Danskin Women's Triathlon
80F / 27C
Triathlon - Sprint
Total Time = 1h 43m 21s
Overall Rank = 1393/3965
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 233/516
Saturday was a 12 mile training run with my "Fit" group. Of course as the coach I couldn't NOT run with them, so run I did! Finished up and headed off to the Expo. I was really sure I had signed up in the mixed section because my friend was going to do it with me. But for some reason when I checked my number it was 296 and I was in Team Survivor once again. Eeep! That means early wave! This is good and bad. Good because I get done early and get to see a lot of other women come in. Bad because it's so doggone early!
I grabbed my number and zipped in to get marked. I also managed to find a friend, Kellie. She'd already been marked. I grabbed the shortest line and a man with some form of palsy or an F in penmanship or something wrote 296 on my arms and legs. Roy is definitely going to have to touch THAT up! We went to the expo and grabbed goodies for our goodie bag (which was somewhat disappointing this year). Kellie and I both got a gear bag that said "The woman who has the most fun wins" with cartoons of a woman swimming, biking and running. Now isn't THAT the truth! After all, what's the point if not to challenge oneself and have fun!
We separated at that point to take our bikes out Genessee. I chose a spot right across from the porta-potties. Having had Hank the Pancreatic Tumor has paid off in Danskin transition locations! Not that I'd have three major surgeries, nearly die of internal bleeding, and spend almost a month in the hospital to get a better rack site...but close. The spot seemed ideal, but you know what? After 4000 women have been using them with nervous bowels all day, having a spot across from the porta-potty not so much of a pleasure as one might think.
Kellie begged off the swim as her goggles had been bothering her, but I decided I'd better do it. The swim is still my weakest link so I knew that getting into Lake Washingto and getting a feel for it was imperative. I swam at a local beach just down from where we'd be the next day. We take off out of a boat launch, so I couldn't swim there! At one point I was on the dock waiting in line for the diving board (hey...all work and no play, you know) and a little girl asked me why people had writing on them. I explained to her about the triathlon and what the markings were for. The girl in front of me showed off with a flip into the water, then came up boasting that if the board was HIGHER she could do a TRIPLE flip! I laughed and said "Well I'm going to hold my nose and jump straight in like the weenie I am!" They all laughed. It was cute.
After the swim Roy and I met Beth for a pre-triathlon dinner. I had a grilled chicken and brie sandwich that was To Die For. I wanted to marry it and have it's little grilled babies, but Roy objected. After some good conversation with good company, we headed home. I dumped out my transition bag and double and tripled checked everything. Chose an outfit that matched my awesome neon green Danskin shirt (a skirt the exact color...so I'd really stand out), and then we headed to bed. The alarm would ring about 3:30 so yeah...bed time! I actually slept pretty well. I had prayed a lot the week leading up (part of my taper, I guess). Prayed for peace and gave away my swim fear to God (and did NOT wrestle it back, which I usually do). I also prayed for perspective. I get so worked up over triathlons, which is part of the reason I do them. They are not "easy" for me. I don't "love" them going in. I love that I've done them, I love them during the bike and run, but going in I feel a great deal of fear and trepidition.
We arrived at about 5:15 a.m. and I headed into the transition area to set up my stuff. Roy was my official videographer so he videoed me setting up. We chatted a lot and I chatted with some other women. As the start time crept closer I found myself getting more nervous. I just acknowledged it and tried not to let that fear take the reigns. I know it's going to be there...it is part of why I do this. But I just have to make sure it does not get me. The last three triathlons I panicked in the water. My entire goal for this triathlon was not to panic in the water.
Upbeat, motivatinoal music was playing as we approached the swim start. The announcer gave us all instructions about how it was going to run. The elite wave would go out and then one minute later, wave two would go. After that waves would go every four minutes. Before we started Sally got on the mic and had us all give each other the "cheer" where we give double high fives to every lady around us and say "You go girl!" It seems corny, but it really does help you to feel like you're connected to the other women. She asked if we were there to have fun. "Yes!" we yelled! "Where we there to take care of each other?" Yes! I thought that was so cool because a lot of what Danskin is all about is reaching out to others.
Someone sang a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner and the elites went out. How do they swim that fast? I'm just in awe of them! After the second wave, we entered the water. I was nervous, but keeping fear in his place. Sally asked us again if we were going to have fun and take care of each other. YES! She gave us our word...she gives every wave a word to carry with them. Our word was FANTASTIC! We are FANTASTIC swimmers! We are FANTASTIC cyclists! We are FANTASTIC runners! We repeated the mantra and she reminded us that as we swam, if we got nervous to just repeat "I am a fantastic swimmer. I am a fantastic swimmer!" over and over again until we found our groove.
And then we were off! I started out okay, although I couldn't get my stroke and breathing down. I was breathing on every stroke. I immediately saw a lady in distress...panicking and felt so bad for her. I coached her to just relax, roll over and get her breath...it's okay. She did that and I swam on. I felt a little fear and rolled over, caught my breath, then got back into the game. For some reason I was having a REALLY hard time getting out of the knot of women. Lots of legs and arms and heads. I am slow so many women were swimming over me. I was okay. I was not comfortable or happy and did have that moment of "You just have to finish this and if you want, you never have to do this again." (This is the same girl who was talking about doing a half ironman next year.) Pretty soon, though, I at least settled in. I just acknowledged that I am uncomfortable in the water, but I am a good swimmer. I am slow, but that's okay. I don't have to be the best. I just have to get through it and do better than I did last year.
I did just that. My swim was dedicated to Julianne because she helped me get settled in the water last year and the year before and she is my good friend who needs prayers and support right now.
What would you do differently?:
Next year I am going to join a training group and get out on some deep water swims. I have definitely improved in the emotional/mental aspect, but I still have a long way to go. I don't believe a half IM is out of reach. I can do the distances quite easily. It's just a matter of getting comfortable in deep open water.
Better transition, but did have a bit of a challenge clipping in. Still working on that. Wetsuit got stuck, as usual. Body glide did not help. Pfft.
What would you do differently?:
I might alter my suit so that the ankles aren't so tight.
Ran with my bike out to the bike start and mounted. Had a bit of a time clipping in, but I got there and took off. The first part is nice and flat so you do get some time to get those muscles used to biking. Still, cold muscles sure take a beating on the bike! I felt like I couldn't get up to the speed I wanted! Remembering that Day Ave had a tough hill, I started to gear down but didn't get down far enough. I got 3/4 up the hill and had to hop off. Darn! I didn't have to do that last year, but c'est la vie! Walked up and remounted the bike and took off. I passed a lot of people on the bike, which was nice. Shouted out some words of encouragement to some women who looked like they were struggling. I know I appreciate that when I need it, and even when I don't.
The bike goes across a floating bridge over Lake Washington so the views on a beautiful sunny morning, are stunning! I felt really good on most of the bike...legs did feel heavy and I will admit, I had not done much in the way of swim/bike bricks to prep for that. However I was able to maintain a relatively decent speed given the conditions. I think with practice next year I can average a little higher.
Dulcy (my bike) felt GREAT! The only two issues I had were gears and pump. My stupid pump chose to slip for the first time ever so that every turn of the wheel thunked it. I was able to pull it up but it slipped down a few more times. Fortunately all it did was make noise and didn't impede my cycling at all.
During racking yesterday I had had the cycle guys check my tires and my gears. He made some adjustments to the gears and for the first time ever, I was feeling gear slippage on this bike! Doggone it, shouldn't have had him do that! I think it did slow me down slightly, but not substantially.
Other than that, I just had a ball out there! On the long stretches where we could see the water, I drank in the view and thought about my swim and my friends and the upcoming run. In the tunnels I hooted and hollered like a geek. As we came back and could see the people behind us coming in, I waved and encouraged the ladies.
The bike was dedicated to Roy because he is my best biking buddy. We have ridden hundreds of miles together this summer and it has been just completely AWESOME having him with me not just as a support, but as a partner.
What would you do differently?:
Next year I will practice swim/bike bricks!
Nothing spectacular about transition two. I had to sit to tie my shoes, so I think I need lace locks for next year.
What would you do differently?:
I think I can do better.
I think this was the BEST bike to run transition I've done. My legs felt strong and I was running well before I crossed the timing mat. I saw Roy videoing me and I gave him two big thumbs up and a huge smile. I couldn't BELIEVE this was the end of the triathlon! Less than half an hour, if all went well, and I'd be done! Wow!
Just after the first water station I noticed that someone was running at my pace just behind me. Since we can't have music on the route, I like to chat. I turned and saw a young girl...maybe 12-14 years old. I asked her how she was doing, "Tired" she said. "But amazing, right? Don't you just feel amazing doing this?" She broke into a big grin and agreed that yes, she did feel amazing and that this was way cool. We talked on and off the first mile. It was her first triathlon. Her mom had done it last year, so she was doing it this year. Mile one hit, Van (garmin) beeped and I said "8:35! We just ran an 8:35 mile!" She said "Wow! That's fast!" I assured her that yes, that was very fast for a triathlon! She had a HUGE grin then!
We kept chatting off and on through mile two and it was just neat. She said she'd definitely do it again next year, but did not agree that a marathon might be a fun next goal. Haha. She was amazed that I did marathons because she doesn't like the running. I told her I thought she seemed to do a pretty darn good job at running! It was nice to have company and I can tell she enjoyed it too and was probably pushing a little harder than she expected to keep up with me. Sadly I lost her in mile three.
Mile three gave us "the hill". Thank heavens there is always a drumline on that hill to beat out that rhythm that we love so well! I clapped and thanked them as I surged up the hill. The women around me slowed (we all slowed) and some walked. I joked that we LOVE hills...right? A few weary smiles and a few glares. Oh well, everyone's a critic!
At the top of the hill it was just me and another woman ahead of me. She looked strong! She looked like a real athlete! I was behind her for awhile and slowly closing in. I could see she had a tattoo on her ankle that looked like a cartoon runner. As I got closer I could see it was a runner fashioned out of a pink ribbon. I pulled up beside her and told her I really liked her tattoo on her ankle...that it was very meaningful. She chuckled, "Yes, very very meaningful." She was a survivor. But wow, she looked amazing. You know, cancer sucks. I hate cancer. But one of the things cancer has no power over is inner-strength. It just seems to strengthen the women it touches in a way that you can't even imagine.
Rounded the corner into Gennessee Park with lots of people cheering. "Just around the corner! You're almost there! Looking strong! Love that smile! Way to go!" all around me. As I entered the finish chute I could hear The Blackeyed Peas blasting on the sound system. Now that, my friend, is an omen because I loves me my BEPs! Even Roy said "When I heard them start the Black Eyed Peas, I knew you were going to be coming through the finish line soon!" I put out my last bit of oomph and raced across the finish line to the sounds of the Peas and my name being called over the loudspeaker. I did a little hop and jump in celebration as a beautiful woman put a medal on a bright purple ribbon around my neck. A young boy cut off my timing strap and I made my way through the crowd and found my sweetie waiting for me with video camera, a huge smile, and a big hug!
What would you do differently?:
Nothing. The run went great.
I grabbed a water and a big hug and kiss (from Roy) and then headed off to get my picture taken. In the food area a lady had smeared bananas with peanut butter, so she is now my new best friend. Dang that tasted great! Grabbed another water and downed that. We then meandered around a bit checking out the booths and waiting for the time when we thought my friend Kellie would be coming in. Spent about an hour cheering in lots of other ladies. It's amazing to see them come across the finish line in all different states. Some bound across like eager puppies thrilled with their victory. Others drag in with tired but determined smiles. Some grab the closest person after the finish and give him or her a big bear hugs. Others just grabbed their medals and walked off.
We watched for quite some time trying to guage when Kellie would come in. Finally we heard Kellie's name and saw her bounding across the finish line looking fresh as a daisy! We both hooped and hollered and cheered her in, then zipped over to the end of the chute to greet her. Unfortunately by then the crowds were thick and we never did find her! Darn! I wanted to give her a hug after her first triathlon!
What limited your ability to perform faster:
The swim is slow for me because I am still not comfortable in the water. I am not unhappy with my bike performance, but know I can do better. The run went well. I need to get transition times down now that I'm feeling more confident in the other aspects of the triathlon. Still, this was a PR for me.
I love Danskin. It's so much more than a sporting event. It is a time for personal reflection, perspective, and love. Love of oneself. Love of other women. Love of determination and dedication. The medal says "The woman who finishes the race is not the same woman who starts the race" and that is so true.
00:25:31 | 880 yards | 2m 54s / 100yards
Overall rank: 3129/3965 (blah...I am so NOT a fast swimmer)
Performance: Below average
Suit: Hind Triathlon Suit
Course: The course is a triangle. We started off the boat launch at Gennessee Park. The first leg is about 1/2 of the second leg. Swim out to the bouy, go around on the right, and then out to the second bouy which looks to be about 782 million miles away. (It's not really.) From there you swim back into shore and come up another boat launch.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 68F / 20C Current: Low
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Below average Drafting: Bad
Waves: Good Navigation: Below average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off: No
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
00:42:40 | 12.4 miles | 17.44 mile/hr
Overall rank: 1210/3965 (much better than last year)
Average HR was 163. My Garmin lost signal for much of the ride. I won't use it next year on the bike portion since we go into tunnels.
Course: The course is slightly technical with a few inclines and one big hill. It takes you down Lk. Washington Blvd, up Day Ave (the hill) and onto the I-90 Floating Bridge. That's a fun ride!
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable (I can push it more)
Drinks: Not enough
Overall: Below average
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
00:26:57 | 03.1 miles | 8m 41s min/mile
Age Group: 0/516
8:35, 8:47, 8:37 were my three laps. Huzzah! I was amazed at the pace on the run. Avg. heart rate was 161.
Course: Beautiful out and back course that is nice and flat until one nasty hill at the end. That's okay. I love hills. I eat hills for breakfast with milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5