Wednesday, July 16, 2014

You Gotta Get Up and Tri (Pewaukee Triathlon Recap)

"Where there is desire
There is gonna be a flame
Where there is a flame 
Someone's bound to get burned
But just because it burns
Doesn't mean your gonna die
You've gotta get up and try, and try, and try"
~Pink~'s been almost a month since I posted.  I wish I could tell you that it's because I was busy training my ass off so I could absolutely kill my second triathlon, but that's not the case.  After Rock 'n Sole, I realized that I had a measly four weeks to get my butt in gear for tri season.  I hadn't been in open water since last July and I hadn't been outside on my bike in weeks, and I whatever passion I had for the sport was deep in hibernation - basically a recipe for triathlon disaster.  I don't think I can adequately recap the race without explaining some of what's been going on for the last month, so grab a snack and a drink because this is going to be a very long post.  (If you want to skip straight to the race recap, scroll down to the bold "Race Recap" below and start there.)

My first attempt at an open water swim just plain sucked and I honestly didn't want anything to do with open water after that.  I was about ready to hang up my wetsuit and give up on triathlon all together, when Yada Yada invited me to join him for an open water swim at a lake near his house on July 3rd (11 days out from the race).  I wasn't sure it was such a good idea, but I figured I had nothing to lose.  All I can say is: WHY WASN'T I INTRODUCED TO THIS LAKE SOONER!  Unlike 'The Flea',  this lake doesn't allow motorized boats, there are basically no weeds, and the water is actually warm!  For the first time ever, I enjoyed an open water swim!  It was a huge win for me, no matter how slowly I was swimming.  I started to believe that the Pewaukee tri was possible (we'll talk about USAT Nationals another time).  

After the swim, Mr. R&R (who had gone for a 3 mile run while we swam), Yada Yada, Texas, and I went for dinner and drinks.  Over dinner, Yada Yada expressed some concerns that the bike course had been changed since last year and he was wondering what was in store for us.  That was an easy one to solve: I invited Yada Yada to join my tri team for our course preview on July 6th

The Guiness Brownie didn't suck either!

I dragged myself out of bed far too early on the last day of the long weekend and hauled myself and all my tri stuff out to The Flea.  While I was waiting for Yada Yada, I set up my transition area in the back of my car, said hi to the Iron Cheerleader, and signed the team's waiver promising I wouldn't sue if I drowned/wrecked my bike/got hit by a car.  

Transition in a Toyota

When Yada Yada arrived, he hadn't realized that it wasn't just a bike preview, but a preview for the whole race!  He was nice enough to wait around while I did the swim.  Oh the of the guys paddled a kayak about 200 meters offshore and we swam for it.  It wasn't a good swim, but I've had worse.  I think my favorite moment was swimming past the Iron Cheerleader (who was swimming at the back of the pack on purpose) and we had a laugh about not getting in a fight this year.

Once I was back on dry land, Yada Yada and I hit the bike course.  We intentionally rode slow (and believe me when I tell you that Yada Yada can kick my ass around the block on a bike) and tried to get a feel for what was going to work best on race day.  We opted to ride the run course as well since he didn't have running shoes.  At the end of the day, I wasn't sure that I could have a great race, but I was convinced that I could get through it in one piece.  

In the week leading up to the race, I ran, I rode the trainer, I did a brick workout, and I managed to squeeze in one more open water swim in Yada Yada's practice lake - oh and Texas decided to race for the first time in several years!  The successful open water swims combined with the course preview rekindled a little bit of the triathlon flame in me and I was ready to do whatever I had to do to get through the race. 

It's like a hamster wheel - with a movie in front of it

Race weekend came fast.  I decided to pick up my packet on Friday night to avoid the crowds and that plan definitely worked out well.  My mom came with me (since she's never seen a race expo/what I do leading up to a race) and we were in and out of the expo in under 10 minutes.  That left plenty of time for me to show her where to park/catch the spectator shuttle, and stops at the market for rabbit greens, and a stop at Sports Authority so I could replenish my Roctane stash.  Saturday was all about taking it easy, guzzling water and Gatorade, and packing the colossal amount of stuff required for the next day.  Of course, falling asleep wasn't easy, so I got about 3 1/2 hours of sleep before my alarm went off at Stupid O'Clock (3:45am).

Race Recap
My first order of business when the alarm went off was to hit 'Go' on the coffee maker before stumbling off to the shower for a quick wake up call.  I shimmied into my tri clothes, hauled all my stuff out to the car, and strapped my bike to the back of the car.  I rubbed some bunny ears for good luck, grabbed my coffee, and Mr. R&R and I were on the road by 4:30am.  I listened to a few of my favorite "power songs" while sipping on coffee and trying to force down a Clif Bar.  We parked about half a mile from transition and walked down.  I know we could have parked closer, but last year I found the walk useful for burning off nervous energy, and it did the job again.

I found my spot in transition (in the middle of nowhere - next to a dude who couldn't follow simple directions and rack his bike correctly), got my stuff set up, went through body marking, and met up with Mr. R&R to hand off my transition bag (couldn't keep it in transition due to the lack of space), and wiggled into my wetsuit.  Before I knew it, it was time to head for the beach.  I ran into Yada Yada, Texas, the Iron Cheerleader, and a bunch of other people that I trained with last year.  All the chatter was enough to distract me from what I was about to have to do.

I went into the water next to my teammate, P, and quickly lost sight of her in the sea of bright pink swim caps.  I swam out about 50 yards before the choppy water started to become an issue.  I was getting nauseous/sea sick from it!  I flipped onto my back for a little bit and it was marginally better.  I ended up spending most of the swim on my back because every time I rolled over and tried to swim properly I felt like I was going to puke.  I definitely wasn't the only person having issues since lots of people around me were backstroking as well.  I was very happy to see the beach come into view.  I stood up, put my goggles on top of my head, and stripped out of the top half of my wetsuit on the run up the beach, across the street, and into T1.  Swim/Run to T1: 12:43

I finished stripping off my wetsuit, rinsed my feet, threw on my sunglasses, bike helmet, and bike shoes, and ran my bike out to the mount line.  T1 Time: 3:18 (much faster than last year).

I mounted my bike and tried to get comfortable for the hills and bumpy roads ahead.  Maybe half a mile out of T1 I realized that my Garmin had messed up and wasn't providing me any feedback.  Thankfully I was on one of the few flat sections of road, so I was able to stop my watch and reset it so that I had data for the rest of the ride - it wasn't perfect, but it was better than nothing.   The first half of the bike course was rough.  There was a pretty strong headwind, I was constantly shifting into my grandma gear to get up the long, steep hills and Texas came blowing by me - even though her wave started after mine (she's a really good rider).  I ate a Roctane around Mile 8 and started feeling much better.  I was able to shift into much bigger gear and started grinding up the hills with a little more gusto.  Along the way, I passed my friend A (we exchanged encouragement and complaints about the hills) and a little while later, I passed my friend D (we both concluded that we're doing the duathlon next year).  I went flying down my favorite hill and topped out at just over 31mph!  Finally I was cruising downhill on the way back to T2.  I gulped down another Roctane and some water about half a mile before I hit the dismount line. Official Time: 1:00:25 (Both rides I've done on the course show it being 16 miles long, but officially they're claiming it was 14!)

I dismounted and did my best to jog my bike back to the rack.  I re-racked my bike, switched  to running shoes, reset my watch for the run, and hauled ass out of T2.  T2 Time: 2:47 (again, much faster than last year).

Coming out of T2, there was only a 5k run left and I was feeling good.  My legs were turning over nicely, I was breathing easy, and I spotted Texas just ahead of me.  It was time to run her down.  I caught her and chatted for a moment (she had a rough go of the swim) before I pulled in front of her.  A little while later, my teammate P caught up to me (she really had a freakin' asthma attack during the swim and was still clicking off 8 minute miles!).  She put me in her rearview mirror and I just kept moving at my own pace.  Every so often I'd glance down at my watch and I was shocked to see how well I was running considering how tired I was.  I slowed down through the water station, drank one cup of water, and dumped another over my head to cool off.  The first two miles was an out and back, so I was able to see how much time I had gained on Texas, A, and D (who must of met up with our teammate C along the way) - I wasn't unhappy.  Around mile 2.5, my pace started taking its toll and I started to struggle a little - and go figure, the last bit of the run was up a nasty, steep hill.  I gave in and power-walked up it.  I hit the top and started running again. I could hear the finish line.  I took the last turn and sprinted downhill to the finish.  I remember hearing the Iron Cheerleader yelling, "Go get it, girl!" and seeing my mom and Mr. R&R cheering like crazy.  Run Time: 30:09

Total Time: 1:49:23

I met up with P in the finishing chute and hung out while Texas, A, D, and C finished and we had a mini-reunion of sorts, which was kind of awesome.  It was nice starting and finishing with so many of the same people that I trained with last year.

I made my way through the chute, snagged a bottle of water and a few cookies, and went in search of Mr. R&R and my mom.  I still can't believe that they willingly got up before dawn just to support my insane pursuit.

My mom headed out, and Mr. R&R, Yada Yada, Texas and I made our way back to transition to collect our stuff before heading out for a well-deserved breakfast...and of course, a huge cup of coffee!


April said...

That stupid o'clock crap...that's for the birds! LOL It is great that you have such a supportive group both at home and in the races!

Mary said...

Stupid o'clock is the worst part

Anonymous said...

Those are fast transitions! I'm going to try and get the dance troupe like that...3 minute costume changes like a pit crew!! Lol