Jamie graciously drove and we made great time. We had time to stop and get breakfast for him and the kiddos (I stuck to my Clif Bar ritual) and we pulled into Lake Anna before 8 a.m. I changed into my tri gear, set up in transition, and actually had time to just relax with my kids before I made my way down to the beach for the 9 a.m. start.
The weather was I guess not ideal for most people (lots of whining -- "it was supposed to be sunny!") but it didn't bother me. Drizzly and high 60s. Personally I prefer that to hot and blazing sun. And please, you're going to get wet the second the gun goes off. It's a triathlon, people, and it starts with a swim.
I was in the first wave -- the "confident but not necessarily fast swimmers doing the Olympic Distance triathlon" wave, along with my friend/ fellow mother of a three year old and about one year old, Andie (the one who got me started with this whole triathlon business when I broke my foot in 2010.... totally her fault I am doing this Ironman in August.) One of the race planners was trying to explain the swim course. It was a triangle. There was something about going counterclockwise around a set of buoys, doing two loops, and then heading through a finish buoy chute at the end. As usual my spacial learning disability (yes I have one -- it was actually diagnosed) did not compute and I figured I would just follow people.
I wasn't really sure how fast I should push myself on the swim. Though I do swim over a mile every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning, there is a lot of stopping at the wall. I decided to just take it easy for the first loop and possibly pick up the pace on the second. The water temperature was perfect (though my full suit was a bit of overkill and I was a little hot by the middle of the swim) and I love lake swimming, having learned how to swim in one. It had been quite some time since I had to do any sighting and that first buoy looked pretty far away. There is quite a difference between swimming 1500 meters without touching a wall and swimming more than that but knowing that wall is only a few feet a way if need be. For the first loop I had people around me and I just followed them. I'm not sure what happened on the second loop -- if some of the Olympic folks wimped out and decided to do the sprint instead, or if I was just extremely slow -- but the last triangle was pretty desolate. I finally made it back to shore... not sure if anyone was behind me as I didn't look back! Susie, Jamie and Jack were cheering for me as I headed to Transition 1.
As usual, T1 was ridiculously slow. I am always shaking when I go from swim to bike, can't get my wet suit off properly, totally disoriented, can't get my socks on, can't figure out what direction I'm supposed to run (thankfully a DSG buddy was patrolling the bike racks and pointed me in the right direction.) Apparently I was not quite as disoriented as the girl in front of me, who toppled over the second she mounted her bike. (Sidenote: When I did the Half Iron in 2010, I crashed into a sand dune about .2 miles after exiting T1. Conclusion: The act of going from floating in water to balancing on two wheels is unnatural and inherently dangerous.)
The bike section, which was something like 22 miles, or maybe 24, went pretty well considering how hilly it was. According to someone I met post-race, it was comparable to the rolling hills in Ironman Louisville and my bike computer (Thank you to the Revolution Cycle booth for fixing my bike computer just before the race!) said I did the climbs between 14-16 mph and the descents between 22-26 mph. I was pretty proud of the climbing considering I've only been on the bike since the marathon in March. I had packed jelly beans, which I love on my long training rides, but I couldn't figure out how to eat them without falling over so I had Clif shots instead. I also was very thankful for my aerobar bottle since I have yet to master the art of holding a water bottle without losing my balance. Aerobar bottle = just lean over and drink = awesome invention for klutzes like me (except for when you manage to fall over anyhow, like I did during the Reston Century, in which case you wish you had a regular water bottle because the aerobar bottle just falls over with the bike and is empty for the next 20 miles.)
I felt great for Transition 2. After dismounting I carried bike over my head and ran to the bike rack, ripped off my shoes, slipped on my Nikes (whomever invented lace locks deserves a medal, by the way... $5 and I don't have to tie my shoes. Brilliant.), strapped on my race belt, grabbed some Clif Shots, and started running... the wrong direction (thankfully that same DSG buddy was still patrolling the bike racks and pointed me in the RIGHT direction... again.)
The final loop was fine though very lonely. Where were the rest of these Olympians? The finish was a straight shot downhill for three quarters of a miles so I booked it and passed a whole bunch of people on the way. Booyah! Take THAT, extra 2.4 miles! Susie was waiting for me at the finish line with my friend/ the race paramedic Michelle. "Mommy good job but now can I have my cupcake?!?!?" Georgetown Cupcake -- yes THE famous Georgetown Cupcake that is on TLC -- is one of the race sponsors and their coveted desserts are the finish line prize. For participants only. "She's been waiting for you... she really wants a cupcake" Michelle said. I guess my cupcake was going to Susie. I took a bite and handed it over.
I have no idea what my time was. For any of the legs. Apparently the times will be up in a couple days once they work out the course distance snafoo.
At any rate, it was fun. And I ran into Tuan on the way to the car, and he gave me three more cupcakes. Booyah!
Iron Andie and I post-race
Apparently none of us know how to look at a camera