I had picked up my bib numbers and TriTats (body markings) the day before so all I SHOULD have had to do is set up my transition area because I was supposed to put my TriTats on the night before. TriTats should have been easy enough, one would think, right? It's a water tattoo. Kicker was, I received two sets of instructions and they were different. One set said I should have three tattoos - two for my arms and one for my right calf - and I only was given two. My other set said I should just put one on my left calf. Now, I'm new at the sport and I don't know how much race officials actually care about things like this. They have always seemed to be pretty specific at previous races. Plus, I have an innate desire to obey rules, so I really wanted to make sure I was putting my TriTats on correctly. So I spoke to a few people when I got there and everyone was in the same state of confusion as me. Note to race organizers - if you have a race that you claim is "beginner-friendly," please make sure you don't give conflicting information, even if it is on something like TriTats. We don't need the added stress.
Anyway, once we got the TriTats on (I went with two-arm markings), I set up my transition area. While still beginner-friendly because of the distance, this race seemed to have a lot more veteran racers in the field when compared to the Ramblin' Rose tri. At least, the transition area made it seem that way. That probably had to do more with this being a mixed-gender race rather than an all-female race, but I definitely saw more tri-bikes and less women in full hair and makeup.
After setting up my area, all I had to do was wait for the start. Team Magic does a time-trial start so everyone starts the swim individually starting with #1 (numbers are based on estimated swim time). I was #266 so while the race started at 7:00, I didn't actually get racing until probably 8:00, so I had a good hour to hang out...in the 80+ degree sun. Fortunately, the water was nice and cold...
I think I couldn't breathe for a second....
Unfortunately, I didn't feel as good as I did two weeks ago once I started swimming. Unlike then, I felt fatigued today. I think all of the training is starting to catch up with me. Good news though is that I actually swam relatively fast. I passed several people and don't think I got passed. I had a really difficult time passing one man, which slowed me down some. I guess that's probably always going to be an issue in triathlon though.
My head behind the man in the yellow cap. I had already passed the other two swimmers.
I thought I'd be around 4:30 and I ended up at 4:08 for 200 meters and a walk / wade at the end of the swim. The wading thing is weird because your instinct is to start trying to run in the water because it's only like 3 feet deep, but I think it's actually faster to try to swim as long as you can. I think the wading slowed me down too.
Out of the water!!
We had to run from the pool down some stairs to the transition area. The last thing I wanted to do was eat it while running down the wet stairs so I kind of took it easy. The actual transition went smoothly - socks, bike shoes & helmet on and off I went. I should probably start racing without socks. Putting those on take up the most time. Not a fan of blisters though. Maybe I'll try this on my next sprint tri.
Coming out of T1
This race had a small uphill start and race organizers recommended running up the short hill before getting on your bike. Do you know how hard it is to run uphill in bike shoes? Probably should have ignored them and clipped in at the bottom of the hill, but oh well. Lesson learned. The ride itself was fine. About nine-miles. We actually rode on two of Nashville's busier roads (Hwys 100 & 70), but not many cars were out that early and there were a lot of police out blocking traffic for us (THANK YOU NASHVILLE POLICE!), so we were pretty safe. I had a feeling that I was going to have a mechanical issue today, which fortunately didn't happen. The route was much hillier than two weeks ago and we had a head-wind for about three-miles, but nothing too bad. Again, I was tired but tried to pass as many people as I could because I knew the run was going to kill me. The last part of the ride was almost a mile of downhill back into the transition area. The one thing that kind of annoyed me is that they had a volunteer telling people to slow down about 1/2 mile from the finish. I get it - safety first - but this confused me because I assumed that a volunteer telling me to slow down was the clue that I was to turn at the next intersection - and I wasn't. Didn't slow me up too terribly much, but every second count in triathlon.
Coming into T2
Getting back into the transition area, I noticed something cool. I think were 4 racks in each transition row. Each rack held 6 bikes, so each row had 24 bikes in it. I was the last bike in the last rack (again, you line up by race number), so everyone in my row started the race before I did. But when I got back to my rack after the ride, what did I see? Only two bikes. Which meant that between the swim and bike, I beat everyone but two people in my row back to the transition area even though they started before me (full disclosure - one guy who beat me back was a good 10 years older than me. The man could ride!) Granted, I knew everyone was probably going to pass me in the run, but it was still cool to see.
Where is everyone? ;-)
And she's off!!
My run was OK. I REALLY need to work on my speed. And running in the heat. It was probably close to 90 by the time I started running and I definitely felt it. Dudley yelled at me when I started that I was at 39 minutes at the start of my run. I really wanted to finish in within an hour so I knew I had 21 minutes to finish my run. Being that I'm a 10-minute miler, I knew it'd be close because I was so tired. I got a new Garmin this week so I could rally track my pace. What I think is amazing is that when I started, I felt like I was crawling, but I was tracking about a 9:30 mile. Then I realized why - I was going downhill. It was a slight downhill, but enough to make a difference. Of course, I had to back UP the hill on the way back. My time dropped by almost a minute. I got passed - a lot. My goal of finishing within an hour was in jeopardy, but at the time I didn't care. I was hot and hurting. I just wanted to finish. But before too long, I saw the turn in for the finish line. I was was so tired that I couldn't even sprint uphill to the finish. The announcer was trying to cheer me on, but again, I didn't care. I just. wanted. to. finish. Which I did.
YAY! The finish!!
Being awarded my finishers medal.
After finishing and getting some water, I felt better. I met up with Dudley and found a couple of East Nasties, Jim and Louis, who also did the race. Both of these guys have done Ironman races so they finished WAY before I did. I can't even imagine finishing an Ironman. Heck - I'm worried about my race next weekend and that's nothing near an Ironman distance-wise.
East Nasty represent!
Overall, a tough race for how short it was. I just didn't feel great the entire day. I'm really not a hot-weather athlete (runner), which is too bad because Nashville gets really hot. More training in the heat for me, I guess. Fortunately, my times weren't that bad. Eighth in my age group. And even better news - I made my one-hour goal with a time of 59:22. I had hoped for better placement in my age group, but I guess some races you just have to get though. They make you stronger, right?
Thanks to Team Magic for putting on a fun race (although fix that TriTat thing, OK?). Thanks to the volunteers and Nashville Police who were out there keeping us safe. And, as always, thanks to my husband for his support (and the great pictures). I couldn't do this without him.
Me and Dudley :-)
200m swim / 8.5 mile bike / 2 mile run
Swim: 4:08 (3rd in age group)
T1: 2:08 (terrible!!)
Bike: 31:30 (4th in age group)
T2: 1:11(better, but should be under a minute)
Run: 20:24 (17th in age group - need to work on this!!)