Entry for September 09, 2008

I survived my first triathlon! I survived mountain biking for the first time! I survived camping in the rain (not for the first time)! Not only did I survive all those things, I had a blast! I don’t know when I’ve had as much fun as I was having while I did the triathlon. I think I was grinning wildly through the entire thing. Even when I got a flat tire. I must have looked like a lunatic.

After leaving town about an hour and fifteen minutes later than I was sorta planning, Ken and I had a relatively uneventful trip to the state park where we found Jason after some difficulty. We set up camp in the rain and started a fire. Before long, Sam and Emily showed up and we all ate bratwurst while trying to stay dry. That night was the first time it had rained at all since my parents were here, and definitely the first time it had rained steadily for more than like 20 minutes in a long time. Sigh. It rained pretty much all night, but we stayed fairly dry.

The next morning we got up way too early and got ready to go. Ken, Jason, and I started out biking to the start, which was a couple of miles away. In retrospect, that probably wasn’t the best decision since it was raining. Anyway, Jason was riding a somewhat beat-up road bike, which promptly broke. He went back with Sam and Emily in the car to get his mountain bike. We all eventually arrived at the race start and got our numbers, got marked, and set up our transition areas. I was soaked and kinda chilly, which I think slowed me down in the swim. It was all much more relaxed than I was anticipating

The race got started a bit late because of some delays in registration and because of the weather. It had stopped raining just as we got finished registering. To start we waded out to the center of a little inlet that is roped off as the normal swim area of the lake. The men started 4 minutes ahead of the women. I stayed huddled in my jacket as long as possible. The water was pretty warm, but it was nasty. I’ll swim in pretty much anything. I’m not picky. But that water… I would NOT have swum in it by choice. The bottom of the lake was muck up to my knees and the water smelled and tasted like sewage. The big problem was that the men starting had churned up the muck on the bottom so the start was more like mud than water. It was very very gross. Anyway, we started, and I was incredibly stiff. I should have gone for a jog or done some swimming to warm up, but since the start was delayed, I didn’t know when I had to be back at the start. Anyway, I started out pretty slow since my limbs felt like they were made of cold silly putty. I had no problem heading the right direction around the buoys, and I only got kicked a few times. I didn’t really feel like I was swimming well till I rounded the buoy to come back though. They didn’t provide splits for the swim, but I think I was the 3rd or 4th female out of the water, and I passed a few guys too. I think I could have been much better had I not been soaked and cold before the race.

I got through transition fairly quickly, although it was kind of a long run up to the bike area. I somehow left my running shorts I was planning on wearing back at camp, so I ended up wearing my regular shorts, which was kinda weird. It wasn’t the end of the world because they worked fine, but I’m sure it looked strange. I felt really strong on the bike. Before mile 11.8 three people had passed me, and two of them were the guys I had passed on the swim, so I was really 4 minutes ahead of them. I passed 7 people over about 12 miles, and was catching up to another group of three I thought I could pass. Then… My front tire went flat. So… I got off and fiddled with it for a few seconds, but there was nothing I could do because I didn’t have spares or a pump. So I got back on the bike and rode slowly. There was enough padding that the rim wasn’t getting destroyed as long as I rode incredibly slowly. I decided it would be just as fast as running my bike to ride it and it would take a lot less effort. Anyway, I think the flat added about 10 minutes to my overall time, pretty much destroying any hope of placing in my age group. When I finally got back to transition, I didn’t see Ken anywhere and he was supposed to be taking pictures. I dismissed it and headed out on the run.

About half a mile into the run, a girl in my age group passed me. I tried to keep up with her, but she was just enough faster than me that I couldn’t really do it. I figured it wasn’t a big deal since I was probably in last place anyway from the flat. The run was on a trail around the lake and it was very very muddy from the rain. There were some parts which were narrow and muddy and steep. I found out later that they were part of the mountain bike trail. I couldn’t run on some parts of it because I would have definitely fallen. My shoes had pretty much no traction for a lot of it. It was definitely the most fun 5k I have ever run. I stopped to let some guys pass me at one point. They were running about the same speed as me, but they had better shoes, so they weren’t slipping and sliding everywhere. Anyway, I got to the finish line at 1:42:48 or something like that. Ken was nowhere to be found. Turns out Jason had told him when he got in from the bike that I had a flat tire, so Ken set out to give me a hand. He must have left on the other side of the parking lot just as I was getting in, so he had been out on a wild goose chase trying to find me. So there are no pictures from the second half of the race, and Ken did most of the bike course looking for me.

This is really long… But I am pretty happy with my time. I was hoping to get under 1:40, and it looks like I might have been able to do under 1:30 had everything gone well. 1:32 was the first place time in my age group. That girl that passed me on the run only came in 40 seconds before me, and she was third. Had I known she was third, I might have tried a bit harder to stay with her. A
nyway… I can’t wait for my next one. I’m kinda bummed that there aren’t really any more until next spring. Oh well, gives m e plenty of time to work up to 10K run distance.

Later that afternoon Jason, Ken, and I took the mountain bike trail around the park. That was a ton of fun, although I was pretty cautious as it was my first time biking. Ken made us delicious food, we had a huge fire, Jason no doubt now thinks we’re really strange, and it didn’t rain again until around 7 Sunday morning. On Sunday we slept in, lazed around, got packed, Jason left, and Ken and I did the mountain bike trail again – this time in the proper direction. We got back into town around 6.

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