Sunday, August 8, 2010
So, I did it! I completed my very first, mostly awesome triathlon! Sorry for the delay in race report. The first week of school with kids messed with my head a bit. My calorie-deprived brain can only handle so much! Let's begin the saga, shall we?
Our road trip to Oceanside had an ill-fated beginning, as they always seem to have. As we approached Buckeye, I realized that I left my wetsuit and my bike helmet in my car back at the house. That put us WAY behind schedule. We turned around, had dinner at home, and headed back out. The end of that story is that we didn't get in to Jimmy's (Whitney's brother) house until nearly 2am. Yay! Triathlon on three hours of sleep. Has a nice kind of ring to it, don't you think? :c)
Up we got at 5, ordered a bland but carb-packed breakfast from Denny's, and headed to Camp Pendleton, which was not far away at all. It was easy to find, we just followed all the fancy bikes that I could pay off my student loans with. :c) I went through the lines and picked up my swim cap and race packet, and transponder, got my age, military status (civilian), and division written on my calves, hugged Whit goodbye, and went to set up in the transition area.
We were assigned areas by which wave we were in. My group was 13, the last wave. I racked my bike, spied out how others set up their spots, copied what I thought would be most useful, and chatted a bit with my fellow competitors. On the rack next to me was a woman named Carol. She asked me how many tri's I'd done, and I of course told her none. She gave me great tips on how to swim in the ocean, seeing as I'd never done that before either. She was a life saver!
I eased myself into my wetsuit with surprising grace, made my way down to the beach, and watched the other waves go off. I practiced swimming out and diving under the waves while I waited for my wave. Thank heavens for Carol! It was the best advice she could have given me. My wave's time finally approached. We all had lime green swim caps. I'll admit to being disappointed they weren't orange. :c) We all cheered on the two waves before us, then when it was our turn to go, cheered ourselves as we took off!
I decided the best approach was to NOT get hit in the face by my jostling co-competitors, so I hung back a bit before entering the water. By the time we were going, the waves were ginormous! So thankful I practiced. Everyone commented afterward how difficult it was going out. There was also a current pulling us to the right, which made tracking the buoy difficult. The guards out in the water kept shouting, "To the left!!" I ended up a bit off course, but was able to correct myself. Once I rounded the first buoy, the swimming was easy and rhythmic. After rounding the second buoy, things got interesting. The waves as I approached the shore were something else! I ended up being spun head-over-heels by one, but stayed calm and swam to the surface. I made it to shore in one piece, ran with jelly-legs across the beach, and moved to my first transition.
In the transition area, I was relieved to see most of the bikes from my wave still on the rack. I peeled off my wetsuit, dithered a bit about what to do next, downed a sports drink, threw on some shorts, my shoes and socks, grabbed my bike, forgot to take off my cap and goggles, threw them back to my spot, and jogged with my bike out of the transition area. Yay! Bike time! This I knew would be one of my strongest areas, but also what I feared the most. My greatest fear, getting a flat tire. I prayed literally that my tires would hold, that they wouldn't be damaged. If I had gotten a flat, there would be no way to fix it. I would have to run with my bike the rest of the course. Eek! Thank the heavens that I didn't get a flat. I was so grateful!
I really enjoyed the bike portion. I was a bit saddle sore during the race, but didn't have any lasting soreness afterward. I made sure I cheered on every person that passed me, as well as encouraged those who I passed. It made the whole experience that much more fun. There were Marines posted every half-mile or so. Some held signs that said "Slow" when we approached sharp turns. I told them, "Oh, don't worry, I'm plenty slow." They just laughed. :c)
The hills weren't too bad. There were a few that I needed to stand up from my seat to climb, but otherwise, it was pretty great! I downed a bag of Jelly Belly sport beans, which are basically Gatorade in jelly bean form. They worked great! I approached the end of the bike, was raucously cheered on by Whitney, hopped off, and quickly discovered that I no longer knew how to walk properly. So I limp, limp, limped into the transition area and asked the volunteers where the leg transplants were. :c)
My second transition was much quicker than my first. I just racked my bike, forgot to take off my helmet, ran back to put it where it belonged, and was off for the run. I was still trying to get my land legs working at the beginning, but after the first half mile or so I was able to pull myself together. The run was mostly flat, as it was just on the roads and parking lots around the base. I walked maybe a total of a quarter mile, which I'm pretty darn proud of.
The Marines along the way encouraged us, and sometimes told us to attempt to pass one another. It was fun! I approached the finish line, put on the afterburners, and finished! Yay! I had my transponder removed, and headed out of the chute to see Whit. She cheered and took pictures. She did a great job!
We wandered around the venue for a bit, picking up free things and getting a banana and some water. On a whim, we decided to check the race results. When I went over there, there were no results in for my division (Athena) yet. I started to get excited at that point. There was a small inkling of hope that I placed high in my division. I said, "I'm going to pack up my stuff, then let's come back and check them again." So off I went down to the transition area, packed up my disorderly mess, and schlepped it back up the hill to the car.
We put it all away, then went back to check the results again. I approached the tent, checked the spot for my division, and saw my name in third place! I jumped and shouted and cheered! I was so excited! Whit and I went to pick up my medal, which was so exciting! The girl who handed out the medals, not so much excited, but that's ok! It was awesome! More pics and other nonsense after that.
We went back to car, and I called and texted people who I thought would be interested, and probably several people who really weren't. It was great to talk to my family a feel their support.
It was a pretty awesome experience overall. The only difficulty I had was my gimpy shoulder, which didn't trouble me at all during the race, but hurt pretty bad when I was done. The ibuprofen took the edge off, and it was all ok.
My boss at school made a point of telling big chunks of the school about my tri awesomeness, so the kids have been cheering me and asking to see my medal. It's been a great start to school!