Tuesday, June 17, 2008


It's taken me several days to calm down sufficiently from Saturday, when my tri club traveled to Lake Anna, Spotsylvania, Virginia, (it's way prettier than it sounds) to do a swim/ride (a SRICK?).

The 2,300-acre park, with its 8.5 miles of shoreline on the clear waters of the lake...The Lake Anna area is a Civil War history buff’s dream vacation.

Beautiful Lake Anna

I prepared for this trip like I was going to war:
Number One Daughter helped me write a list and then taped it to the front door. Imagine the list for the real tri.

It was another sunny clear hot muggy hot sunny hot day. We started with an open water swim clinic, led by the stellar Debi Bernardes who gave us a million tips like how to sight while swimming and how you should wear your goggles under your swim cap so you don't lose them when you get kicked in the face and a few other things I've forgotten.

NTP-ers listen raptly, while sweating profusely.

My friend L., who has a thing about food.

Most people did not wear wetsuits because the water was 80F and there was no need. But frankly, I've never met a wetsuit I didn't like. I chose a sleeveless model this time, because they are more fashion-forward, and well, because it was my last open water practice before the Philly Sprint—my first triathlon ever—this coming Saturday, and I wanted to simulate the day as much as possible.
This is the way you do this.

We practiced swimming in groups, and sighting. Both of which? I pretty much suck at. Here's how I "race" the swim: I notice someone is near me. I stop, tread water, and think, "Oh, you're swimming near me? How about I stop and let you go by, because I don't want to get in your way." So my swim on Saturday should be really interesting, when the wave behind mine is Men 25-29. Cuz if I do any stopping, I'm gonna be crushed like a bug.

Not that I'm worried.

Back to last Saturday: So we swam around some buoys a few times and then it was time to saddle up!

There were about 50 of us new triathletes, and for some reason, it took me forever to get out of the wetsuit, into shoes and socks and sunscreen and helmet and pump up the tires and get the gloves on and make sure I had enough gu in the little pocket thing that sticks up on the crossbar of the bike (but first I had to put the little pocket thing ON the bike) and two bottles of gatorade, and the map, don't forget the map! Next thing I knew, everyone was heading out of the park.

A little 26-mile ride. My longest ride yet. Through what I thought would be the well-protected roads and paths of Lake Anna State Park.

I spent the first 20 minutes trying to catch someone, anyone, and then? I gave up. Lucky for me, a most lovely Ironman and a half Ironman (girl? woman? person?) were riding sweep. For a few miles I had a few other people in sight, and even caught them a few times (OK, once when one got a flat). But mostly it was just me myself and I, trying hard not to panic.

Why was I panicking, you ask? Cuz I was on roads. With cars. Cars, trucks, motorcycles, 18-wheelers. And hills. Hills that went screaming down down down (someone was screaming anyway. I think it was me) and then up up up. If I were my own mother? I would have been terrified for me. Come to think of it, I was terrified for me!

If I wasn't worried about going downhill arse over elbow I was worried about going uphill and falling sideways. However, I am pleased to say I made it intact, never had to walk, despite the driver of the 18-wheeler who decided to try to edge me off the road—Me! I am probably his mother's age!!—and for good measure blew his horn to make certain my heart completely stopped. Which it did. There may have been more screaming here.

I gave him a very special wave.

Somewhere around here I remembered why I hate amusement parks: the rollercoasters, to which I am equally attracted and repelled.

And then I remembered why I love riding: Because it reminds me of my misspent childhood, on my bike on a hot summer day roaring down the middle of the 9-house street I lived on—Carbonella Drive in Hamden, Connecticut.

And then I remembered all the falling off the bike.


It was hot. And long. Eventually the sweepers swept up to me, and even though I was embarrassed to be last, I was grateful to have them to ride with. Mr. Ironman noticed I'd gone through both bottles of Gatorade, and just like that he stepped up and saved my life. He handed me his bottle! Another sweeper, Mr. T., had to tell me to eat another gu. Apparently, I was saving my 2nd one for an emergency of some sort.

So I'm pretty sure I was suffering from a bit of too much heat. We ended up riding for 30 miles, in 2 hours and 20 minutes (listen, that's epic in my world) and when I FINALLY got back to the parking lot, I peeled myself off the bike, grabbed clothes to change into, walked into the ladies room, took off every stitch and tried not to pass out. I don't know how long I was in there but it was a long time. When I came out I stretched out on the grass until my friend S. came by and pulled me up and stuck my head under a water fountain, which has to be what heaven feels like.

And then? D.C. Tri did what it does best.

After a long-ass car ride in stop-and-go traffic for two hours, I finally made it home.

And then took a look at this:
It's not easy to get an effect like this, ya gotta admit.

I ended the day watching the restored version of "Rear Window" at the American Film Institute (stop what you are doing and go see it right this minute).

And then I slept the sleep of the dead.

On the agenda for the rest of the week: Worry about Saturday. I'm happy to report I've got that well in hand. (Rumor has it that two other bloggy friends will be doing the Oly distance on Sunday. There is vague talk of a bloggy meet-up.)

All in all, 'twas a day to remember.


21stCenturyMom said...

ow, ow, ow on that sunburn - OW!

Okay - here's the deal with the swim. Just swim. Don't worry about anything. You will get bumped and jostled but if someone wants to go around they will. And they might swim over you but it isn't that bad. Channel Ellen Degeneres and just keep swimming.

More sunscreen! duh!

Also - you need to have EVERYTHING on your bike and ready before you head out. There is no fixing your bento box in T1. You must be ready. And you are - just go have fun!

BettyBetty said...

You are very entertaining for sure. I admire your determination. Very cool. Today I had two 18-wheelers back to back pass me in a very narrow tunnel - a very hail mary mother of god...moment. Cycling is not for the faint of heart that is for sure.

MJ said...

Thanks for pointing to your hungry friend L's blog - found some cool restaurants and recipes!

Rainmaker said...

Dang...very impressive Saturday. I think you're gonna totally rock this Saturday! Should be awesome!

Just don't faint...cause well...that would be less than ideal. ;)

LBTEPA said...

30 miles = 52km = that's FAR. No wonder you were tired!!
For me it works better in terms of hydration/nutrition on the bike to have just water in the bottles (a slurp every 10 min, a full bottle every hour) and suck down a gel or some sports beans every 40 min. 21CM is right - your bento box is on your bike and loaded up before you go! My race tops have pockets so I put the gels in before I start the swim, no worries. As far as setting up transition et, a couple of my race reports from Dec/Jan have LOTS of detail that you might find helpful
You WILL rock this race my friend!

Jack said...

Wow what an epic day, ALMOST enough to make me want to try a tri. I can't wait to hear how you crush the main event, I'll be cheering long distance!

You sunburn is a work of art, but ouch!

ShirleyPerly said...

Incredible day and it wasn't even a race? Well, I think you're going to do great having such a great group looking out for you and helping you get ready for your first tri. I wish I'd done any open water swimming before my first tri. I freaked when when people started touching me and I went way off course!

Nancy Toby said...

So did you finally put sunblock on that list? Aerosol kid's waterproof SPF50 works great in transition, worth the time! Uhh, works great for workouts too when you can take your time to spray it on.

Debi Bernardes rocks! Sounds like a great event!

Vickie said...

That's a great workout! And believe me, I know exactly how you feel about being in last place and the traffic issue. Fear holds you back sometimes, but what can you do? Here's also something I do at a tri to get my wetsuit off easier: I bring a little camp stool. At least that way I have something to sit on. Then peel the thing all the way down before you try to get it off. And since we are in the same age group, I'm pretty sure you have the same problem of trying to do this sitting on the ground and then trying to get up again without the assistance of some strong man or a cane, so the stool really comes in handy and doesn't take up any room, and you can always hook it over your handlebars to carry. And its good to change out of your bike shoes and into your running shoes The only problem is, once you sit down, you sometimes don't want to get up again.

Lesser is More said...

You are more than prepared for the Philly sprint and you're gonna rock it! It is a flat and fast course and much shorter than the distances you've been training. It might, dare I say, actually feel like a sprint!

peter said...

OMG, that sunburn! I got sunburned on Lake Tahoe (2 hours on the boat at noon with no hat only a bald pate and sandals, doh) but the straplines of my sandals on the top of my feet don't look quite that angry! Oww. Sounds like you did great though with your new BFFs. Good luck on Saturday in Philly!

Jade Lady said...

Oh gosh, you definitely take the cake in the most hilarious post I've read! Maybe it's because I can most definitely relate to the swim part! And, here i thought I was the only one...again, I'm in good company!

Gosh, I had not thought about Lake Anna in a long time - I used to own a boat eons ago, and that was a favorite water ski place. It's beautiful there - but I always felt a bit strange with the nuclear power plant adjacent...i.e., what's in that water thar! But, it didnt' stop me from enjoying the lake!

The best of luck to you in your sprint tri! I will be doing a sprint first tri in 2 years also this weekend! I'll be thinking of ya!

Rae said...

How awesome!! Tri club is going to have you SO prepared for your tri!! I can't wait, you are going to do so well!!

Bex said...

Hey, I'm finally blogging again.

WannaBe5Ker said...

Tris? I go away for a few months and crawl into my hole, and when I come out, I read you are doing TRIS?????

You rock. BEST of luck this weekend in your first tri!!!!

Judi said...

You are doing great! Your 1st tri will probably suck but you'll be totally addicted once you start.

Runner Susan said...

the invisible swimsuit is kind of a sexy look - you should wear it to the mall this weekend!

SCMorgan said...

You came to Lake Anna???? And didn't tell me so I could cheer you on???? Oh, yeah, I was out of town. STILL....
I would have reminded you to put on sunscreen, silly.
You are rockin' lady. Good for you.

zandria said...

That sunburn looks like NO FUN! I hate getting to that point. Thank goodness it's been more than a few years since that's happened to me, but I'm pretty vigilant with the sunscreen (I know that's difficult with all the physical activity you were doing, though!). :)

Just12Finish said...

That last pic deserves a medal! Or an award. Something!

a.maria said...

remember how, when i got sunburned in austin, you got all mom-ish on me and scolded me for not wearing sunscreen, and that SUNBURNS CAN KILL and all that!?!?!



also. yah. umm.. ya MIGHT wanna have all your bike stuff set up BEFORE you actually get on it!!! you goob.
what do you do, line up in the corral at a marathon with your sandals on, and when they blow the horn, THEN put your shoes on?!


same rules apply to the bike m'dear. i was reading that laughing so hard i think i peed a little in my pants.

and feel free to tread water to let people pass. that was more or less my approach last weekend as well! :)~

David said...

I noticed the checklist had nothing checked off. Figures.

Putting on a wetsuit in public is like putting on pantyhose. You NEVER let men see you do that!

And when did this site go so frisky risky with sunburned rear nudity?

I am appalled. We have definitely lost you to another world.

Phil said...

I would imagine with a sunburn like that you'd sleep for days. The exercise eneough is eneough to beat you silly, but add a lot of strong sunshine and a sunburn to the equation and you're totally drained.

BTW -- nice to see someone else makes checklists. My family always gives me a hard time about mine.

a.maria said...


Laura said...

Hope the sunburn is a bit better, and also that your tri went well! Can't wait to hear.

Anonymous said...

ouch. and then ouch.

double ouch.

did you get any funky blisters with that burn? good peels? that'd be the only silver lining. by "silver", i mean epidural.