I decided that I couldn't just skip something I had signed up for. For me, that would signify that I'm a quitter. A quitter in many senses of the word. It would have not only been me skipping the race, but me throwing up my hands and saying, "I give up, this period of weight re-gain wins."
So I had to fight.
Surprisingly, I wasn't too nervous on race morning. I just approached it as leisurely as I could. I was just participating and hoping to finish, not "racing" anyone or myself. So it took the pressure off.
My typical race morning routine was off. I had spent the 2 weeks leading up to the race house/dog sitting so I had been out of my element for approximately 11 days. The night before the race was the first night I had spent in my own bed in over a week. My race tradition is I have a whole grain bagel from Brueggers with peanut butter and a banana, but I forgot to get a bagel from Brueggers on Friday. So I stopped at a gas station and got a Peanut Crunch Clif Bar on the way out to the park. I ate that on the way and ended up having my banana around 7:30 once I got settled in transition.
One thing that made me nervous race morning was that it had been raining the day before and morning of, which meant wet and possibly slick roads. I overheard some guys at the swim line-up mention that the first stretch out on the bike was downhill that goes into a sharpe right turn. Took mental note of that one.
Another thing that caused a bit of anxiety was the pool swim. Silly I know. Usually people get nervous about open water swims. Chalk it up to the fact I've been swimming and water skiing in murky water since I was 6 months old, but OWS don't phase me. When contemplating how I was going to tackle the swim, I wasn't sure how it would go - darting under ropes and with so many people in the pool at once. I didn't practice going under the ropes, but I should have.
|Source: Team Magic Multisport|
If you click to enlarge the above photo of the swim start, you can see me waiting in the blue swimcap (in the yellow circle).
I was in the middle of the pack on starting time, so my number was 625. I waited a good while and was able to see how the "pros" were tackling it. Touch wall, push off wall underwater, go diagonally into the next lane. Simple?
I should have been further up in the swim time. I passed people, and had trouble passing people I could have passed because of congestion. It was much worse on congestion than the OWS last summer at Wet Dog. I think I estimated my swim time around 6 minutes, and I finished in 4:55.
I walked the whole way to T1. I worked hard on the swim and I knew the bike would be rough so I wanted to save energy. I'm sure I looked silly and it certainly didn't help my T1 time (5:05), but once I got to my bike, I was quick. Baby powder in the socks helped this time!
Bike started out ok. My legs are always cold when I start on the bike in a race. I need to warm them up better - which I intended to do this time - but I didn't have time before they closed transition. The bike course was a two-loop 4.3 mile course. Easy enough right? It had been described as FLAT, which I was silly to even believe because, hello this is Tennessee. It was not flat. A lot of it was flat. But those 3-4 rolling hills (mostly at the end of the loop, back-to-back) killed me. If I was trained better I'm sure it wouldn't have been a big deal. But I wasn't trained so alas a lot of people passed me (some twice, I'm sure). But I didn't have to walk my bike and I finished without any incident. It took me 52:26 though.
I started the run out easy and my legs quickly acclimated and I was able to keep a pretty steady 3/1 run/walk pace. The run course is mentally tricky because you have to go left out of the transition area, go about 0.2 miles and then loop back past the transition area. The run course overall is pretty flat except for one hill at the end right before you run into finish.
My run time was 29:20, which I can't be mad about because the weekend before I ran 2 miles on their own and my time was right around 28. So not bad for swimming 200 yards ad biking 9.6 miles before running 2 miles.
I finished. I was glad I was done and also that I did it. I didn't use any nutrition on the course besides water and a little powerade. So I ate my honey stingers right after finishing in the transition area and packed my stuff up to go home.
Overall time: 1:32:55
Thoughts: I'm just glad I did it and I was able to finish. I would have had a lot of guilt and self-hate if I had decided not to do the race. So it was just good for me mentally to get out there and do it. My original plan for this season was to do an Olympic distance in September, but it's clear that isn't going to happen. My travel schedule at work ruined any focus I would be able to have on training for one. And two, personal travel has ruined my focus on saving for a road bike and I really don't think I can ride 25 miles on my current bike. It's too heavy - about 50 lbs! It certainly isn't a goal I've given up on, it just won't happen this season. I do hope to do one more sprint triathlon in August or September before the season is over. I'm continuing to run (joining a local C25K program) and swim. Biking has been neglected, but the summer is still young!
Have you ever done a race you weren't properly trained for? If so, how did it go? Did you surprise yourself?