I had been looking forward to this triathlon for exactly 365 days. I've had it on my radar since I crossed the finish line last year. I especially wanted to beat my time of 3:04 from last year. I thought I did everything right to get that PR, but unfortunately it wasn't my day.
I had finally talked my good friend Brandi into doing it with me, although she was still reluctant and had a few panic attacks leading up to race time. I knew she would do great though because we trained together.
Everything went smoothly the week of the race. I tapered my workouts and rested the few days before it. Believe it or not, I didn't even have a cold, sore throat, or sinus infection! I felt good going into it.
Race morning also went smoothly. After a crappy night of sleep, we were up and at 'em by 5 am and in the car before 5:30. We had to take our front tires off our bikes to fit them in Brandi's car. I had a little trouble getting mine back on in the dark parking lot, but finally got it on and everything seemed fine. We thought we should probably ride around the parking lot a bit to make sure, but we were so nervous about getting our stuff into transition before it closed at 6 that we never did. We rushed over and got good spots and laid everything out. Then we went to pick up our timing chips, get body marked, and listen to the pre-race meeting.
Since the kid's and sprint triathlons both started before ours, we had time to kill so we left to go get breakfast at Starbucks. I had my usual pre-race meal of a banana and banana bread.
After going to the bathroom 700 times once we got back, it was finally time for us to line up along the pool. Brandi started about 20 people before me, so she was already 200 m into her swim when I started mine. I was doing good on the swim and remembering to do the things I was supposed to (fingers closed, toes pointed, pull water, etc...). At one of the walls I checked my Garmin, and it was still stuck on the start screen. I had pushed the wrong button when I started. Now I was all flustered and couldn't figure out how to turn it on. It's impossible to do anything while swimming so I knew I would have to wait until I got on the bike to mess with it.
I saw Brandi get out of the pool when I had 200 m left to go so I knew we were right on track! Transition from swim to bike was pretty uneventful, and fairly fast. I don't mess around over there. Towel off, socks on, shoes on, helmet on, go! As soon as I started pedaling I knew something wasn't right. It felt so HARD. My quads were burning and I was hardly moving. I kept shifting gears to make it easier, only it wasn't helping. I thought maybe I had used my quads a lot on the swim so that's why they were burning. On the 2nd lap, I finally noticed a noise coming from my front tire. At first I thought it was a air coming out (nooooooo!!!!) but then looked closer and one side of my front brake was rubbing against the tire. I tried jiggling it and loosening the brake, all while still riding, but nothing helped. At least I had figured out why it was harder than usual. I was riding against my brake! I didn't want to risk stopping if I couldn't fix it so I just kept on going. I finally got my Garmin going, and got my pace up to around 16 mph. That's the best I could do with that tire. I had one GU on the 3rd lap and sips of Gatorade/water mix every once in awhile. I was feeling good despite sabotaging my own bike. On my 6th and final lap, I didn't see another soul on the bike course. I was pretty dejected by this point. I thought for sure I would catch up to Brandi, and now I hadn't seen her or anyone else for that matter.
The transition from bike to run was once again fairly fast. Helmet off, hat on, running bib on, sunglasses on, and go! My first mile felt great. It was a 7:5x pace. However, I knew I wouldn't be able to keep that up. I started to feel a cramp in my right quad (I NEVER get cramps when I run) and the heat was almost unbearable at this point. It was around 11 am and the temperature had crept up into the 90's. I slowed waaaaay down and came to grips with the fact that I would not be getting my PR today. I actually had no idea what my total time was, but at least I was passing people on the run. My mile paces were anywhere from 8:30 to 9:30. I have honestly never wanted to walk so badly in my life. I finally saw Brandi at the turnaround and she looked pretty miserable too. Come to think of it, every single person I saw out there running looked miserable. After I turned around I caught up to Brandi and passed her. Although I had to keep fighting the urge to walk, I ran in strong to the finish.
Swim: 39:42 (11th place overall)
Bike: 1:32:52 (14th place overall)
Run: 54:43 (3rd place overall)
Total: 3:07 (8th place overall)
My swim was 2 minutes faster than the previous year.
My bike was 4 minutes slower than the previous year.
My run was 1 minute slower than the previous year.
Overall, my time was 3 minutes SLOWER than last year.
It was a tough race. There were a few women who dropped out and didn't even attempt the run. I'm proud that I never gave up, even though I had so many reasons to.
I even ended up 1st place in my age group (30-34)!