Monday, July 3, 2006

Hindsight is 20/20

At long "anticipated" last, results for MinneMan are now posted -- My official time was 1:49:29.

The good news is that this is the best Sprint time that I've posted. The bad news is that I was 9 out of 9 in my age category. I thought that there was at least one woman that finished after me, but it turns out that she is only 38 (aka "Whippersnapper"). She had just racked her bike in the wrong transition spot with us geezers.

I try very, very hard not to compare myself with others out there. I'm slow and I know it. I really try to concentrate only on competing with myself, but that never seems to quite work. So now, I've got all these mixed emotions: I did great for ME but I was LAST in my age group.

(I'm also trying to work every angle I can: "Okay, if I had competed as an Athena, I would have been fourth from last". " Of all the women that started in my heat, there were 9 behind me". "Of ALL the women in the race that finished after me, all but one was younger than me". "I beat 10 guys!" What ever straw I can grab, I'm grabbing....)

Anyway, here is the recap:

Left Minneapolis at 5:25 am to get to Anoka. The weather was interesting. Blue skies to the east, big black clouds to the west along with the faint sound of thunder. By the time I hit 94 West, I was in driving in a downpour. The radio weather reporter said that there were very thin bands of showers moving through, so I kept moving up to Anoka and the start line. The weatherman was right. Within 10 minutes, I was driving on dry pavement.

When I got to the park, the skies were again mixed. I got to the transition area while they were announcing the water temperature -- just cold enough that wetsuits were legal. Yippee! I'm a lot more buoyant with it on and, yes, it does help with speed.

We were about 20 minutes to start time when the sky got very dark and we heard the first clap of thunder. The event was a USTA sanctioned event and their rules are that an event will be delayed for 30 minutes after thunder and/or lightening. We were now at Delay Number One.

I wandered the course; hit the portapotty (a number of times); wiggled in to my wetsuit; chatted with some other women (including the Whippersnapper mentioned above). More thunder. Delay Number Two. Wandered some more. Saw Dave, my swim coach, who was supervising the swim portion of the race. He looked a bit panicked because there were now rumors that the swim portion could be cancelled due to the weather, making the event a duathalon. Finally, the rain came. It poured for about 5 minutes and that was it. Skies opened up, sun came out, humidity ratcheted up and we got ready for the start.

I was in the 5th wave. The combined all the age group women of "35 plus", so my field started with 57 women. The water was clear, the ground was pretty sandy and it really didn't get too deep too fast, which helped calm my swim anxiety. The 0.3 swim was a triangle course -- out to a buoy, turn around the buoy and then back.

Once I got my head in the water, it took me a couple strokes to get my rhythm down, but soon I was in the groove and actually doing OKAY! I stayed with the pack until the turn around. I was really surprised by that and feeling pretty good.

Turned around the buoy and started back when I got off course. I thought I was doing fine but when I lifted my head, I was in the middle of the triangle. Then the panic started. I thought that I would take a little "catch my breath" break and looked for the support person around me. It was DAVE. There was no way I was going to paddle over to him and hang out there. So, I got back on course and found the next person -- a very nice girl. I hung with her for a minute and then started off again. Got off course again. This time I just swore (several times) and continued to paddle forward.

Finally, got back to where I could touch and got back on dry land. Swim time was 13:58. Sounds slow, but it was my best swim time ever for a triathlon. I was 7 out of 9 for my group.

Transitioned quickly and was off on the bike. The route was pretty much a big rectangle. We were in traffic for most of the race, although there were police at intersections and volunteers aplenty. Well, except for that first turn, where two policemen were manning the corner but not telling us to turn left. I went straight for about 100 feet and then figured it out.

Course was pretty flat, but did have some long gradual hills and a couple of biggies. Dropped my water bottle once and debated picking it up. It was one from a previous tri and has sentimental value, so I turned around and picked it up. Good thing, because apparently, for sanctioned events, there is a two-minute penalty for littering and dropping your water bottle counts as littering!

Finished the bike (13 miles) in 52.38, and 7 out of 9 in my group again. Again, a pretty quick transition -- popped a Cliff Block Shot, got my hat on and then off for the run.

Problems started from the get-go. Had to use the bathroom; found a portapotty. I was wearing my new trisuit, which I love, but is a one piece, so had to wiggle out of that (as opposed to just dropping my drawers...). Quads were squawking, so walked to loosen them up. Then there was the sun. Hot, high and roasting. Very little shade on the course. I did not run well at all. I also think I ran out of gas, having planned my nutrition for a 7:30 start, not an 8:45 start.

I just kept moving forward and was feeling better after about mile 2. One mile to go, back through a shaded parkway (thank heavens!) and then the finish line.

Crappy run time of 37.04 and 9 out of 9 in my group. Whaddya do?

Well, since hindsight IS 20/20, what I do is get my mental stuff together for LifeTime and train the best I can this week. It's a much longer course; we probably won't be able to wear wetsuits; it will probably be hot.

All in all, I am pretty proud of my results and the day.

Think I'll go for a bike ride now.....


Wanna-be 5k-er said...

I think you are awesome:) I think you are grabbing at some pretty important straws--folks finished behind you, GUYS finished behind you. You also dealt with some tough obstacles (a one-piece wetsuit and a portapotty? Not a fun combo!), but you finished!!!!

I understand you comparing yourself to others, but you have much to be proud of:)

Michelle said...

Oh man, you did just great! You should be SO proud of yourself! You already know not to compare yourself with others, but I'm sure it is hard. Clearly you have a competitive spirit -- most of us do, right? Or we would just do this stuff in training for fun and never get into an actual RACE! But you really need to be proud and celebrate your success! I tell you, I'll be thrilled if just ONE person finishes behind me! But you had GUYS finish behind you! Yow!

Great report! Your accomplishments are so inspiring! =)

Michelle said...

By the way, do you now feel like TI was helpful in the tri? Sounds like you had a pretty good swim -- were you more comfortable than on previous swims?

Marcia said...

Great job on the tri, Amy! I love your blog about the details. You should be super proud of your swimming accomplishments.

Keep up the great work!

Dori said...

Well, SOMEBODY's got to come in last! Oh, I know all about those mixed emotions. Proud of my accomplishment but compared to other women my age, I come in last or near it. At Grandma's 17 people finished after me (I grasp any straw I can, too), but I still was the second to last in my age group.

What really matters is that you did it! And that makes you a winner. :-)

Dori said...

I just noticed--you need a photo on your blog! I bet your husband has a nice one of you.