As I pointed out in Friday's post, I wasn't really sure how this race was going to go down. In fact, when going to bed last night, I wasn't even sure if I was actually going to show up to race this morning. My first tri of the season is always a nerve-wracking thing for me. Then add in the minimal sleep, and the cold and potentially rainy (and dangerous) weather...well, let's just say I wasn't all that excited to race when my alarm went off at 4:30 this morning. But after
thinking about it for a bit coming up with every excuse I could think of not to go, I decided to apply Rule #5 and race. After all, triathlon is a sport that is meant to be raced in all conditions. It's supposed to be hard. Quit being such a wuss, deal with it and move forward.
So, off Dudley and I went to Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, which is about 45 minutes away. (Just FYI - if you ever go to the MTSU Rec Center, don't use the directions on their website. They're wrong.) I went to go check in / get body-marked while Dudley dropped my bike in transition.
Funny story about the transition area... I saw the spot where I wanted to rack, and told Dudley put my things next to the guy in the red & grey jacket. That guy happened to be East Nasty Kevin Gammon. Next to him was Jim Schwan and Allie Miles. I had no idea at the time that I was telling Dudley to rack my bike next to my friends, but I was. Funny how things work out like that, huh? There ended up being about 8 East Nasties there together. It was cool.
The race organizer wanted everyone there by 6:30 am, but the race didn't start until 8:00 am. So there was a lot of hanging out in the cold, damp weather. Fortunately, it was in the 40's and the rain was holding off for the time-being. The original forecast had it as in the 30's and storms.
One nice thing about having to wait for so long was that I ran into a ton of people I knew who were racing that day! Annie and Drew from TNT, Robin and Ken from the Nashville Tri Club, Jason from J. Alexander's and everyone from FTP and East Nasty. Of course, this would be a much better blog if I actually got photos of all of these people, but I didn't. Fail.
FTP ready to throw the hammer down!
The race started right on time. Being that I was #189, and this was a time-trial start, I had about 20-30 minutes before I would hit the water. No big deal. We were able to stay in the pool area while we waited so we didn't freeze. The only thing I didn't like about the swim was that you had to jump in at the start, rather than already being in the water. So you had to deal with the sudden shock of the water, but then didn't have the benefit of a wall to push off of to get started.
But once I got in, my swim felt good. I didn't push it - just swam my race. I wish I knew how to do flip-turns because I know I lose time there. It's hard to get to the wall, go under the floating lane divider, and then start swimming again without losing your momentum. I'm not graceful doing that AT ALL. Flip turns might help.
The swim was very well-organized and they spaced people appropriately. Not too many clusters of people at the wall that I have seen at other time-trial races. I was able to pass three or four people in the water, and didn't get passed, so I was happy.
No one really looks good coming out of a swim. But because I love you all, I'll sacrifice my dignity and post a photo.
I come out of the pool area and start running to my bike. And what's the first thing I realize? It's raining. Basically, the ONE THING that I really didn't want to happen, happened. Not that I cared about getting wet - I had just been swimming. But rain means slick streets, which can make for some dangerous riding conditions. Not fun. But what are you going to do? Quit? Nope. Gotta keep moving forward. So off I went.
Notice all of the empty racks? That's what being #189 will do.
Trying very hard to get my feet clipped in. Everything was so slick!
After getting on the bike and FINALLY getting clipped in (seemed like it took forever), I immediately noticed that I had forgotten my sunglasses. I didn't need them for the sun, but rather to keep the rain out of my eyes. Again - what are you going to do? Can't go back, so I just plowed on. I took it easy getting out into the main roads. My main goal for this race was to not fall on the bike, so I was pretty conservative. There were several speed bumps we had to go over, and a lot of white road markings (which are extremely slippery on a bike). I didn't really try to get any real speed until I got out of the MTSU campus.
I liked the route. Wasn't too hilly or technical. It'd probably be a fun route when it wasn't raining. I brought Big Red (my Litespeed), rather than my tri bike because I had heard the route had a lot of turns. Plus, it's better in the rain. Sure, I might have sacrificed a minute or two because of this (tri bikes are faster), but I'm OK with that. One thing that surprised me is that I wasn't cold. I thought I would freeze on the bike, but it wasn't really that bad.
Unfortunately, it was on the bike that I somehow messed up my Garmin, so I had no idea where I was on the route, or how fast I was going. There weren't any mile markers, either. I didn't really care about the speed, but I really wanted to know how many miles I had to go. It helps me mentally to know.
I hit transition and start to rack my bike, and what do I see? Kevin. Just hanging out.
Me: "Are you done?"
Me: "Done - done?"
Me (internally): "AAUUGGHH!!!!"
I'm sorry, but there is nothing more demoralizing than having someone FINISHED with their race when you still have the run to do. Yes, I know, Kevin is faster than I am. Yes, he was #9 and started at least 20 minutes before I did. I. Don't. Care. All I knew was that he was done and that I wanted to be done, too! UGH! But, alas, I wasn't. So I threw on my shoes and started running. My toes, which I hadn't really noticed before, were now FREEZING. Have you ever tried to run with frozen toes? I don't recommend it.
As I'm running out of transition, I hear Dudley yelling "stay to the left, there are bikes on the right. Stay to the left." So I did. That was a bit of a cluster, having the bikes and the runners go out of the same exit and travel in the same direction, but I made it out unscathed.
Again, due to my Garmin being messed up, I had no clue how fast I was going, or how far I needed to go. The route was generally flat. A couple of small false-flats that you probably wouldn't notice unless you were running them, but nothing you could call a hill. I haven't done any brick training this season yet, but I didn't feel as bad as I usually do when running. It was hard, but I kind of found a comfortable groove and stuck with it. At some point, it has stopped raining, which was nice. Of course, you're still soaking wet, but at least the rain isn't in your eyes anymore.
Finally, I made the turn for the finish. I tried to kick it in, but I really don't have a kick. I wish I did. I saw this one girl just fly by me and hammer it at the end. She probably passed 5 people. So jealous.
As I crossed the line, I heard all of these voices: "Go Kristine!" "Yay, Kristine!" "EAST NASTY!" I have no idea who was yelling, but thank you (I'm assuming a good portion of it was from FTP, because they're all supportive like that.). What I thought was odd was that the one voice I didn't hear was Dudley's. So I started looking around for him and he's nowhere to be seen. After a few minutes, I went back to the transition area, and there he is - STILL directing people out of the transition area. "Runners left lane! Bikes right lane! Runners left lane! Bikes right lane!" He kills me. Apparently, exiting the transition area was more of a cluster than I thought it was. People were riding IN TRANSITION, which is a HUGE no-no. He saw that someone was going to get hurt, so he stepped in. Because that's what he does. :-)
I went to go pack up my gear, and met up with all of the East Nasties. They all had great races.
Yes, I was the only one not smart enough to leave warm clothes in the transition area.
In fact, both Allie and Jim finished second in their age groups, and I actually got third in women's masters! Yes, I was the third fastest old lady there (Masters are 40+)! ;-)
Umm - my name is pronounced "miles," not "mills." (No, I didn't actually correct them.)
East Nasties bringing home the hardware...or paper, in this case.
Of course, don't think I don't see the connection of this being a race that I was
scared of doing nervous to do, but actually did pretty well in. But even if I didn't place, this race would have been worth it. It was definitely a learning experience for me. It was some of the worst tri conditions I've had to race in so far, but I did it. And I feel really good about that.
Swim: 6:28:9 (126/303)
Bike: 37:38.0 (114/303)
Run: 22:27 (177/303)
For the record - The course was short. I'm not that fast. Someone mentioned something about a road closure due to rain/flooding, but I have no official verification.