Triathlon 101: Gear for the SWIM.

I think a good place to start with Triathlon 101 is to talk about gear… and since swim is the first leg or the race, we will begin there.

Our expert for swim is Jennifer Harrison! (You can find her bio at the end of this post).

Let’s talk about what gear we need from head to toe. Here is a general swim gear checklist:

  • Race Day:
  • Swim Cap
  • Googles
  • Swimsuit or Trisuit / kit
  • Wetsuit (for open water, water temp dependent)
  • Speedsuit (again, for open water, water temp dependent)
  • Tri-Glide or other wetsuit lubricant

DR: It seems many triathlons tend to supply a color-coded swim cap. And really… If I need to provide my own, I tend to just pick ones that I think are neat. And it is a bonus if it will pull over my long hair. Do you have any personal preference for swim caps? I know they make them from different materials, but I have not experimented much.

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My favorite TYR swimcaps

JH: They offer latex and silicon caps.  Latex are cheaper and more popular.  I personally like the latex ones  – I find that they are not too hot or not too loose.  I do not like caps that are loose!  And, latex caps are less expensive so races usually offer the latex ones.  Silicon ones tend to be heavier, hotter but also less restricting.

DR: I have also heard that some athletes wear two swimcaps, to prevent their goggles from being pulled off. Do you find that to be a problem? (Now I am worried about getting beaten up in the big races! Maybe I am lucky I tend to do ones with smaller wave starts!)

JH:I do not personally do this, but many do.  If you do this, make sure you practice it in training first.  Also, make sure you like the double caps and do not get too hot in the water.  BUT, many people like the security of the double caps to ensure their goggles stay on.

DR: Speaking of goggles… I have been thru a lot of pairs of them to try to find the magic pair that won’t fog up, won’t leak water, and won’t leave raccoon rings around my eyes. It seems like since we all like different goggles, it is probably specific to the swimmer, and personal preference on fit. Do you have any goggles that you like in particular?

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My TYR swimcap and goggles on the long course

JH: I absolutely LOVE Speed Women Vanquishers.  I have like 30 pairs.  I used to be superstitious and buy a new pair before EVERY race.  I don’t do that anymore, but I still have many pairs.  Goggles are a personal preference, but finding the right pair is imperative!

DR: I have purchased TYR anti-fog for my goggles. Do you have any other tips to keep them from fogging up?

JH:Throw it away!   The secret is Johnson’s baby shampoo – put a drop in your goggles before you get them wet – and then rinse them out in the pool and they are GOLDEN!   Trust me on this!  NO anti-fog stuff – it will ulcerate your eyes if you don’t get all the stuff out – not good.

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Photo courtesy of Jaime Berry

DR: How about different lenses for a pool swim versus open water, where you might get more glare from the sun?

JH:All swimmers should have a clear pair for very dark/cloudy days and then a mirrored pair or tinted pair for sunny days.   And, always carry both pairs for your races!

DR: Do you have any tips to keep the goggles from letting in water? I usually wet them a bit to get a good seal, but that tends to give me rings around the eyes.

JH:  We all get rings around the eyes – no getting past that if you want to keep the water out.  So, it is a balancing act.  I like my goggles tight, so I live w/ the raccoon eyes.  To me, way better than water in the goggles  – especially “dirty” lake water.  So, it is usually one or the other.

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Photo courtesy of Rebecca Ann Neumeier

DR: Let’s talk about swimsuits for a bit. I think many athletes just getting started often wear a swimsuit for the swim and then throw on a t-shirt and shorts for the bike and run. And for short races, that is a good option since chafing won’t be as much of an issue. However, if they chose to move onto longer races, they will want to invest in a trisuit or trikit. Do you have a preference for a one-piece versus a two-piece kit? I like to wear a one-piece trisuit when I can because I find it more comfortable. Often, the tri-tops ride up while I run and I have to pull them back down a lot.

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Photo courtesy of Susan Cho Oyler

JH:Correct, the one piece is also very aero-dynamic and does not move much from racing.   I like the 1 piece too sometimes, but I find that they are hot sometimes.  I actually race in the 2 piece more just because I like to have the ability to lift my top up if I am hot.

DR: A wetsuit probably isn’t something an athlete needs right away, but sounds like it is really vital when doing a Half Ironman or Ironman. (People seem to get really upset when the water temperature is not wetsuit legal). What advantages are there to wearing a wetsuit? At some point, it might take longer to get it back off than it would save in the water, right?

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Photo courtesy of Lindsey Dillon

JH: An athlete – regardless of their swimming ability, is always faster in the wetsuit and also spends less energy swimming when in a wetsuit.  IF the wetsuit is legal, always wear it, no matter how short or long the race is.   Even if the athlete swims “easy” in the wetsuit because the water is so hot (76 degrees is HOT) – the athlete will expend less energy and be overall faster in the wetsuit.  

If the athlete practices getting the wetsuit off, it is fast and very limited time is lost.  However, the GAIN by wearing the wetsuit is priceless.

I always wear it – always when legal.   

 

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Photo courtesy of Jaime Berry

DR: Can you tell us about the rules for wetsuits and water temp?

JH:USAT dictates this -→

As per USAT rules, if the water temperature is 78 degrees Fahrenheit or below then wetsuits ARE allowed. At 78.1 to 83.9 degrees Fahrenheit participants may wear a wetsuit at their own discretion; however, wearing a wetsuit in the temperature range will mean that the athletes are ineligible for awards.

DR: I think the first time I put on my wetsuit, it took me an hour (haha! Kidding!) . I used Tri-Glide like I was spraying myself down with Pam! Do you have any tips on how to get a wetsuit on without dislocating a shoulder?

JH:It does take awhile to get into a wetsuit, but if it is taking the athlete an hour to get in the wetsuit, the wetsuit may not be the best fit.  It may be too tight and thus too restricting.  Suit Juice is a GREAT product for lubrication.   Body Glide also works out well.

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Photo courtesy of Kendra Krueger

DR: Do you have any experience with speedsuits? When would you wear one of those? And how are they different from a wetsuit?

JH: A speedsuit is what an athlete would wear OVER their tri kit for non-wetsuit swims.  They provide no buoyancy but they are aero-dynamic and “speedier” in the water.  They are very tight and offer a limitation of gapping from the TRI KITs.  I would recommend using them for all non-wetsuit legal swims.  My favorite is the ROKA.

DR: So once we are dressed and lined up in the water and ready to race, I like to splash the cold water on my face so that it isn’t as much of a shock when I dive in. What is your biggest tip for a successful swim?

JH: A few good tips:

  • KNOW the course.  If you can, swim the course the day before (parts of it, of course) and know how the sun will be during your race.   No surprises!
  • Know the buoys and how the course will flow.
  • If you are a timid swimmer, let the gun go off, let the swimmers go and wait just 5 seconds and go.  You will get cleaner water and less commotion.  It is worth it for 5 seconds.
  • Make sure your goggles will not fog up.  I mentioned using Johnson’s baby shampoo to clean out the goggles before you start (and fully rinse).  Do that!
  • Warm up in the swim for 5-10 minutes with a few 10” pick ups if you can.  The swim is always a very fast and hard start, so prepare your body for that!

Thank you, Jennifer! If anyone has any questions on swim gear, please feel free to reach out. We will talk more about swimming later when we cover the swim course, transitioning to bike, and training for the swim. Next we will continue our gear talk with bike gear!

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BIO: Jennifer Harrison has been racing for 20+ years and has competed in over 200 triathlons from sprint to Ironman distances. Jennifer also coaches fulltime and runs a triathlon company called JHC Triathlon Coaching.  Jennifer lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband, Jerome, and her teenage twins, Graham and Morgan.

Triathlon 101: My First Race

In a couple weeks, I will be giving a demo session called “Triathlon 101” to athletes young and old, to introduce them to the sport of triathlon. I will be bringing lots of gear and hope to encourage a lot of sign-ups for this racing season!

I thought now would be a good time to share some knowledge here as well. While doing my Cyclocross 101 series, I brought in some experts to weigh in. I will be doing that here as well when I get into the nitty-gritty details.

So let’s get started!

Triathlon sounds like a lot harder than it is. The name alone sounds scary. And then thinking about swim-bike-run? I immediately thought about drowning, brain-eating amoeba in the lake, wrecking my bike, and about 20 other terrible scenarios.

I can tell you, none of those have happened to me. (I have fallen on my bike, but that happens to everyone while learning to clip in and out. Really! It wasn’t that bad!)

I was hanging out at the protein shake bar at the local gym when the guy who runs the parks and recreation department started talking about the new triathlon they were putting on. My ears perked up. I am a running… No way I could do that, right? But then they told me it was just a short swim. IN A POOL! And a 10 mile bike. And a 5K. Hey – I can do that!

I started hitting the Baldwin City pool in the morning during free lap swim. That happens early in the morning and was mostly attended by senior citizens walking up and down the lanes. Not such a scary audience to practice in front of.

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Ready to ride over to my race!

I quickly figured out that I didn’t REALLY know how to swim. I hadn’t had lessons, so my swimming was all head-above-the-water Tarzan-style. So I starting Googling and You Tubing, reading up on breathing and rotation and flip turns. I only had a few weeks to learn, so I focused on just getting the breathing down.
Then I realized I needed a trisuit, cap, and goggles. I ordered some clearance gear online and at least LOOKED like I knew what I was doing in the water. When you are just getting started, fancy gear isn’t a necessity. A trisuit was just a nice-to-have, since many just swim in a swimsuit and throw on a tshirt and shorts for the rest of the race.

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Waiting in line to swim and making a weird face.

My next step was digging my bicycle out of the garage. I had a nearly 20-year-old hybrid bicycle that I had been riding on rail trails. It wasn’t cool or fast, but it was functional. My husband helped me tear it apart, then we sent it to a friend to be sandblasted and powdercoated flat motorcycle black. We spray painted the wheels fluorescent pink and I was ready to go. I bought a retro helmet to match since I had never worn a helmet riding before.

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Before I knew it, it was race day and I pedaled over to the pool, with a small backpack of gear, to do my first triathlon. I learned a lot that day. (To be honest, I learn something new at every triathlon). But that race was such an ideal start for me. A pool swim is a lot less daunting that open water. I was out on a course with top-of-the-line triathlon bikes, road bikes, hybrids, and even some mountain bikes.

I survived the swim. I dropped my chain on the bike course 3 or 4 times and learned to fix my own bike on-the-fly. I was smiling from ear to ear on the run. (The course ran by my house that year and my kids were cheering for me!)

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I was one spot away from 6th place, which would have earned a medal… (I blame my bike chain for that). But I was definitely hooked and started training.

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So that is my triathlon beginning. I hope to inspire more to start the sport! Stay tuned for the series of posts!

 

Riding dirty.

I had a lot of bike time this weekend!

On Saturday, I did a 90 minute ride around the county on gravel roads, which I really like. Always an adventure!  About 30 minutes into my ride, I came over a hill and found two cows standing in the middle of the road. They didn’t seem to like my bicycle too much, but when a man in a truck came by to corral them, they liked him even less. I stood off to the side as they decided I was the lesser of the evils and they darted past me. (They weren’t there when I came back thru on the way home, so I assume the people in the truck got them back into their pasture).

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The boys met me at my turnaround point (the minimum maintenance road). That was the most muddy, rutted fun mile ever! I think the biggest surprise was seeing Tatum plow down that on his tricycle. He did an out and back on it – two miles on this tricycle! Good job, Tater Bug!

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I did the out and back twice, so 4 miles for me. I tilted the Go Pro down and caught some neat video on the last pass. I got pretty muddy but it was so worth it. I used the time to work on some new skills. I wanted to get practice riding in muddy conditions, so I kept pushing myself to hit the ruts. I corrected when the back of my bike would come around on me. I pedaled thru deep water, with my feet completely submerged. (That felt awkward!) I went into deep bogs and just kept forward moving progress so that I would not get stuck or fall over. I think it was time well spent as I know cross courses can get muddy and I want to be prepared for some of that.

I put together a 3 minute video of my ride (sped it up a bit to fit into the length of the song.) See it here.

On Sunday, I hit the bike trainer for a ride pretty late. I listened to some heavy music and just concentrated on spinning at a high cadence. After 10 miles (30 minutes), I lost interest and felt like running, so I changed shorts and shoes and went to the Baker campus. It was hot and humid, so I worked up a pretty good sweat in 3 miles. It did feel pretty nice to feel some speed in my legs as I did a progressive run, picking up the pace on each mile.

I am so happy to have gained some confidence in mud, but I don’t feel like I am quite ready for a race yet. I will try to find some time to work on my skills this week. I am just struggling a bit with pulling the trigger on a race entry. I feel intimidated and I feel like I want to be more at-ease on my bike. (I don’t do well struggling in front of people, especially if it is a race situation). Hopefully I will find a race at the end of the season 😉

Up next on the Cyclocross Series will be purchasing your first cyclocross bike!

 

When the RD forgets about you.

I have been battling allergies for two weeks. At least I think it is allergies. At first I thought allergies, and then I thought I was getting sick, but then I decided it is just allergies. A co-worker recommended a cold medicine she likes to me, and I took that for a few days, only to realize it was making me feel worse! I switched back to my regular stuff and am feeling better. I mean, still feeling the allergies but no longer feeling like I have flu / cold. So that is an improvement.

Last night was the first night I felt like working out this week I took advantage by taking the dogs on two walks around the campus across the street. The boys joined me for the secondIMG_0002 walk, which made it take 4 times as long, but it really is nice to get out as a family. (And it gives the dogs extra time to run a play).

 

On my first walk, I got one whole picture of the girl dogs. The secret to getting a picture of a group of dogs is to stop by a pole. Little Maggie May is now bigger than her big sisters. Lucy the Frenchie used to be the alpha dog, even over her giant brothers, but Maggie is quite bossy and rowdy and won’t let Lucy push her around. So I guess Maggie is the pack leader now.
After my first walk, but before the second, I made dinner. I bought a couple new cookbooks and have been cooking my way through the Chrissy Teigen “Cravings” book. The boys are really loving the recipes. So far I have made the oatmeal cake breakfast bake, biscuits and gravy, and macaroni and cheese.

After our family walk, I finally had a chance to get my brick in. Because I didn’t start until 9:00, it was really dark and my tri-bike doesn’t have a headlight, so I kept it on the trainer for a spin. I am really getting my money’s worth out of that Nashbar trainer.

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I am actually signed up for a triathlon on Saturday. It is a deferral from last year, since I was too sick to do much of any racing last summer. I did confirm in the spring that my deferral carried over, but I have not gotten a participant guide… and packet pickup is tonight. Me thinks they have forgotten about me. I have not even gotten to study the course and transitions. Yikes. I guess I will crash packet pick-up and see what happens? No idea on what to do. It just occurred to me that I had not gotten any communication from them when I realized packet pickup was today.

I guess I will let you know tomorrow how that goes!

Just do what you can.

Sometimes the hardest part for me is just getting out the door. I was very tired yesterday when I got home. I sat down on my bed for a moment to catch my breath and I could have easily taken the world’s longest nap. I struggled with myself. I knew I needed to swim. I wanted to swim. But I was so tired. So I thought, well, what if I go and do a loop and if that is all I can do, at least I did that.

I threw on a trisuit, grabbed my swim bag and headed out to the lake. I was tired but trudged down and dove into the water anyway.

On my first loop, I struggled with my noseclip a bit. It was letting water in, which I could not blow back out. (I wear a noseclip to keep out brain-eating amoeba. Yes. It’s a real thing.) I treaded water for a moment as I adjusted my clip and then made it to the first buoy. For me, that is always the hardest part of the workout. Somehow, after I rounded buoy 1, I find my rhythm and realize I am not going to drown… It gets easier. I rounded buoy 2 and swam back to shore.

I gave myself a minute to catch my breath and then headed back out for another loop. This time, I didn’t have any issues. YAY!

Third loop around, I started having trouble sighting the first buoy. I think it was a combination of watery goggles and bright sun directly in my eyes. As I was finishing the lap, my swim cap started sliding off my head and by the time I reached shore, it slid off entirely… That was a new one on me!

Sigh… fourth and final loop. I fixed my swim cap and made another lap. I again struggled sighting into the buoy but my cap stayed in place for the full loop, at least.

So what started off with a “how am I going to do 2000 meters” turned into “I can’t believe I actually finished that.” I was still very tired after… but at least I was an accomplished kind of tired. It would have been easy to stay home and use my autoimmune issues as an excuse. (And sometimes, it is a reasonable and honest excuse). I just don’t want to get in the habit of using it as a “get out of jail free card” too often. There are times I dearly need to rest. And then there are times that I can suck it up and gut it out. I just need to give myself the chance to decide what I am capable of each day. There have been many times I have driven out to a trail head, only to cry and be upset that I can’t find it in me to run. But… sometimes… like last night, I find a little bit of PUSH in me and I can get it done. (And I just have to hope that those times outweigh the crying times.)

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I spotted my friends Benita and LaRisa at the shelter, so of course we needed a group picture. As we were taking the picture, three little ducks waddled up to us. They were friendly and obviously expecting food. I rummaged through my bag and found I Bonk Breaker I could crumble up for them. So cute! I will have to remember a better treat for them next week.

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2016 Win for KC Tri relay

It was a busy weekend! I just realized I had a race for 4 of the 5 weekends in July! And I actually did 5 races since I did 2 last Saturday! Holy smokes!

Friday night, Steven and I ventured to Parkville, Missouri to the packet pick-up for Win for KC Triathlon. I had volunteered to run the 5k for my work’s relay team. I had completely forgotten what weekend the race was, so it was a little surprise when the participant guide popped up in my email.

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They had a bib decorating session set up, so I put “HTFU PUCK” on my bib. HTFU being my current favorite mantra, and Puck my longstanding nickname. (Again… you can read about HTFU here).

Saturday morning came super early. (I guess staying up watching Stranger Things with the kids will do that). I rolled out of bed, got dressed and managed to sleep a bit on the ride to the race. When I did this race a couple years ago, I had to get up really early to set up in transition. It was nice only doing the run of a relay so I didn’t have to be there at the butt-crack of dawn.

I watched the first wave of the swim start and then headed over to the team area in transition. Our swimmer was in the 13-minute wave, so she didn’t even start swimming for half an hour or so. (Maybe it really wasn’t that long… it felt like a long time! It is a big race with a lot of waves).

I realized I was getting really thirsty while waiting around and wished I had brought a handheld. Oops. It was also getting warmer and warmer…

Our swimmer tagged our cyclist in, and I started stretching and warming up. Bike were going in and out… Runners taking off on the run… But still I waited. I was really worried something happened to our cyclist when finally, she came pedaling in. I guess she started the race with flat tires and had to fill up at the aid station. Yikes – always check your tire pressure beforehand!

She helped me put the timing strap around my ankle and I was off. I could feel the timing strap shifting around on my ankle. I know that our swimmer lost the strap and had to dive around to look for it on the swim. (Many athletes were reporting problems with lost straps.) I was really worried about losing my strap and not being able to put it back on myself with my broken finger. It is really sore and I am still wearing the metal brace.

I went out a little too fast given the hot conditions. It had heated up a lot by the time my leg of the relay started. I was really just focusing on making it aid station-to-aid station. I was so thirsty! I passed up the Gatorade for water at the one-mile marker. I turned on my music and gutted it out to the turn-around, grabbing another water. On the trip back, I started noticing my finger throbbing. It is already weird enough running with the brace on since it means my finger is sticking straight out, but the pain and throbbing really messed with me. I felt like I had an ET finger! Then I considered that this was a fun thing for work, and we were nowhere in contention of placing, and I gave myself permission to take some walk breaks. I don’t know if it was heat, dehydration or just my heart rate jacking up, but every time I started pushing, my finger would tell me to slow down.

Finally, I made it back to the finish. The course turned from paved trail to a grass chute. I kicked at the end, slipping for a second on the wet grass. I just always like to kick hard at the end of the race. I came up fast on the runner in front of my, and when she saw me, we both tore after the finish line. I think she thought I was deliberately passing her… but again. I just like a strong finish. (And our team came in second-to-last. So there’s that).

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Team Veracity aka Ladies of the Green

I collected my medal, skipping the pancake and sausage line, and snapped a group picture. So happy to get to go home for a shower and a nap! (Except I fell asleep before my shower and the body markings wore off on my bed sheets. So I have 1006 in black ink on my pillowcases. Not cool. Not cool.)

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And with our boss, who swam on a different relay team

I was supposed to run again that evening…. That didn’t happen. I was so ridiculously tired that I couldn’t get my second wind. Someday I will be able to run and run, and do whatever I want. But that time is not now. I am still fighting to make it through each day. I hope it will start getting easier soon!

2016 Maple Leaf City Tri

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.

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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.

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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.

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Do you see the mistake??

I decided not to do any swim warm-up because I didn’t want to abuse my poor hand anymore than I needed to.

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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).

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Bike Course

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.

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Run Course

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!

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Finisher medal

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.

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Yay 1st Place!

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…