Aquathlon (swim/run) is a sport I have always thought I'd be good at and always wanted to try, but unfortunately, they're really hard to find locally or even in the whole state of Ohio. Early in 2015 I established that I wanted to go to the national championships and try to qualify for the world championships. Obviously, everything got derailed when I broke my hip. In mid-August, though, the doctor, physical therapist, and coach gave me the green light to go ahead and do this race.
My training has been spotty at best. I've put in the time in the pool, but I've been tentative about my running. I've done some running but nothing as long as six miles and nothing with speed. Honestly, I'm scared to push the hip at this point. In addition, I put on quite a bit of weight this summer and haven't taken any of it off. I've eaten and drank horribly and have overall felt like crap.
Nonetheless, we planned a trip to Oklahoma so I could compete in the race. I had a hard time wrapping my head around the price of the trip versus the total time of the race versus my ability to actually qualify for the world championships. We always came back to the fact that I was "racing the states" and I didn't have Oklahoma. Excuse, enough, I guess.
More on our overall trip to Oklahoma tomorrow. And now, on with the race.
The swim was a 1500m triangle open water swim in Lake El Reno. The water was a cold 67 degrees and murky. Ah, just like home! I haven't done an open water swim since Anderson was born, but things have gone really well in the pool so I figured I would be okay. Except, I'm not very confident in open water. I don't like to be close to other competitors. I don't like seeing how long the swim actually is. I don't like thinking about how deep the water is and the possibility that no one would see me sink to the bottom. Dude, seriously, I'm a head-case! I started too far back in the pack and almost immediately freaked out. As I was spotting I saw a girl beside me raise her hand and ask for assistance from one of the kayaks. Yikes! I flipped over to my back, collected myself, and told myself to just make it to the first turn buoy and then I could quit. As I was swimming to that first buoy I got mad at myself. I didn't travel over half of the country to quit. If anything, I was picking up Oklahoma!
I got to that first turn buoy and it was shallow. Like, only up to my chest, shallow. Several people were walking. So, I stood up too. Shoot, I was walking as fast as anyone was swimming around me! Soon, though, it was time to get back to swimming and I did more confidently this time. It took forever to reach the second turn bouy but by this time there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Although I swam a horrible line, I still picked people out in front of me and swam hard to catch them. Finally the swim was over. I was plucked from the water and was headed for the wet suit strippers.
Seriously y'all. Multisport is just comical for me. There is always something. For me, it happened at the wet suit strippers. My wet suit got stuck on my wrist. Not on my watch. Not on a timing chip. On my tiny, T-Rex, wrists! Seriously?! How much weight have I gained?!?! It took a good 30+ seconds to rip my arm out of the wet suit and then a mere flash to get the rest of the wet suit off.
Transition wasn't any better. It shouldn't take that long to put on socks and shoes (shoes that have speed laces in them too), grab my hat and number and go. Yet I seemed to be in transition forever. (In reality, it was less than a minute but it probably should have been a lot faster.) And then I was out on the run.
I got passed. I did some passing. I tried to do some counting in my age group. I ran within myself at a pace that was both swift enough and conservative enough for my hip. At the first turn around (it was a two-looping, out-and-back course), I got passed by a girl in my age group. She was flying. Crap. I finished the first loop and Dave told me that I was in 10th in my age group (in reality I was 11th) and that girls ahead of me looked bad. I picked up the pace a little and started focusing on other competitors. I reached one girl and we began to push each other. My pace dropped down to about 7:50 and I was starting to feel good. At the final turn around I caught that girl in my age group who had passed me earlier. I wound my way to the finish line and kicked it in. My run time was around 49:15 or something like that.
This picture pretty much sums it up, doesn't it?
Here's where things got dicey. The top ten in each age group qualifies for the world championship next September in Cozumel. Aquathlon follows the same rules as triathlon. You compete as your age at the end of the year for the whole year. Does that make sense? My birthday is in April. I competed as a 37 year old no matter if it was January 2015 or December 2015. This rule sucks for Dave because he has a December birthday. Because of these weird age-up rules, my competition was really 34-38 year olds because they would be 35-39 in 2016 for the world championships. For the current 35-39 year olds, I finished 8th in the age group. Applying the age up rules, I finished 10th.
Unofficially, I have made the national team and will be heading to Cozumel to compete in the world championships. I am so excited!
Note - All of my pictures from the race are videos on the GoPro. I'm trying to figure out how to make them into still images. Hopefully more pictures to come later.