We arrived in Lawrence on Friday after flatting on the highway (tip: call 511. Some nice passerby did so for us. Otherwise, we might still be out on the highway). The weather was hot, hot, hot and humid to boot. I went for a light jog Saturday morning and came back dripping with sweat. Man, this was not looking good.
Saturday was spent checking in at the expo, putting our bikes in transition, scouting out the bike course and finding out that wetsuits were not allowed the next day- ahhh! The venue in itself was in a campground and you were allowed to park and had to walk to everything from there. Note: If you can avoid it, don't bring the kids.
Scouting the bike course:
Sunday-- off to the race! We got there uber-early, only to find out that every triathlete and their brother had gotten there even earlier. Had to park and shuttle in. On the shuttle, we learned that the ice-water gods had come down and blessed Clinton Lake lowering its temperature to 77.5 degrees-- that's 0.5 degrees lowers than what we needed it to be to be allowed to wear our wetsuits-- yay! No drowning for Randi today.
Despite our early arrival, it also seemed like there was "just enough" time to check-in, drop our stuff in transitions and get prepared. Either I am getting better at this or... In transition, I met some other cool ladies. 1. that was from Madison, so we had lots to chat about and 2. that was doing Madison this year for her first IM, too! We agreed to look each other up and become fb friends.
This tri was by far the largest with 16+ waves to start. I was in wave 11 and Ross was in wave 15, so I stuck with him till my wave was called. The swim went good and was pretty uneventful-- in a good way. No anxiety and managed to swim relatively straight. I tried to draft as much as possible, but the water was not so clean, so it made finding bubbles even harder.
Out of the water, up into transition went pretty seamless. Again, I must be getting better at this or... and off on my bike.
Don't know what it was, but I felt like I pretty much rocked my bike. Biking has always been my "challenge" for tri and today, it came pretty easy to me. I can probably thank my coach for this, who has worked with me onmy bike form, fielding many, many questions and sent me up to the mountains I don't know how many times, just to make my legs stronger.
As I was passing the dam, I saw what I thought were hawks circling and I wondered if they were jayhawks-- we were in Lawrence after all. I later found out that they were turkey vultures. Yikes.
The hills, too, came pretty easy. I think it was a combination of the fact that (a) Knoxville was much hillier and (b) the hills were very similar to the road out by our home. I also found a guy who would climb every hill standing, so I stuck with him for motivation. (Turns out, he's from Englewood, so he knows how to climb.) When I got towards the end, there was a long hill coming up the backside of the dam. We were about 2/3 way up the hill and I looked over at a guy-- "I got no more gears left" he said to me. I felt so bad for him. I was doing ok, I was still in my big chain ring.
The thing that wasn't rock star about my ride was my back. My back started to ache on the ride. I took some ibuprofen, focused on my form and hoped that it would be ok when it came time to run.
Coming into the second transition, it was off my bike and onto the run. Here was the big test-- how would my back be? Fail. It hurt. Bad. I managed to run the first mile before I had to stop, stretch and walk some. From there on out, it was run/walk and massage my back. I had a horrible first 6 miles of my run. As I passed each aid station, I would ask for ibuprofen, nope. On top of the pain, it was hot. You didn't feel it so much on the bike because of the crosswind, but man-o-man could you feel it on the run!
As I was hitting my second lap (mile 6.5ish), my back loosened up. Yay! I was tired and hot, but now I couldn't blame my back for how I finished the race. Amazingly, my legs felt good, so off I went. I spotted someone wearing Rocky Mountain Tri Club gear and I cheered for him as I passed him.
The best thing about having a crappy first lap would be that my second lap made me feel strong and confident. I was passing a lot of people and just trying to plug along and get her done. Towards the end I was run, run, running and then would have to walk to take a breather, then off to run, run, running. (My goal for the next one is not to have to stop and walk-- just keep going, even if it is at a slower pace.)
So, here's the part that will show you how non-competitive/clueless I can be. I crossed the finish line and had no clue of what I finished in. I know the clock time was somewhere around 6:26, but I had no clue what my actual time was. I had to stop someone who was also in my wave and ask her. Clueless, I know. We guessed at our times and I thought I might have finished in under 6 hours-- yay for me! That would be a pr.
I found both Nikki and Ocky from my masters swim. They crossed shortly after me and it was nice to celebrate our finishes after a long day. I found Courtney, too (my new transition pal), and she had also finished and was happy. Congrats to her on her first half! Chrissie Wellington (mega-tri-superstar) had even handed her her medal. How cool! Chrissie must've been on potty-break when I crossed. Bummer.Me, happy to be finished.
I waited for Ross and got a shot of him finishing. He crossed the line and Chrissie Wellington gave him a pat on the back- again, jealous.
It was a long, hot day and we were both glad to be done!