Swim 1: 7:49 (5th AG)
Run 1: 13:57 (4th AG includes Transitions)
Bike: 31:41 5 (1st AG; 6th OF)
Run 2: 14:02 (5th AG includes Transitions)
Swim 2: 8:55 (2nd AG includes running up beach back to start area)
Overall: 1:16:21 (2nd AG)
As I described in Part 2 of my race report, I just barely go to the start line in time. The horn blew off and we all stepped into the waves. I hadn’t really positioned myself well, so just followed the crowd and mozied on into the waves. I wasn’t yet in a racing frame of mind.
I did a few dolphin dives, then dove under a couple of waves, and started swimming. The water was pretty calm, and I didn’t think about sharks much. The way out to the first buoy was pretty crowded, and I felt a little like a sardine. But I love that…I feel like a little kid playing with a bunch of friends in the waves.
I rounded the first buoy and started swimming parallel to shore. There was a strong current, so I was swimming fast and easy. It was alot of fun, I really love this swim course! I tried to remember to kick my legs for added speed, but it didn’t feel like it was doing much, as I was already swimming fast due to the current. So, I just kept swimming at a solid easy pace along with that current to the final buoy. As I turned toward shore, I could feel the waves move past my body. I tried to swim in synch with their movement, so as to use their speed to my advantage. This is something I learned in an OWS training swim…the day that I discovered that I was athletic.
I exited the water and ran up the beach toward T1, still not yet feeling in a sprint racing mode. I stuffed my cap and goggles into my sport bra for later use in the final swim. I found my running shoes in my spot on the beach, grabbed them and ran up the boardwalk. They had kiddie pools filled with water to rinse the sand off your feet, so I stepped in one, then out, then put my shoes on and was off for the first run.
In my rush to get ready for the race, I had not grabbed a watch. So, I was racing ‘naked’, meaning no computer data. I had no idea how I was doing. I started running hard, and I was breathing hard, but I was not quite going “balls to the wall” hard. A friend named Rebecca passed me early on in the run. I tried to keep her in sight and use her as a pacer.
Near the end of the run, a girl with ’48’ on her leg passed me. She had a black top with a pink triangle shape on the back. I’ll call her Pinky. I tried to keep Pinky in sight on the run, with plans to blow her away on the bike course. I lost sight of both Rebecca and Pinky going around the last corner near T2.
I had a pretty fast transition, swapping shoes, donning helmet, grabbing bike and go! At the mount line, I did a flying mount, and botched it because my suit was slippery from sweat. I finally got going, stood up and hammered to get up to full speed. Around the little corner and it was go-go-go. I passed Rebecca fairly soon. I thought I saw Pinky in the distance and made her my target. I was going almost balls to the wall on the bike. But not quite, because I knew I had to save something for that final swim. I inched closer to Pinky, but could not quite catch her.
At the turn around for lap 2 of the bike, I took the U-turn too fast and botched it. I ran over a cone, had to put a foot down, gather myself back up and get going again. I’m sure I looked like a complete idiot. And I lost sight of Pinky! Hammer hammer hammer. How bad do you want it. Go go go. That’s what went through my head on that bike course.
I did not know my speed because I had no watch. I never did see Pinky again on the bike course. But, I felt like I was going strong and fast, so felt good about that. As I approached the final stretch of the bike, I saw the race photographer. I remembered to do Jazz hands like my friend, Jennifer. Her race photos are always so cute!
My legs felt okay despite going hard on the bike. I racked my bike and grabbed my visor and started running hard. I figured Pinky was long gone, so my goal here was to not let anyone in my age group pass me. Fairly soon, I passed a girl in a yellow tri suit with 38 on her leg. I said ‘come on, stay with me’.
It was a little bit hot; I was breathing hard; and I was tired. A couple of spectators were holding hoses out spraying runners. I ran right up to them with wide open arms and said “Thanks – you are my favorite volunteers of the day”. It felt great.
No-one in my AG had yet passed me. I soooo wanted to slow down. But I had to keep on going. I thought of an episode of “Sponge Bob Square pants” where he and Patrick Star went around playing “opposite day”. So, every time I wanted to slow down, I thought “opposite day” and tried to speed up instead. It was fun, and must have worked okay because my 2nd run split was about the same as my first run split, despite killing it out on the bike course.
This picture is near the end of the run and, look – the girl in yellow did stay with me. I was very tired by the end of that run…and looking forward to the cool ocean water.
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As I approached the beach, I stopped by the boardwalk and ditched my number belt, visor, and shoes there. Then I ran down to the hard sand, skipping T4 altogether. I had my cap and goggles stuffed in my bra, so got them out and put them on as I ran. There were volunteers directing swimmers to swim all the way down to the flags, then enter the water. I didn’t run too fast here, as I wanted to catch my breath before swimming.
As I entered the water, I took note of yellow capped swimmers. Those would include all females aged 35 and up. I swam as hard as I could so as not to let any yellow caps pass me. There was one yellow cap that I swam side-by-side with the entire swim. It was super fun, and I enjoyed the challenge of not letting her slip past me. I normally don’t care too much about anyone passing me in the swim, as I can always catch them later on during the bike. So this was a really fun challenge for me. And maybe I ought to swim sprints like this every time. Hmmm.
As I exited the water, I noticed the girl swimming next to me had the yellow tri suit on. She sped past me toward the finish line, but I didn’t much care, because I remembered she was 38, not in my age group.
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After crossing the finish line, I glanced back at the time clock. It said 1:40. My wave started 26 minutes after the clock started, so I figured I was about at 1:16. I was pretty happy with that time…a bit faster than last year. I didn’t think it was fast enough for a podium finish tho, as last year’s top three females in my age group were all under 1:14.
I packed up my race gear and headed for the food tent. Grabbed some drinks and snacks. Talked to some tri peeps. I looked at the posted race results and read 7/23 (7th place out of 23 in age group) next to my name. But I had read it wrong, that was someone else’s ranking. They were doing some stupid bike toss contest, and I didn’t think I placed, so I did not wait around for the awards ceremony. All I really wanted to do was go lay on the beach and relax. And to be honest, I was disappointed with a 7th place finish. Here I am back at the car fixing to leave the race:
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It wasn’t until the next day that I learned from my friend, Scottie, that I had actually taken 2nd place in my age group, when he texted me congratulations. I never did figure out who Pinky was. Maybe I misread the age on her leg. She definitely was not the 1st in our age group. That chick was way ahead of me the whole race. Or, maybe I passed her in transition and never did see her on the bike. I might have been chasing a ghost the whole way. lol. Doesn’t matter, because whoever she was, she helped me go hard and get a great bike split. So, thanks, Pinky.