Monday, August 13, 2007

I did it!

I'll edit to add the photos later, but here are the results from Sunday's efforts.

Swim 400 meters: 00:06:54, 17th in age group
T1: 2 mins, 30 secs
Bike 13 miles: 00:41:55, 16th in age group, 18.6 avg mph
T2: 47 secs
Run: 00:23:49, 6th in age group, 7:41 min per mile pace
Total: 1 hr, 15 mins, 53 secs, 9th out of 108 in 35-39 age group, 40/260 overall

I woke up at 4:10am, which was early because I set my phone alarm and forgot the "remind me before the meeting" function starts alerting before the appointed meeting time. Oops. So, that was about 5 hours of sleep because I stayed up until nearly 11 trying to make the Yankz work with my shoes (DOH!) and Dagny woke with a bad dream at 12:41 so I got up and set my alarm at that point. I showered, dressed, ate breakfast (1/2 bowl of cereal with soy milk), had coffee, finished packing, and made water, milk and cheerios packages for the girls. Nat and I were late leaving at 5:30-ish (aren't I always late?) but still made it to the race site in plenty of time. Ryan had loaded our bikes for us so we were golden. We found a place to park and walked our bikes in the dark to the race area.

We got marked, used the potties, obtained our timing chips and went to the transition area. Thank goodness Nat had a flashlight in her car because it was dark. Add that to your gear lists now, because just imagine trying to use a porto-pottie in the dark! I had eaten my 1/2 immodium and drank water in the car so I was feeling fine. I asked some officials about where we would be going in and out of transition and after setting up my area, I practiced where we would come in, what I would do and where I would go in each phase of the race. A bike guy came around and pumped up our tires. He told us "in a sprint, if you are not hurting, you aren't going fast enough" so I used that as my mantra throughout the race. Nat and I got primo rack locations right by the entrance from the swim. We applied caps and goggles and walked down to the beach to warm up in the water. This was my first open water swim ever. The water was warm and the color of milky tea. No visibility at all. I swam about a hundred yards and decided I was done. Nat swam to the first buoy and back. I ate three Shot Bloks and drank some water. We met Wes and his wife, Dee Dee and some of their friends. Wes is even more buff in person, folks. We found some of the bike ride folks from our ride on Thursday and my friend Laurie from college/law school. It really helped me to see all of these people. I kept searching for them in the crowd to help me feel less nervous.


The first two waves of women started in the water and seemed to run a long way. Well, that is because the water was knee-deep until the first buoy. There was no way to swim so we ran. I seeded myself in the middle of the wave because this was my first tri and I was worried about getting in the way. Given my swim time, this was probably a mistake. Next time, I'll get towards the front (behind the real speedies) and near the outside. I never found a swim rhythm at all. I'm an easy swimmer but the triathlon swim was really a free-for-all. Because of the visibility of the water, I just tried not to hurt anyone and to swim as many strokes as possible before hitting anyone, stopping or breaststroking to determine my location. The buoys were huge and orange so they were easy to spot, but I got disoriented very quickly with my head down. I think I may try to mimic Dee Dee's stoke next time because she looked very comfy in the warm-up. My googles started to leak on the left side as I rounded the last buoy so rather than try to fix them, I just closed my left eye and tried to finish as quickly as possible so that my contact wouldn't float away. Wes was taking photos of the swim finish, so if there of one where my eye is closed, that is why.

There was a baby pool full of water on the way into transition so that we could wade through to rinse our feet. Genius! I dropped my cap and goggles on my towel in transition, put on my shirt, put the gu flask and phone in my pockets, got my hat and sunglasses, ran around to the other side of my bike, dried my feet, applied shoes and socks, applied hat, sunglasses and garmin. Set garmin for bike and left. WHOO! It felt like I did this really fast, but actually no.

We passed the mount line and were off. There were lots of speed bumps on the way out of the park but I managed not to crash on them. I suck on the bike so my goal was to hammer it as hard as possible, maybe catch Nat and not crash. My gears got messed-up on Thursday's ride so I couldn't shift to the big ring without being in the hardest of the rear gears. I was nervous about this and stayed in the big ring as much as possible to avoid getting stuck in the small ring for the duration. The new saddle was great and more slippery than the old one so I was able to adjust position with no problem. I had forgotten (both times!) to take my bodyglide into the porto-potty so I was lube-free in the bottom zone. This was bad, but I was able to tolerate it. Since I am new to biking, I was very worried about the drafting rules. I tried to stay away from all other bikers and pass speedily. There were only 2-3 big hills where I had to get out of the seat to climb and the rest were rollers. I felt like I was flying, way faster than I've ever ridden before. I saw my shadow as I sped down Hwy 41 and I looked like a real biker in my aerobars! My top speed was 33.5 and I ate Hammer gel at miles 3 and 10 and alternated between my water and Cliff electrolyte drink bottles at regular intervals. Doug and I had discussed the nutrition plan prior to the race and though I thought that I could do the race without anything (or maybe 1 gel and some water), he thought I would do better if I fueled more and had some electrolyte drink. In retrospect, I think Doug was right on. He got the "Doug was right" dance for that! At about mile 4, I saw Doug and the girls. That made me cry. It was so great to see them. The bike was really, really fun. I passed a bajillion people and most of the women who passed me without getting passed back were the ones who were wearing only bathing suits (the real pros) so I felt awesome about the bike.

I had some moments of indecision about whether or not to bring my phone so I could have been faster here. I don't know why I even considered it; it seems dumb now. The race number belt worked great and I applied it and my visor as I ran out of the gate for the run.

We started out over some speed bumps and at some point I saw Dee Dee again. Cheered for her and soldiered on. This run was HARD. Because the lake is a low point (obviously), and our finish was in downtown Acworth, it was basically an uphill race though the course was rolling. Usually the run starts and ends in the transition area so it is a wash, so this was odd. For the first little while, I fiddled with my phone trying to get it affixed to my body, which was dumb. My calves hurt for the first half mile, which has not happened to me before. I think it was the hammering on the bike because I've never ridden that fast before either. After what felt like an eternity, I began to think that they had forgotten to put mile markers on the run, I sneaked a peek at Garmin (who was still in bike mode, because I decided in transition that it would take to long to change the setting for run) and I was at 13.85 miles (13 for the bike plus 0.85). Only 0.85! Ugh! I had seen Nat in transition when she had to run back to return her helmet, so I made it my goal to keep her in sight. Catching up was out of the question. She was 300-400 yards ahead of me, pink skirt swishing, and I checked every few minutes to see if I could still see her (sometimes yes, sometimes no). This run hurt. At the first aid station (maybe the second, I don't remember), I tried to get water but got gatorade. Very unpleasant - I was redlining the heartrate so gatorade was not tolerable. I didn't wear the heartrate monitor because it would have taken too long to put on, but that is my perceived exertion. At the second aid station, I got water and drank a few sips and poured the rest on my head - ahhh, delightful! I kept repeating the mantra "if it doesn't hurt, too slow," and it was working, I hurt! I kept thinking maybe I could speed up in mile three because that is what Doug does. Nope. People started walking in the last mile. I slapped hands with one lady who was doing what appeared to be Tai Chi with her arms as she walked. She looked like she could have used a high five so I gave her one. At times, I ran with my eyes closed - just tried to keep moving as fast as I could go. I didn't bother to look at Garmin again after that first time so I had no idea what the pace was. As we rounded a corner into downtown, the volunteers yelled "only 400 yards." "Liars," I thought, and looked hopefully for the finish line. No finish line, but Doug, Annika and Dagny were at the top of the hill with Ryan, Beau, Carmella and Lola yelling for us. "Only 100 yards," they yelled. So I tried to sprint it out as best I could and finished as the clock said 1 hr, 26 mins. There were showers under a gate at the finish so you could go under the spray. Ahh, wonderful.

Wow, I had such a good time. I'm getting all vaklempt even thinking about it. I'm really looking forward to the race on Saturday. Today, however, I'm resting, because my knee and shoulder hurt. It's clear, though, that I'm not even close to fit enough to do an Olympic distance race (1.5 K swim, 40K bike, 10K run) so I have work to do this winter. : )


jasonaut said...

WOW! Top 10 in your FIRST race! Congratlations. 35-39 is an extremely competitive age group. You did great. Keep it up.

Wes said...

Awwwww, shucks! You know how to make a beach bumb looking race photographer feel proud :-)

You did marvelous! For a first tri, you and Nat rocked the race!! I have some pictures for you. For some reason, I thought you were wearing black, so I totally missed you on the bike and run. I'll put up a flickr account or something for you and Nat.

Sounds to me like your nutrition was spot on too! I can learn something there :-) and it won't take much to get yourself ready for an Oly!

Great race! and congrats again. Good luck this weekend....

Dee Dee said...

Great Race report! You guys did awesome , I sucked ass on my bike this time around should of done better . As for the run you rocked!!! And you did awesomes for you first tri!!

Steph Bachman said...

Thanks Jason, Wes and Dee Dee. I had such a nice time.

Wes, you brought your nutrition to the last race. It was just the USING of the nutrition . . . : )

Dorothy Gould said...

Steph, Congratulations! What a nice race report as well, I teared up myself when you talked about seeing your family, what a good role model you are for your girls!

Nat said...

Steph you did so fantastic and even better you had an amazing attitude! It was totally great to hear you yell " go Natalie" when we were running in and out transitions. It was a huge motivator!

Charlie said...

Great Job Ms Stephanie!

You and Ms Natalie are quite the pair!

Congratulations on a great first Tri.

Oh...I'm new to your blog but visit Natalie's a lot. :o)

Dogwood Girl said...

That is great! I am so proud of you and Natalie!