Ending on a High Note

3 10 2011

I’m a wus when it comes to cold weather, so when I woke up on Sunday morning for the Bassman International Triathlon and saw that it was 53 degrees, I REALLY wanted to just stay in bed and say, “Forget about it.” But, I’m not one to give up, so I rolled out of bed, put on my tri gear and some sweats, and made my usual pre-race breakfast of oats with banana and peanut butter.

The race was about 40 minutes from my parents’ house, so we left at about 5:20am. When my mom and I arrived at the race site at 6am, it was still dark, and pretty hard to see anything. The race was in a State Park/Campground, so the only lights were the car headlights and the one set of lights the had shining on the transition area. I definitely need to purchase one of those head lamps for future early morning or late season races!

(Side note: one really nice thing about doing races at home in NJ is that I have my own personal paparazzi. My mom brought TWO DSLR cameras to the race. Yeah, she’s pretty awesome. Thanks for the great pics mom!)

The race day schedule was that the sprint tri would go off at 7am, and then the International distance race would go off at 8:30. Transition opened at 6am for everyone. I always like to get there right when transition opens to snag some prime rack real estate, but this race had our places all marked for us already.

One of my favorite things about CityTri events? Personalized race numbers! This race had numbers for your bike, helmet, swim cap, run, and the rack!

Getting there that early allowed me PLENTY of time to prepare myself…or stand around and freeze. It was pretty unpleasant just standing around, so I sat in my car and blasted the heat.  At about 7:45, I took a pit stop at the porta potties, and then headed to the swim start for the pre race meeting.

The swim was a 500 meter swim, in a triangle shape. There were two buoys off to the left in a straight line, and then two more off to the right, making a V with the beach. The race director said that the sprinters had gone through the course counter clockwise, but the low-lying sun was right in their eyes, making it hard to sight. So, he thought that switching it to clockwise might make it a little easier (it didn’t, at least not for me). He gave some general notes about the bike course, and to the water’s edge we went.

Swim: The swim was in the beautiful Bass River, which was crystal clear and 70 degrees! It was the absolute perfect place for an open water swim.  I definitely didn’t need my wetsuit but wore it to keep me warm while standing around. By the time we started, the air temperature was probably about 55, but thankfully the sun was shining. The women, duathletes, and relays were all in the first wave. He blew the horn and we were off! I dolphin dove a few times, and then started stroking. I saw a man off to my right, and then one right in front of me (duathletes perhaps?). I drafted off him for a little, until we were just about to the first buoy and I passed him. I stayed in the lead until after I made the second turn, and I felt someone touching my feet. I kicked harder to try and get away, but she ended up passing me anyhow, a little before the last buoy.

that’s my arm!

I want to catch you!!

I came out of the water 2nd, with a time of 13:56, 8/120.

T1: As I was running from the water to the transition area, I started to feel a little light headed. So, as soon as I was into transition, I walked to my bike in an effort to lower my heart rate. I took my time taking off my wetsuit, then putting on my socks (for extra warmth!) and shoes, and my arm warmers. I really struggled with the arm warmers, and ended up throwing my watch off to make it a little easier to get them on. When I was FINALLY ready, I headed out for the 29 mile bike ride.

I was in there for 2:09, which placed me 53/120.

Bike: I was sort of dreading the bike because I knew that it would feel even colder out on the course. It didn’t help that I wasn’t feeling super at the start either. But, I started off and hoped for the best. It took me awhile to feel like my muscles were warmed up, and the rest of my body never really did feel warm. I was thankful for the arm warmers, but wished I had something on my feet. Like wool socks. Or Uggs. Why aren’t Uggs acceptable bike attire? Yes, I am a wus.

Enter this picture into “awkward race photos” gallery

For the first 15 miles, I was miserable. I had cotton mouth, my lungs hurt to take a deep breath from the cold air, and I was freezing. To top it off, my stomach felt unsettled, which is unusual for me. I’m not quite sure why it felt that way; I used Nuun in one of my water bottles, which I don’t normally do, but I had been hydrating with Nuun during spin class last week, and never had problems. So, I’m not sure if that’s what it was, but I was not a happy biker. I’m usually a positive person, but there were some pretty negative thoughts going through my head: “I should have done the sprint, I would be done by now,” and “If I get a flat, could I stop the race?” were just some of my thoughts. But, I decided that a negative attitude wasn’t making anything better, so I needed to stop thinking that way and be positive. Or at least remember Allison’s tweet:

Finally at about mile 15 the thought of taking in some kind of nutrition was mildly appealing. So, I had a black cherry shot block (which reminded me of a black cherry soda, yum!) and pushed harder. From that point on, I tried to keep a positive attitude (though at mile 25 my thoughts were “If this was a normal triathlon, I’d be done!!“) but was thrilled to rack my bike again. I honestly think this was the first time I’ve ever actually looked forward to the run. I just wanted to get warm!

When it was all said and done, my bike time was 1:35:50, 77/120.

T2: Nothing much to report in T2, but I was really excited to run so I could warm up. As I started to run, my feet really hurt, because they were so cold. It took me a little into the run before they stopped hurting. I was in and out in :50, 31/120.

Quick transition and happy to be off the bike!

Run: When I could finally feel my toes, I felt pretty strong on the run. The run was 4.1 miles through the campground. It was an odd distance for an International tri, but I didn’t mind, since the run has never been my strength. Before we hit the first mile, there was about a half mile stretch where we ran on hard, packed sand. It was a nice change, and easy on the knees. 🙂 At one point during this section, I heard a girl yell “Shut up!” from behind me. I turned quickly and saw a girl and guy (who I had already passed) about 50 yards or so behind me. Shortly after, she passed me, and I thought about asking why she yelled, but let her go. Weird. Anyhow, I really appreciated the volunteers along the course, at all the intersections, since the run had a lot of turns. I think it would have been a great course to run in the middle of the summer, because it seemed to be completely shaded.  I finished strong, though I wish someone else had been close by to push me to the finish, but oh well.

My run split was 32:30, 57/120. Right about the same mile pace as Atlantic City! I’ll take it!

Overall: 2:25:12, 60/120

In my age group, I was 3rd (out of 6), but the first two girls in the age group got 2nd and 3rd female overall. That helped my standings, and I ended up winning my age group. Small races are good for getting hardware 🙂

All in all, I think this was a great way to end the season. CityTri comped my entry (THANK YOU!) and put on a great race! And though I didn’t have the best bike leg ever, my other two legs were strong. I learned that I probably can’t use Nuun in my tris (sad day). I also learned that taking salt tabs after my race helps prevent the headaches I ALWAYS get after a tri or brick workout. So, I’ll take those lessons into next season, do some experimenting over the winter, and then rock it out in 2012. I’ve got my eye on a Half Iron Man for next season, and I can’t wait!

Oh, and the coolest part of the day? Someone recognized me from the blog! He was an athlete from the Atlantic City race, and had seen the link to my blog in the post-race email the Race Director sent out. He even shared the blog with his dad, to show him what the AC race was like! If you’re out there, thanks for reading 321delish!