Sunday, July 16, 2006

Number One (out of One)

Well, I finished the triathlon -- swim and all.

However, the event had some kinks and I has a "less than stellar" performance in the swim.

The day was very hot and humid. By the start of the race at 8:00 am, the air temp was already in the 80's -- the water temp was 82 degrees. The race officials had been keeping an eye on the forecast for the day and at about 7:40 am, they announced that the Olympic distance for age-groupers and relay teams would be cut back a bit. Professionals and Elites had to do the full distance for each section. Others, including the Athena's, had to do the full swim (0.9 miles); but our bike got cut back by about 3.5 miles and the run by a full 5K (3.1). This means my totals were 0.9 swim; 21.35 for the bike and 3.1 for the run.

Official race results have not been posted, but my total time was 3:17 and some odd seconds. Last for all the Athena's (17th), with two either no shows or DNF (Did Not Finish) behind me.

However, I was the 1st Athena in my age group. (What that really means is that every one else in my wave was younger than me. Much younger.) Still and all, I should be able to have some fun telling people that I was first in my age group BEFORE I tell them the truth. Might as well bask in the glory for at least a second or two.

While I was waiting in queue for my heat to start, I chatted with some of the other women in my group. Most of them had done the event the year before. We shared some tips and had some giggles. There was a woman that had a megaphone across from us and I kept thinking that I knew that voice. I DID. It was Dori. It was so good to see her! I had not seen her since before her Grandma's event. She gave me a shot of encouragement and a hug and we were off!

The swim was tough for me. The route was a triangle and I got to the first buoy pretty easily. Fortunately, there were a number of support people out there. I took a break at the first buoy and then started on the very long stretch to the next turn around point. That is where I started to have some troubles.

As predicted, the heats that started the race after mine started to catch up with me, and soon other swimmers were bumping in to me, swimming over me and otherwise annoying me. There was a strong breeze which churned up some wave action that I had to swim against. Many times I'd do six strokes, pull my head up and found my self in basically the same place I had started. I got frustrated and a little nervous. The water was very deep (about 30 feet), which I hate. The support people along this stretch were positioned further apart. I'd poke my head up to site and, after a number of very bad words spoken aloud, I basically made up my mind to just simply swim from one support person to the next support person. I used the crawl; side stroke, back stroke, breast stroke and my good old friend, the dog paddle.

To borrow the slogan from my home state, the great state of Wisconsin, I just keep trying to move Ever Forward.

Finally, finally, finally I got to the second buoy and turned toward the beach to get back to shore. It still took me painfully long time to reach a spot in the lake where I could touch the bottom. Hallelujah and hooray, I got out of the lake and moved to T1. (Swim time was about a pitiful 1:00:00)

On my way back in to the Transition Area, I saw my loving Hubby and my SIL (sister-in-law), who came to cheer me on. Other friends were positioned along the chute: Angel and Carla (my IronWoman friends); Kathy T and Bea, my running friends. It was GREAT to see them there.

T1 went pretty well -- and I was off on the bike route. I'd ridden the course many times during my training, so I knew what to expect. I refueled by drinking my Endurance Formula Gatorade and just tried to keep positive and in the moment. (Meaning, trying to beat myself up too badly about my swim). I felt that I rode pretty well -- but again, not exactly sure of my time. By the time I got back in to T2, it was 2:39:00 on my watch.

My thigh was acting up (from what ever strange thing happened to it on Friday night) so it talked loudly to me as I was starting the run, however, miracle of miracles, I felt okay during the run. I did walk a bit -- it was now in the 90's, with high humidity and sun that wouldn't quit.

Some very kind spectators were out on the run course with bags of ice and extra water. The Minneapolis Fire Department had a truck out hooked up to a huge mister/sprinkler. Most runners took their sweet time while running through that spot.

I turned the final corner to the chute and came through at 3:17 something. There were volunteers at the chute that gave us towels that had been soaked in ice cold water. Boy, did THAT feel great!

I saw Dori at the finish, but Hubby and SIL were no where to be found. I borrowed Dori's cell phone and called him. They were still waiting for me to come in from the bike portion! He thought my time was excellent for the event. I'm just happy that I finished in one piece.

Marcia and Natalie also participated in the Sprint event -- although I did not see them there. The event was HUGE -- probably 2,000 participants. However, I did hear that they both finished and were pleased with their results.

I'll post official times when I get them... until then....

I'll bask in the glory of being #1 in my Age-Group (1 out of 1, that is).


Michelle said...

Congratulations! That sounds like a pretty tough race, you get mucho kudos for getting your cookies out there in the heat! Am I understaning that they shortened the course specifically due to that heat? I didn't know they would do that just for temp!

You definitely deserve to bask in glory, hopefully your DH is being suitably worshipful!

Marcia said...

Awesome job, Amy! The elements were brutal out there. And you performed spectacularly! I'm so proud of you!

You can do anything!!!