Here we go!
My alarm went off after I woke up by about 5 minutes. I got out of bed and grabbed my tri clothes that I had laid out carefully the night before, dressed, and headed downstairs for a piece of toast. I’ve learned to not eat much the morning of an event. You all know what happens otherwise. I had to use my inhaler, pollen has begun to arrive during days with heavy south winds. I’m already feeling my asthma.
I headed across town, found the place, checked in, headed downstairs toward the locker room–but not after peeking into the pool first to see how many groups were before mine.
Finding no one in the pool, I headed to the locker room to change. Some gals had beat me downstairs, looking nervous, and interestingly, they sported the typical Sharpie-inspiredtriathlon numbers. I have done two indoor triathlons and I have never been marked. Cute, I thought, and headed out to the pool where they got marked.
Awesome number, lucky number, I thought. Indeed.
I drank a little, hit the indoor plumbing the requisite number of times, checked with the pool, back to hydrate. And pee. Again.
As my time drew closer, the pool emptied and I headed over to get in the water. BRRR! Glad I popped in early. The gal next to me is training for the marathon, thin thing, about my age. Hardly ever swam until a few months ago. She said, “I’m sorry if I hit you.” I reassured it that even if she did, as long as we didn’t clunk heads, it’d be fine.
I did a practice lap, listened to the instructions. Ten minutes, then whistles to stop. They will count only full lengths. Got it. Let’s get this show on the road.
Whistle blew and we were off! It had begun. I tried to keep my usual pace, where I felt comfortable. It’s really weird starting off with someone right next to you in a lane. And, just barely across the lane divider on the other side. I tried to stay in my own head and just worked on keeping my stroke smooth, reaching for the wall, keeping my hands perpendicular to the bottom of the pool, good recovery, breathing.
And I did. I felt really good about my swim. Back and forth I went. My Garmin’s five minute alert went off and honestly, I wondered if my 910xt was broken [I wore the Garmin just for the pool swim]. Seemed like we’d been out there longer than that. I tried not to think about it, in fact, wished I hadn’t turned on the alert in the first place. I few lengths later, I lapped my lane partner. I had already lapped the guy next to me. Honestly, I think he took a break. I tried to peak across the lanes to see where everyone else was, but I saw no one. I almost stopped to see if I’d missed the whistle, but the two women I could see on the bench didn’t seem concerned, so I kept swimming. Funny the mind games I play in my head.
Then I saw everyone else in the adjoining lanes–all headed the other way. Wow, was I that far behind, or that far ahead? “Doesn’t matter, dingbat,” I yelled inside my head, “just swim your game.” So I did. A little while later my alert, and then the whistle, went off as I was about 10 yards into the next length. It wouldn’t count, but I gave it my all. I quickly looked at my garmin: 450 yards. That was my expected goal! Yay!
Off to the locker room. Ooops, forgot my key–had to run back and find it on the pool deck. 10 minutes til the bike began. Clock was ticking. I took off my suit, put on a shirt (I had my tri shorts and a bra on under the suit–call me lazy or smart), sat on my towel, dried my legs, put on my shoes and socks, donned a hat (I remembered it!), grabbed my iPod, and headed to the bikes. I barely had time to adjust the seat and stem before the time started.
I had to stop once to readjust. Dadnabbit. Turns out it really didn’t matter–based on the way that they scored the day.
I started spinning, remembering my sister’s advice, “In the indoor triathlon, it’s the bike portion that makes the difference.” She was right. I kept the gearing at “1″ (easiest) and spun my heart out listening to The Cars, U2, Steel Wheels (appropriate), and Tommy TuTone. Yes, I reached back a bit! It was either that or listen to some crappy country they had playing overhead.
I finished my PowerAid 15 minutes into the ride. I could start feeling it in my legs a little. I hadn’t kept up this kind of cadence in a couple of years (110-125 rpm, someone can explain to me how this is related to cadence–I will laugh my ass off if this is cadence, because I’ve never kept that up for more than 10 minutes). I put my head down and powered through. Halfway through, I chitchatted with the volunteer, thanking her for helping, giving my brain a little break, then back to the action. It helped.
Pretty soon, we were done. 16.7 miles. I felt pretty good about that. Especially considered I hadn’t ridden my bike hard for weeks.
Then, I got off the bike. Good god, I’m done, I thought! My inner leg muscles (gracilis and adductor longus?) were so tight that I could barely walk without feeling like I’d just gotten back from four weeks on the Chisum Trail. Good lord. I quickly looked around. No one else could read my pain, no one else was limping. Suck it up.
I followed everyone to stairs. They weren’t kidding. Two flights of stairs–but all heading straight–no turning. I grabbed onto the handle and pulled myself up. I turned to the woman next to me, who shared my swim lane, and smiled. Nope. I was not going to be the complainer. Suck it up.
I made it to the top, picked a treadmill next to the marathoner. I stood spread eagle and began to stretch. The countdown began.
“8 more minutes.”
“Jeezuz, I still cannot walk,” I thought to myself. “Am I done? I cannot quit. My goal is to finish this thing.”
“5 more minutes,” he said, looking at me. I smiled from my bent over position, stretching as best I could.
“2 more minutes.” Then, “1 more minute.” I continued stretching. A wave of panic flew over me as I struggled to get onto the treadmill.
It took a while for the treadmill to start moving, but move it did. I punched in my usual training pace, a whopping 4.5 mph. About a 13 and a half-minute pace, or so.
“Hey,” I thought, “Where did the pain go? Holy crap, I am using a whole different set of muscles!!!”
I knew that, but in the midst of the race–of course I forgot.
I “ran” tall and proud, pumping my arms, watching TV, and not losing stride. Just 19 more minutes, piece of cake.
Sure enough, I did fine. In fact, about five minutes left to go it occurred to me that I had a lot left to give. I bumped it up to 5mph. I finally started breathing hard. Sure my HR was in the 150s already, but that’s better than two weeks ago! I felt pretty good, so I bumped it up to 6mph. I always give more at the end–I am my dad’s daughter . . . saving reserve just in case. I gotta cut that out.
Did I just do that? 6mph?
Was I running in the 10 minute mile zone, at the END of a Triathlon? Nirvana! I booked it for the last two minutes and hit .05 under the marathon girl (who was my age, but at least 50 pounds less than me)! I hit 1.56 miles!
Holy cow. I’m done! I ran the WHOLE time on the treadmill. I have NEVER done that before during an indoor triathlon. Granted, it wasn’t 3.1 miles, but STILL!
So, here were the final results:
52 women completed the Triathlon (there were men and teams, as well):
FINISH PLACE: 32 / 52
SWIM PLACE: 11/52 (tied with 8 others)
BIKE PLACE: 20/52
RUN PLACE: um, it’s easier to count this way–I only beat 8 people.
So, I need to work on run speed. I knew that. But I am so proud of myself! I’m not a lower third finisher any more. I’m a middle third finisher!!!
The other two indoor triathlons I did a “total distance” scoring. This was VERY different: