Doug and I dropped the kids at Nana/Papa's house on Friday after dinner and left home at 5am on Saturday to drive to Carrolton, Georgia. In case you didn't know, Carrolton is near Bremen.
I have a new immodium protocol courtesy of my sister and brother-in-law (the doctors) so I ate one before bed on Friday, ate some oatmeal and gulped a half-cup of coffee before we left the house, and ate a bit more oatmeal at 6:00 (2 hrs before race time) - as much as I could stand.
The sun was up when we got to the park and we set up our transition area in a leisurely fashion after the obligatory potty break(s) and another immodium. Race numbers were assigned in alphabetical order, so it was very nice to be next to Doug. We made friends with a nice guy named Daniel A. who gave me good wetsuit advice. In the linked photo, Daniel is the All-3-Sports guy on the right. He looked like a pro and came in 3rd overall in the race. We tested the water and it was 74.5 degrees. Doug never wavered in his wetsuit-wearing decision (on), but I was worried about getting mine off. When we practiced last week, I had to sit down in the water to pry it off of me. Daniel said that if I was a decent swimmer and not good at getting the suit off, I'd waste any time gains from wearing the suit in trying to get it off. That sealed the deal for me. Wetsuit back to the car.
We searched for and met Pop, who is on the BT board and was doing his first race. We saw some of the NAMC crowd and Annika's soccer coach from last fall (Coach Steve). It was nice to see so many familiar faces.
I Gu-ed up (Expresso Love flavor, in the flask) and we picked our way back down the hill to the lake for the pre-race meeting. The announcements were loud and coherent - super organization at this race. We met a woman doing her first race (Heather-Nicole) who was nervous about the swim. She was nice and I only left her when it was time to wade into the water. I seeded myself towards the back (AGAIN) because I wanted to wait as long as possible before getting deeper into the cold water but I miscalculated and was late. So I had to wait for the crowd to clear before actually starting to swim.
The first 100 yards were tough. I was in a crowd and people were all around me and bumping. I tried to just do my regular breathing and stroke while avoiding the other swimmers. At the first intermediate buoy I realized that I was just chopping with my forearms and not stroking with my hands at all. Well, duh - no wonder I was getting tired. I gave myself a pep-talk with some bad words and switched to a regular stroke and concentrated on finishing each stroke all the way to the hip. The water was very calm so it was a breeze to check position on my breaths without much lifting of my head. Thank goodness I stuck with the bilateral breathing last summer! I still need to work on actual sighting if there are waves. I did much better going around the back stretch and up to the finish line. After I rounded the final buoy, however, I got a big smack to the head/ear. I don't know if it was a foot or an arm, but it hurt! No lasting damage, though, so I was able to stay strong on the back side. There were 2-3 pink caps in front of me at the finish so I knew that I was pretty far back in the pack.
12:47 - almost 2:00 per 100 meters
My transition was slow, as usual. 1:51. What the heck was I doing? My Team Zoot/Gu uniform was already on - all I had to do was apply helmet and glasses, put my flask in my shirt and put on my shoes and socks. Jeez. I'm going to have to practice this.
So, I was hoping that all of the trainer rides and my recent bikes would have translated into a blistering bike leg. Alas, not so much. It wasn't horrible but I really struggled to keep a high cadence and go fast. I was awesome on the downhills and passed lots of people on those. But those folks almost always got me back on the next uphill. Only three women passed me, but two had 37 on their calves. RATS! I was able to pass the other lady and I think I got out of transition before the two 37s. I also would have been faster if I hadn't had to stop after I dropped my Gu flask shortly after the mount line. Yes, I know I said I was going to mount it on my bike - I've had the bike mount for months, but it just isn't on the bike yet. And, in the last mile, there was girl in front of me in a red shirt with a number 4 on the back on a MOUNTAIN BIKE. But could I catch her? No!
37:36 for an avg of 17.87 mph
The whole last half of the bike I was telling myself (out loud) "shoes off, hat off - shoes on, get visor and number". So this should have helped me get this transition done in record time. Again, not so much. The NAMC folks have advised that I need lace locks so that will be my next gear purchase. Transition to run was 1:11.
I didn't have heavy legs to start the run the way I usually do in a brick. But, my left calf acted like it wanted to cramp up. I didn't stop but babied it a little. The around-the-lake part of the run wasn't bad - it was shady and though the path was bumpy, it was nice. I maintained a fast pace but was at the top of my heartrate range. I know this because as much as I'd like to think that I am delicate and graceful and silent like a panther on the run, almost invariably, the other racers all turned to look at me as I gained on them. I told one guy "I know, I sound like a freight train". I don't think I was gasping or wheezing but I was certainly breathing hard (what's the motto? "In a sprint, if you aren't hurting, not going fast enough!") and my footfalls are pretty heavy. Oh, well. Maybe they could just hear all of the water that I drank on the bike sloshing around inside of me. As we passed the bridge to the finish for the out-n-back portion of the run we started seeing other racers coming towards us. FUN! I yelled for everyone and had a great time. I think the run is my favorite part. I yelled for Heather (NAMC buddy) twice, which I thought was weird. Turns out that the first Heather was actually Rebecca. Oops. Had to apologize for that! I saw Doug and he looked good. Shortly behind him was Coach Steve, who looked very fresh while I was starting to wane. The turnaround was way up a hill and I've never been so happy to see a volunteer. I told the guy so and we laughed about it. I walked through the mile 2 water stop (I know, what a wuss) but I needed to rinse my mouth and the lady with the 45 on her calf in front of me stopped too. The last mile was more rolling but more downhill than up. I yelled for everyone and had a great time. I was redlining the whole time so the run was tough but I tried to ignore that part. I passed a guy from our neighborhood (Danny) whose family I had seen coming out of the swim. He was trucking right along. I didn't tell him about the hills coming up.
I found the mountain bike girl (#4) as we crossed the bridge to the finish. I poured it on but couldn't catch her. Rats! I made sure to stop and tell her how awesome she did.
22:39 for the run which is a 7:19 pace. I can't complain about that at all.
So, my total time was 1:16:06 and that was good enough for 3rd place in my age group. Courtney and the real Heather both did 1:15 or under so I felt guilty getting the hardware when they didn't get it for better times. I was 5th on the swim, 5th on the bike but 2nd on the run. That run saved me in a big way. So, next time I know what to work on. I feel much better about the open water swim, too, so that is a good thing.