This triathlon began with a 4 AM wake up alarm! We had to get there early to be completely set up and out of the transition area by 7:15 AM. My friend Kim picked me up bright and early, we stopped and grabbed Kathy who was doing her very first sprint tri that day. Before we knew it we were walking our bikes while lugging all of our gear the long half mile walk from the parking lot to transition. Did I mention it was pitch dark outside and the temps were extremely chilly in the mid 40's? Brrrrr!
Well, it may have been dark and cold but the place was buzzing with activity! There was music playing over the sound system and announcements were being made through out the set up time about how to set your bike and calling for certain numbers and giving you the warning for the start time of the morning pre-race meeting. Kim and I set up almost right across from each other in transition and we chatted while we got ready-race talk, jitters and who knows what else. I ran into Tiffany, my "TWIN," who was also doing the olympic distance! We weren't wearing the same outfit today, but it was great to see her and wish each other good luck. See the blog post from Sodus Point 2008 if you want to know more about her. :)
We got all our stuff set up, got body marked, reluctantly peeled off our warm clothes and put on our wetsuits which provided some shield from the cold air but man it was COLD! I kept my socks on until the bitter end, caring less how black they got from the pavement! Finally it was time to walk out to the lake. My feet were like ice cubes and it was painful to walk on the asphalt out to the lake, then we stood and waited for our wave start. We were in the fourth wave, the green swim cap wave! The sun was finally lighting up the day, but it was still incredibly cold. The cold created a lot of mental anxiety for me over the swim and the whole race in general! I learned from this that on Ironman Day, I will not let anxiety get a hold of me like that. Mind over matter! Positive thinking and pushing the negative energy and self doubt away! :)
The SWIM .9 miles
It actually felt so much WARMER to get in the 62 degree water then the to stand out in the cold air and dread the swim! My feet started to warm up once we stood in the lake. Finally my wave of women were off and swimming. Canandaigua Lake was slightly choppier than usual, but not too bad. This is the lake that I have done all of my open water training in this summer so it felt a bit like home. But for some reason for the first half of the swim I couldn't relax and kept having anxiety about the swim and couldn't stop thinking about the fact that my next triathlon would be a swim in the Gulf for Ironman Florida! It was like I was having nervousness for both the lake I was in at the moment AND for a race that was still 2 months away! Uggggh! Not a good choice. Like I said, I'm not going to let myself get like that on November 7, I'm starting now, can you tell?? Okay, back to the race at hand.... By the time I reached the halfway point in the swim, I felt great! The sun was shining and gorgeous, the water was calmer on the way back in then it was on the way out, and I was finally in a good rhythm for my stroke and concentrating on technique. I bumped into someone during the last little stretch and said "sorry!" and it was Tiffany! We said a couple motivating words to each other and swam to the finish. Then I was out of the water and running on the painful asphalt path to transition! Ouch! I kept running on the little edge of grass to avoid the pain. Kathy and Nicole, two of my running partners, were there cheering me on! (Later Kathy said I was running like a little ballerina, yep, it hurt!)
The BIKE 23.5 miles
Let me just go ahead and put it out there that I'm slow in transition, I can't help it, guess I just don't move fast! But I got out of the wetsuit, toweled off, bike shoes, helmut, gloves, sunglasses and ready to go. I passed a few people and one was Tiffany-we cheered each other on and kept climbing the hill! I felt GREAT! It was a gorgeous sunny day, beautiful countryside and everything that I love about biking was surrounding me and staring me in the face! It makes me so thankful that God has given me the chance to be out there and loving it! The first half of the ride is a series of pretty decent rolling hills and climbs but I've trained on the course so know where all the turns are and what to expect. There was one chica who I played cat and mouse with on the bike. I would say "Nice Job!" to her when she passed me or I passed her and she never responded. After the second time of no response I looked at her leg to see her age, she was in my age group, now it was ON!!!! I memorized her number and determined to beat her. The next two times we passed each other I said nothing! It was my mission to beat her! Well, when we got to the huge downhill near the end of the ride, I left her in the dust and never saw her on the bike again, Yes!!!!! But now I had to beat her on the run too....
The RUN 10 K
Back into transition and I couldn't find my spot! I needed a bright colored towel like Kim so wisely puts at her spot. (bright pink tweetie bird beach towel!) After a couple of minutes I found my place! Ditched the bike, helmut, gloves, glasses, changed my shoes and grabbed my Garmin and water bottle. I was off! To my amazement, just a week after the marathon, my legs felt fantastic! I've not experienced this in a triathlon before but nothing hurt and I felt like I had speed and energy, crazy! I let out a "WOO HOO" and took off down the path. Kathy and Nicole were there again cheering me on! It was still that amazing beautiful sunny day and the temp had warmed up nicely. The run was two loops, not my favorite, but still okay. Worse, I had to pee! Sorry for TMI but it was an issue! There were no places along the course to go and I seriously started eyeing the trees and bushes! But then I remembered my girl to beat on the bike and determined to make it to the end of 6.1 miles without a bathroom stop. I was off and checking everyone's numbers since it was a loop and we all passed each other. I saw Tiff about three times and we high fived and cheered each other on everytime. She rocks! The volunteers at the water stations were great and cheering all of us on. The first loop was tough mentally but by the time I was starting the second loop I felt like the end was in sight! I kept up with this girl in front of me who was running a bit quicker than me but she helped me keep going. I followed her for half of the first loop and all of the second loop, we even spoke to each other a couple of times, cheering each other on. I did see the "girl to beat", you know, the "bike girl," and she was behind me. I saw her twice during the run loop and determined to hold my pace so she wouldn't catch me. Surprisingly my Garmin beeped for all the mile splits and I was running 8's! The first mile was 8:04, second 8:01, third 7:56, fourth 8:11, fifth 8:13, and sixth 8:00. I couldn't believe my splits but it helped me keep pushing! I passed Kim near the end of the run and it was great to see her looking strong in the final event of the race! The finish line was in sight and I was so happy to get there!
The FINISH 2:46:35
It was a fabulous day and such a fun triathlon! I had a blast with my friends and being outside enjoying every minute of it! I actually got 6th in my age group and could have made 4th if my transitions were faster which just makes me laugh. The important thing is I beat "bike girl." Just kidding!!! I'm not being cocky, it was just a fun aspect and challenge in the race that helped me keep going. Here were my splits for the race: Swim-30:49, T1 4:19 ( I know!!!!), Bike 1:17:45, 18.4 avg., T2 2:47 (a little better, but not compared to everyone else!), Run 50:55. If you want to see some hilarious race photos of me, go to the Brightroom Photos website, search Fingerlakes Triathlon, and punch in my bib number 274. They're slightly embarrassing but funny enough to share. :)