so this sunday, i completed the lake raystown triathlon in pa. the week before, i found out that there were only about 150 people racing, including a sprint and olympic distance. i was registered for the half distance (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run = 70.3 miles) which had a total of 50 racers, 16 women. i was more than kind of nervous about being in such a small race. i wanted to throw up.
we arrived in pa on thursday and it rained and stormed off and on each day, so i was obsessively checking the weather reports. when i woke up that morning, it was so-dark-thirty, that i couldn’t really tell what the weather was like. i thought i spotted a star, so it must not be too bad, right? accuweather was calling for rain around 4 that day, so i felt better about not having to go all day in the rain.
we had about a 45 minute drive to the start, and it rained all the way. not looking too good.
we got to the start, and it was dry, so i set up my transition area. of course, it started to rain a little before swim. other people were definitely more prepared for the rain than me, with plastic bags and tarps, but i pride myself on minimalism, so i wasn’t too worried. it never ceases to amaze me how much crap people think they need for a race, or how much space they take up for all of the crap. transition areas are tight and cramped. watch a youtube video to learn how to place your crap so it’s not all over the place, people.
swim –i was worried about the water temp. i thought the temp was going to be in the high 50s, but it was very similar to san diego water temp (62-63 degrees), so i felt comfortable. the swim start was really weird. the half distance started first, and we were all sort of wading into the water, adjusting. someone asked “are we starting here, or at the first buoy?” the response was “right here, in three, two, one, go!” and that was the start. i settled into a rhythm easily, and felt strong and steady, but knew I wasn’t in the lead or anything. and freshwater swimming vs. salt water, is such a change, a good one, i think. not salty, but murky. i felt good, but it was hard to tell where i was as far as any other swimmer’s pace. i need to get better at breathing, sighting, and pacing, you know, kind of everything…(swim time: 43:49.93, 18th out of the water)
#highlights: 1. an even rhythm. 2. not being last.
quick transition –motivated by another athlete, sitting down in transition–“i can beat her” ran through my head, and i did. i told everyone to be careful out there, and went on my way. (t1 time: disappointed that they didn’t list these times in the results, but i think it was quick-maybe 2:00 ish)
bike–going into this race, i was obsessively checking the weather; will it rain? will it storm? will it be hot and humid?–i’ve never biked in the rain. would i be able to brake? what about the turns? would i have any traction to get up hills? i was only a little freaked out, especially after we drove the first part of the bike course the day before. it took us 45 minutes just to drive it! ugh, was this going to be a five hour bike ride? and an 8 hour race, crap, it’s an 8 hour time limit. the bike ended up being the best part. it rained for about 40 miles of the bike and aside from one really hard hill around mile 14, it was like i was playing in the rain. jeremy and the fam found me several times on the bike, which was really motivating. the rolling hills were so fun to gain speed down, and keep the momentum up the next hill. i really got really familiar with my gears and what they could do for me:) about a mile after the big hill, i had already forgotten all about it. and then it dried up and the sun came out. during the last 10 miles or so, the fun wore off and i just wanted to finish. in those last few miles, that the chick that i beat in transition caught up with me and blew right on to the finish. i saw her heading out on the run, when i was getting into t2. damn it. (bike time: 3:32:48.07, 17th)
fun, rainy bike ride
#highlights: 1. seeing a couple of guys who looked like they were out for a morning jog, in the rain, one in jeans. he was an old farmer, with a john deere hat, probably. 2. the rolling hills. fog in the valleys. green. green. green. 3. more cows than people or cars.
another quick transition–i felt good getting off the bike, and quickly getting myself together for the run (t2 time: no time reported, but i would guess 2-3 minutes)
run–jeremy joined me for the first two miles, giving me some mojo to get down the next stretch. the first two miles had a couple of hills to get out of the lake/resort area. the first two and last two miles had quite a few hills, that i really had not trained adequately for. that, and not doing enough bricks, and recovering from injury through a majority of training. after i ran out of the resort, there were these long slow ups and downs, that were on a two lane freeway, with sloping shoulders, for drainage. i ran on the gravel for most of it, to get off of the slope. luckily, jeremy met me at the halfway mark, and ran the rest with me. my body did not want to continue, my brain was creating a wall, and he kept encouraging me and pushing me. i whined. i cried. i yelled. i cursed. he kept being positive and pushing. it was slow, and so mentally painful, probably for him too. the worst part of the run: you had to pass the finish line area to make one more little loop, making it a little long 13.32 (run time: 2:28:21.00, slowest. half. ever.)
#highlights: 1. getting to see the fam and friends cheering out of the transition area, and on the way out after the first loop. 2. finding a barb in my husband. 3. getting through the most mentally difficult run i have ever had.
whatever it takes.
my slowest, of three races of this distance. but definitely the most challenging course so far. this gives me a good measure of what i need to do and where i need improvement, for the next one. isn’t that what it’s all about? facing fears, raising the bar, setting and crushing goals.
first in my age group.