Thursday, September 13, 2007

Annapolis Triathlon 2007

Annapolis Triathlon
Olympic Distance
September 9, 2007

I was super excited to be participating in the first running of the Annapolis Tri and running as a member of the Annapolis Triathlon Club! Go Crabs!

On Friday, the 7th, I was one of the first athletes to pick up my race packet. Saturday, I had to go back to the Stadium to pick up my parking pass (I didn’t have the cash for it on Friday) and to set my bike up. I must admit the 2 transition thing kind of messed me up. My brain was a bit scattered that weekend anyway. I looked at all the empty racks at the Stadium and was surprised that no one had set up yet. It was already 3:30 pm. My husband began to make me doubt that we were supposed to pre rack our bikes. Then suddenly, like a brick falling on my feeble mind, I realized I was staring at T2, where we would be coming in with our bikes. Before I could take my bike to the correct location, I had to detour back home to get my bike number. I told you my brain was not working properly that weekend.

Finally I am at City Dock. Hurray! People and bikes were a plenty. I did a practice run through and examined the water from the dock anticipating my swim (and possible Sea Nettle encounters).

I was up at 4:30 am Sunday morning and was out the door a bit after 5am. Things were already hopping as I pulled onto the dark grassy lot at the Navy Stadium. I gathered my items, one more sip of coffee, and headed to T2. It took no time to find my spot and set up my running stuff. It felt kind of sparse and I was sure I had forgotten something. But, satisfied I headed for the school buses that would take us to City Dock. My (race issued) big white hefty trash bag was burdened with all the items I needed or could possibly need.

At T1, music was blaring and I could see weary eyed hotel guests peaking out from behind curtains wondering what these crazy people were doing at this insane hour. I found my bike and started to set up all my “stuff”. My general rule, with regards to tire pressure, has been to slightly over inflate the night before and then leave it alone. But, caught up in the moment, I decided to borrow a pump. I attached the foreign pump to my valve and, to make a short story even shorter, I broke that valve right off. A fellow crab member, Agnes, quickly calmed me and had me heading to the Bike Doctor tent for help. I don’t know who ended up giving me a new tube, but God Bless You! I was about to cry. I was not the only one dealing with a dilemma. One guy was anxiously running around asking if anyone had an extra pair of goggles and an announcement was made asking for an extra pair of bike shorts. Stress!

Okay, so back in good shape. Still plenty of time until my 7:30 wave. Everything was laid out. I nervously shifted my items around my mini canvas. Setting up transition is kind of like painting a picture or decorating a Christmas tree. You tilt your head, examine what you have done and tweak it until you are satisfied.

Time to apply the SafeSea, a thick creamy lotion that, I found out, really can sting your eyes. And if you are looking for a good way to remove your race number markings, this will do the trick. Before I realized it I had black smudge all over my race top.

I borrowed a wetsuit from the folks up at TriSpeed. Nice people. I practiced swimming in it once the Thursday before the race. I also strolled around the house to get a feel for it. My 3 year old son thought I looked cool, like a super hero! Love him!

The wetsuit wasn’t that hard to get on. I used some Body Glide but I don’t think it was as tight as it probably should have been. Once on, I started to sweat. Those suits are hot! I put mine on about 30 minutes too early. Not wanting to take it off or fiddle with it anymore, I just dealt with it.

My wave of neon (you’ll never wear again) pink capped ladies jumped into the water from the dock. The water felt refreshing as it rushed to fill my suit. I was certain I heard Mr. V say we had 2 ½ minutes. I was adjusting my goggles, ear plugs and cap as we suddenly were counting down from 10! Holy Poop! Within the first few strokes my left eye goggle was leaking. I planned to just deal with it, but the water stung my eye and I had visions of bacteria laden water seeping into my body through my eye balls. I pull up, adjust goggles and go again.

The 1500k swim felt pretty good. My goal was to stay relaxed and save energy. I didn’t want to tussle with the other swimmers, so in my attempt to avoid that, I ended up swimming a bit too far out. I could not stay on course! I had a hard time sighting and swimming straight. Instead of dodging legs and arms I was trying not to run into the ships and the people on canoes. The funny thing is, I still ended up getting kicked right as I was pulling up to the finish.

The people pulling us out of the water were awesome. I am sure there would have been a lot of face plants if those wonderful volunteers were not there. As I ran to my bike, a girl was spraying a hose at us. I open my mouth wide to get the yuckies out from swallowing some bay water. I finished the swim in 31:38. I was hoping for under 30, so not too bad.

If there is one thing I really need to work on it is my slow transitions. I am such a turtle. It took me 3:32 to get off my suit, get my bike stuff on, dump all my belongings in my bag and in the box they provided and get my bike out. I even attempted to be speedier by having my shoes already attached to the bike. They were not that easy to get on while trying to ride. I’ll have to rethink that.

I loved the bike course. It’s beautiful, challenging and canopy covered for most of the ride. There were some narrow spots, but all in all I enjoyed this leg the most. My goal here was to extend myself but make sure I had enough left to finish the 10k respectfully. I kept a steady pace, held back some, and ended the 40k bike in 1:14:02. That’s a 19.1 mph average. Very happy with that! My cycling has improved a lot this season. I enjoy climbing, but that one booger of a hill (on Herald Harbor?) was a beast. Ouch!

Into T2 I was ready for the run. Thankfully someone put a pink bandana on the rack I was using, so I could find it within the sea of people and their choosen machines. Rack, shoes, hat and go. I thought I was moving pretty fast, but it still took me 2 min to get out!

The organizers had issues with the city and county when sorting out the details of the run course, so even though I had run what I thought was the course the weekend before, it had almost totally changed. But the change made it slightly less hilly, which was okay for me. We started with some loops around the stadium, then an out and back to the central circle, and then up the Naval Academy Bridge, to the turn around, and back to the finish. The bridge offered a beautiful view, but at a painful price. It was also getting quite hot. I drank as much as I could, even slowed down at each water station, but did not walk a step, despite many folks around me. I felt like I was crawling at a snail’s pace but was pleased with the finishing time of 52:46, an 8:30 pace.

Running into the Stadium, down the field to the 50, picture on the jumbotron, announcing your name was really fun. Despite all the resistance that was felt putting the triathlon together, I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of spectators along the entire course. The bike course was lined with people holding signs and ringing bells. People were everywhere and cheering! I felt very supported by the people the race affected. I also have to give kudos to the numerous and awesome volunteers! They were amazing!

Swim: 31:38
T1: 3:32
Bike: 1:14:02; 19.1 mph average
T2: 2:00
Run: 52:46; 8:30 pace
Total time: 2:43:54
16th out of 58 on age group
100th female out of 377
581 finisher out of 1258 total athletes ( a lot of men)

Saturday, September 01, 2007


Iron Girl August 19, 2007

The build up for this event was quite something. Emails counting down for weeks and pre race activties starting 3 days out. I was mentally exhausted, and ready to race, when I finally toed the line.
I woke up at 4am Sunday morning after several dreams of sleeping late and missing the race. I was out the door by 4:45 am and, although it was a pain to rack my bike the day before, it was nice not having to deal with it now.

It started to drizzle on the way there and I just hoped it won’t start lightening. But, the weather remained overcast and rainy, which are conditions I enjoy. A couple miles out from Centennial Park, at about 5:25 am, I was surprised it was already backed up with cars. But, things moved pretty smoothly and not too much later I was directed to a spot.
I grabbed all my gear and headed to transition. Quite a site to see almost 2000 bikes lined up. After being body marked I set up my area. You always feel like you are forgetting to do something, but finally I left satisfied.
I really wanted to get into the water to warm up. I walked the quarter mile or so, to the start. I didn’t see anyone in the water and asked an official if we would have a chance to get in prior to the start. Looking frustrated she told me no and that I can warm up by walking back and forth! This was not acceptable and apparently I was not the only one who felt this way. Off in a corner of the lake, were a few ladies testing the waters. I felt a little like I was a kid trying to get away with something, but I had to! So, I got in about 5-10 min of a warmup.

I was the third wave to start after two older groups. We were called to get in and jumped off a wooden dock into the waters. I swam around trying to find a good starting position and settled on the far side, near the bouy. I was trying to limit the amount of people near me. We had to tread water for about 3 min before we were sent on our way.

THE SWIM: was crowded, despite my attempt to stay out of the congestion, I found myself surrounded. IG is known to attract newbies. I’m not sure if this is the reason I was kicked and punched more then I recall at other tris. Once in the face and once in the abdomen! Took my breath away and messed me up a bit. The turns at the bouys, for some reason, always turn into stopping grounds for people. Lots of physical contact going on at each turn since people would come to a halt or switch to breast stroke. When I finally seemed to find a spot I could call my own, I started picking up stragglers from the other waves that had left before me. God bless these older ladies doing side and breast stroke the whole way! The water itself was great and temp felt wonderful.I am not a fantastic swimmer, and had a couple things slow me down along the way, but I finally exited the 1k swim in 21:30. This was the 61st fastest time for my age group.

THE TRANSITION: kind of sat in a bowl. So, it was up a grassy, damp slope, pushing the bike, before being allowed to mount (T1) and a decent, after dismounting, coming back off the bike (T2) and into the run. I almost busted my butt trying to control my bike running down the slope. I’m sure someone fell.T1 took me 2:48 and T2 took me 1:22. I really need to work on these.

THE BIKE: was a lot of fun. I was determined to use the knowledge I had of the course to my advantage. I knew the hills we would encounter and was ready. I worked the downhills netting a max speed of 40 mph. I felt good and didn’t let the fear of wiping out slow me on the downhills. There were also some serious climbs that slowed me to 8 mph. There were a lot of ladies out there, encouraging each other, which was nice. I mostly passed people, but was also passed by a few. I finished the 17.5 mile ride in 58:19, giving me an 18mph average. I am happy with that. And it was good enough to give me the 21st fastest bike time in my group. At this point I was in 17th place overall for my age group.
THE RUN: was slower then I would have liked. I really pushed the bike and could feel that exertion trying to run. The drizzle and overcast skies, my ideal running environment, felt good though. The course took us on mostly paved trails though the canopy of Centennial Park. The majority of the course was rolling with short climbs and descents. I started to feel better a few minutes into the run and clipped along pretty well, I believe. I’m not sure where I began my decline, but I think it had something to do with a couple ladies flying past me and a hill they named Gatorade Hill. A hill that has been honored with a name, is usually not a good sign! We got to run down it before struggling back up. I think here, on this hill, I mentally let the the discouraging voices have their way with me. The run was a total of 3.3m and I finished it in 27:15, which is an 8:01 avg. It was the 28th fastest time in my group. Being a runner, I had hoped to do better here. But I am still learning how to balance the disciplines and evenly distribute my effort during a triathlon. It’s not that easy to figure out. I also should have had a gel or goo or something along the way. I didn’t think I would need one, but looking back, it would have been smart to do so during the bike. Crossing the finish line was festive. Your name was called over the loud speaker. I received a metal and a nice visor! I also enjoyed a free massage and quick results.

POST RACE: My only disappointment in the event was how the post race festivities compared to a previous one that I did in Florida last year. I expected the same, which was a banquet type atmosphere, food and goodies, but got the usually bananas and bagels. Nevertheless, how the race is organized is what is most important and that was very well done. My personal finish results were:1:51:11 finish time82nd overall / out of 167115th age group/ out of 361