Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Number 7

It's a little hard for me to fathom, but on Sunday I completed my 7th triathlon. Granted all of them have been super sprint or sprint distance, which are manageable distances, nothing crazy like the Ironman. I am feeling a bit proud of myself, especially considering how much I loathed gym all through school.

The hardest part might have been picking up my packet at the expo on Saturday. I arrived shortly before 10 a.m. and was greeted with a line down the block. I reached the end of the block and realized the line went down the next block. I reached the end of that block and realized the line kept going around the corner and up the next block! Finally I reached the end of the line! To amuse myself while waiting, I played games on my phone. I was feeling hopeful as I neared the building only to find a whole new set of lines inside the building. To quote my friend Nikki, it was as if the carpet of hope was ripped out from under me and I was left with the hardwoods of disappointment. Nikki & Diane were also helping to entertain me via posts on Facebook.

Finally I reached the end, of what turned out to be the first line, got my swim cap & timing chip. Then I decided to stand in another line (voluntarily) to sign up for next year's race. Why? Because this race sells out fast! And to have it done and not worry about getting up early the morning it opens to sign up was worth another line. Next line? The one to pick up my t-shirt. A couple of women in line were nice enough to hold my place while I went and stood in another line to get body marked so I was able to stand in two lines at the same time! Finally I was body marked, had all my goodies and my chip and signed up for next year. Then it was off to "rack" my bike. Considering all the people in front of me to check in, traffic wasn't too bad to go drop off my bike.

With the pre-race activities done, all that was left to do was the race! My parents dropped me off bright and early Sunday morning and I got on to the bus. The butterflies in my stomach had started fighting each other. I laid out my transition area, did a few stretches, went to the bathroom one last time before making my way to the swim start. I took a dip in the practice area to get used to the water temp, which wasn't too cold. Standing with my yellow swim cap wave, cheering on the waves in front of us, the familiar excitement began to build.

The Swim
The crowd counted us down and we were off! I started off in the back but was soon passing a few people. Yay me! I was able to keep a good tempo, with only two moments of slight panic where I stopped for a moment to refocus myself, and continued on towards the finish. I was feeling pretty good as I exited the swim and made my way over to my bike.

Transition 1
Let's just call this the "what I need to work on for next time" section. When I got to my transition area, I was surprised to notice there were a lot of bikes still on the racks! Shirt, race belt and sunglasses all went on pretty quick. Socks and shoes I struggled with a bit but not too bad. And then I went to put on my helmet. For whatever reason I could not get the helmet to fit right. I took it off and tried putting it on again but when I buckled the strap it still didn't feel right. I knew I was wasting time at this point but I could not make myself go faster. Finally the helmet went on. I wrestled my bike off the rack and was on the course!

The Bike
I was feeling good on the bike, passing a number of people, and getting passed as well. During my training I tried to work more on hills and I think it helped. It's on the bike where I am reminded of how much I enjoy this race and why - the echo of the screams in the I-90 tunnel, the "on your left, you go girl" encouragement as you are getting passed, basically the camaraderie. You are not running this race alone.

Transition 2
Nothing out of the ordinary here. My rack was a little crowded so it was somewhat of a challenge to wedge my bike back onto the rack.

The Run
Almost there! I started off slow but finally got into a rhythm - run 15 cones, walk 5. Once I started running it got easier to say run 5 more cones. Not long after I passed the half-way point I heard my name - it was my friend Joni. My new goal became to beat Joni to the finish line knowing she would catch up to me - and sooner rather than later. I crossed the finish line and a few steps behind me was Joni!

And let me just say, if the weather for my first Seattle Danskin was too hot, and the weather for my second Seattle Danskin was too rainy, the weather for my third Seattle Danskin was just right! And yes, I do feel a little like Goldilocks at the moment.

I do have to admit, when I first looked at my times I was a little disappointed. My long-term goal is to finish in under 2 hours, my short term goal was to shave time off my Orlando time. I did finish 36 seconds better than Orlando, which is a start. And when I started comparing my times, I started to feel better about my time.

Seattle Swim: 24.31
Orlando Swim: 26.29
An improvement of almost 2 minutes!! Assuming the course lengths were the same.

Seattle T1: 6.54
Orlando T1: 4.58
Oops! Stupid helmet.

Seattle Bike: 51.52
Orlando Bike: 51.51
Basically the same

Seattle T2: 3.00
Orlando T2: 1.27
Not bad, considering the size of the transition area comparatively speaking

Seattle Run: 43.05
Orlando Run: 45.12
Wow - another 2 minute improvement!!

And there you have it. There is another triathlon coming up in a few weeks and as of right now I am going to go for it. This may change depending on what life throws my way.

Getting dropped off
Crossing the finish line
Another medal!

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