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.