Saturday was beautiful! I picked up my race material and racked my bike. As I drove by the swim area and saw the buoys doubt started creeping in - could I really swim that far? Have I trained enough? And what about those hills? Yes, I told myself, I did it last year - I can do it again this year. And it seems like all I've done for the past weeks is train - I am ready.
I didn't sleep too well Saturday night and was basically awake from 3 a.m. on listening to the rain. Rain? What is this? Why didn't we get Saturday's weather? The weather report said showers in the evening, not the morning. I tried to go back to sleep but finally gave it up and got out of bed. My dad dropped me off at Qwest Field and I caught the shuttle (school bus) to Genesee Park. I laid out my transition area and then put everything into the Target bag I had brought to try and protect my shirt and towel from the rain.
I made my way down to the swim start. The butterflies were pretty strong by this point. I huddled together with my fellow pink swim caps and then it was time. We made our way into the water. The best part about the weather being yucky was that it made the water seem warm. Well, maybe not warm, but not freezing! Sally Edwards came out and pumped us up and gave us our "magic" word to get us through. My group was "brilliant"! Before I knew it they were counting us down. 3 - 2 -1 - GO! I hung back a little and let everyone else get ahead before I started out. The swim went a lot better than last year. I was able to swim crawl stroke most of the way switching to breaststroke a few times, mainly when another group of swimmers was passing me as I felt I could see better this way. Towards the end of the swim I had to fight a few pieces of lake grass. I got out of water and headed to my bike.
By the time I got on my bike the rain started coming down harder, torrential at times. I played leapfrog with a few people, they would pass me on the way down a hill, I would pass them on the way back up. I was surprised at the number of people I passed going up a hill as I don't think of myself as a good hill person. The bike route is on the freeway express lanes and the tunnels we rode through were a great break from the rain, however it was like a sauna in there. The rain drops at times were pelting and stung my face. I was really happy to reach the end of the bike. It was absolutely miserable with the rain. But the important part is that I did it.
The rain had eased up into a more recognizable Seattle-style mist when I started off on the run. I got into a pattern - run 10 cones, walk 5 and kept it up. My shoes were so waterlogged by that time I could feel the water sloshing around when I stepped down. Seriously, the driest part of the entire race was probably the swim! And I'm not kidding! I made it up the really bad hill and started down the other side towards the finish line. And I broke from my pattern of running followed by walking and ended up running the rest of the way. I was so focused on the finish line I barely saw anything else. And then I was there at the finish line! My second triathlon complete.
It was when I finished and stopped moving I realized exactly how cold I was and how wet. I got home and took an extremely hot shower. Tomorrow I will be calling to set up a massage appointment.
So now for the really important part - my times. Before last week I was hoping to improve on my times, but I hadn't put a number to it. And then I caught a cold and all hopes of improving my time went out the window. I was going to be happy to finsh. I knew if nothing else I would improve my swim time if only because they shortened the course! Ha! :) I was surprised and really pleased when I saw my times - last year I finished in 2 hours 26 minutes and this year I finished in 2 hours 8 minutes!!! I improved the most on the swim - almost 10 minutes (again some of this was due to the course being shortened). In fact, the only times I did not improve were my transition times! But I blame that on the rain.
Thanks to everyone who encouraged me through this process! I couldn't have done it without your support!!