In case you don't want to read what's below, the gist of it is this: As my very first Olympic distance tri, my goal was to finish the race. In my mind, I was hoping to finish around 2:45. I finsihed in 2:31:37 which put me 2nd in my AG and 6th woman overall.
If you're interested in the race report, keep reading.
Pre-race: Nothing went right. The coffe pot I had set to start automatically did not start. That's not really a big deal, but I should have seen it as a sign that my day was not going to start off right.
I left my house at 5:40 so I could get to the race site around 6:15. I drove to the nearest highway (94 W) only to find it was closed! WTF!! I had no idea how to get around that. I drove down to the next on-ramp, hoping the closure was just for a small section. It was not. All of 94 W was closed. I eventually figured I would just drive west on any road I could find and hope that I would eventually find my way. In the madness of circling around various on-ramps, I ran a red light. (Actually, I stopped, then pulled out and turned the corner. After turning the corner I realized that wasn't a stopsign, it was a stoplight and I had just ran it.) Thankfully it was 6am on a Saturday morning, so there weren't very many other cars around.
I finally found my way to the highway, but got confused and took the wrong side of a Y and ended up in the carpool lane. Dammit! Can I get a ticket for driving in the carpool lane if I'm not actually carpooling? I'm sure I looked like a total idiot driving down the carpool lane, sans carpool, at 6 am on a Saturday morning, when there is absolutely no need to use the carpool lane.
Normally I like being a natural blonde (we're a dying breed!), but today my blondeness was getting the best of me.
I got to the race site, got body marked and started setting up my transition area. The girl next to me asked what wave I was in. I had no idea. She told me it was on my race packet, which I had conveniently left at home. I ran up to a volunteer and asked if there was a posting of our waves somewhere. She replied, "It was on the email you got." You mean the email that I apparently didn't read in full and now have no access to? Fantastic! Fortunately another girl (not a blonde) figured out that the waves are marked by the color of your swim cap. Duh! I should have known that I could just look for people wearing my color swim cap, but my blondeness was already out in full force. I was hopeless.
Swim: After hanging out on the beach for the pre-race meeting, chatting with Steve, Pharmie, Jeremy, and Miss Allycat, it was go time. I lined up to the left side to try to avoid the crowds that like to hug the buoys. It didn't work. Within about 100 yards I was in a sea of arms, feet and bodies. It sucked for awhile. Then I found myself in an open area which usually means I'm getting smoked and everyone else in my wave has pulled ahead. I just concentrated on swimming steadily and not going too hard too soon. As this was my first Olympic, I had never swam 1500 meters in open water. My goal for today was to complete the distance and not drown.
I caught a few people who started in the wave ahead of me, but got caught by a few people who started in the wave behind me too.
Finally I was out of the water. I felt like I had swum relaxed. I could have pushed it harder, but that was not the goal for today. The distance had been covered, I hadn't drowned, and that was all that mattered.
T1: I somehow got my arms out of my wetsuit during the run from the water to T1. Unfortunately my legs did not want to come out. I sat down and tried to pry off the wetsuit, but wasn't having much luck. My left calf started to cramp up as I tried to cajole it out of the suit. Then the pavement started to spin and I got really dizzy. I stopped for a second to gather myself and through out all hopes of a timely transition time. This was my B race. There was no need for me to pass out in attempt to save a few seconds on a transition time. I took my time, got my bike and took off.
Bike: The bike course was hilly. Never-ending rollers. I hate rollers. I felt like I was just crawling along, but I kept reminding myself that this was a B race. I just needed to complete the distance and not die. At mile 7.5 my legs decided to show up for the race. I started to feel better and started picking off more people. It was kind of confusing to figure out who my competition was because a lot of the people were doing the half-Ironman distance. I decided to just ride and not put too much effort or thought into it. The bike is my favorite part, so I sat back and enjoyed it. At mile 14, I passed Pharmie and gave her a quick shout out. At mile 18 I finally caught the Birchwood guy I had been chasing the entire ride. As a newbie to the Birchwood Bike Team, I thought I should introduce myself, so we chatted for a few seconds before I passed him. Overall, the bike leg was very technical. Lots of steep hills. I was constantly changing gears back and forth. Lots of very sharp turns (many sharper than 90 degrees when we'd transition from the road to bike paths). It wasn't my favorite bike course, but I got it done.
T2: Uneventful. Racked the bike, changed shoes, switched out the helmet for a visor and off I went.
Run: I started the run with no one around me. No one. I was so alone, I called out to a course marshall and asked if I was dead last. I hadn't seen a single woman since the swim. Could it be that my swim was so slow, I was too far back in the pack to ever catch another girl? The course marshall replied, "You're not last, you're like the 5th woman." Really?! Sweet!
The run started with a giant uphill. It sucked, but since it was an out-and-back, I knew I would have a giant downhill to the finish. I crossed the first mile mark in 8:01. I was hoping to maintain 8 min miles, so I was happy with that. Mile 2, 6:40. Definitely short. I do my mile repeats at 6:40. There was no way I ran a 6:40 in an olympic triathlon. The leaders were starting to make their way back to the park. I figured out that I was actually the 8th woman on the course, so I focused on reeling in each woman and passing her. I knew Steve and Jeremy would be ahead of me, so I cheered for them as they passed. I hit the 3rd mile mark at 7:31. Maybe I'm running faster than I thought?! I caught site of a few women ahead of me and picked up the pace to catch them. Two let me pass easily, but one looked like she was going to fight back. I continued to pick up the pace and tried to run smart, running the tangents of the curves to hopefully help extend the gap I'd put on her.
I held off all the people I passed and crossed the finish line in 2:31:37, almost 15 minutes ahead of my goal time! Not too shabby for my first Olympic.
I'll share my post-race thoughts in another post. Now I am off for a long bike ride to Stillwater to watch the final stage of the MN bike fest!