Here it is, only one day late. Hey, I took Sunday and Monday as a much needed "Mini-Vacation" from everything - work, training, computers, etc.
Got up at the ass-crack of dawn. 3:50 to be precise. My lovely boyfriend drove the 1.5 hours to Lake George while I drank my coffee and had my usual pre-race breakfast of toast and Gatorade. Parked, went to take Roo off the truck, and found that the front tire was completely flat. Went to fly through registration/marking/chipping while my boyfriend (did I mention how lovely he is?) changed the tube for me.
After I set up transition, opting to put Roo in rear wheel-first despite the fact the rear derailleur was bumping the "Wheel slot" rack (more on this later) for a faster transition, I got in the water.
Post-warmup, doing my mental preparations. Superhero pose completely coincidental.
Took my Gu and it was off to the corral.
Waiting for the gun to go off.
So the gun goes off, and blam - I get a full lungful of water. Not just a "little bit, spit it out, and keep going" mouthful, but a "Deep in the lungs, hacking, choking" mouthful. It takes me over a minute to get over my panic and by then I've lost my wave and the hope of having any feet to follow. I swam my best the rest of the way, but without feet I couldn't post a really good time. I also had the lovely experience of being dunked and swam over by someone, who quickly received an elbow. That just pissed me off. It's poor sportsmanship even at the front of the pack, but at this point the only people left in the water were those of us who were just hoping to SURVIVE the swim. Lady, you ain't racing for any podium spots. Calm the fuck down and swim around me. I later found FINGERNAIL MARKS on my hand. Not cool
So I kind of stumble to transition, all original plans of sprinting the relatively long distance and using my footspeed to my advantage out the window, and it's all Keystone Cops. First my wetsuit sticks, then the earpiece of my sunglasses gets caught on my hair - just a mess. I'm finally out of there and in a pissy mood.
Heading out, not happy at all.
So at this point I'm already 2 minutes behind where I wanted to be between the swim start issues and my lousy transition, and I settle into my bike only to look straight up at a STEEP climb. On my tri bike. Shit. Shifting into granny gear...okay, granny gear keeps skipping...derailleur must have gotten knocked by the rack....DOUBLE SHIT. Mentally I was in a bad place for the majority of the ride. My speed sensor was also out of alignment so while I had cadence info, I didn't have any idea how fast I was going. Since I was constantly climbing or descending, I didn't have high hopes though, especially since I was getting passed like no tomorrow and I really didn't think there had been many people behind me in the water. In fact, when I FINALLY got off the bike, I purposefully hit the "Lap" button without looking because I didn't want to know what my bike split was. I figured it was best to just mentally move on to the run.
Coming in, in a better mood and happy to be heading for the run.
I'm including T2 here since most of it took place outside the timing mat. Sigh. So I rack my bike, and first off the backs of my running shoes fold in so I have to fix that. I grab my race belt and Garmin to run out, only to realize that I really REALLY need water. (It was hot and humid.) So I stop right at the transition aid station, fumble with my belt trying to clip it in back before I do what EVERYONE ELSE does and clipped it in the front and then moved it to the back, then put on my Garmin, THEN got a drink, THEN FINALLY STARTED RUNNING. Craziness. I'm going to test wearing the belt under my wetsuit to see if I can save myself a step. That and drink right before getting off the bike so I can wait until the first running aid station. Lessons learned.
I felt good on the run itself, and I was with a surprising amount of company out there. It was REALLY nice - I'm JUST getting past the point of being a straggler, so I really appreciate the camaraderie. It's lonely being a straggler. It was two loops and the plan was to negative split them, which I think I did. It was really hot and humid by this point, but an ice-cold cup of water over the head every mile did the trick. The only downside was losing a pgtail braid about halfway through. I looked pretty ridiculous.
Running and feeling good.
When I turned the corner and saw the finish, I got a huge grin on my face and just kept saying "I did it! I did it!" I am such a ridiculous DORK.
Got my medal, and immediately got on the phone with Coach Karen to go over everything. Powerbar-ed and Compression-ed up, had my bloody hand cleaned, and got some grub. Ate while listening in awe to the times posted by the podium-ers. I got grandma'd by a 61 year old, y'all, and I think that's AWESOME.
I was hoping to hit 3:15, but was happy with sub-3:20 considering everything that went wrong and how much hillier the bike and run courses were than I expected. I have absolutely fallen head-over-heels in love with this distance. I knew that sprints were too short for me, and was assuming I'd stay with the other distance I've done, HIM, but nope. I'm still super-psyched to do Ironman next year, but after that I'm going back to Olympics. I have found my niche in the tri world and I know I'll knock a ton of time off the next time I do it.