Three thoughts about the day:
First, triathlon is such a positive, encouraging sport. The Danskin is a particularly supportive race, being all-women and designed to lure newcomers into the sport, but that isn't all of it. Maybe the sport itself is inclusive. Maybe it draws people who enjoy putting the pieces of the puzzle together. Maybe the challenges of it make everyone there feel like every fitness level is really accomplishing something cool. I really enjoyed the women I talked to, ran next to (ahem, actually they ran past me), and shouted with.
Second, James' family is exceptionally supportive of me. They kept the kids for me to train, kept the kids overnight and brought them to the race, hauled a small city of gear, cooked and cheered. It's so impressive, and such a blessing. I left saying prayers of thanks for them, and I'm still saying them. Oh, and James is great too!
Third, I'm a bit crazy when it comes to numbers. I had a number in my head, 1:45. My estimates for the various components added up to 1:50. But I really really wanted to do 1:45. That's a big discrepancy, but I get numbers in my head and they feel like the key to everything (yes, that's the crazy part). My training went so well but I was tired of saying "considering when I started" about how well it was going (oh gee, another crazy part). I just wanted to make that 1:45. REALLY badly. James and I hashed and rehashed my expected times and it didn't seem possible but the magic number was stuck in my head anyway.
How it went:
I admit it, I struggle with promptness. But not on tri morning. It's just not worth it to not arrive when they first open the shuttle lines. So even though I had about two hours sleep (anxiety, plus mystery thumb pain that bothered me all night and all day, then magically went away), we arrived as early as they'd let us and I had plenty of time. The family set up a little camp, I got myself set up and ran through all my little tasks. I had to run back to our camp and put sunscreen on my face - almost forgot!! I met three cool women as I was setting up transition - two first timers and an experienced person. I met a cool woman in line for the swim, a first timer. Two more cool women in line for the portopotty, a first timer and a third timer (sensing a pattern here?).
The swim was the calmest it's ever been. The water was totally smooth, which has never happened to me before. It wasn't my fastest swim, but it was the easiest. Maybe I should have been pushing harder, but sometimes it seems like I just get tireder without going any faster! When I came out of the swim, I saw that my family had made me a cool sign with big letters and my name on it- wow!! That's the big smile on my face!
It was a good first transition (you run into a big area, find your bike/stuff, put on helmet, shoes, etc, and walk your bike out to where you can get on and ride). My only complaint with the setup was that they didn't have near enough carpet on the (barefoot) run up from the lake to the transition area. There was a chorus of "ooh, ow, ouch, ooh, ah, ow!" coming from every direction as we ran over muddy rocks before we hit the grassy transition. Still, fastest T1 I've had.
The bike was very good. When I did a test run a few weeks ago I was really slow, especially on the first third when it didn't feel like I was really into the real course yet. For the race, I felt focused, and got to be supportive of a lot of people. One hill halfway through really got me and I had a hard time recovering, but once I did, the rest sailed by.
The next transition (put your bike away, ditch the helmet, change shoes) was speedy too. Nice. The run... well, running is hard. On my training runs with the jogging stroller I was frustrated because I was averaging (I'm not kidding, people) 13 minute miles. Training materials categorize that as "fast walk" but I wasn't walking! During my last couple of runs I was able to pick it up and had select sections that were under 11 minute miles. During the race, I kept looking at my watch, but it was too soon to tell how I was doing time-wise. The woman I met in line to start passed me and chatted a second, which was fun. At a water stop they told us "Just a mile and a third!". My mind wouldn't do the math but I could tell that was left me enough time I might just be able to do "good" on this run! I ran the next downhill section crazy-fast (crazy-fast for a 13-min-miler, let's keep it in perspective). They said it was just .7 miles and I was at 1:35! I could actually make my time goal! It felt like I was really moving! Then I hit the uphill. The just-don't-puke-really-it-isn't-worth-puking uphill. I crawled up that thing. I could not have been going slower, but it was all I could do. Then, just at the last bit of the uphill, there was a previous coach of mine on the sideline. Most of the run is isolated, so she had just walked down there to be there and cheer. That was very cool, we exchanged a few limited pleasantries and a high-five and what do you know but the hill was over! Then I could hear the finish line so I thought I'd be able to pick it up, but I couldn't. I just couldn't make myself move any faster. Finally, I saw my family. My awesome, helpful, supportive family, and I finally took off again. My watch said 1:45 but I sprinted to the finish line. They announced my name, I was a little dizzy, and I stood to let someone snip the timing chip off my ankle. I stepped out of the way and finally thought, "my watch! I haven't stopped it yet!". I hit the button at 1:46:58, but there was a window in there so I didn't know my final time.
I hate to say it, but it's true: If I made 1:45:anything I was going to be thrilled, and if I made 1:46:anything I was going to be bummed. It's the number thing. It's so far off winning, there's no reason to get stuck on a number. It's not my fastest time, or even second fastest. But that's my brain.
I had to wait until the results were posted last night to get
My Official Time: 1:45:56