The Tri: Post Tank Top

Well, Sunday was my official one year anniversary of the first time I crossed the finish line of a triathlon! As in, I went back to my very first race! Woohoo!!
(I got another hair cut, can you tell?)

I was curious to see how I'd do. To see if I'd improved. And what it would be like. I was nervous! What if I don't do any differently!
(That's my husband.)

Anyway, I finished 9 minutes and 15 seconds faster that last year! I know I should be super-proud but of course, I'm a pain in my own butt and I wish it were more than that! But still, HOORAY! I beat last year's time of 1:49:30 with 1:40:14. Race report time!

The Swim 1/3 mile

Well, the same song, different race. I went into the swim brimming with confidence and I was actually slower in this year's swim by 1:30! I mean, really??? I'm still surprised about it to be honest! Because I swam the whole time! And felt more confident! I swam alongside of a fellow Tri-Warrior (which is my group) for a while and only came out about 20 seconds after her and she's awesome! So....WHAT???  I don't really get it. But I did discover that there are a lot of people who really have no idea how to swim in a straight line. Which among other things, was some of what slowed me down.
  • The thrashing about was insane! Grabbing, hitting, kicking, it was crazy! Note to self: start at the outer edge of the pack, like last time! Much, much better.
  • There was one girl in particular who zig-zagged in front of me. She would swim really hard toward the beach, I would think she was gone and unfortunately she would realize she was swimming toward the beach instead of along the beach like the rest of us and turn and swim really really hard out to sea, crossing in front of me. Just when I would think she was gone again, there she was again! Zigzagging again right in my face! I kept having to stop because I couldn't get away from her!
  • Stopping. I got out of breath in the initial thrashing because it is quite unnerving to be swimming in such a packed group of women, so I turned on my back and did the backstroke and caught my breath then turned around and kept going. That was the only time I had to do that, but a few times I did have to stop when someone like the zig-zagger kept crossing in front of me. But you know what? For next time, I don't care, I'm going to plow ahead. The end.

The bike: 13 Miles

By far my best event. We had three really tall bridges to contend with, one almost right away. They're really pretty freakin rough. I tried my best on the bridges but my legs were literally on fire. Once I got to the top I'd just go as fast as I could on the straightaways and the downhills. After the last bridge, I was flying. I looked down and my computer said 31 miles an hour. I've never seen 31 miles per hour on my computer! Ever! Squeeeee!!! But I kept between 18-20 mph on the straightaways and finished in 44 minutes, just 4 minutes slower than my husband. (snicker.)

The Run: 5k

Hurt. The run always hurts, but this in particular hurt because the first mile is in loose sand along the beach. There were also no milemarkers which I was banking on to help me pace (dammit.) It took me what felt like a mile and a half to get my race legs back, so I just did the best I could, getting one water to pour over my head and the other to sip and just moving forward. I kept cool with my "Shut Up and Run" Bondi Band (we're giving a Bondi Band away over at the Sisterhood, by the way!) and I finished it in 32:01. Last year's was 36 minutes. So I'm ok with that. (Also I finished a minute faster than my husband. Snicker.) I felt surprisingly good most of the way. Of course, there is the occasional, fleeting painfilled moment where I think to myself, "Why the hell am I doing this again???" but otherwise, the whole thing went great overall. If I didn't want to improve myself, I would worry.

I had sought out to achieve two goals yesterday: to beat last year's time and to not come in last in my age group. Because my age group is a serious group of badass women. You notice these things when you are standing in the transition area at 5 a.m. and looking at all the bikes of the women in your age group on the rack around you and you see some pretty serious bikes and some women with some serious muscles. It can make a girl nervous. But it's a grounding experience too because you remember to yourself that yes, it's a race, but you're really racing against where you yourself have been. Not them. And I had to remind myself that a few times.

Alas, I did not come in last.And I want to enter my little disclaimer here: I believe there is honor in any finish, even in finishing last. The only reason I did not want to finish last is because the women in my age group are so freakin fast, I wanted to be among them somewhere in the middle. My secret goal was about 1:36, because to give you an idea of the average times: the really fast ones were at the 1:13-1:20 range, the middle ones were in the 1:30-1:35 range and the backpackers were from 1:40-2:00. I didn't come in last, but I was still toward the back of the pack coming in 22nd out of 32 women but still, that works for me.

What bothers me about that though is that there was a group of us that all crossed the finish about a minute or two apart, which means if I had just pushed myself a little harder on the run or somewhere along the way, I could have climbed in the group a little further, but again, I won against "Last Year Me." Also my husband finished just a minute and a half ahead of me. And because I'm married to the man who is good at everything and wins at everything he tries, (and that's really hard for a wife as competitive as me!) I'm pretty happy with that! That means I could actually beat him at something if I tried!!!

Anyway, other lessons learned (and because none of us seem to have any shame about talking about bathroom matters:)
  • A headlamp would be very useful at 5 a.m. in the pitch-black bathroom with no lights. Or a flashlight.
  • An I-Pod surprisingly provides just enough light to make sure you're not leaving the bathroom with any unsightly-ness on you.
  • Wearing a tank top over your one-piece tri-suit prevents you from having to be sitting there naked in the pitch-black bathroom, which is always good. I'm just saying.

MortonPlant2010 me+beer
Morton Plant 2010                          Morton Plant 2009

Well, 2010 Me, good job. You have indeed improved. And you lost a couple pounds, too, which is always a bonus. Next up, another sprint July 31! Gotta get back to it. My goals? Swim better, bike longer and run harder! That's all.
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