Drove up to Camp Buckner yesterday afternoon with my mom. Boys stayed home to hit the beach and rest the hip (T-minus 2 weeks until Dave goes bionic). Checked out the bike course while driving to registration. Recently paved roads, no traffic since it's all USMA land, plenty of space to ride, and the cadets were out there in a van stopping at points to sweep the road with brooms! Awesome! Registration was super quick and it gave me a chance to scope out the transition area, swim course, and the T1 and T2 entrance/exits.
|Registered. Scoping out the swim course behind me. Can I lean on that bridge anymore? Sheesh.|
Woke up at what Sam calls "an ungodly hour" (4:20) and thought to myself that 5 years ago today, he raced his very first triathlon at West Point after recovering from an IED blast in Iraq. I told him this later on and mentioned how far he's come in those five years, from the West Point Tri to the Ironman Hawaii World Championships to RAAM this year, it's been amazing and I look forward to the next challenges. I was supposed to be racing West Point in 2006, but a crash in a bike race ruined my shoulder so this race was on the bucket list of the ones I never got to do. Leaving the hotel, mom and I were pleased at the "no rain" status but it was just a brief respite. After a stop at the DD down the road for the much needed coffee, the rain began and it never stopped!
Arrived in transition by 6:30, no special spot for the bike, things were just racked in a group numbering system. Sporting my favorite sun hat that fuctioned well as a rain hat, I set up, covered my shoes with a garbage bag so that they weren't competely water sogged and we went inside Barth Hall to stay dry and chill out until race time.
The awesome thing about this race is that when the military says your wave starts at 8:12 am, it starts exactly at 8:12! Beach start (Yikes! Don't remember the last time I had a running start for a swim!) and I positioned myself perfectly, in front, on the right, the horn went off and I ran and dolphined my way out to swimable water comfortably in the lead with 2 other girls.
|My mother's blurry pictures, I'm the orange head tucked in between no wetsuit and full wetsuit on the left.|
|Would be a cool pic if it was clear, but that is me second from left, must have been going for the dolphin.|
This is what goes through my head at a swim start: "Fast! Fast! Turnover! Kick! Fast! Breathe!" swimming for clear water as hard as I can until I realize I'm clear and then it's "Settle, settle, breathe, settle, long and quick". I had one course correction to make, I sighted a bouy but to my 10 sec detriment it was one on the way back in, I quickly refocused to the right, I figured it cost me about 20 seconds. Hit the turn around, caught the wave in front of me and pushed to the finish out of the water on the way to T1.
I don't know what my swim split was but the rack was full when I got back. Wetsuit off easy, helmet and shoes on, out I went, into an absolute downpour. My motto was, for the second weekend in a row "safety before speed" except today, the downpour was so much greater that I found myself repeating "One piece, one piece" over and over again meaning that I wanted to get off the bike without having painted my body all over the pavement. The bike course is deceiving. There are a few little climbs that actually had me switch into the small ring to spin up. I quickly found my rhythm and alternately climbed and descended, but the descending was VERY cautious. I found that I was not hovering on the red zone line on the bike today and only because I was more concerned with staying upright. I knew I was losing some time to the women behind me because I didn't feel that burn I am accustomed to when I'm riding the edge but the edge would have been dangerous on an unfamiliar course for me. 10 miles in I started trading places back and forth with a woman in a red suit. She'd pass me on a descent, I'd pass her on a climb. Eyes stinging from the driving rain as we rode into the wind and at times riding with only one eye open, we hit the second turn around I realized that I was not seeing any women in front of me, I really must have had a good swim! Knowing I only had a few miles more to go, I spun up the hill and back down with a little more force. Trying to stay positive but there was a little pest in the back of my head that was telling me that I didn't risk enough on the bike. Finishing safely, it's always easier to look back and say "I could have ridden faster" and that certainly was the case today, but I am happy that I am sitting comfortably writing this blog from my living room (as the rain continues to pour!) and not from the E.R.. Racked the bike, pulled the shoes on and ran out of T2 and UP. Holy smoly that got my heart rate up! It's a steep incline right up out of T2 and only the briefest of recoveries before you are running uphill again, a quick downhill, some rollers on the out and back, and a right turn up a REALLY steep hill that levels and tricks you and then gets steeper! I heard light feet behind me and thought "woman or really skinny guy" and it turned out to be a woman, in my age group (Damn!) and she was easily running 10 sec per mile faster than me. I surged a bit, hung on just behind hoping for a second wind over the last mile. Down towards transition, tricked! Another half mile loop before the finish and I heard some heavy breathing in my ear and a 42 year old woman went by racing in a bathing suit old school style. I was running 7:40's by this point and was deep in the red zone.
|Almost at the finish, I was running so fast I was like Flash- nothing but a blur baby|