So be sure when you step. You step with care and great tact and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Marquee Olympic Triathlon

Last year, I struggled on the swim and did awesome on the run.
This year, I improved my swim but also drank the lake water.  After last weekend, this was my biggest fear.

Race day morning started off rather splendidly.  I fluttered around, like a little social butterfly, and did not arrive to the swim start until my wave was almost entering the water.  I saw my Dad, who had been looking for me. He held my goggles while I put on my wetsuit.  I turned so that he could zip me up only to realize my zipper was in the front.  It was backwards.

My wave started entering the water as my Dad and I frantically pulled off my backwards wetsuit.  I put it on correctly and was the last person to enter the water.  30 seconds later, we started.

Everything was fine for awhile until I noticed that some people were swimming under one section of the bridge and others were swimming under a different section.  Perhaps this was user error, but I also do not think the sighting buoys were lined up accurately.  I swam Tarzan-style while I tried to figure out where I was supposed to swim.  I eventually said, "I am so confused...." and a helpful lifeguard instructed me where to swim. A lot of people were swimming the wrong line.  You can see in this photo that everyone is on the wrong side of the yellow buoy.
 Although once I corrected my positioning, I felt like I got into a rhythm.  Even though people explained that I had to fully exhale after each breath to avoid swallowing bacteria-infested lake water, one week was enough time to enforce this new habit.  I still gasped for air.  I still swallowed.

I became more aware of my breathing style when I started belching.  While I do think I corrected it, I also think it was too late.  But I knew the best thing I could do was forget about it.

I finished the swim in 28:57 - almost an entire minute slower than last week.  But, everyone had relatively slow swim times so even though I know say this after every race, I think the course was long.  I was the 15th-20th female out of the water (out of 133).  Unlike last year, my transition was a non-issue.

The bike course was tedious.  There were six tight u-turns and at least a dozen tight corners.  There were a few hills, but a corner at the end of each down hill.  This course required as much skill as fitness.  And luckily, I have focused on this aspect of cycling with one of the best in the state.  I was amazed how everyone moved so far left before making a right-hand turn.  I used that to my advantage and passed many people by taking a shorter line.  

Last week, we did a 2-hour lesson on properly standing on your bike.  When you do this, you use your body weight to pull your bike.  Since this course had so many moments of accelerations, I was constantly standing.

The course was slightly different from last year - each loop was exactly 14 miles - the Olympic distance did the loop twice.  My pace was almost exactly the same as last year though...21.5 mph.  But, that was fast enough to be the 4th fastest bike split among the amateurs.

But, the moment I got off my bike, I felt the repercussions of my swim.  It did not feel good.

I told myself I was fine.  I really believed that I would be fine after I got things moving.

I ran the first mile okay.  The second mile was okay, too.  My stomach was really tight and crampy, but I just focused on my running form.  Mile 3 is when I started to walk.  It just hurt so bad.  Still, I did not walk often.  And then I reached Mile 4.  It totally felt like some mutant lake-seaweed baby was trying to rip my abs open.  Every few minutes I had to stop and walk.  I wanted to puke.  I wanted to fart.  I wanted ANYTHING to relieve the pain and pressure.

A little past Mile 4, I got passed by two girls.  I knew they were coming but I also knew I was in serious pain.  They both looked so graceful as they ran passed me.  I suspect that is how I looked last year when I was running 6-minute miles.  This year, I looked anything but graceful.  People quit cheering for me and instead looked at me with concern.  Even when I could see the finish line, I still could not run more than 30-seconds at a time.

I finally sprinted through the chute and collapsed, with a shameful 10K time that I don't even want to talk about.

 But, I finished.  And, placed 5th overall and first in my age group.  Nonetheless, it was humbling run.

After the race, someone advised putting a shot glass of apple cider vinegar in transition.  That way, I can gulp it immediately and supposedly, it will kill the lake bacteria.

I have always had a sensitive stomach so it does not shock me that I cannot digest duck poop, algae and decomposing dead tilapia.  It actually makes apple-cider vinegar sound like a refreshing cocktail.

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