Bike – 13 miles – 52:15
This course is not flat. But. You’re coming DOWN from the canyon into town so that’s nice. And while there are a couple of hills, there are no extended climbs. After the Y Not Tri, I focused on a lot of hill training. No MAJOR hills; I didn’t attempt Bogus Road or anything crazy like that. But I felt well prepared for this course. Based on my training numbers, I expected it to take me just over an hour to complete. I did not take into account that I wouldn’t have to wait on traffic. Or how FAST coming down could be.
This. Was. Fun.
The course is pretty. The downhills are fun. For the first time ever, I did not touch my brakes. Not once, not even a little. I only used my easiest gear once, on the steepest portion. Coming up on that hill threw me off mentally a little. I glanced up and thought “Huh, I haven’t trained on anything that steep.” But I purposely had trained in harder gears so I would be able to hold the easiest gear in reserve. I wanted to know I had somewhere to go if I REALLY needed it. I’m not sure I ACTUALLY needed it on that hill but knowing I still had to run prompted me not to blow out my legs when I had an easier option.
Somewhere around 2 or 3 miles in, I dropped my water bottle. I had taken a few good drinks by that point. My mouth had been really dry but my breathing was finally under control and I wasn’t in bad shape. I went to place it back in the holder and, I don’t know, it went rolling across the road and into a ditch. I briefly considered turning around to retrieve it. Had it been on the road still, I might have. It was the only bottle I’ve ever used on the bike. It fit really nicely (and it was free). But I chose to keep going. I figured it was only 13 miles and not terribly hot. And I was fine although I was really happy to pick up my water bottle at the run transition.
After the second turn to head back towards down, I had a few miles where it was pretty flat, no one was passing me and no one was on the horizon. That was probably the slowest part of the ride. I had gotten spoiled by some zippy downhills and having other riders around me but at the same time, it was peaceful.
Overall I loved this leg of the race. If I had still had water, I probably would not have wanted it to end.
T2 – 1:00
I couldn’t find my water bottle and hat. Someone had racked their bike right on top of them and dropped bike shoes right next to them. I had to find a place to put my bike and then dig my stuff from under someone else’s bike. No big deal but I thought it took a lot longer than one minute from dismount to running out.
Run – 5k/3.1 miles – 42:18
I told some people the run would take me anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour so I’m not disappointed with this time. In the week leading up to the race, I had to decide how much I really wanted to suffer on the run. I had to decide if I wanted to leave every ounce I had on the course and spend all weekend (and possibly longer) recovering or if I just wanted to see where a slightly challenging but not brutal pace would put me. Obviously I opted for the second. I wanted to be able to enjoy the rest of my weekend and be ready to start 10k training the next week. I’m really glad I did. It was hot out there but with my walk/run routine, I never felt overwhelmed by it. One guy doing the longer distance (two laps instead of one) took himself out of the race at his turn around and they sent him straight to medical. My friend said they watched one woman come over the finish line and promptly throw up. I am just not that competitive.
We ran through a neighborhood and a woman was sitting on the curb with her little boy. He was probably two years old and totally cute. He stood on the side of the road with his little hand held up and every runner that passed, he would hopefully say “high five?!!?” I watched four or five Very Serious Triathletes in front of me pass without a glance and his little face fall each time. And yeah, I know. Once you’re in a rhythm, it’s really hard to get it back if you break it. And I’ve been so focused or so deep in my “pain cave” that nothing was really registering on my brain except the next step. (Not often but it’s happened) But I was NOT in a unbreakable rhythm. I was NOT terribly focused. And I did NOT care about a few extra seconds costing me a spot in the rankings. So I got to high five the most adorable little kid and watch him try to jump up and down. That alone reinforced my certainty that I had made the right choice in my run strategy. There may come a day when I’m so focused on a goal that I become a Very Serious Triathlete. I’ve learned to never say never. But I hope if that happens that it’s very temporary. I don’t want this to stop being fun. Not every moment is, of course. But I hope I never stop appreciating little moments like high fiving the smallest cheerleaders or noticing the pretty wildflowers growing along a fence or laughing like a maniac as I fly down a hill at scary fun speeds.
I felt good when I crossed the finish line. I felt good the rest of the day in fact although some stiffness set in the next day. My friends that I swam with the Monday before? Well the women took first and second overall in the Aquabike event. I am so incredibly proud of them. I came in 10th out of 11 in my age group. So now I know where I stand. And what to work on for next year.