Event: Maple Leaf City Tri
Date: July 23, 2016
Location: Baldwin City, KS
We have some catching up to do!
As I mentioned before, on Thursday, I slammed my finger in the car door. I don’t know how I did that, and I don’t recommend anyone else try. It was horrible and my finger instantly looked terrible. My co-workers insisted on taking me to the ER to get it checked out, and it was probably a good thing that we did since I broke it! I ended up with a clunky metal brace on my left pointer finger. I specifically asked about my triathlon, and I was cleared to swim as long as I took precautions to protect my hand. (I spoke with the event organizations beforehand to alert them to the situation).
Friday, I took my tri bike for a short spin to see if I could operate the brakes and shifters. I was able to reach over with my right hand to operate the left shifter, so I was pretty much good to go… until I was almost home and stopped at a stop sign. I was in the left turn lane, waiting for traffic to clear. A silver car pulled up beside me in the straight lane. When traffic cleared, I started my turn and the silver car went around me and made a left in front of me, cutting me off. I had to slam on the brakes to keep from running into the side of their car, and had no opportunity to unclip. I went down hard on my left side. I ended up with a bumps, bruises and road rash, but seemed OK still.
We went to packet pick-up that night and I decided to drop from sprint to super sprint to give myself more space in the pool for the race, as well as cut down on the abuse my hand would take on the swim and bike legs. I debated using a paddle on my left hand, but when I test fitted it at home, it seemed like it would push the brace off my finger which would not be good!
My birthday was Friday, so I was up a little late opening presents and eating cake. (My oldest son made me a German Chocolate cake from scratch so that was pretty awesome!) I must point out that it was too great of a birthday, crashing my bike with a freshly broken finger. Just sayin.
Ok… Saturday, race day. I got up early and got dressed. I put on my trisuit that I had laid out the night before. I filled a water bottle with ice water since it was going to be another super hot day. I couldn’t convince myself to eat anything. I made an English muffin and even that wouldn’t settle.
I grabbed my backpack and headed to the transition area set up outside the Baldwin City pool. After I set up my gear (check the picture below… can you spot the big mistake I made?) I headed to get my body marking and ankle chip.
I decided not to do any swim warm-up because I didn’t want to abuse my poor hand anymore than I needed to.
The sprint course started first. The sprint course required swimmers to circle the lanes (do a down and back) before ducking under the lane divider to swim the next lane down. They spaced the swimmers out 10 seconds, so it was pretty tight. I watched as some swimmers bunched up and bumped off each other, and decided I made the wise decision in dropping down.
The super sprint course went next. We didn’t circle lanes, so we had more breathing room in the lanes. The RD suggested I go last and when I stepped up to swim, I gave the swimmers before me a lane and a half head-start. (Which was good since I ended up leaving the water right after them.)
I scurried to transition, stripping up my cap and goggles as I made my way to my bike. I slipped on my cycling shoes, which I had left unfastened, threw on a helmet and grabbed my bike. As I started to leave transition, a volunteer told me I needed my bib. (I actually asked about this ahead of time and was told I only needed it for the run. I wasn’t going to argue, so I ran back and grabbed my race belt. My bib flapped around and annoyed me the entire ride).
Once I made it to the cones and timing mat, I mounted my bike and was off. We took a left single left turn onto the course and headed two miles straight out of town on the hilly county road locals refer to as Le Loup Road.
I found the fun part about starting dead last was that you got to do all kinds of passing! I was having a great time reeling the other bikes in and telling them, “On your left! Thank you! Great job!” as I sped by.
As I reached the turn-around, there was a younger guy in front of me. I could have passed him but I wanted to give him some space to turnaround so I slowed down and tucked in behind him. (This was a mistake). He slowed me down quite a bit. He made the turn and I noticed a fast rider on the sprint course coming thru, so I stopped and let that cyclist go by. (I felt it would be rude to cut him off). By not passing the slower rider, it made me slow way down, and then need to stop for the faster rider, which cost me a bit of time.
After I made the turn back, I passed the younger rider and rode right behind the Speedy McSpeederson guy as we passed more riders. I was having a great time but really ended up trashing my legs for the run. Big mistake.
I made it to the dismount (as a couple cyclists failed to unclip and crashed behind me. I feel your pain, people. I do). and ran back to my spot. As I grabbed my running shoes, I noticed my BIGGEST mistake that day. I hadn’t untied my shoes AND they were in a double-knot. I struggled to untie my shoes with my clunky brace and finally got the laces apart. I knew I would never be able to tie my shoes, so I called out for help with my shoes. A member of a relay team came over and double-knotted my shoes for me. I grabbed my hat (didn’t grab a drink… mistake) and was off. I knew I had spent at least 4 minutes puttering around in T2 and I was feeling pretty dumb about that.
I went out way too fast on the run. I was feeling good, I thought. It caught up with me half-way thru. It was a hilly course. I was hot. I hadn’t had a drink since T1 (I couldn’t get my bottle out while cycling). I paid for all my earlier mistakes and ended up with a crummy run leg. I ended up needing to walk a few seconds a few times in the second half. I was really disappointed in myself since running is my best discipline and I tanked it.
I made it up the final hill and headed into Baker U’s Liston Stadium to do a lap on the track to the finish line. I was able to muster a small kick at the end. I collected my medal and bottle of water, and laid on the turf to catch my breath. I was tired and covered in sweat.
Once I caught my breath, I checked my results at the booth. I saw I was 3rd overall, 1st female and 1st age group and walked away… and then I processed that in my head a bit. what? So I went back and checked again, thinking maybe I put my bib number in wrong… But still. 3rd overall, 1st woman. OMG! That put a pep in my step and gave me a second wind!
I went back to transition and packed my things back up in my bag. There was no awards ceremony, so we could pick up awards the next day.
Later on, I started comparing my results to 1st place. I noticed he beat my by 96 seconds. That really made me start to think about the mistakes I had made. Not untying my shoes. Not passing when I had the chance. Not eating breakfast. Not drinking enough water. I mean… The shoes alone were 90 seconds wasted, I bet!
Before anyone thinks I am too big for my britches I know… I dropped to the super sprint for my broken finger. If I did the sprint, would I have placed? Ha. Yeah. No. But, I had a good time and gave it my best. It was a good mental test for me to start dead last and make up all that time.
I am hoping that when I have my iron deficiency and autoimmune stuff worked out (and not have a broken finger), I can make a run at placing in the sprint, and start tackling the Olympic again.
After my race, I took a shower and nap to rest up for my 5K that evening…