Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I once again pretended to be an athlete this weekend.

I even chuckled to myself on Friday when I attended the pre-race meeting and the lady said that the transition area isn't for friends and family, only athletes are allowed there. And I gave a start and then was like, 'oh yah, today I'm an athlete.'

I didn't sleep well Friday night. I checked my watch almost hourly. 'Is it 6 yet? Nope, 4. 6 yet? Nope 5:30." At 6, I dressed in my new tri-suit, triple-checked that I had everything in my sports bag, and biked to the high school where the competition was taking place. I even made sure my helmet was buckled under my chin. They had also put the fear of God in us at that meeting.

Some Of The Rules If You Don't Want To Be Disqualified (or "D'Q'd" as lots of hip people liked to say):
- Wear your helmet on and buckled when riding your bike, this even means to and from the event
- Pass only on the left on the bike.
- Bike should have handlebar end caps.
- Approved helmets only.
- No headphones, IPods or other musical devices.
- No throwing belongings at other people.
- No mounting the bike before we're allowed.
- No help whatsoever from outsiders (this meant that our plan of Dad standing by with back up bikes in case we got flats was down the tubes).

Sarah and I were in the wave that started at 7:49. Beforehand, we racked our bikes in the fields on one of the racks with all the other bikes and laid out our stuff for easy access. Then we walked down to the water. We even did a few preparatory swims in the beach area.

At 7:49 we were in the water with our gold swim caps on ready to go. And then we were off, Sarah was gone like an arrow and I splashed along in her wake. It was chaotic at first. Churning water and thrashing limbs. Someone glanced off my forehead with their foot. I was a little panicky and breathing all wrong and it took a moment to even out, to get a rhythm going, to just swim. People spread out and I chugged along. Trying to keep to the inside. I finished in about 19 minutes.

Then we had to run up the darn hill back to the transition area. I toweled off, collapsed into the grass to put my shoes on, luckily I didn't have to change since I would be doing the entire thing in this one tri-suit. I buckled on my helmet, grabbed my bike and headed off to complete that 13-mile portion. It took awhile to get my breath back. All that swimming and running up the hill and getting the stuff I needed, I was panting. We started up that first hill and I was so out of breath I could barely breathe. Eventually, I did manage to catch my breathe. I biked and biked up and down the hills towards Fort Collins. On one hill, I changed my gears wrong and all I got was a lot of clicking as I turned. I weaved and had to stop to walk a bit. People passed me; some of them I'd passed early. I got my bike straightened out and was off again to make up for lost time. My fingers started to go tingly in my left hand after awhile. My thumb looked almost blue. My stomach was so cold too, from air blowing across the wet suit. I biked my little heart out and finished in about 45 minutes. I even passed some of those people who'd passed me during the trouble.

I got back and Dad was there, taking pictures. I racked the bike, removed my helmet, and headed towards the 5K run part. The last thing. I couldn't run at first, I was too tired. Then I turned on the timer on my sports watch to go off every minute, and started doing one minute running to one minute walking. I did that for the first 1.5 miles. I passed Sarah as she was doing the return loop. I passed Jade. At the place where I had to turn around and head back, Dad caught up. He parked his bike and ran with me for a bit. I was almost to the place where I could hear people finishing and cheering when Dad said, 'You still have to go around the pond here...' I might have cussed. The route seemed to go on forever. At last I was 100 yards away from the finish line. I sped up and raced in. Sarah had finished about eight minutes earlier. My final results went like this:

BENES, JESSICA  Bib #73  F  F3034   LOVELAND , CO 80538

Swim Trans1 Bike Trans2 Run SexRnk Final
00:19:29 02:26:00 00:45:46 00:52:00 00:35:28 124 01:44:02

And now I get to add "triathlon sprint" to the repertoire of races I've done. Go me.

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