PRACTICE BEAVER FREEZER!
wake up time: 7am
breakfast: tigers milk bar, banana, chai tea
chatted with friends on facebook till 8.
apply aveeno baby to chafe prone areas
put my socks on to stretch them out slightly, making them easier to get on at the race.
filled my water bottle / gatorade bottle
got 3 ziplock baggies
warm clothes: warm hat, warm gloves, warm headband, neck tube
swim items: swim cap, 2 sets swim goggles, small towel
bike/run clothes: 2 long sleeve performance shirts (1 w/zipper pocket in back), spandex shorts, bandana, headband, bike gloves, run gloves, sunglasses
in the backpack itself:
garbage bag, tights, water bottle, pouch w/ID, phone, cash
bathing suit, sweatpants, sweatshirt, windbreaker w/chapstick, throat drops, powerbar in pocket [i will open the powerbar next time], socks, sneakers, fleece gloves, watch, silver turtle necklace
on the bike:
water bottle w/gatorade, bike pouch w/tubes, CO2 adapter & canister, bike tool, gumby
leave house at 8:45am
get to dixon before 9am
stand around while people try to figure out what is needed and what they're doing
other racers arrive - brandon, jason, will
after bike rack and canopy get set up, we set our bikes on the rack facing out, dangling by the reflectors. we then get a speech by taz (our coach) on the flow of the race and how things are going to go. also some tips on setting up our transition zone, like putting down a towel and putting things out in the order you're going to put them on: shirt/tights, socks/shoes, gloves/hat/neckwarmer, windbreaker, sunglasses, helmet, run things (bandana). [i will bring a larger towel or maybe 2 next time]
the sequence will be: go into the pool, swim, run out the side door and down the sidewalk to the bikes, put on your clothes over your swimsuit, put on your helmet and head off on the bike, bike the course, come back, set the bike on the rack, take off helmet, grab run stuff, do run course, finish.
we go into the pool and the pool coordinator tells us how it will go. line up in the lane in terms of who will go fastest to slowest. if the person behind you taps you 2-3 times on the foot, when you get to the wall, let them pass. this is important to talk about before you get in. know your time and know that others are going to lie about theirs.
we do some warming up in the pool, about 5 minutes. this is good because i wasn't sure we would have this on race day. still not sure if we will. but was good to have it. i hadn't swam in several weeks with any regularity so i was a bit nervous that i wasn't going to be very good at the swimming. i was already feeling out of breath with the warmup, but i think part of it was nerves. i was nervous despite knowing that this wasn't a race and no one was judging me and it was all just to get the experience.
we get to the deep end and the swim coordinator says, on your mark, go! and the first people go. i was in the second group that left 5 seconds later. i would say that i thought i felt like i was drafting, but that maybe lasted for 30 seconds and then i realized that i was going to be plenty far behind this guy for the whole time.
i noticed that i started out too fast, because by the 3rd lap i was thinking to myself, "i might not be able to do this without stopping. i might have to stop and breathe." and i think around the 4th lap i let my lanemate pass me. at that point i said to myself, "you can do this. just take it one lap at a time. one lap at a time." so from then on, i said the lap number out loud when i got to the deep end wall. touch the wall, say, "six" then take off again. at this point i was able to let myself relax a tiny bit and try to work on my breathing first. i was breathing every other stroke which is uncommon for me at this point. i have gotten very comfortable with breathing every 3rd stroke, alternating sides. once i got that back on track, i started thinking about my stroke and the technical aspects. i spent a little time making sure i slid my hands straight ahead on the train tracks and tried not to cross in front of my face. i also spent some time pulling back with my elbow up if i could. and then i saw the blue kickboard waving in my face and i had one length to go. got to the end of the pool, climbed out, and everyone was pointing to the door. so i ran (carefully) for it.
at this point i take off my swim cap and goggles and get outside and it's 40something degrees and i'm wet and wearing only a bathing suit and running down the sidewalk barefoot. i don't notice pain or anything other than the sidewalk is cold and there are people. i say, "excuse me" and go past them. i can't imagine what they are thinking, other than they might have just seen the other 3 people run by in their bathing suits.
get to the bike, realize it is cold and i am shaking - from cold or swimming exertion i don't know - dry off my feet and legs, put on my tights but not well - i think they are hanging off my butt but i don't care. put on my shirt. put on my socks and one feels bunchy but not bad, get my shoes on, put on my windbreaker and get my helmet and sunglasses on. taz says, "zip your coat" so i do it. i choose the warm/run gloves over the padded gloves and hop on the bike and take off.
the first few pedal strokes i'm getting my feet into the toe cages. then i'm climbing up 26th to campus way. the first part of the bike is pretty easy and i know the way as it was part of what i rode during the week as practice. i get to MLK park pretty quickly and think "hey this isn't so bad." i'm glad i'm wearing everything i'm wearing. i see the others go by on their bikes. they are cruising. i hope i'll be cruising soon. i am going up a slight hill and hope to be going faster when i turn around and come back down the hill, but after the turnaround i don't really notice any significant speed increase which is disappointing. i get to the next turn and make it, and then go past where i've been before into uncharted territory, at least on bike. i have driven to oak creek many times but haven't biked out that far before. it was not TOO far but 2 miles out and back from where i'd been before so 1/3 of the race.
at some point i see some people ahead and realize one of the racers is stopped and is getting helped. apparently one of his pedals just came clear off his bike, with his foot clipped into it. they seemed fine so i rode on, got to the turnaround, and headed back. but there was one place where i envisioned i should turn left but actually i was supposed to go straight. so i got tied up a little at that light since i was in the wrong lane. nothing too bad.
got back to campus and put the bike on the rack, took off my helmet and glasses (didn't need them at all - wasn't sunny and was misting a tiny bit) but kept on the gloves, put on my tie dye headband, yanked up my pants a little, took off running.
realized right away that i was going to have that funny leg feeling people talked about in the blogs. they suggest that you do your training where you bike awhile then go for a jog afterwards to get used to the feeling. had i done that? no. so i had the weird leg feeling where it felt like i was running in super slow motion. but the people from the club were along the route cheering for me and telling me i could do it. along campus way my first time, 2 of the guys passed me and we cheered a little and did high fives. by the 1/2 mile mark i felt a little relieved of the weirdness and the 2 girls who were on the course were screaming at me "you can do it! whoo yeah first place girl in the race! yeah!" and i realized, yeah, i was the only girl in this race, so i was going to be the first (and only) girl to finish. came around the corner to jefferson and there was the hill by the library. i sprinted up it (best i could) as we had in practice, but when i got to the top i was seriously out of breath. i used the whole rest of the straightaway to catch my breath and battle a little cramp i was getting. i think this is where the 3rd guy passed me. the first lap i did in about 10 minutes.
at that point i felt pretty tired and thought maybe i will have to walk. but i said to myself, "one lap at a time, you can do this, just get around one more time." so that's what i did. on the second lap i really focused on letting my legs do the work on the very slight decline. i tried to think about being a little kid and just letting your legs go as you go down a big hill. it wasn't that dramatic, but i tried to not think about using my legs so much so they could get a tiny relief. and when i tried to sprint up the hill the second time, it wasn't much of a sprint at all. but i did see pat and marylin breen at that time, which was a nice little distraction. the second lap i finished in around 10 minutes.
by the third lap i realized everyone was done or was going to be done soon. i felt a little bad that they were all going to have to stand around in their shorts and wait for me to finish this last lap, which would likely take 10 minutes, but what can you do. they all had each other. i was going to finish this last lap. let my legs go on the last decline, tried to breathe to get rid of the cramp, attempted to sprint the hill which was a failure, recovered a little, and then karl came out of some driveway and started riding with me and cheering me on. he told me to relax my arms away from my body. keep breathing. almost there. at the third mile mark, i was just under 10 minutes. last push. when i got to the sharp corner i hadn't realized just how sharp the corner was and went wide, but was able to sprint to the finish, where everyone who was waiting made a tunnel for me to run through.
i did it!
there was cheering and jubilation and then someone talked about swim lap times and we figured out that i did my swim in around 10 minutes. which is slower than i did in practice (8:58) but that was probably a month ago and in the middle of practice when i was very warmed up and comfortable and breathing easy. taz was really supportive of all of us, telling us how great we did and how we learned some things (one guy forgot his swim goggles so he borrowed mine, then there was the pedal coming off...) and we were now ready for our first real tri! we even got beer glasses to prove we'd done this race - since we won't be able to do it in real time because we have to work it as a fundraiser.
swim time: 500 yards - 10:05
bike time: 12 miles - 46:49
run time: 3.1 miles - 30:04
overall, a pretty good day! i saw myself in the mirror when i went back into the gym to get my warm clothes and my face was red all over. but that is common for me.
it got me thinking i really need to see someone about the possibility of exercise induced asthma. but i digress.
that night i got in the hot tub even though it wasn't hot. and the next day, the only thing that really hurt were my shoulders and neck a little. oh, and that blister between my big and next toe. but overall, i would say i could probably do it again. so maybe i will!
ps. happy st patricks day!