Okay folks. I did it. Sprint numero dos in the books!
I decided to go into Tri Latta with the same approach and race strategy I had for Jetton last month.
I'm happy to report that all those goals were met once again, if not surpassed in some areas.
This event starts un-naturally early. The gate closed at 6:00 a.m. and all athletes were encouraged to be there by 5:30 a.m. So, even thought the 1st swim wave started at 6:30 a.m. and my wave didn't start until almost 7:00, I still had to be in the park before 5:30. Which means I had to be up early early to get ready and out the door by 5:00. Not really the day to oversleep, right? It was a whirlwind trying to get ready, the car loaded. With my English muffin shoved in my mouth, I left the driveway at around 5:10. Just ducky.
I got to the park around 5:40 and was met with a nice line of traffic. They had not yet shut the gate so I was very thankful for that. Unfortunately, the athlete parking area was full, so I had to park even further away. No way I was walking that far. Thelma's tires were probably low, but I took a risk and rode her in. I'm glad I did since it gave me a nice little bike warm up since I didn't have time to get in a warm up run once I got in and set up. I went immediately to the bike tent, had Thelma checked over and tires pumped, set up my transition area, headed over to the Greenapple Sports and Wellness tent (holla!) so Dr. Cooper could tape up my knee.........and then it was go time. I got down to the lake just in time to see my friend and triathlete extraordinaire, Ashley, set off with the 1st swim wave, and where his wife, fellow triathlete and good friend, Lori, kindly told me I had dried peanut butter on my face. Nice.
I was very worried about swimming in the lake again after the washing machine I dove into last month. I wanted to so badly to actually swim this time. And by golly I did! I kept calm, relaxed. I got kicked (once in the head and I kicked some, but I was able to block it out and keep on rhythm. I swam a turtle's pace, but I did it with limited doggie paddle and only veered off course a few times. I was even able to run up the hill to transition and cut my T1 time nearly in half! Granted....I had a lot to work with there....
Transition to the bike went fairly well. I quick dried my face and my feet (yes, for socks. Scoff if you must, but this girl needs socks...) and slipped on my Pepto Bismol colored Pure Flows. Then threw on my shades, fogged up my shades, took off my shades, wiped them off, put on shades, fogged up shades, cussed, and fastened my (price tag free) helmet. I grabbed a couple swigs of NUUN and a handful of sport beans and grabbed Thelma for our biking adventure.
Getting out of transition was a little frustrating. There was a woman in front of me taking her very sweet time, which would have been okay but the exit was a little narrow and I couldn't get around her. Then she stopped dead in front of me as soon as she got to the mount line and I almost ran right into her. After a deep breath and an internal reprimand for being irritated for no real good reason, I calmed down, went around to the side, hopped on and took off.
*helpful hint I've learned and thought I would share with fellow newbies like myself: Unless you can do these crazy stunt-like mounts, run past the mount line a bit and off to the side. That way you don't feel rushed while getting on your bike and you're not in anyone else's way. All things are easier and faster when you stay calm!
I really really liked this bike course. It had a lot of flat, a lot of rolls, it wasn't horribly easy and it wasn't horribly difficult. I think it had just enough challenge to it. I'm pleased with my ride. I did get passed quite a lot, but Thelma and I did our best to hold our own. I can honestly say we did the best we could have done and even increased our mph by 1 from last month, and this course was 5 miles longer.
T2 was a little longer from last month, but considering I almost fell off my bike while stopped at the dismount line, I'm okay with that! Yes folks. I would like to say it takes a lot of skill to fall while stopped and standing, but it is truly just natural talent. Don't be jealous.
Oh the run.
Worst run ever. They described the course as rolling hills on trail with loose gravel. And it was. But what
they neglected to say was the gravel was not a fine gravel one would expect to find on a trail, but large gravel like one would find in a my drive way. Not the easiest terrain, especially for people like me who are having problems with their peroneal muscles winding so tight causing the ligament to snap over the ankle joint. This stopped me dead in my tracks twice trying to loosen them and get them to release. A slow 5K to be sure, but I can't complain about the time since I really did have to stop twice. The muscles never did release, but I figured the only way to get it done was to do it, and I was ready to be done. So, I put it into third gear and crossed the finish line.
Over all a good day and a good finish for this newbie. I did have a couple disappointments. Like, I thought for SURE I had put in a much better time than last time. I was a little bummed that this swim, that I was so happy and excited about, was only 1:30 faster than the doggie paddle championship of last month. BUT I am still happy with how comfortable it felt, and I know that will only get better with time, practice and experience. And I am disappointed in my run because this is supposed to be the strongest of the three disciplines for me. BUT I know I'm firing at only about 85-90% I think, and I'm doing the best I can with how my body feels right now. And that my friends, is all I can really ask for.
What's next? We'll finish out the month getting ready for the Boilermaker 15K Road Race in Utica, NY in July. I ran this for the first time last year with my family and had a blast. So we're doing it again this year.
Party at Brother's house. See you there!