Sunday, August 15, 2010

Danskin Triathlon -- Part 3

First, the spoiler. I did it! Now on to the story...

I didn't sleep well the night before the race. To begin with, it was what will most likely the hottest weekend of the year. We bought the air conditioning unit for the bedroom, but it was still hot. On top of that, I was pretty nervous. The worst part of this is that I was nervous the alarm wouldn't go off even though I had checked it twice. And of course, I got up before the alarm even went off because I was awake anyway.

the DH and Annzy and I left the house at 6:30 with the intent of watching my friend Kathleen get into the water for her wave at 7:10. We didn't move quite fast enough to see her get in, so I went and put all my things in my transition area and then we went down to the water for her exit and she looked great. I had signed up for the open waves, and those didn't start until 8:20, so I also took some time to help Kathleen pull off her wetsuit. After that, it was time for me to get ready for my race. I went to my transition area and put on my timing chip, set up all of my things to make it easier after the swim, and then put on my wetsuit to the waist. At 8:05 I headed over to the water to line up for the open waves of swimmers.

When I got to the swim start, it was amazing to see all the women there in red swim caps with me. There were three waves that still had to go before the open waves were ready to start, so I waited a little while to finish putting on the wet suit. It was pretty hot in the area and I knew I would be really warm with the wet suit on the rest of the way. I finally put it on and I loved how helpful all the women around me were. I had gotten a little sweaty, so it was hard to get the arms up, but with a little help from my new best friends, I was in the suit in a jiffy.
I was in wave 31, so had to wait for another four waves of red cap lovelies go in front of my while I tried to quell the butterflies. We moved into the "on deck" position while wave 30 waited for their start and then went down to the water after wave 30 left. It felt great to get in the cold water. Finally, we got the signal to go. I was right at the front on the right-hand side. I swim to the right on accident, so I wanted to be on the right so I wouldn't be able to swim all the way across the route and spend too much time going sideways. It was a good strategy. I felt strong in the swim, but I will say that it was really hard to swim with the huge group of women in the water. When I swam hard, I ran into groups of swimmers that were hard to get around. It felt a little like being on a crowded freeway when you come up to people going slower than you in all the lanes. It was good to have the experience and I think I'll be able to swim faster in the future.

As we came around the second buoy, the water got really choppy. The good news is that I never got panicky or had a problem swimming. I just knew I had to swim harder to stay on track and finish. There were tons of weeds in the water for the last 100 yards. I hate swimming in the weeds! It was great to get out of that. I was so happy to see the DH, Annzy, and Dr. Bowers and his wife at the end of the swim. I also finished in 25:46, below my goal of 30 minutes.

I then went to the transition area, peeled the wet suit off and then dried off a little and put on my t-shirt, shorts, helmet, gloves, and sun glasses. I got the bike off the rack and then walked over to the bike start area. I got on the bike and started riding toward I-90. I had been told about a tricky part at the entrance to I-90. It was a narrow steep area, but there were not a lot of cyclists around, so I really tried to ride the whole way up the steep area. I only got about 2/3 of the way up before having to get off my bike and walk it the rest of the way though. Then, I got back on and rode as hard as I could. The beginning of the I-90 portion of the route was down hill, so I wanted to get as much speed and momentum as possible. After that, it was kind of rolling up and down with flat in between for the rest of the way out and then the opposite heading back in. The end of the route, back to the park was super easy. I finished in 56:33, below my goal of 60 minutes.
After the bike ride, I dismounted and rolled the bike back to the transition area. I racked the bike, took off the helmet and gloves, and put on a ball cap. From there, I headed toward the run start. On the way, I ran into Kathleen. She was done and I was so proud of her! I started the run and could tell that I was really tired. My goal for the run was not a time, but simply to run the entire way. The course was flat all the way out and my run was very slow, but still a run. At about 2.5 miles into the race, there's a hill that is about the length of one city block and very steep. I knew it would be the hardest part of the whole day for me and it really was. I actually quit looking up and just concentrated on keeping the jog going and putting one foot in front of the other. I envisioned jogging in 1st gear. It worked and I made it to the top of that hill. I kept up the jog for the rest of the way and was excited to see my cheering section close to the end of the race. I ran pretty fast the last 100 yards, but that was my last bit of steam. I was so glad that I had accomplished my third goal and run the whole way. Even better, I was done!

It was really warm and I was totally spent at the end. I was so grateful to see Brock and Layla and Colin, Sam, and Max at the finish line in addition to the DH, Annzy, and Kathleen. It was a great time and it was wonderful to know that I had done what I set out to do.


Kathleen said...

You did an amazing job and I'm so impressed with the journey you've been on to get there. Congratulations!

Brock said...

"It was really warm" = understatement of the year. It was SCORCHING.

Anyway, great job!

Dan said...

Amazing event Noelle. Congrats again with your milestone.