Friday, September 08, 2006

Race Report

Before the race
Originally uploaded by stephanielynn.
Race Report

We picked up our registration packet and our timing chip, then headed over to the race site for bike inspections and racking. We looked around at the course and got a feel for where we would be heading out of and into for the transitions. Beth and I were a rollercoaster of emotions. When I felt nervous, she felt excited and vice versa. We sat in on the course talk given by the race director and had a lot of questions answered thus fears calmed (some fears, anyways). For instance, we learned that the bike course would be manned by 120 volunteers so we wouldn't have to stop at any intersections. Whew! I cannot tell you what a relief that was to hear. We also found out that while we had to be at the park at 5:30 AM, my wave wouldn't start until 8:04, and Beth's start was at 8:12, the third and second to last groups to start! What a bummer. We were more bummed that we wouldn't be able to start together, for even though we are the same age group, they split us up alphabetically because our group was so big.

Saturday evening we went shopping at a nearby mall to get our minds off the race and just have some fun. I was in bed by 10:30 hoping to get a good six hours of sleep before the 4:30 AM alarm went off. Unfortunately, I think I had maybe an hour of sleep. I remember looking at the clock every hour, trying hard to think of anything other than the day ahead but I just couldn't stop thinking about it. I was scared. I was scared that I would be so tired that I wouldn't be able to perform, at all. Mainly I was concerned about the swim. Eventually I gave up all hope of getting back to sleep and just wanted the time to speed up so the even would be here already and I would not have any more time to worry about it.

We headed out the door into the dark hours of 5 AM. On our way we decided that the song "Staying Alive" would be our theme song that we would sing to ourselves to get us through tough moments of the course. Once there, we got marked, set up our transistions, and waited. The sun came up, Peter and Griffin met up with us and at 7:40 AM I stood in front of the swim start, scared out of my mind. I almost wanted to cry I felt so scared. I don't know why, but I just really lost all confidence in my swimming and I couldn't even think about how I felt about biking and running. Peter tried to calm me down but telling me to ignore all the "hoopla" going around me and just tunnel in on my task. He told me I was ready, I had prepared, I could do this. He believe in me more at that point than I did. I'm so glad he was there.

They called my group and I headed down to the swim start. I still felt scared and I tried to focus, but by the time they shouted "Go" or whatever they shouted (I don't remember), I was still freaking out. I hung out at the end of the pack and started to freestyle but I couldn't catch my breath. I realized my breathing was too fast and there was no way I could continue like that. Oh man, that was a scary moment. It's like I forgot how to swim. But, thankfully I prepared for that kind of moment by telling myself that if I got flustered on the swim I would just breaststroke until I felt calm. So, I started out with the breaststroke. Then it was just me and the water in my mind. My breaths slowed down and the panic had passed. It also helped to see someone doing a backfloat. I told myself that if all else fails I know I could do the backstroke. I started freestyling and found my groove after a minute or so. I actually enjoyed the moment. I remember at one point I was looking out over the lake on a breath and saw the most scenic view of the sun over the trees over the water. If I hadn't been doing this event, I wouldn't have seen that. It was beautiful.

Before I knew it, I was at the swim finish. I almost cried when I saw it ahead. I knew at that moment that I would be great. I got up out of the water and Peter was there cheering me on. I was so happy. I felt so proud. At T1 I moved a little slowly getting ready for the bike leg. I'm a little ashamed to admit this but my time was 5 minutes. That's a little pathetic, but oh well. I got on the bike and head out. You might not be able to see it in this picture, but I was smiling as I headed out onto the bike course. I felt like I was smiling the whole way. Having done the bike course a few weeks ago, I was completely confident in myself and my abilities. I got passed by a lot of road bikes, but that didn't bug me at all. I passed a few people, but not too many. There were a lot of people out there on the roads cheering on the bikers. It was a great show of report and I was really impressed. I didn't have any problems on the bike (no flats, yay!) and everything went smoothly. The hills seemed smaller than I remembered them, even though they weren't small.

I got back to transition, quickly took some gatorad and some cliff blocks, and headed into the run. I thought my T2 time was good, but then I saw it was 2 minutes. I didn't think I took that long but then I realized that I was at the back of transition and I think a lot of that time was spent going from the entrance to my rack, and then from my rack to the run start. Oh well, it is what it is. Peter met me at the run start and told me that I was doing great and that my times so far were better than my expected times! I purposefully chose not to wear my watch that day because I was afraid of what it might tell me. Hearing that just made me want to push harder. The run course was a lot of fun. I passed quite a lot of people on the hills (oh my, it was a hilly run course!) and thanked myself for getting in hill training. I still felt really great at this point and I think I must have been smiling the whole way. I kept cheering people on as I passed them, or as they passed me (which did happen a few times).

Then, the finish was before me. I pushed and sprinted the last tenth of a mile across the finish line. At the end, we all got Iron Girl medals.

I made it. I am a triathlete. I am an Iron Girl! I met my goal of 2 and a half hours and middle of the pack. My final results:

2 hours, 26 minutes, 09 seconds.

I had such a blast doing this. I challenged myself and became better because of it. Beth crossed the finish a little after I did. She said she is going to do Iron Girl 2007. Already we are thinking of how we can improve our times for next year.