As you recall, I was not really wanting to do this race. I had planned on doing the 70.3, but because of many things, I was very undertrained for that distance and decided to drop down to the Olympic length.
We arrived in Old Orchard Beach on Saturday around 11:00 and got to the expo to register and drop off my bike. It was so simple to switch distances right at the check-in. Thank you Rev3 for being so easy to work with. Just a few clicks on the computer and bam! I was in the Olympic race. Phew.
I didn't end up spending a lot of time at the expo because the kids were anxious to get to the beach and do all the OOB things. I didn't stay for the athlete's meeting either, such a rebel, because I didn't think there would be much to add from last year.
So fast forward to that evening as I'm in bed at 10:00 trying to fall asleep while thinking about that STUPID ocean swim the next day. The ocean water was SO cold. Like so fucking cold that I couldn't go above my knees in it that afternoon at the beach. I wasn't worried until then. But after feeling the frigidness of that water, it was all I could think about.
I actually had to get in it and swim. For somewhere around 40 minutes. Fuck. Me.
So that was all I thought about that night. I looked at the clock hourly.
I wondered if everyone would be mad if I just didn't go to the race at all that morning. Just skipped it and went home. Would my family be mad that I dragged them all the way down there for nothing? Would I be mad cause I spent all that money and then didn't even do the stupid race?
I DID NOT want to swim. At all. And that was all I could think about. I got right in my head and talked myself right out of that race. Right then. Right there.
I finally gave up trying to sleep at 4:50 a.m. and got up and got ready. I gagged and almost barfed while brushing my teeth.
Who does this? Who pays hundreds of dollars to do something that makes them so anxious they feel physically sick? Who gets up at 4:50 a.m., barfs, and then goes out to swim in an incredibly cold ocean, only to bike distances that make your legs hurt and then run after that? Who does that? No sane person, that is for sure.
I quit in my head about 15 times that morning. My body, however, left the hotel and went to transition to get ready. I was there incredibly early, almost 2 hours before my swim wave start. But somehow I felt better there. I felt less nervous, less insane and overall, just better.
I got my area all set up and then proceeded to wait. I was racked with the half distance folks since that's what I had signed up for originally. Their swim wave was a full hour before mine. I was racked next to a girl who I met last year at this race. She was so nice and it was good to talk with her to keep me calm. I found Mandy from Caratunk Girl, she was two racks over and I chatted with her a little. I love her. I've only met her twice but that girl is the best. She is so happy and cheerful, I think she could even get Grumpy Cat to smile.
Some photographer snapping pics of the race got a picture of us while we were chatting. It appears as though I'm admiring her wetsuit or checking out her hoo-ha. Not sure which. Anyway, thank you Mandy for the calming words. You are the best.
I spent the next 45 minutes sitting in transition just snacking a bit and trying to keep my cool. It was a little awkward since I wasn't in my distance group, I had no one to make small talk with until race time. I got my wetsuit on and began heading down to the beach to the start. During the walk I found a woman with a purple cap who was walking alone so I targeted her as being my new best friend. I walked up and started talking to her so I wouldn't be at the start line all alone. I was sorely missing my friend that I met last year at this race. This girl was nice but I don't think she really loved that I was tagging along talking away to her. Oh well. Thanks for being there anyway Becky from CT. Even if you didn't want to talk to me, I appreciate that you did.
It was finally time for our wave to go in. We got the countdown and then we ran to the water to swim. It was so cold. I think the official temperature was 63*? It felt 50*. I walked as far as I could and then just started swimming. It took my breath away to put my face in so I swam freestyle with my head up for as long as I could. The tide was coming in so the chop was banging waves into my face. I looked to my side and saw another purple cap on her back, so I said fuck it and started backstroking too.
I seriously don't know why I bother to practice swimming at the pool freestyle since both of my OWS I have done the back stroke. It was better on my back since I didn't have the waves smashing into my face but they were still splashing and I coughed and gagged more times than I can count on this swim.
It seemed to take forever to get to the first buoy and when we did, it was chaos. There were women swimming over me, around me, next to me. Everyone was kicking me and hitting me with their hands. I kept hitting people also when I was swimming because I was on my back and couldn't see who was ahead (behind?) me. Sorry folks. I even got punched in the face at one point. That was awesome combined with a mouthful of frigid salty water. Yes.
I tried to keep pep talking myself--you can do it; swim, swim; almost to the next buoy; it's almost done. Let me tell you, this freakin swim took FOREVER. Finally, to the last buoy and it straight ahead to the beach. Here I flipped over and swam freestyle which kinda seemed easier as the tide was pushing us in. My legs felt like logs and I had stopped having feeling in my feet just after the first buoy. I could finally stand, so I decided that wading was better than swimming so that's what I did.
So thankful to be done with that part. Time: 43:29 Six and a half minutes longer than last year. It's a miracle I wasn't last in my division, but I wasn't.
The transition to your bike is a bit of a run from the beach, down the road and into the transition area. Here I had my first glimpse of another Tough Chik. She cheered so loudly for me as I ran past! It was great. She had on a Tough Chik shirt and it was great to hear her cheers. I did pretty well in transition and got out of there 2 minutes faster than last year.
Time for the bike. I thought I could make up some time on the bike but it turns out, my start was pretty slow. I couldn't feel my feet from the cold swim and my legs were so tired from the swim. I have no idea what I did on the swim that made my legs so tired, but they were sore. And heavy. Maybe from the wading in? No idea. It took awhile to get going on the bike. First split I averaged 15.66 mph. Second split was much better with an average of 17.88 mph.
During the last half of my bike, a bunch of the lead men in the half were passing me as they were finishing their 50 mile ride. Almost all of them had those fancy bikes that sounded like a semi coming up behind you. Whoosh! as they went by. I was going around 20 mph and they went by me like I was standing still. Crazy.
Total bike time: 1:29:50. 5 minutes slower than last year. Initially, when I looked at the results, I thought I had done better than last year because I saw my mph average for the second split and thought it was for the whole ride. Crap. I guess the cold water had much more of an effect on my biking because once I got warmed up, 17.88 mph is pretty dang good.
coming in to transition
maybe sitting down is not the speediest way to transition
Bike to run transition look a little longer because I didn't put socks on for the bike and now had to take the time to get the sand off my feet and put socks on. I had a few bites of a nectarine, water and then off.
heading out on the run, I even kinda look like a runner...
The run off the bike is always hard for me. Maybe it's because I never do brick training. Ummm, Duh. I felt good though, in that I kept running and didn't need to walk like last year. I only walked through the water stations, just long enough to take a few sips of water and move on.
As I was running one of the local women, Angela, passed me and I gave her a shout--Go Ange! She turned around to see who yelled to her and I called back, 'I read your blog!'. I hope she didn't think that was too creepy... she laughed, waved and smiled and off she went. She went on to take first in her age group in the half distance.
At another point along the run, maybe mile 2? I saw a Rev 3 car and a woman cheering for folks running by. I looked over and noticed that it looked like Carole Sharpless. I recognized her from Jen Small who she coaches. I yelled, "Is that Sharpie?" She ran right over and started talking to me. She was the nicest thing ever and asked me my name, chatted and ran with me about 1/4 mile. It was a nice distraction from the run and I felt better after. Thanks Carole!
I was feeling better and better on my run. I was only getting passed by fast men doing the half so that made me feel good. I don't think any women passed me on the run that I remember. I saw my Tough Chik cheerleader again on my way back in and she was just as loud as before! Thank you again for your awesome cheers!
coming in to the finish chute, pretty much the only smile of the race lol
Once again, my kids were at the finish waiting for me and I ran over the finish line with them. I made sure to do a big jump at the end so I would get a finishers photo this time. I'm pretty sure I'll get one since I was the only one finishing then and I looked right at the camera guy. He'd better get me or I'm going to have a bone to pick with Rev3. Run time 1:03:50. 5 minutes faster than last year.
cool photo of my son and I heading to the finish line
Total race time 3:26:27. Last year's time 3:21:08. wah wah
finishers shirt and medal
So on to the things that I've learned by doing this race:
1. I don't like ocean swimming.
2. I'm not good at ocean swimming.
3. I like swimming (in a pool), I like biking and I like running. But I don't really like doing them all at once.
4. Triathlons are HARD. It is damn hard to swim almost a mile, then bike 25 miles THEN run 6 miles. I don't care who you are, it is hard.
5. I don't believe that an Ironman is in my future. Maybe a 70.3, but not for a long time. I think I will stick with sprints.
6. I think triathlons are best done with a buddy. I wish I had a tri friend to go on this journey with me. Someone to 'feel your pain' so to speak.
7. Did I mention that I really dislike ocean swimming?
8. The mind is a crazy thing. It can make you sick when you aren't.
9. I will not likely do this race again next year. Maybe as a relay? Maybe I'll get the misery of the ocean out of my mind and sign up again anyway.