When it rains, it pours.
Three years ago when I did this race it went something like this....rain, thunder and lightning at the end of the swim and during the whole bike, and then got sunny and hot, hot, hot on the run. Yesterday's race went something like this....rain, hail, thunder and lightning at the end of the swim and during the whole bike, and then got sunny and hot, hot, hot on the run.
As we were setting up our transition area the race director called a little meeting with all participants. He said the weather was looking bad in the next three hours so he was moving the waves around to get everyone started in the next half hour. My wave was moved up from 7:30 to 7:16. I quickly put all my stuff away and got down to the beach.
Because the water was 80 degrees, wetsuits were not allowed. Although I had not done a race without a wetsuit, I was probably happier not to be wearing one. I'm more of a pool swimmer than a triathlete swimmer and use my kick. When I wear my wetsuit, I don't really get to kick the way I want to. I had practiced the day before without a wetsuit and I was feeling pretty good. The gun went off for my wave. I hung in the back, counted to ten, and then dove into the water and started swimming. I made it out to the first boat with little trouble. There I stopped and treaded water for a few seconds. The people on the boat asked if I was okay. This time I was able to confidently tell them yes and I kept on swimming. Although the water was choppy, my swim was going great. I was breathing every four strokes, sighting well, and catching people in my wave and other waves. As I rounded the last buoy and now was heading towards shore, the winds picked up, the sky opened up, and it began to rain. HARD! What I found out from Dave is that it was also hailing. As I took a breath over my right shoulder I saw a huge bolt of lightning. My only thought was....did that strike water and how far could the electrical current travel. I kicked it into high gear, got those arms moving, and headed towards shore as quickly as my little body would get there. As I'm running up to the transition area, another lightning bolt hit. I truly thought about stopping at this point. The important part of the race was over for me. I had conquered my open water fears and had a great swim.
Swim time = 42:10
But I didn't stop. I didn't train like a crazy woman for 12 weeks to come all the way here and not finish the race. I put on my helmet and my shoes and I was off.
T1 = 2:25 (this is longer than it could have been because I was trying to figure out if I was going to continue on in the race)
The rain didn't bother me....it was the wind. Let's face it, I'm a little girl and the wind can do a number on me. There were times where I was flying on my bike, easily doing 20-22 mph. But there were other times when I was struggling to keep it between 14-16 mph. I was having fun, though. I actually passed 5 people, which is a record for me! I followed my nutrition plan and kept my spirits up by singing to myself and playing games. My most favorite part of the bike was when I needed to take my salt tablets. I had put them in a plastic Ziploc baggie inside my Bento Box. To be efficient (as all engineers are :) ) I kept the baggie unzipped so I could easily reach in and get what I needed. But, because it was raining, my salt tablets disintegrated and all that was left was soggy salt. I licked what I could off my fingers and carried on. :) The bike was longer than I hoped but I was still in high spirits as I entered T2.
Bike time = 3:16:36
T2 = 2:22 (I was smart enough to put my socks, shoes, and hat in a plastic bag to keep them dry. What I wasn't smart about was my balance as I fell with my dry sock onto my wet towel.)
By the time I got on the run, it had stopped raining. I trotted along for the first couple of miles having to walk and stop and stretch and readjust my socks a couple of times. When I got to the first water stop I pulled out some more salt tablets which had been sealed in a plastic baggie. Of course what do I do? I drop one of the ground. Being the gross athlete that I am, I picked it right back up and popped it in my mouth. Although I walked a little bit of every mile, I was making good time until about mile 5. There my stomach revolted and I had to take a port-o-john stop. Still, that mile was only around 10 minutes and I kept on keeping on. At the turnaround I still had a shot to make 6 hours, but that quickly went away as I needed to walk more and more. I was passing people, though, and having fun and just taking small strides toward the finish. In the end I got passed by one person in my age group on the final 0.1. Darn it! But, I beat my time from 3 years ago....just barely. 59 whole seconds!
Run time = 2:05:43
Final = 6:09:17 (12/20 in age group)
Although I really wanted to go under 6 hours, I'm pretty happy with the way things turned out. I'm glad that my triathlon season is over and I look forward to hitting the pavement and getting back to running full time. I'm also really looking forward to the saddle sores going away because they've become unbearable!