I was—thankfully—in the last swim wave (thankfully, since that meant there wouldn't be anyone behind me who would swim over me, see how I think?) set for 6:45 a.m. Sunday morning. Transition closed at 6, so I got there at 4:30, which meant? I woke up at 3:30 a.m.
O'dark thirty in transition.
Maryland Girl and me at the a**crack of dawn.
That is just so very very wrong.
We were all concerned about the condition of the Potomac River since it had been raining nonstop for what seemed like decades. Saturday was packet picket, again at a hotel a million miles away from transition, with a mandatory pre-race meeting, and a rather sad and dismal expo. I really don't get these meetings. I think the only thing I learned was that there wouldn't be any kind of transport back to transition on race day, which meant getting up early and parking at the hotel, and taking the shuttle down to transition, so that after the race we could walk back to the hotel, get the car, and try to drive back to transition to get all my crap. I'm saying the fifth discipline in triathlon is logistics (the fourth is eating).
Saturday, June 20, 2009, Potomac River, looking towards Virginia. The sun finally broke through.
Anywho, there was 'sposed to be a practice swim after packet pickup and bike racking, but it was canceled because of thunderstorm warnings. Number One Daughter's BF had been on the river early Saturday morning and was very skeptical that there would be a swim in such conditions—rough current and tons of debris. He said he saw a few tires float by. Way to freak me out KB!
Didn't see any tires, but plenty of debris.
I wasn't quite sure which would be worse: Having this thing turn into a duathlon (please don't make me run twice!) or, having to swim. And it wasn't swimming in the Potomac that scared me, it was, well, just swimming.
The course: Straight, left before the bridge, swim parallel to the bridge, another left and straight back to the dock. Easy-peazy!
The sun is up and I am so ready.
SWIM: 20:51 (2:47/100m) Despite all my weeks and months of training, I'm still pretty much convinced every time I get in the pool that I will suck. As we queued up and waited for the 10 waves before us to go off (6 Olympic waves and 5 Sprint) I tried not to think about a single thing except putting one foot in front of the other. This (mostly) worked.
Soon we jumped or slid into the water, which was a lovely 72F, but very murky. Treaded water for three minutes, the horn blew and we were off.
Sighting was pretty easy. Keep the shore to your right, head for the bridge. I probably over-sighted (?) looking up every 3-6 strokes. I was wearing a new wetsuit and for some reason my legs felt very constricted. I kind of knew I should be kicking at least a little (the ghost of Coach Tammy screaming in my ear to "USE. YOUR. LEGS.") but I just couldn't manage it. I also have just GOT to learn that there is a difference between swimming in a triathlon and driving a car. (What, you think that's obvious? Don't judge.) In a car, for instance, when someone wants to merge, I generally slow down and wave them in. And it turns out? In a triathlon when someone is swimming in front of me and I am gaining on them? I should really NOT SLOW DOWN AND WAVE THEM IN. I should ROLL THE HELL OVER THEM if need be.
I didn't hyperventilate, but I was breathing hard, telling myself this was really NOT the time to review the recent spate of stories about how all deaths in triathlon occur during the swim (seriously, this is what I was thinking), wondering if I'd have time to scream.
SHAKE IT OFF, sister!
Soon enough, I was hauling my bad self up the ramp, and taking my sweet time walking back to transition.
T1: 4:34 A funny thing happened in T1. Well, first, there were still bikes there, so that's funny peculiar right there. My bike was in the very very very VERY last rack, as far from the swim as possible but right next to the bike out. Wetsuit off, goggles off, dry feet, put sock on left foot, put sock on right...c'mon, you can do it, just raise that foot a little higher, bend over, COME ON YOU'VE BEEN PUTTING ON SOCKS FOR UM, YEARS NOW!! EFF THIS I'M SITTING DOWN! I can no longer bend over, my back is so tight. Who knew?? So I sat on the grass and got my right sock on and then pulled on my bike shoes, except...wait, there's something weird happening in my right shoe. WTF? Is it just my sock bunched up??? YOU DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THIS, JUST LIVE WITH IT IT'S ONLY 12 MILES! Helmet on, sunglasses and go go go.
Bike 20K (12.4 miles): 45:59 (16.2mph): The bike was fantastic. There is no better feeling than being able to ride in the middle of the streets of Washington. The Olympic and Sprint races were concurrent, so it was also just lovely not being alone. D.C. Tri was everywhere. We owned this race! They were ringing cowbells on every corner or handing out water or taking photos, or, if racing, never failed to shout "Go D.C. Tri!" as they passed me. It was awesome. D.C. Rainmaker passed me a few times on the bike like I was standing still, and even though he was busy tossing his cookies, he still managed a "Go D.C. Tri"...awwww. So I went, and got me my fastest bike split ever. I even passed a few people. Yay me.
T2 2:10: A funnier thing happened in T2. I racked my bike, took off my helmet, took off my left shoe, took off my right shoe and saw...ewwww..wtf is that brown stuff on the bottom of my sock on no it's not oh yes it is THERE'S A GU WRAPPER STUCK INSIDE MY RIGHT BIKE SHOE! AN OPEN USED GU WRAPPER. Did someone casually toss a gu wrapper on the ground in T1 RIGHT INTO MY BIKE SHOE??? Apparently, they did.
I stuck the camera in my jersey, grabbed my cell phone, and pulled on my running shoes. Somehow? I managed to become more limber AFTER the ride, so I didn't need to sit down to put my shoes on like I'm 100 years old. Go figure.
RUN 35:32 (11:28 min./mile): Let the record reflect that this is the Very Same Girl who started the year by going sub-30 in the 5k. This is the Very Same Girl who threw down an 8:50 min mile in the mile race just a few short months ago! And yes, this Very Same Girl had one goal and one goal only on this run: Do. Not. Walk. I don't care if you "run" 12 minute miles, just don't walk. Yay, me, I did it. Since I'd done only two half-assed bricks since last year, this was a good thing.
The finish was nowhere near transition, so that's why I grabbed the camera and the phone. I figured I could run 5k with a phone in my hand. A phone that was TURNED OFF, let me state for the record. Not my prettiest 5k but I knew it would be over soon. Plus, I kept passing my D.C. Tri peeps again! I gotta tell you: When you live in (or in my case near) the big bad city, and you're in a fairly sizeable (ok, not huge) race, and every 200 meters someone calls out your name, you start to feel, well, well-known! It takes a village, people!!!
Afterparty! Volunteer at the ITU professional race water stop!
Is this Brownlee?