Let me start by prefacing that this was my very first triathlon and second time swimming in open water while wearing a wetsuit.
And the story begins.
I awoke to my normal work alarm tone, just an hour earlier. It was 5am and I was ready to rock. My eyes popped open and I dashed to start the coffee maker, heat the water for my shower, and displace a cat from my crate 'o gear. I was able to stomach a bite of leftover pizza (I tried to get some carbs, Kevin... they refused) and a few bites of leftover steak (so delicious, just completely unappealing at 5am) before bullying Kyle(my fiance) out of bed. Regret #1 - Not enough fuel to start
We arrived at the site and trekked through the weeds (quite literally) to get to transition, where we ignored the easily-distracted volunteer and brought in my crate to set up. People do this WITHOUT a sherpa? Stuck my toes in the water and was pleasantly surprised - not icy! Regret #2 - Didn't spend enough time adjusting wetsuit pre-race.
5 minutes to launch, I said my final goodbyes and headed for the water. Rocks = bad. I ended up sitting down and wading out rather than torturing my tender toes. Awkward, funny, and led to a great pic. http://i.imgur.com/PY7k3J9h.jpg
Swam out to the starting buoys and tried to get as much water into my suit as possible, via the neck. It was stuck on me like... Kyle. J/k ^_^ Super constrictive on the throat, and no matter how many times I pulled the neck out to let water in, it just didn't go all the way down. I was miserable. Kyle ended up hiking alongside the hill while I zig-zagged between shore and ... feet pointing toward shore, floating on my back to breathe when I was frustrated. I smacked my hands on rocks, then 5 strokes later was pointing away from everything. When I was ready to give up, Kyle grimaced at me and pointed toward the next buoy. Thankfully, a lovely Athena from the wave behind me swam in a rather considerate straight line so I trailed her for a bit. http://i.imgur.com/uVGeH5Th.jpg She slowed and I was left to my own back-paddling, gasping for air, expletive-filled devices. Kyle PROMISED there were still purple caps (my wave) behind me, so I kept faith I wouldn't be last. Suddenly the ramp was in sight. CLAWING my way to the ramp, I reminded myself how much I love the speed of a bike. Regret #3 - Not enough open water practice in a wetsuit
T1 was faster than I'd planned. Had a small issue with the wetsuit not rolling over the Garmin 910 (damn little girlie wetsuits wrists!) so ended up waiting till I met Chrissie (my beloved hand-me-down bike) to move the watch to her and finish de-wetsuiting. Slammed a Gu, drank some Perform, walked Chrissie to the start, and was ready to roll.
WHAT A BIKE COURSE! Because Kyle and I had ridden it the week before, I was ready. I knew the turns, I knew the hills, I knew that nasty spot where I wanted to sit down and pout like a 3-year-old. I paused at mile 4 to drink Perform, as I lacked the handling skills to drink and ride. Regret #4 - lack of experience with roadbike. I'd rather the few seconds off than a crash. I handled my gears well, and was very pleased with my first 8 miles out, even dealing with the expected-but-nasty headwind. BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE. So I later learned some of the team was abused more than I, but the extra .6 to a very tight, awkward turnaround spot was disheartening. WHY DID YOU LIE TO ME!? By this time, I'd passed 6+ people, including 2 men from a wave before me, so I was feeling smexy. Annoyed with the excessive climb at the end of the halfway marker, I paused for a quick breath before I slid into fun mode. Tailwind and a fast finale. I may have dreamt of transmission issues for each of the cars that honked at me...
The signs for transition were lacking, so I unclipped too early and one-foot pedaled into T2 till a doofus volunteer put his hands in front of me. Awesome. I came to a halt and was MORE than ready to get that bike saddle out from under my tush, so I headed back to my spot and carefully geared up for a little run. Regret #5 - SO THIRSTY: TOO FULL. Because I was unable to drink while riding the bike, I was under-hydrated and overcompensated with 3 HUGE gulps prior to the run. You can only guess how well that worked out. Hey, I didn't realize my fear of starting the run with my helmet on, but I was... SLOOSH SLOOSH SLOOSH. UGH. No game. Started jogging a bit and had a bad calf cramp (my right calf has been the bain of my training since day 1) then later had two side-stitches at once (that's new...). Fan-effing-tastinc. I was keeping pace with this guy http://i.imgur.com/8H8GQYMh.jpg who was also jog-walking. I may have sped up a little and adjusted my top (it was riding up) for the photog... The heat was beginning to be noticeable - after 4 months of training through cold weather, this was an utter oddity to me. WTF hot? Good thing I am purchasing a TriForce sports bra so I can strip down to that... Anywho, I looked at my watch and realized that, with 3/4 of a mile to go, I was at 2:20. With my goal of 2:30, I was startlingly close.
Then it was up the ramp into finish area and time for KNIFE HANDS. I have always had a strong belief in finishing with anything I have left, and I kept to that. It was a brilliant finish and I was so pleased to get that icy towel for my calf.
Pros: Finished 1 minute after my goal time (2:31:09 with a goal of 2:30). Rocked the bike.
Fails: Regrets listed above. Time to start training a lot more on the swim and run.
All told, I was smiling at the end and glad I'd signed up for another. Kyle's version of the story at http://imgur.com/a/mHtTt
You. You make me stronger.