we had to swim around seemed like forever between them.
Last week I had practiced swimming the distance twice while on vacation in Alabama. When I got tired then, I just flipped over and did the backstroke. While I feel a little silly doing it in a tri, I went ahead and did it anyway because I knew it would get me through it. I figure I swam about half the course on my back flipping back and forth trying to not get off course. It was not pretty, but I still saw white caps behind me so at least I was not last. I was so happy to be pulled from the water at the end of the swim course and happy to see our Clev Tri Club president, Andrew with encouraging cheers as on the dock. Total swim time 39:00 min 198/267 competitors...ouch, yes there was much catching up to do!
All down hill from here as the swim is the only part I really stress about!
Into transition one as I try to catch my breath from that exhausting swim. All goes pretty smoothly yet it still took 2:00, so could improve on that. In my defense that was my first time trying to do a quick transition in getting off my wetsuit.
Out to the bike course...as usual it took a few minutes to calm down from my swim and then I started to get into a decent rhythm. The course was not the most interesting. It was essentially an 8 mile loop three times and it felt like there were no flat sections of the bike. You were either climbing or descending, yet none were real steep, which was fine with me. The nice part was the constant crossing paths of you and the other racers. It was good to see all my pals out on the course.
The bad thing was, I was able to tell how far behind I was right away. I guess even though I know I am a weak swimmer, I did not realize just how far behind I was. Luckily, my biking is OK so I was able to make up some ground and pass quite a few people before T2. I could have went faster but I did want to make sure I saved my legs for the run. Another thing I need to practice is drinking on the bike. I kept trying to drink my Gatorade Endurance yet everytime I did I swear I lost so much time and really slowed. I ended up getting 3/4 of the bottle down. I see other racers with the liquid in front by the aerobars and was wondering if that type of setup may be better for me. Thoughts?? Anyway total time was 1:24:15 (164 out of 267 overall).
T2, uneventful, back out in 54 seconds.
Many racers felt that the road surface was brutal and wished for trail shoes. We were running two boring loops on a road that had been scraped in preparation for repaving...I guess it did not bother me as much as most. As usual had heavy legs at the beginning but pushed on. I managed to pass of few, get passed by a few. I was actually disappointed with my run time, yet two things were really bothering me besides the general fatigue at this point. A) I could feel my insides twisting and I was nervous if I pushed to hard that I would be in dire need of a bathroom before the end of the course. B) I was really missing my Ipod. My music really pushes me through races & runs and I just plain know I run faster with my tunes.
I walked through a couple water stops to take in some fluid since I was pretty thirsty. I tried to pick it up a bit at the end and was annoyed I had not started my kick sooner as there was a girl in my age group that finished 6 seconds in front of me and I just ran out of ground to catch her. But with that extra exertion towards the end I knew my fear of possibly needing a bathroom was not in my head, b/c as I crossed the finish line I was in hot pursuit of the closeet bathroom. Hello, when will I learn pizza the night before races is an absolute no no for me???? Enough on that.....anyways..........Total 10K 55:28 (143 out of 267 overall).
After the race, chilled with the other Cleveland Tri members at the tent and watched many of the gang win many awards. It was such a wonderful wrap-up to the gorgeous morning! I ended up 5/13 in my division and 18 out of 58 gender and 150 out of 267 overall which was OK....plenty of room for improvement!!! So no hardware for me but I got my first Olympic tri under my belt!