My apartment currently resembles one that has been hit by a cyclone. Has it? No, of course not, I live in North Dakota where the only exciting weather happens in the winter. None-the-less starting at the front door continuing out onto the patio are what remains of the rain soaked Tri gear and my husband's riding leathers that have been set out to dry.
I readily admit that this level of disarray & clutter eats away at my need to have things tidy, but for the time being I am choosing to view the chaos as echos of the wonderful adventure that was this weekend.
Leading up to this race I was told by several people that it was a "busy" or "crowded" event. With this information in mind, I woke up early Saturday to make the hour & 1/2 drive to Perham,MN in hopes of attaining the best spot in transition I could before the bulk of triathletes arrived. A little over 15 min. after the park opened for set-up and body marking I was there. Entering the park I immediately noted three things.
#1.) I will have to take my road-bike onto a wet gravel road for the first 30ft. outside of transition before making a hard right onto pavement. Ugh.
#2.) The transition area is on grass.
#3.) With only one other triathlete setting up in transition over 15min. after the area was open to do so: this is not a crowded race.
With grey clouds overhead & already damp ground from the storms that rolled through Friday night, I was in no hurry to set up. I racked up my bike under a tree, attached the pirate flag & left most of my gear in the obnoxiously orange bucket beside it covered w/ a plastic bag to keep the rain out before getting body marked, wandering around the course & taking a short run.
The feel of the race was small town organized. Watching the other triathletes roll in I enjoyed the fact that this really is an "Average Jo" triathlon. Very laid-back, a lot of people's 1st tri and only a couple of people there to really kick it.
Compared to the HIM two weeks ago it was such a stark contrast. For the first time at a triathlon I had to mentally prepare to put myself at the front of the pack so that I wouldn't have to weed through slower competitors.
I also had the chance to be the more knowledgeable triathlete explaining how tris are done & even how to shift a bicycle on hills to the nervous 1st timers with a lot of questions.
Swim- 1/3 mile 9:08 Ranked 17th Overall among men & women!!!!
Just as the first wave of swimmers were released it started to pour. I was going to get wet anyway & I was in my wetsuit so this didn't phase me. However, my hubby who was already drenched by riding the motorcycle to the race was now getting rained on yet again. Thankfully my sister showed up with an umbrella to help keep both of them at least somewhat dry.
As my wave started to line up in the water I put myself at the very front. Which is actually a kind of intimidating place to be, but I knew the water was shallow & some people were planning to walk portions of the swim so it was the right decision.
The horn sounded, I chugged through the water until it was up to my hips then dove in. When I rolled to breathe I could see a lot of women still walking, looking tired from trying to push through the water. When I wasn't breathing all I could see were weeds. The kind that float about 6inches below the surface. It's a good thing I was more focused on my breathing because of the pace I was trying to maintain otherwise the fear of taking in a mouth full of weeds may have freaked me out.
My sighting was spot on, rounding the final buoy I sighted and was able to see that I was paced about 3rd or 4th in my wave. This never happens, I started to get excited.
Exiting the water I was tired, but I expected to be. I told myself from the beginning that a sprint tri needed to be a "sprint" so I had to give it all I got for each sport to get the times I hoped for.
T1- Guessing 2 minutes.
Unfortunately the rain caused some confusion amongst the volunteers & possibly messed with the timing equipment (no chips for this race) so I don't have the times for my transitions.
I was blessed enough to have a very kind triathlete next to me in transition who put a plastic bag over the gear I laid out just before it started to rain so there was no putting on of soaked gear over a soaked body. Despite passing through a kiddie pool just outside of T1 my feet were still covered in some grass which made its way into my sock, but other than that it was a good transition. Wetsuit came off easy, everything went on easy.
Bike- 12 miles 43:49 (16.4mph)
Clipping in on wet gravel was easier then I expected. The fogged up sunglasses was not. I passed a handful of people not far outside of transition & was able to stay ahead of them for the following miles. The roads were very wet so we had to ride cautiously, I didn't do much differently than normal but ride further into the lane to avoid the tire grooves that were holding water. The rain subsided to more of a mist, but about 6miles in we made a right turn into a stiff 20+mph headwind and about 9miles in made another right turn taking blasts of wind off of the lake making a few cyclists swerve.
It was a challenging bike, but I've trained in worse conditions so it was manageable. I had some muscle cramping that I had to push through, I also got passed by some people, I also passed about 20ppl (mostly those on mnt or hybrid bikes, but a few road-bikers too). The HEED was yummy.
Nobody was that fast on the bike in those conditions so while I was hoping for somewhere around 18-20mph I'm happy with my pace. I ranked 9th overall women for the bike!!
T2- Under a minute.
Swapping out gear at t2 went quick. During the bike my road-shoes filled with water, so my socks were totally soaked going into my running shoes, but still went on easily. I took a pull off of my gel flask before ditching it as I ran out.
Run- 4miles 36:07
At the start of the run my calves were thinking they were going to exchange words with me. I would have none of that.
I ran a pace I could maintain, took in some water.
The path we ran on is a familiar one & sweet spot for me. It is where I learned to run a little over three years ago. Back then I could only run for a minute or two at a time thinking I had to sprint those 1-2min. and here I was after already swimming & biking running faster and longer than I ever could on this trail before.
Around mile 2 I was starting to get annoyed with carrying my hand mounted water bottle. It was sloshy, I wasn't really thirsty so it felt like dumb weight. I ditched it by the side of the road that I could easily drive back & get it after the race.
By ditching the extra weight & my legs now feeling normal I started to pick up the pace. Passing people who had earlier passed me and were now fading. It felt fast, the kind of fast I usually feel during my Thursday morning group run. It was hard, but a lot of fun!
About 1/4 from the finish there is a short yet steep uphill. I decided not to beat myself up & fade by running up it so I walked. Then really hammered it at the end, sprinting across the finish-line. I love that I can hear my husband's voice crystal clear over the others cheering at races, hearing him say "kick it baby, bring it home" lit me on fire.
Total Finishing Time: 1:29:03!
It was a such a great/fun race for me. I placed 13th overall for the women & 7th in my age group. This is the closest I've ever gotten to placing at any of my races and I have to say it feels amazing!!! :)
Coming off of a stellar race like that mixed with knowing that the Young Life Olympic Distance Tri is 46 days away (if I feel I am able to do that the wknd before my 50k, haven't decided yet) & the Lean Horse 50k is only 53 days away all I want to do is get out there & train. I love to.
But, right now I am trying hard to be gentle to myself & smart. Yesterday once some of the adrenaline had worn off I noticed that the tip of my right index toe was hurting to walk on, red, sort of swollen & warm to the touch. No blister, no broken skin, nothing like an ingrown toe-nail. WebMD.com's symptom checker had a broken toe for the top hit when I put in my info. I'm not convinced yet, either that or I'm in denial.
Today it feels better than yesterday, which is encouraging. I'll give it some time, which probably means only biking & swimming this week. Hopefully it will be nothing. :) I'll find out!
On a side note, volunteers willing to stand outside in the pouring rain & wind like that during Saturday's race rock!