I actually slept pretty well on Friday night, which is unusual for me the night before a race. But the whole week had actually been quite unusual. I hadn't been overwhelmingly nervous. I mean, I had a couple of nights of flat tire nightmares which stopped when I finally went to the bike shop and had them show me how to change a tire (and I bought a tire pack for under the seat of my bike). But I just wasn't freaked out like I tend to get. It was sort of freaky! LOL
Saturday morning, I had planned to meet up with my BFF, Sherry, my friend Abbey (who I ran Princess 2011 with), and my friend Jill from the ROTE board (who I finally met IRL on Friday night when we went to pick up our race packets). We would caravan over to the start and get our transition areas set up near each other.
We got to Lake Lanier in plenty of time, which was good because the traffic backed up at the entrance gate. They were charging $8 per car admission, which I thought was unusual. I've run at Lake Lanier many times and never had to pay to get in. We found out right before the start that this was an error, and we are all being given a $10 credit for a future event. :) We still got parked with plenty of time and went to set up our transition area.
After transition was all set up, we went over to pick up our timing chips and to get marked on the arm and leg. That was really exciting!
Here are the 4 of us all marked up and ready to go:
Really before I knew it, it was time to make the 1/3 mile walk to the start line. Sherry, Abbey, and I were in the 6th wave and Jill was in the 7th (and last) wave. That was really good for me because it was nice to watch the other folks swim ahead of us. The water felt just fine to me, and I waded out a little ways so I was lined up with the buoys. You didn't have to swim around the buoys, since this was a My First Tri (you could stay closer to shore so you could stop and take rest breaks), but I figured I could manage it and I wanted to try.
They counted us down from 10 and then we were off. My coach told me to let people take off ahead of me so I could just relax and not have to worry about getting tired out during the swim. My form was not as good as I wanted it to be because my goggles fogged up and made it pretty hard to see the buoys. Also, I was going faster than I expected and I was sort of disoriented. I only bumped into a couple of people but it really wasn't too bad! I felt really strong in the water, and I couldn't really see much further than my hand so I didn't have to worry about seeing fish swimming by or anything! LOL Before I knew it, I had reached the end of the swim course and was ready to make my way to the first transition. This was between 1/3 and 1/4 of a mile and was absolutely ridiculous. The end of the hike was uphill, culminating in THIS CLIMB:
That was just so entirely wrong! LOL I walked out of the water, across the sand, and up the stairs. Then I jogged the next flat portion (sidewalk, so I wanted to be careful not to stub my toe), and then I walked the rest with Abbey who finished the swim about the same time. My time for the swim, including the long trek back to transition, was 15:57.
At transition, I turned on my GPS and ate my beans while standing on my towel. I looked down to see my feet covered with sand, so I used my extra water bottle to rinse off my feet. I dried off my feet and put my socks on (the rolled down trick worked so well) and then my shoes. Garmin was ready to go by then and I put that on and then my helmet. I had decided to save my skirt for the run. I took my bike off the rack and headed for the bike start. Funny transition note - Sherry was in transition, too, and I didn't even notice her! LOL I knew Abbey was there, but I was expecting Sherry's swim to take much longer than ours - but she was actually 2 minutes faster! T1 time - 3:26.
It took about a full minute to actually mount my bike and get my feet in the holsters for my shoes. I can't imagine having clip-ons. I'd probably still be standing there trying to get it to work! LOL The bike was my weakest area and my goal was just to survive. Since my gears wouldn't shift down onto the first set of gears, I knew I needed to conserve my energy for the hills. They would be hard in the 2nd gears. I was very nervous but just decided to deal with it. I rode near Abbey for a little while but her bike is more of a cruiser and weighs a lot more so she ended up behind me. I had not secured my race number on my bike very well and it fell off within less than a quarter of a mile! Next time I will do a better job! About the 3rd mile, Jill caught up to me and rode with me for a few minutes! It was nice to see her! Biking is her strongest, so she left me quickly. On a big nasty hill, I came within inches of crashing. People were just stopping going up the hill, right in the middle of the lane. This man stopped, causing a lady to crash into him. Then the lady in front of me crashed into them. I quickly steered into the oncoming lane, missing them by inches. It all happened SO quickly. My heart was really pounding, not just because of the hill, but because of fear. I decided to be a lot more aware of my surroundings, especially going up the hills.
I saw Jill again and knew I must be getting close to the turn-around. The turn-around was pretty intimidating because I have a hard time keeping my balance when turning on my bike! LOL I let the lady riding next to me know that I was not good at turns and she should give me a wide berth! ;) But I did it, and I was on my way back! I saw Abbey soon after and knew she was not far behind me. Remember, though, that I had not seen Sherry in transition to know that she was actually ahead of me, so I spent a good part of the ride back looking for her and getting a little worried. The ride back was easier, overall, for some reason. I dismounted my bike with more ease that I had mounted it, and headed into transition. Bike time - 55:24
I got into transition and put my bike up on the rack and took off my helmet. The person next to me had really invaded my space and it was hard to get to my stuff. Jill was there, too, and it was good to see her! I am really glad we all had our transition areas together. Sherry's bike was already racked so this is where I got confused. I was hoping everything was OK with her. I ate some more sport beans, pulled on my skirt and visor, and headed for the run start. It was really, really hot by this point, so I grabbed a cup of water on my way out. T2 - 2:14
I had to laugh as I left the transition area because the announcer was saying that the run course was much easier than the bike course. I knew he was lying, though, because I've run tons of races at Lake Lanier! I know this course was all on the resort property, unlike the bike course. The hills are nasty around there! At least I knew what to expect. Running is what I do... there was nothing really to think about. One thing that completely surprised me was that I had no issues at all with my shins. My shins had plagued me during my first brick practice and during one in the last week of training and every now and then during other bricks they would sort of scream out at me briefly. But not this time. I didn't feel anything, except for heat and the natural fatigue from having already swam and biked. A couple was running next to me at the start of the run and he said, "You know, this is the point where training really would have helped!" and they both laughed and started walking. I wasn't trying to feel cocky, but I couldn't help but agree. I really felt quite good.
The sun started to get to me about a mile into the race. It was just HOT. I don't know the actual temperature, but it was after 9 AM by this time and the temps had started at 71 when we got up at 6AM, so I figure it had to be at least 80 degrees. The high yesterday was 94. I'm used to being done with my workout by 8 AM, so this was just unbearable. It was SO hot.
Jill spotted me on her way back from the turn-around and gave me a high five, which was REALLY great! I was looking for Sherry on the way out and Abbey on the way back but didn't see either of them. I walked through the first water station and drank up, and then walked through the next water station. I simply can't run and drink from a paper cup at the same time! But other than that, I ran the entire course, even the nasty last hill. I knew exactly where I was, and that I was almost there!
The finish line was flat right after a nice downhill and I let loose! My Garmin shows I averaged a 6:49 pace in the last tenth of the course! ROFLOL
Sherry got this great picture of me at the finish line (since she had finished 12 minutes earlier! LOL) ... and I hope the course photographers got some good pics of me as well since I was pretty much by myself at the end! No worries about someone blocking the view! ;) Run time - 30:14, which is my third fastest 5K (and the others weren't preceded by a swim and bike ride!!).
My total time was 1:47:15!!!
I already posted the picture of me after the race with my medal, so here are the four of us after the race with our medals! Don't we all look amazing for having just finished our first triathlons???
Would it be a terrible cliche' to say that I had "the time of my life"??? But it's the truth! I had so much fun! When I got done, I felt like I could have kept on going! It must have been adrenaline or something, though, because after I finally sat down and ate lunch, when I got back up, I could barely stand! LOL I got home, posted the pictures to Facebook, and promptly took a 3 hour nap! It was hysterical!!
But today I feel quite well and really not much sore than I had been during the peak of training. I am more tired, though, this afternoon and will go to bed early, again. But that's to be expected, I guess. I am looking forward to more triathlons in my future, and I hope to be able to participate in IronGirl Atlanta next year. It sold out last year, though, so I'm not sure I'll be able to save up the money before it sells out. I would also like to attempt an olympic distance triathlon, which would be twice the distance I did during yesterday's sprint distance. Not sure when I might be able to fit that in, though. Maybe fall 2012? Jill sent me a link to one at Lake Lanier in the fall called the 5150 series. So I wouldn't have to travel anywhere. But that's putting the cart before the horse! Definitely can't do that this fall, and I would like to get a few more sprints under my belt first! :)
Now I have a week off from any formal training. Next Monday, June 13th, I begin Full Marathon training!!! :)