We live about 10 minutes from the race start which is awesome (it's also where we do a lot of training so it's familiar to us). We woke up around 5am, plopped the bikes on top of the car, grabbed our breakfast and took off. We met up with our friends Steph and Erick in the parking lot and pumped tires, filled bottles, shook out the nerves, etc. This was Erick's first tri so we helped him along. Poor Steph was a long for the ride was a great sport about having to be up and out so early. Transition was fairly empty when we got there so we were able to get spots at the ends of the racks which was nice. Here's Tom getting ready and sporting his Team Type 1 jacket
Got everything organized, got marked, picked up our chips and swim caps, hit the potties and then donned our wetsuits. Even though it was only a half mile swim, the water was chilly and I figured I could use all the help I could get!
The Swim 0.5 miles
We got to the end of the beach for the swim start and the race director improved the swim by moving it back a few hundred yards (the swim was short last year). I was in the 4th wave, Tom and Erick were in the 5th. We patiently waited for them to call our waves, although it was much warmer in the water than on the beachSince we were swimming along the beach, we could line up in the shallow or deep water depending on how comfortable you were with the swim (they make it very beginner friendly as you can pretty much walk the whole swim if you really want). I figured I'd be best starting as far out as possible in the deep water, avoiding the chaos of the newbies and make a straight line for the buoy. Good choice! When my wave was called I swam to my spot and got ready to go, peed (cause you just have to in cold water) then put my goggles on. These are the same goggles I wear all the time. I waved to Tom and the race director said go. Even though no one was really near me, I totally panicked. Lovely - a sure sign of how the day was going to go right? What happened to my bi lateral breathing that I've worked 6 months on? What happened to "being one with the water"? Right out the door. Then to goggles fill up. I just think to myself, I'm in for it. It's going to be a long day. I realize that I'm not going to be able to make it without fixing my goggles so 30 seconds into my swim, I'm on my back emptying my goggles. I get them fixed, flip over and quickly calm down. I think it was just the adrenaline of the first race and whatnot. I loved where I had lined up - there really wasn't anyone around (expect for the random YMCA corporate challenge swimmer from 3 waves in front of me doing the doggie paddle) but I was able to maneuver around them and find a pretty empty, straight line to the finish. I actually felt really good once my goggles weren't full! I got to the end, got out, looked at my watch and then didn't even process my time, forgot to push my split button as I stepped over the mat and made a mad dash for my bike. Steph was there cheering which was fun, although I feel bad that I didn't really acknowledge her - maybe I wasn't all with it.
Swim time : 15:44 - not bad. I'm a slow swimmer so I was happy with that.
T1 I had sprayed my wetsuit with my new favorite tri product, Wetsuit Lube. It's this spray stuff in a blue bottle that we bought at a race last year. It's almost like lotion in a bottle that you can spray. Anyway, you put it on your wetsuit and on your legs and that puppy slides on and off in no time. I literally pulled once and the thing was off. LOVELY! I grabbed my shoes (no socks), threw on my helmet and grabbed my bike. It was very smooth and uneventful.
T1 time: 1:28 (I beat Tom by a second in T1 - SUCCESS!!!)
Bike 16.8 miles (although I think it was a little over 17 when it was all said and done).
I love my bike. It's fast. It's red. It's good to me. I got into my groove quickly and with only three swim waves in front of me (the YMCA Corporate challenge which is really the "this is the first time I've done a tri" challenge, the Clydesdales and Athenas and the under 25er's) I passed people left and right (of course always on the left, but you know what I mean). I couldn't believe how many people were on mountain bikes, but I really think the people in the groups in front of me were mainly first timers. I pasted a few decent bikers, but later said to Tom that there really weren't that many people "racing" the bike. I was surprised, but it was pretty fun just zooming by people. There were lots of USAT officials which was actually a nice change so no drafting (for the most part). I felt strong. Around mile 14, I hear "on your left hotstuff". It was Tom - he had finally caught me after starting the race 4 minutes after me. I kept him in sight for the last couple of miles and finished strong.
Bike time: 49:47 - average 20.6mph
I flew through T2. I had decided not to wear socks in the run which was a first for me. I figured it might save me a few seconds and with such a short run, why not try it out. I saw Steph yell for me - waved quickly, racked my bike, threw off my helmet and bike shoes, hopped in my running shoes, grabbed my belt and left.
t2 time: 0:51 - yeah, I finally beat 1 minutes! AWESOME!
Run 3.1 miles
I knew with the swim being long that I was going to have a hard time beating my time from last year of 1:36. I was at about 1:07 when I left transition and I would have to average about 8:50's to do that. It was a possibility, but I just wanted to have fun so I didn't think much about it. I just ran. And ran. The race goes a little off course which I'm not used to so the grass was interesting, but I was doing fine. First mile was about an 8:45. I didn't see anyone in my age group in front of me (we had all been marked with the letter "D" that morning) so I just ran. Right about the half way point I see a "D". I push past this girl then get scared that she's right on my tail so I don't look back. I have to at least beat her and it gets me going. I see Erick for the first time - he's having a great race and seems to be having fun which is important! I know that Tom's not too far in front of me and the girl in my age group could be right behind me. I don't look at my watch at the 2 mile point so I don't know how I'm doing, but I feel fine. I get to the finish, Tom and Steph are cheering for me, there's a huge crowd waiting for their triathletes and I feel great. This is right at the end - do we look cheesy (and sweaty) or what?We waited around for Erick to finish and then all head to our bikes. Last year they hand out awards as you crossed if you got one. I figured that's what they did this year. As we are walking away, the race director says "preliminary results are in and posted". We gather our stuff from transition and start to head to the cars. I tell everyone that I'm going to just stop and take a look at the standings - don't know why, but I had a weird feeling since I didn't see anyone in my age group around me except for the girl I saw at the turn around (who I did see finish about 3 minutes behind me). Erick and Steph walk ahead and Tom comes with me. There's a crowd of people standing around, but I find my age group and I came in second!!!! YAY! I ended up getting a plaque and was so excited. Good thing I checked the standings or I would have been out a prize!!! A very cool ending to a very good race.
So overall, I finished in 1:35:02 (beating last years time even with the longer swim by 1 minute, 45 seconds. I came in 2nd out of 12 in my age group. I finished 15th out of 138 women. I finished 80th out of 450 overall.
It was a good race! I feel like I'm making progress. Would like the get the swim down a bit, and possibly even the run, but I have a long season ahead of me to work on that.
We enjoyed us some good ole country cooking afterward with Steph and Erick at Cracker Barrel then headed off for another 30 mile ride with Tom's mom and step-dad. I proceeded to end the day by falling off my bike at the end of their driveway. Nice rookie move huh! Didn't clip out fast enough and hit gravel which proceeded to throw me to the ground. I have a bruised elbow, a bruised palm, a bruised and scraped knee and some wounded pride. I mean really - I came in second in my age group and then fell over on my bike? Nice...