September 4, 2009

A Great Way to End the Season

The last triathlon of the season, I can say with total confidence, was a success. I shaved five minutes off my time from last year! ! Four of those minutes were from my swim and the other minute was a combination of the other bits. I can't believe I shaved any time off since the race was so miserable. It rained the whole time, the hardest when I was on the bike. But I didn't let that get me down. No sirree. I beat my greatest adversary- myself.

I was so nervous this year. (I almost cried out of fear until I saw the fattest baby holding a cowbell. That shook me out of it.) I lost my goggles and usual ear and nose plugs at the Y but didn't notice until the night before. That discovery at 10pm was an awesome way to relax. Luckily there is a 24-hour Walmart on the way to the race so I was able to pick up a pair of goggles. (I have extra nose and ear plugs everywhere. I am a very delicate water baby.) The water was warmer than the air so there was an eerie mist that hung over the lake. It was neat to look at and not a problem to swim in but it made spotting difficult. The first wave swam far too left and almost got on the wrong side of the buoys. When my wave got in the water the MC told us to keep a boathouse directly in front of us but as a chorus of women told him, we couldn't see it. It didn't prove to be too much of an issue for me because I kept up with people in my heat just fine. I didn't have to do much spotting as long as I could swim with the mass of bubbles in front of me.

As I got out of the water I spotted my friends (yay!) and got into my biking gear. It may have been wet but it wasn't too cold. I chose to put on long sleeves just to be safe. The wind can be mean. I was joking with my friend Lyndy before the race that I hoped the hills were an exaggerated memory a la Tim Burton and at first it felt like that would be the case. However, once I got to the turn around point I realized my nightmares were a true representation of the reality. I didn't shave more than mere seconds off of my bike time from last year. But I did it in less pain!! My friend Karen let me borrow her road bike for the race. It is more kind to my back than my hybrid because I'm not as upright and there were foot straps so I could pull on the pedals as well as push.

When I got off the bike the DJ was playing David Bowie and I was rejuvenated. The fact that my thighs weren't numb was a fantastic feeling. I had soaking wet feet and ran the three miles with undone shoelaces. If I stopped to tie them I wouldn't have been able to start again. I'm just so glad for the tables of water and the traffic people who were there to remind me. The run is always so lonely since I take so long on the bike and they help me feel like I'm not alone. On the upside the quiet makes the run very zen. When I got to the finish line I was soaking from head to toe and couldn't tell if my body wanted to dry heave or just cough. All that matters is I didn't puke. And I enjoyed my post race banana.

Though I shaved whole minutes from my race I'm a little bummed they all came from swimming. I know I'm a strong swimmer and I'm happy to improve anywhere but it would be nice if I could figure out how to improve at all on the bike. I just can't seem to get it to click in my head. That's going to be my goal over these next seven months. Any tips?

Now that tri season is over I'm shifting my focus to the half-marathon in five weeks. I'm still keeping up my swimming for the team race I have with Mike and his brother in two weeks. I'm excited to swim in a new, bigger and more challenging lake and I'm thrilled to do it as part of a team. The cherry on top of my excitement cake is the fact that my father, mother and sister will be there to watch me do it. They've never seen me swim competitively before. It's going to be so great!

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