June 18th, 2007

race, bike, tri

Race Report

Saturday morning.

Way too early to get up, but the sun was shining and the birds were
singing, and it was time to get ready to RACE!

We were at the site at (shudder) 6:30a.m., and started setting up for an
8a.m. start time. The only real problem with setup was that they didn't
seem to have quite enough rack space for all the athletes (either that,
or there were a few space hogs who weren't sharing properly) -- our
bikes were pretty crowded. Still, we got ourselves set up, and I bid fairplaythings adieu (he'd decided to do a duathlon this time),
and headed to the beach.

The swim course was three loops out and back, with a turn on the beach
(get out of the water, run around the buoy, get back in the water). It's
not an ideal course -- I hate the beach turn, and on the way out you
have to swim either over or under the buoy line that marks the normal
swimming area. The water wasn't too bad -- a bit of a shock when I go in
for my warm-up, but not so cold that I noticed it once I was in. It was
a little choppy, so I inhaled a bit more than I really wanted to, but
not too bad. The biggest problem I had with the swim course (other than
being kicked in the chest more than once, but that's par for the course,
isn't it?) was that the sun was in my eyes on the way back in to shore,
and I was having a heck of a time sighting. I really couldn't see
anything but glare (it didn't help that my goggles were leaking). The
kayaks weren't close enough to the swimmers to really herd us properly,
so I'm sure I ended up swimming an extra couple of hundred metres. Sigh.
Oh, and I got stuck behind a guy for the last lap who swam just a teeny
bit slower than I wanted to, but we kept veering at the same time so I
couldn't get past him. Argh.

Swim to bike transition went relatively well, except for the other
people in the transition zone (waiting for their events to start) who
kept asking how the water was, and if there was a current, when I was
trying to keep my head in the game. Sigh.

I had a slow bike start, but by the last couple of loops (it was a 10km
course, and we did 4 loops) I was feeling much stronger and faster. I
was still the last one off the bike course, but I'm pretty much ALWAYS
the last one off the bike course, so nothing new there. I lost the
little spongy thing that acts as a lid to my aerobar-bottle about
halfway through, which meant that every time I went over a bump, I got a
little shower. Refreshing, but not as hydrating as having the water
actually IN me would have been (and good thing I hadn't put the Gatorade
in there...)!

My run was really solid. I had the standard shaky legs to begin with,
but that went away relatively quickly, and I felt pretty good for the
rest of the run course. I did my usual run-walk thing, and was able to
do longer-than-planned runs more often than shorter-than-planned runs,
which is always a good sign. I was feeling tired but strong right
through to the end. It was a good feeling. I was quite happy with how
that leg went, all in all -- especially after being less than satisfied
with my swim leg, it was nice to end on a high note.

My finishing time was 3:44:28 -- not spectacular by serious competitive
standards, but a personal best for the Olympic distance. Go me!

Oh, and as the only woman in the Olympic event willing to admit that I
weigh more than 150lbs.*, I came in first in my category! So I got a
shiny gold plate for my medal, and coupons for dinner at a nice
vegetarian restaurant.

Only one bad note to the whole event: I got severely sunburned on my
shoulders. Ouch ouch ouch. Applying sunscreen before a triathlon just
doesn't work -- first there's the swim to wash most of it off, and then
there's almost four hours out in the sun. I'm going to need to figure
out a way to reapply between legs. I've seen ads for spray-on sunscreen
-- maybe that would work? Hmmm.

* Which is really not all that heavy. I really think 150lbs is a pretty
low bar -- a woman doesn't even have to be particularly tall for that to
be a completely reasonable weight (especially if she's muscular). So I
find it consistently hilarious that women aren't willing to sign up for
the Athena category. Oh well -- it works for me, I suppose. :)