******Spoiler Alert******* My sidebar isn’t sporting any changes today. You would be correct in assuming that I’m a little unhappy about that, but at least there’s a good story behind it. Here it is:
When I woke up yesterday morning, it was cold. And cloudy. And quite windy. Ugh, this is not optimal race day weather! I still felt pretty optimistic about the day, though, and I was excited about watching Big Boy and Little Boy compete in their TRI for KIDS event.
I felt strangely confident about the swim going into it. This was a real small race, so there were only three swim waves and none of them were huge. The water was much warmer than the outside air and swimming 400 meters sounded like a walk in the park. The horn blew and we were off! I positioned myself near the middle of the pack, wanting to stay with other people and swim strong the whole time. I made it to the first turn buoy and thought, “Well, this isn’t too bad, I’m passing a few people and feeling good.”
The stretch between the first and second turn buoys seemed long. Like really, really long. Longer than my Sprint Distance long. I was still feeling pretty good, but I worried that I was getting tired and that buoy was still a long way off. I finally made it around the second buoy and that’s when the wheels fell off.
It was pretty windy yesterday, about 10 – 15 mph winds, so when I was on the home stretch of the swim leg, I was facing an awful headwind. It was like swimming on a treadmill. No matter how hard I swam, the shore wasn’t coming any closer. Waves were chopping over my head and I started to feel panicky. I took in a lungful of water, then another, then – ACK – another. I tried treading water or flipping over onto my back but I couldn’t catch my breath without getting a face-full of water. At this point, I had moved past panic and careened into full blown terror. “KAYAK!!”
I held on to the kayak for only a few seconds, just long enough to check my watch and go from terrified to completely pissed off. This was supposed to be my day, dammit, my race of glory and somehow I had already spent 13 minutes in the water?? I was still in the middle of the pack of swimmers! WTF??? By the time I made it to shore, my watch said 18 minutes and change. Son of a belch! (Later in the afternoon, the race director’s Facebook page mentioned that the final turn buoy had drifted significantly off-course because of the wind and current. So, as it turns out, I swam closer to 600 meters. But of course I didn’t know that at the time, so in my mind, the whole day had just gone down the tubes.)
Swim Time – 18:12, T1 – 2:02
The bike leg is traditionally my favorite of the three. I’m (usually) happy to be out of the water, but I’m not really tired yet, so I feel strong on the bike. Yesterday on the bike I was just MAD! I couldn’t shake off the bad swim. I’m usually sort of chatty on the bike, but yesterday I was just hollering, “LEFT!” as I whizzed past people.
The wind was a real factor on this leg, too. On one downhill with a nice tailwind, my cycle computer said I was going almost 28 mph – woo hoo! But, of course, coming back it was uphill and a headwind, so I was lucky to crank out 13 mph. My anger fueled a pretty aggressive ride – I passed anyone I could catch and nobody passed me.
I had decided not to wear my Garmin for this race, my thinking being that I didn’t want to take the time to put it on in T1 or switch to run mode in T2. On the bike, not knowing my speed was probably a good thing. I felt so strong and so speedy, but when I got home and did the math, my average speed was only 17.2 mph. Blech! Stupid wind!
Bike Time – 27:52, T2 – 1:15
Coming out of T2 and onto the run course, I made the mistake of looking at my watch again. Almost 50 minutes, about the time I had been hoping to be past the one mile turnaround. Aaaargh! The “good” news is that, rather than feeling discouraged, it made me even more angry, which made me run faster! I tore up the run course. All I wanted in the world was to be done with this stupid race and see how bad the damage was to my finish time.
Without my Garmin, I had no idea if I was running fast or slow, but I did notice that I was still passing a lot of people. Because it’s an out and back course, you can see all the people who are ahead of you, so I was keeping sort of a mental list: “Younger than me…maybe my age…younger…can’t tell…older…younger…” The people whose calves I could see were all in their 30s or 50s. I feared that I was in dead last for my age group and there was going to be a group of 40 – 49 year old women at the finish line, pointing and laughing at me.
Run Time – 16:11 (an 8:05 pace, FINALLY something to be happy about!), Finish Time – 1:05:36
After I crossed the finish line, I tried to accept the congratulations from my family, but honestly, I just wanted to kick something. I was so utterly disappointed in how things had turned out. I cleaned up my transition area and got a free post-race massage (I’ve never done that before, but there was no waiting in line, so I took advantage. It was a pretty nice perk). We waited around for the results because I wanted to know my official time – my watch differed from The Hubs’ time by almost two minutes.
By the time the results were posted, the awards ceremony had begun, so we stuck around a little while for that. They announced the third place winner for my age group and I turned to leave, because I knew I wasn’t going to do any better than that. So, you can imagine my complete shock when they got to FIRST PLACE and announced my name!! In fact, despite the family-friendly venue, I think I blurted out, “HOLY SH*T!!” Yeah, I’m a real class act, huh?
I have never won anything, EVER. My finest and speediest performances have netted me plenty of 4th Places (or lower!), but I have never been called to the podium. So I checked the official results online today, just in case they realized later that they had made a mistake, but there I am: 79/211 Overall and 1/21 in my Age Group. Sorta takes the sting out of missing a PR, now, doesn’t it???