Sunday, August 9, 2015

I am an Olympic (Distance) Triathlete! My recap of the 2015 Seafair triathlon.

There's something to be said for making goals. This was me in January of 2014:

However, I gave myself a small caveat that I might wait until 2015 in order to pair it with my big birthday.

After spending more time in the pool and on the bike than ever before, I finally got the nerve to sign up for the Seafair Triathlon. It includes a 1 mile swim, 20 mile bike, and 6.2 mile run. But enough of the boring details, let's jump right into race day, shall we?

The transition area was filled with mostly super-fit and experienced triathletes, me, and one guy who was not up to speed on all the finer details of the course.

It took an hour between getting into transition and getting into the water.  I wandered in with my wave and just as we were being counted down I looked around and discovered I was right up near the front.

How did that happen?? What a terrible place to be!

Before I had a chance to do anything about it, we were off! There was a flurry of arms, torsos, and legs as all the skilled swimmers ran me over, but then I had my own space in the water.

It took me get into my swimming rhythm. Ok it took half a mile; the entire first loop. Part of it was just getting my swim groove, part of it was navigating the course (more on that in a minute) and part of it was the one girl who kept swimming into me.

There's always one.

At the time I was super annoyed because I kept moving out of her way and then she would just swim right back into me over and over again! But I think the issue was that she swam to the left and I swam right. Eventually I managed to move away from her for good, and decided to just enjoy the swim.

There was only one teeny tiny little problem with that.

I really need to work on my sighting.

I'm pretty sure this is an accurate portrayal of my swim; the course is in red, the yellow arrows are me.

Needless to say, I was incredibly happy to make it out of the water and  head over to transition. I spent a leisurely 7 minutes and 5 seconds removing my wetsuit, drying my feet, getting my bike shoes on, and re-applying sunscreen.

That's, like, an hour in triathlon time. But it was awfully nice to have space to myself since everyone else at my rack was already on the bike.

I started my ride, and a few minutes in I noticed my friend Diana standing on the side of the road. By the time it registered, I was already passing her.  I shouted hello and then realized she had brought two more friends, Jess and Amanda with her!

They jumped up and shouted encouragement at my back.

The Olympic race shared the first/last part of the course with the sprint tri, but when they turned around we went straight. And it got very lonely.

**For those of you who are not familiar with the term WYCWYC, it means "what you can, when you can." You can check it out at!

*And for those of you unfamiliar with the term DFL, allow me to enlighten you personally:

Anyway, soon after that I hit my turnaround and began to see not just one, but several struggling cyclists still heading toward the turn.

Just kidding, I'll always be a wycwycer.

I continued on, rejoined some sprinters again for a while, then was on my own again as I headed down the hill to the next turnaround. There were no race marshals or even cones to denote the course, but there was an empty police car that marked the turn.

Close to the end I started anticipating my friends and waved madly as I got closer. This time they were ready for me!

I pushed to the end and coasted to a stop at the dismount.  And then proceeded to fall over while TriGuy was taking my picture.

With my bruised ego in hand, I went through T2 in 3:45. By then the sun was hot.

I grabbed a cup of water on my way out and started to run.  There were about a dozen or so people around and at Mile 2 there was a hill that just kept going. I chatted with a lady as we walked up it together. She was doing the sprint and would not have to do the hill again. Lucky.

There was a water station at the top. It was the only water station on the run. I grabbed a couple of cups and continued down the hill.

I ran past TriGuy and started my second loop.

It was getting really warm at this point.

There were now far fewer runners/walkers. I think I saw five. I did, however, see lots of people out for a walk. I had a conversation with one of them as I was deep in my delirium.

I wasn't positive, but I took his word for it.

I walked up the hill for the second time and the volunteers were already packing up the water table. But I made sure I got what I needed.

I think I drank 2 cups and the rest went on my head and down my shirt.

I headed down the hill and saw a girl going off on a side path because, once again, there were no course markers.

She didn't hear me but I assume she eventually found her way.

Finally, I saw the finish line!

Can I just say how lucky I am to have friends and a husband who will wake up early on the weekend just to shout at me for a few seconds?? You can't beat the adrenaline rush of hearing them cheer you on and seeing their awesome signs!

I crossed the line, got some water, got sent back for my medal, and wandered out of the chute.

Actually, there was no chute by the time I got there. There was just a table stacked with bagels and a handful of bananas.

Our results were posted quickly:

I was truly at the back of the pack. BUT, my swim was 17:34 faster than I thought it would be, and my overall finish was 9:00 faster than I thought. So I am happy with my first Olympic triathlon!

And I got a shiny new medal!

Woot woot!


Friday, July 17, 2015

Triathlon Taper Madness: it's just as fun as marathon taper madness!

In less than 48 hours I will be competing at Seafair in my first Olympic distance triathlon!

I honestly just want that finisher's medal.

It seems that work always becomes exceedingly stressful in the few weeks leading up to a big race day and this time around has been no different. I've spent the past seven days walking around like a zombie even though I'm in taper mode and exercising less.

During a pep talk with Erika tonight she walked me through all the little details, and asked if the race is wetsuit legal.

Not wearing a wetsuit is not an option.

My first and last race without a wetsuit got me a trip to the ER with hypothermia, which happened to be in the same lake as this race (and half the swim distance.)  Also, what if I get tired? The wetsuit lets me rest without the pesky risk of drowning.

Luckily I checked, and it looks like the lake will be cold enough to allow me to stuff myself into my wonderful neoprene sausage casing.

That isn't my only concern about the swim though. I have one little question about the course:

It looks like we have to cross THROUGH the line of swimmers twice! I really can't see how that will work out any other way than a flurry of arms and legs to my solar plexus, face parts and noggin.

Of course, that just might possibly mean I will be kicking and punching others as well.

Rules are rules. 

Or something.

Anyway, packet pickup is tomorrow and then my race starts at 6:57 a.m. on Sunday morning.

I just hope I don't lose my mind before then.

Tapering tends to do that to me.


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