Monday, June 17, 2013

Father's Day Triathlon 2013 - Race Report

Let me say that this race was the first time I was more excited for other people crossing the finish line than I was for myself. This was the graduation race for our Tri 101 group and the graduates included HS and BFF.

The race was originally advertised with 4 separate wave starts. The first 3 waves were supposed to be all male and the fourth and final wave was to be all females. However, at check in, I was handed a red cap and my daughter was handed a green cap. Uh oh! As it turned out, the waves were restructured to be solely by age and not gender. I was bummed...I had been planning on watching HS start his swim, now he was going to be watching me.

Pre-Race

Mother nature can be unfair to females...especially aging females. Let's just say that Aunt Flo made an early and unexpected appearance on race morning which really threw a wrench in my plans. I have been really good about tracking her visits in anticipation of Barb's Race and her visit this race morning was not as planned. ARGHH!  "Aunt Flo! What are you doing here?  You're not supposed to be here today. It's race day! Can't you come back tomorrow???"


I should have known better, I had only been getting about 3-4 hours of sleep a night for the past few nights, which is usually a good indicator of things to come. However, I chalked up the sleepless nights to pre-race anxiety.  Not anxiety for my own race, but anxiety for others in the group. I was nervous for everyone...hoping that their races went well and that they got the same addictive, finish-line feeling that hooked me last year.

Anyway, once I dealt with my visitor and added some extra items to my transition bag, I fixed myself a chia seed drink and made a pot of coffee. Trying to get three triathletes out of the house can be quite a task and I hoped we had everything we all needed. With my husband and daughter doing their first triathlons I felt responsible for packing their gear as well as my own. If you think its stressful trying to remember all of your own stuff, try doing it for a couple of other people.

Coach James doing his thing
In the rush to get out of the house, I left my coffee on the counter. Not good. I was having a difficult time waking up and desperately needed some caffeine. HS let me have some of his coffee, but I didn't want to drink too much. No sense in him having to give up his coffee just because I forgot mine. I remedied my lack of coffee by downing the Red Bull that TBF Racing always provides at check-in. Thank you, TBF!!!

Warm-up

James went over some last minute tips with our group and then told us to get ready to warm up. I got my wet suit on and headed down to the water with Loo. The water felt nice and was probably warm enough to swim in without a wet suit, but I'm not ready for that.

As I swam back and forth in the warm-up area, I scoped out the other females, looking for women in red caps. To my surprise, there didn't seem to be a lot. There were a lot of men in red caps and I did not like the look of that.  The 40-49 males can be quite fast and I've seen first hand (with the men in our group) what happens when testosterone kicks in...they turn into race animals! God help the woman that passes a man :-)

It was at this point that F'n James  made an appearance (sometimes he's just James, sometimes he's F'n James) and told me that he wanted me to get out in front of the group (either he's crazy or he's trying to kill me). He said there were a lot of first timers and that I shouldn't have a problem. What he failed to mention was that trying to get out in front of a bunch of testosterone crazed males could be detrimental to my health. 

Swim

When my wave started, I dove in and started swimming fast (for me). I quickly found myself between two men who were squeezing me from both sides. I would have tried to maneuver away from them, but there was another man behind me climbing up my back. Women are not this rough (rude)! I eventually stopped to let the animals go by (see you on the bike course a-holes!!!)

The rest of the swim was OK...even though I was preoccupied with how all my friends in white caps were doing. I would try and sneak a peek when I was sighting. It was inspiring to see the white caps spreading out across the water knowing that HS and BFF were out there somewhere along with James, Nancy, Mojo, Jordan, and Stephanie. Swim well my friends!

White caps getting ready to start
The rough swim start really seemed to take it out of me and I found myself struggling a bit a the end. A red cap female passed me in the last 100 yards so I tried to keep up with her without draining the last bit of energy I felt I had. I swam well past the point where I could have stood up. There are rocks on the bottom and swimming is definitely faster than trying to walk out of the water.

T1

When I came out of the water, I saw the woman that passed me. She was only about 10 yards in front of me...and she was WALKING! I started to run up the hill. It's grassy and shady, probably one of the nicest transition runs. I quickly caught and passed the walking red cap. I unzipped my wet suit and hustled over to my bike.

The wet suit came off easily. I put on my bike shoes and took a swig of Gatorade. I fumbled with my helmet and glasses a bit but still managed to get moving out to the bike course in short order. I glanced to my right and saw "red cap lady" leisurely changing into her bike gear. Hope she's not as fast on the bike as she was in the water.

Bike

The bike course was 8 miles. Not a lot of time to make up any distance or gain any kind of lead. Since this was my second time on this course, I was prepared for the speed bumps and bippity bips on the way out of the park. I am also more confident that riding over bumps will not cause my bike to fall apart, so I started riding as fast as I could...speed bumps be damned!

About 3 miles into my ride, I realized I forgot to push the button on my watch to switch from swimming to biking...no splits for me :-(.

I passed a lot of riders on the way out to the turn around. I secretly hoped that those riders included the men that made my swim start so miserable. Loo and I crossed paths briefly, but I was not really concerned with her. I wanted to see HS and BFF. 

Seeing HS and BFF would put my mind at ease. I wanted to know that their first triathlon swim had gone well and that they were out of the water and on their bikes. I eventually saw HS. The sight of him brought tears to my eyes.  Shortly after that, I saw BFF with James. YAY!!!  I was so relieved and happy that I started crying (crying is definitely allowed in triathlon).

T2

I rode to the dismount line and unclipped without incident. I ran my bike over to the rack and quickly changed to my running gear. My feet were a bit sweaty and I had a problem getting my shoes on. I'm not entirely sold on this new pair of Brooks Pure Cadence (at least not as a race shoe). They just don't seem to slip on as easily as my last pair (the opening for the laces is shaped differently or something).

Run

My plan for this race was to run as fast as I could and not walk. I guess you could say I did that. I definitely didn't walk during the 2 mile run, but the "as fast as I could" is up for debate. I had envisioned myself flying up and over the hills...heck, it was only 2 miles...yeah, right. It's never only 1 mile or 2 miles or 10 miles. It's a triathlon, and if you have been racing the swim and the bike, you are going to be tired on the run. If you're not tired on the run, you weren't going hard enough in the beginning or you're on a relay team!  LOL

When I saw the finish line, I tried to kick it up a notch, but I'm not entirely sure I was able to find that last gear. The clock read 1:01 something when I crossed the finished. It required some math on my part to calculate my time (clock time less 10 minutes for my wave start). My official time of 51:41 meant that I had beat my goal time of 52 minutes. I was very happy with my race, but it wasn't the best part of my day.

Believe it or not, this was not the highlight of my day
After the race, James asked how I did and I said I wasn't going to tell him (at that point I knew I had won my age group) because his usual response is something sweet like "I hate you" or "You make me sick" (he's lucky I don't take statements like that personally LOL!).

The award ceremony started and the top male finisher was called up to the podium. Next the announcer said "and with a winning time of 51:41" and I'm standing there thinking "Hey that's the same as my time"?!?! and then he said my name! I was shocked, but that still wasn't the best part of the day...

Post-Race (The Best Part of the Day)

The best part of the day was watching my friends & teammates cross the finish line for the first time. I was so excited and happy for everyone as they finished...as they accomplished something they never thought they could do. It was truly an amazing day. 
Spring 2013 - LMT Triathlon 101 Graduating Class
TBF Racing made this particular race extra special. There were finisher medals (nice ones) & finisher certificates (with your time printed on it), a coffee mug and of course a race shirt!


Coach James must be very, very proud. He had EIGHT individual athletes (me, Loo, HS, Jacob, Mojo, Nancy (who still needs a nickname), Lajla, and BFF) on the podium as well as one relay team. Way to go coach!

HS was recognized as the patriarch of the Pengilly racing family. I know it meant a lot to him to have his family out there racing together (now to get the grandkids to do a kids triathlon). It was a nice highlight to Father's Day. All in all, it was a great day!!!

The Pengilly Racing Family