Sorry guys it took me this long to get it up. I like to race review the day of the race but I didn’t have my keyboard so I just thought I would give you the teaser and give you the full review now!
But you know I can’t just start with the race, no not my style, I have to start with the car ride down. I went to pick up my road trip groupie and we headed to the Beach!!!! I was pretty sure the girls at work wanted me to leave so I would stop talking about the beach. I was ALL CAPS/EXCLAMATION POINTS excited and ready to get there and race.
We took multiple selfies riding down the road because as excited as I was I think my travel partner was as excited as I was. My main goal for driving was to get there without hitting Friday afternoon Rush Hour traffic. The big test was going to be Birmingham, I have never gotten through B’ham without some traffic and Friday wasn’t much different but it could have been 1000x worse so I was so happy to get through quickly. Unless there was a wreck or other traffic issue the rest of the ride should have been smooth sailing, and thankfully it was.
We managed to make it all the way to Gulf Shores with minimal stops. We had more bike check breaks than anything else but that was just for my own peace of mind. Once I got all the straps fixed just right we didn’t have to stop for that anymore. We got there pretty late but still managed to get to TCBY for a yogurt break and get all the race day prep done.
I had a new pair of goggles that had to be broken in so I took a shower with my goggles on to get the anti-fog stuff broken so they didn’t blur during the swim. This cause lots of laughing in my room and prompted a picture in the shower…don’t worry its totally suitable for work.
I also got a great surprise from my niece who made a race day shirt!!!! How sweet is that?!?!
And then there were the tri-tats. Since I was late packet pickup was closed so I didn’t get to do tats but I helped Big Bad Cheryl with hers!
After all the driving, tri prep, laying clothes out and packing them back up, showering, shaving, goggle prep, bike prep, sticker and tat prep it was finally time for sleep. Since I didn’t get my packet before I had to do it the morning before the race which meant we had to wake up even earlier than normal so we needed sleep!!!!
So it was up way before the Sun. We were effective without night before prep because we were out the door, bikes and all, in less than half an hour. I had to pick up my packet and get transition all set up before the race. We managed to get all that done before the sun came up.
First we Swim….and this was the part I was most looking forward to, for many different reasons. I have said a thousand times, “The swim is where I am good! I can run, I can ride a bike, but I am a good swimmer.” So it was time to put up or shut up. I wanted to be out of the water in 30 minutes. I had a few nerves about this open water business, I had some nerves about swimming with sharks and jellyfish, but I was still ready to swim. The way the swim broke down was like this….swim 750m out of the water, run around the curve and go again. After the second loop it’s out of the water an on to the bike.
I couldn’t see my watch underwater so the only time I would know if I was on track would be at the halfway point. On lap one I ran into a buoy and got kicked in the hand. It was minor, didn’t even hurt but I did happen so I learned really quick to breath to the side and then front to see the people around. I have practiced in the pool looking forward for the buoy but never really considered the other people. The water and waves pushed a little bit but the ocean was pretty calm so other than a few gulps of sea water right off the bat the first loop went well. As I got out of the water I checked my watch, 14 minutes….right on track.
Lap two started the same as one, a few big gulps of sea water and a little bit of dodging other swimmers. I had to dodge a few jellyfish and luckily I didnt get stung. I did have one about 3 inches from my face which kinda scared me but I didnt get got! I actually passed a few people in this leg of the race….that never happened again so I think it’s worth mentioning. I got to the final 100m or so and had a woman swim directly into me…and then once I stopped and let her go cause she wasn’t stopping I got my momentum back only for her to swim back into me on the other side. She did kinda piss me off! So close to the finish of the swim so I let it go and started to use my kick to get my legs warmed up and my body ready for the bike.
As I exited the water it was time for a time check…22 minutes out of the water! 22 minutes, that means my 2nd lap was 8 minutes, 4 minutes better than the 1st! I was ecstatic cause I had 8 extra minutes to play with on my goal time. Out of the water there was about 50 yards run to the transition area, all in the sand which was incredibly difficult but I was so happy about my swim time that I didn’t even care, I just ran on in and got on the bike!
Second we Bike….and this is the part that I’m still most unsure of. I ride my bike just fine but I’m not strong on the bike. I am still new to biking and still learning how to get better and faster. I knew the course was going to be long and flat so I tried to prep for that but the last few training rides I had were cut short for various reason so I had a few butterflies in my stomach about 25 miles on the bike.
I headed out on the bike and just like I knew the course was painfully flat. There was only one hill and it was not long and not steep and we climbed it and had to turn immediately at the bottom so no coast, then loop under it to come back up the other side. We got to coast on side 2. I never really got into a good rhythm but I was moving on pace for my goal finish time. I wanted to be off the bike at 2:15 and I kept that pace until about mile 20. I really started to struggle on the bike about mile 20 and was just ready for the run. I needed to get off the bike and out of the baking sun for just a few minutes and I was ready for the run portion (I’ve been consistently running this distance for weeks)
Cheryl passed me about mile 21 and she gave me some chews which might have saved my life cause I was starting to feel a little pukish. I think it was combination of the heat and the gallons of salt water than I drank but I was really not feeling all that well. I managed to get into the transition for the 2nd and final time and get ready for the run. Let’s run!
Finally we RUN….and what a pitiful performance I had on the run course. I headed out strong and stayed strong for the first half a mile…and then I pittered out. I called my niece to let her know where I was on the course. I was hoping the run could be done in under 1:20. I even told the girls the night before I was really going to push it on the run cause I thought that should be my biggest improvement from the previous tri…boy was I wrong. I ran strong for that first half mile and then really wanted some shade. There was no shade. NO SHADE AT ALL! I got to the first aid station and drank up and poured water all over me. I took a cold towel and covered my head for the illusion of shade and headed off. Next aid station, mile 2. I knew there would be an aid station every mile so that was my goal, just get to the next one. Mile 2 was by far my downfall. This was that moment you have to decide whether or not to quit. I was hot and couldn’t seem to get my running pace going. I would run for 30-45 steps and just nearly die. My legs felt fine but I was so hot I couldn’t function.
It reminded me of the Firecracker Chase. Long flat course with no shade and not relief from the sun. I’m pretty sure I ran through the corner of hell and ran back out only to have to turn around and have to run through it again. Have I mentioned it was hot?
At the turn around/halfway point one of the girls at the aid stations poured 4 cups of water over my back and I poured a few over my head…this was the second strongest I was the entire run. I maybe got another half mile run here before the heat just killed me again. From mile 4 to the end I ran when I could even if it was just a few steps. I was so far behind my run finish at this point I just wanted to get to the finish line. Screw the goal time, screw the run goal, just finish.
As I came up to the 6 mile mark I could see the cones leading to the finish, I also saw fire and rescue pull in (they knew I was coming I guess!) and I heard a familiar voice. Cheryl was standing there waiting for me at the final corral. I ran in the last few steps and finished.
Cheryl's finish line photo, I think she is praising Jesus!
And then, Yours Truly!
My goal time was 3:42 minutes, and I didn’t hit my goal…but I did better my time by 10 minutes from the last one. Overall, with the conditions and the heat I was SUPER pleased! I took a few seconds after the race to sit by the mister and rub a small bag of ice over my body before heading back to pack up. I was still feeling a touch nauseous but nothing was really hurting. I was just hot!
We got all our transition stuff packed up and headed apart. I was so proud of my training partner. She did an awesome job and I think she will do it again, even though she would never admit that. She left with her crew and I went to lunch with mine! This is where I differed from the last time I ran a super-hot race….last time I couldn’t eat a bite but this time once I got my stuff put up and a fresh set of clothes I was feeling just fine. I got cooled off and was ready to sit down to lunch with my personal cheerleader.
We sat down and ordered a huge lunch! It was two appetizers and two entrees. I was hungry! Again I was almost instantly recovered this time instead of half an hour of sick followed by a nap. We were sitting at the table and I thought I heard my time called at the awards program. I could hear them in the background but wasn’t listening because I don’t win. But curiosity got the best of me so I walked over and checked the standings.
Turns out I got 2nd in my division. Let me be really really clear…I race in the Athena division. I have the choice to race in my age group 35-39 but there are lots of people in that division so I choose to race by weight. I race in the over 165 pound division…just so happens that only 3 people were in that division so I placed by default! Yippee!!!! But I did get 2nd in my division and I got a trophy and a pack of Hammer Gel! I was pretty excited to win, I never win at these things! It’s not my goal to win, the goal is to finish and get better every time but this race was a WIN because I placed and bettered my time by 10 minutes and was able to move when I was done.
Me and my trophy!!!
Hey Emma, how was the water this time???
I just cant resist these after the video from Chattanooga.
After we finished lunch it was finally finally finally time for the beach!!! It was time to get a tan and play in the water. We took the leftovers from lunch and then went to the beach for some relaxation time. The water was much more choppy and the waves were huge which made for some fun times in the water. I think playing in the water instead of chilling on the beach also helped me from being sore. I needed to stay in the water because every single time I sat on the towel I ate the leftovers. I was pretty sure I was going to starve.
We hung out for a while at the beach until our skin could not take one more second. I already had a really bad tan line on my legs from my tri suit and I’m pretty sure the race tat was getting a tan around it too. In my normal bathing suit it looked like I had on white shorts! You could spot all the triathlon people on the beach cause they all have white legs.
After the beach it was time to do some more eating. I love all things seafood so we made our way to Lulu’s for dinner and then to TCBY again. I’m pretty sure I missed a visit to TCBY cause we went 3 times in 2 days. I love FroYO and my niece loves it 45x more than I do so we made as many trips as we could. We finished up our race day with a walk on the beach. It was supposed to be a leisurely stroll along the water and ended up being a workout. We were working way to hard to consider this a leisurely stroll. The water was still high and pretty choppy so it was hard to walk in the sand. We still went a little ways along the beach before calling it a night.
Once back at the room it was time to pack up to go home. We made plans to leave earlier than originally planned so we could get home to celebrate my Bro-in-Laws birthday. We missed his lunchtime birthday party so tried to get home to eat dinner with him.
As the weekend went on I was more and more happy with my results from the race. I was disappointed with the 10k run at the finish of the race but overall it was a better race than last time. I dominated in the water and finished and recovered way better than ever before. Even 2 days later and another 6 hour car ride I am still feeling pretty good with very few sore spots.
I’ll do it again (maybe not this race) and can’t wait for the next time. Oh and I did get a tan around my race tat…..
Now that I am a day behind with my Race day post I am a day behind on my daily rant. Ill just let you know that my Monday was nothing special so surely we can cover both days tomorrow!