If you click through to the Flickr photo and hover your mouse over the times, you can see notes with all my goals for my times. If you don’t want to do that, let me just say: I nailed those suckers. Woo!
I should write a real race report later, but I’m pretty tired right now. (I’ve been up for 15 hours, and I spent 4 of those endurance racing, another one getting to and from the endurance race, and 15 minutes sitting in a shallow tub of ice water. It’s been a long day.) So here are the highlights:
OMG, WTF, BBQ. So Hurricane Irene was torturing New Yorkers (or at least it was supposed to, to listen to some of them banging on about it. Like my friend Natalie said, if there was a Lake Michigan hurricane that came in and blasted Chicago, the only news coverage we’d get would be “Make sure you have a canoe, and allow extra travel time to get to work tomorrow.” But I digress.), but meanwhile, some tendrils of it were stretching across the continent and stirring up crap around here (or at least I am blaming Irene for this crap). We had a forecast that called for winds out of the north-northeast at 15-23 mph through the early morning to the afternoon, and that came true. The lake was incredibly choppy — not wavy; wavy is different. This was just a hot mess of unpredictable, fast, short, and randomly directional waves. Plus, the swim route was shaped like a letter J, where the first 1/4 mi was south, then you did a U-turn around a buoy and came north for the remaining 3/4 mi. The winds were NNE. The water was moving SSW. We got to swim against that. It was the crazy icing on top of the flailing, splashing, kicking bumper cars madness of the swim.
I admit that, after my blog post the other day about the tri, I felt a little bad for that offhand crack about kicking people back if they kick me. I’m kind of a girl scout, so I was all “I shouldn’t say that, it’s meeeeeean to kick people.” After experiencing the Chicago Triathlon swim start in that water? Fuck that noise. You kick me, I kick you back. I seriously got through that batshit swim using a few advanced swimming techniques: 1) bilateral breathing. It was really important to be able to breath on both sides, not just the side I was most comfortable on, because that side was into the rising sun and the rising waves, so switching was really killer; 2) Rotation – I was able to kick my rotation way up more than I usually do in the pool, so I could get my face farther out of the water to breathe without inhaling water; and 3) mentally referring to anyone who pissed me off in any fashion, like the guy who couldn’t swim straight and kept swimming into my left side and pushing me out towards the boats so that I actually stopped and trod water long enough to let him get totally in front of me so I could get on his left side instead, as “green-cap fucksticks.” I’m sure that most people in the wave before mine, such as the two T2EA athletes who are obviously superior in every way, are very nice people, but a lot of them are very aggressive yet inept swimmers, aka “fucksticks,” and that wave had green caps, so the epithet “green-cap fuckstick” was coined. There were a few green-cap fucksticks wearing other colored caps, but I was trying to not inhale water, so I stuck with what worked: green-cap fucksticks. Oh, there were so many green-cap fucksticks. I think my on-goal swim time despite the water conditions working against me was largely due to my immense desire to get the hell away from all the other swimmers.
Then there was the 450 yard dash up the crumbly asphalt to transition. After I’d already been walking around all morning barefoot, including the 3/4 mi walk from transition to the swim start and a half-hour wait in line for a porta-potty, because I decided not to bring flip flops. DO NOT MAKE THIS MISTAKE. IT IS A HURTY ONE. And, oh yeah, the time for this gets applied to your official swim time. I did splits, and this took 4 minutes, which means my swim time was 39m, which was under my 40m goal, so HA, take that, stupid asphalt. Ow, my poor feet.
I actually rocked this one. I ran across the grass (sweet cool, cool, soft grass…) and through the route I’d scouted and walked earlier, found my row with no trouble (it RULES having the rack row with the recycling bins at both ends), found my bike with no trouble (thanks to it having a big bunch of red silk flowers on the stem, the blue masking tape arrow on the ground, and oh yeah, it was second from the end nearest bike out/bike in), toweled my feet off to attempt to get the dried cut grass off (which failed), threw my helmet on, rolled my socks on, put my shoes on, pulled my bike gloves out of my shorts legs (oh yeah, did I mention I forgot to leave my bike gloves in transition, which I realized when I got to the swim start, and my feet hurt so much I said “fuck it” to walking them back to transition, so I just shoved one inside each shorts leg before I put my wetsuit on), and ran for bike out. A volunteer and several spectators publicly admired my flowers, I shoved my gloves in my teeth, mounted the bike, and headed for the ramp up to Lake Shore Drive. I got up the ramp, over the bridge over the river, and once we had settled a little I pulled my gloves on. I like to think that it makes me look coordinated that I can pull that off – putting my gloves on with my teeth while biking in a straight line. I probably just look like some idiot who forgot to put her gloves on in transition. Whatever. It totally saves me like 45s in T1, so I’ll take the idiot look.
Then… oh yeah. Irene. Fucking Irene and her fucking bullshit headwind. What the hell. The first leg took me 30 minutes. I was Not Happy – 30 minutes x 4 legs = 2 hour bike; my goal was 1:45 atmost. But the headwind was transformed into a tailwind for the return south, which I forgot to hit the split button to stop when I turned around at Chicago Ave, but it was certainly a lot easier to bike. Then the turn back north, into that bitching bullshit headwind. I seriously was going up overpasses at like 10 mph, it was sad. (OTOH, those moments gave me opportunities to pass slowpokes and people on mountain bikes, so that was happy. I also passed one woman riding a bike with a full rack and two saddlebags, but I told her as I went that riding with the saddlebags made her super hardcore, so I don’t count her as a slowpoke.) The second and third legs combined were 46:35, which made me happy because I that meant my first south leg was 20m, which is way better than 30, and meant I could hopefully still manage under 1:45. The second leg south took me 26, and then I was back at transition. I deliberately let the gas out a little more on the last lap – telling myself this is my last race of the season, I don’t have to save anything up for tomorrow or later this week. I don’t know how much of an effect that had, but it was some nice mental encouragement.
I will say, I had a WHOLE lot of fun watching the traffic going the opposite direction and spotting people in T2EA jerseys and cheering for them. Also, I had a few riders tell me, usually while passing me, that they liked my flowers. So honestly, the bike was basically just full-on entertainment. I probably inhaled a thousand tiny insects just because I was grinning like a dork the whole time.
My goal for this was 3m, which I didn’t make, even a little. I think it’s basically because there were a lot of people in the aisle trying to find their racks (again, recycling bin FTW) so I had to go at the pace of those in front of me, and transition was huge. I’m not sure why else it took me 5 freaking minutes. I pretty much took off my shoes, took off my gloves, pulled on my running shoes, slammed on my TriMonster visor, clipped on my race belt, and ran for run out. Granted, run out was a big twisty maze to get to (I should have retraced my swim in steps, but instead I went down the aisle outside and I think it made the route longer than it needed to be. But that was autopilot: that was how I walked to swim out, when I walked the route in transition. Next time, walk out the full transition, not just inspecting the ins/outs and scouting landmarks.
Oh my. My good intentions to do the race as run 20m, walk 3m repeats failed immediately. I ran for like 3 minutes, then walked for 3. Then I ran for like 2, and walked for 3. It was a quick and humbling flameout. I don’t mean I hit the wall or anything, but I definitely had to mentally eat some humble pie about how well I’d be able to run off the 25mi bike. I wound up run/walking the entire course. My first mile was the slowest, and second mile the second slowest, though, so I did get better, and settled into a 14:30 average pace, down from a 15:07 average over the first two, so that’s ok. Not the 13:45 I had hoped for, but it’s not like it’s a crisis if I finished 5 minutes later. Besides, doing my second 10k as part of my first ever international triathlon – I think I’m entitled to guess wrong about how my legs might feel. Next time I’ll know better, and will have trained more. So it’s a learning experience.
I will say that the spectators along the run were fantastic. There were some really great signs – “Spandex makes you sexy!” and a few others. I tried to tell the signholders that I appreciated their work when I saw something good. I must have high-fived at least a dozen kids along the way, too.
The run took me back past the T2 tent at swim start (backed up against the run route at about .75 mi), did a little dance for them, then got about 10 high-fives and immeasurable cowbell, which was totally sweet. Seriously, I bet more than one person left that race today going “man, I’m training with T2 next year.” We were all yelling encouragement at each other the whole time. It was superfantastic. Spotting other T2 competitors and cheering them was like half the fun of my race – cheering them on kept me going. Them cheering me on kept me going well. :)
But I also was really buoyed by some friends who came out to watch me compete. Sean and Steph, of course, were there from the start – Steph came over to hug me while my wave was queued up waiting to jump in the water, and they spotted and cheered me at bike in, run out, and were waiting for me at the T2 booth after the finish. Sean also took some amazing photos. Liam was waiting for me at the Lake Shore Drive underpass just before finish, and then he ran around and met me after the finish. Trish was on the run route just the other side of the first T2 tent. Craig took some photos of me right after the finish and hung out for a while with me. And John brought his bike and cheered for me at bike in plus about three spots along the run! You guys all rule. Seriously, it meant a whole lot to have friends out there cheering for me. :)
Ok… that’s the totally superficial race recap. Now… I AM GOING TO SLEEP!