Skinnyman Triathlon 2010

Wow. I can’t believe it’s over, but it is, I can officially call myself a triathlete! The race was so much more than I expected. This week was a really stressful one for both P and I (another post for another time). Therefore, I was actually dreading race day. I just had too much to think about before hand and people really pissed me off to the point of distraction.

However, that all passed, all is well for now. And my triathlon experience started:

Friday 9/3
We went to pick up my race packet at the Skaneateles Y. It was pretty busy with lots of folks doing the same thing. I was excited as I presented my ID to get the packet. I was then given instructions on how to place my number sticker on my helmet and a purple bracelet was put on my wrist with my bib number. I was also told to put the green band with my bib number on my bike to ensure that I leave with my bike before I go home after the race.

I received an email a few days before saying they were going to open up the swim course on Friday from 4-7 for registered participants only. I was on board with doing this the minute I heard. I had not swam in my wetsuit yet and I was nervous about doing so for the first time on race day (never a good idea). So, after I picked up my packet me and P headed for the lake. I suited up and got in the water. I swam about 100 yards and panicked. I felt claustrophobic in my wetsuit. It was not a good feeling. However, I relaxed, looked around and took deep breaths as I calmed down. I took a deep breath and felt comfortable once again and I started back up. There was a couple there with another woman who seemed to be coaching them so I was listening to her tips. I knew some of what she was saying but there were some new things too. Due to not having enough lifeguards they only had half of the course open. I’m not going to lie to you, when I got to the halfway point and I was tired, I was nervous. Again, I slowed down, slowed my breathing down, and did the rest of the course. P was sitting on the wall at the edge of the lake, I told him I wanted to go around again and he was surprised I wasn’t really tired.
I made my way back to the starting point, took it easy and swam the whole way around. It was not easy, but it definitely allayed some of my fears. I loved how buoyant my wetsuit made me, the lake is crystal clear so I could see the bottom, and I wasn’t cold. I knew it would be rough but  I knew I could do it.

We then decided to drive the bike and run routes. The bike is a 14 mile trek around some farmland on the western side of the lake. I knew there would be hills based on the elevation they had online. However, as we were driving them I started to freak. the. fuck. out. These weren’t just ‘hills’ they were HILLS. There were two that really freaked me out, super steep. I tried not to panic as we passed the mile markers on the route and thought to myself, “We are only at mile 8?!?! I feel like we’ve been driving forever!”. I tried not to show the panic to P, I wanted to appear confident.

We drove the running route, 3.1 miles. It was a route I had done many times growing up. We lived at the top of one of the hills and the other was on the way to a friend’s house. So, I knew what I was in for and wasn’t to worried. I would walk if needed.

We got back to my mom’s and got the girls in bed. Then I went over the plan for the next morning with my mom while I got my bag packed. I packed only the bare minimum needed for transitions:
goggles
swim cap given to me for my wave
ear plugs
wetsuit (set next to my bag)
bike shoes
socks
Gu packets
water bottles
helmet with bib number sticker affixed
race belt with number pinned

I slept horribly. L woke up sometime in the night and ended up in bed with us. I was left with about two inches on the side to sleep on. P didn’t have much room either, he had maybe 3 inches. L had the rest of the bed. It’s funny how the smallest person gets the most amount of room :D.

Saturday 9/5

I got up at 5am, took a shower, and got into my shirt and compression shorts. Somehow we got all our stuff, the girls, and my mom into the van and ready to go by 6am. My stomach was in knots. I got a text from my awesome friend Serenity wishing me luck.

We drove into the village lot hoping there would be some parking left. Already the lot was 95% full. We did luck out and find a spot. As we unloaded the feeling of nervousness started to subside, I stayed on task. Then we started walking over to the starting area/ transition area. We saw other folks heading over with bikes, wetsuits, buckets and bags for stuff. It wasn’t until we turned the corner where you can see the race start/finish that it really hit me. Holy cow there were so many people! I got excited, not nervous. I couldn’t belive I wasn’t a spectator but a participant.

At first, I didn’t know where to go. Then we saw the blue race support t-shirts and asked the first one we saw. I could either get my chip or put my bike away first. I decided to put my bike away. P held on to my wetsuit and I went into the transition area where only participants were allowed. I found a spot but, my bike tire would not fit into the slot, they were to wide. Shit. I went looking for a spot on the other type of rack. I found one, close to the sidewalk, and my tires still wouldn’t fit. However, I could get most of them in there and then use the pedal for the bike to lean on so it wouldn’t fall.

I went back with P and I got marked up with my bib number on my left upper arm, my left thigh, and my age on the back of my left calf. I got my chip, kissed and hugged P goodbye, grabbed my wetsuit and went back to my bike. I put down my towel under my bike (there was no room to either side) and put my bike shoes with a sock in each, taped a Gu to my bike bar, and then set off to find a porta potty. When I got back it was 7:25 and the announcer was saying ALL participants needed to come to the swim gate for instructions.I was like, “CRAP!”. I didn’t even have my wetsuit on! I took off my sneakers and socks and started putting on my wetsuit. Once I got it over my legs I grabbed my ear plugs, goggles, and cap and headed to the starting area. While listening to instruction I finished putting on my wetsuit.

There were 5 waves. I was in the 5th, novice, wave by choice. I saw the green caps (first wave) get in the water. I started to gather near other white cap folks and wait. I was listening to those around me and started to feel better. Most of them had never done this before either! Others still were over 60 and doing this because they wanted to stay in shape and keep active. I started to feel better. Then the green caps went off, holy crap, they were FAST. Most of them anyway. This was an all male wave. But still. I started to look at the back of the legs around me at the ages: 15, 31, 21, 61, 55, 25, 19. Ages were all over the place. I decided then to put in my ear plugs and try to relax.

It worked. As each wave continued to go, I was getting more calm. Finally it was our turn. I got in the water, got into the middle of the ‘line’ that formed horizontally from the starting buoy. I will say now, that they allowed you to hang on to a canoe or kayak that were located throughout the sides of the course with a lifeguard in each, if needed. I was determined NOT to need that. The wave before us had blue caps on, I saw a lot of them exiting the water. Then the horn blew for us to go.

It was hard going. I would find a nice open spot and then as I was swimming start to see feet in front of me. I would take my head out of the water and swim breast stroke for a minute to navigate where to go next and see how far off course I was. For the most part, I was pretty straight. However, the freaking people around me! One guy kept hitting me, another kept stopping right in front of me (I would pass him, then he would pass me), another hit my foot more than once. I tried to go slow and steady. The biggest difference was in training, in the pool, I could go three freestyle strokes then take a breath. In the lake, I was taking a breath every other stroke. As I passed each buoy I just kept going. I would tell myself to just get to the next buoy to keep going. I rounded the first corner and was still good. I rounded the second (It was a big rectangle) and as I did I noticed a scuba diver watching us (I found out later he was there in case of anybody getting pushed under by other athletes). On the last leg in I was smiling, couldn’t believe I was almost done. I passed some blue cap people, I passed a lot of white cap people, I never had to stop to hold a canoe. I did have to alternate between freestyle and breast stroke, big whoop. There were at least 5 people I counted holding on to canoes and kayaks.

Transition One
Ripped off my wetsuit. Put on shorts over my compression shorts. Put on socks (mismatched, I was just grabbing the nearest sock, I forgot I put one in each shoe!). Took out ear plugs and took off swim cap. Threw on my helmet and made sure to buckle it, grabbed a Gu and my bike and took off.

Bike
Up to mile 8 it was ok. Not great just ok. The thing about this course is it’s all hills without many downhills. Once we got past mile 8 I was feeling pretty good. That’s where it got- hard. I looked up and saw one of those massive hills. OMG. A lot ran through my head: I couldn’t do it, I would have to walk, how am I supposed to do this? Then a woman came up from behind and said, “This is one of two bad ones. We can do this”. After that we talked until we got to the hill (neither of us slowed down we just kept going at our own paces which were pretty evenly matched) about the weather. Then, we started the climb. I was in gear 1-1 the WHOLE way. I passed some folks, I have no idea how. I got to the top and the owner of the property was there. I yelled, “So next year you are going to flatten this out for us right?” I smiled as I yelled it. She smiled back and said, “Absolutely! You did great though!”. My bike buddy, I’ll call her white sunglasses, caught up to me and motioned to the black clouds ahead. “The weather report said no rain until 10am. I’m not so sure…”. I agreed and we headed off. I lost her for a minute or two and then the next hill hit. OMG, ANOTHER ONE!! Somehow she was there again, we talked and then started the climb. I did it again!

Then came the rain. Not just a shower. A torrential downpour. Sheeting, sideways rain. I noticed my bike seemed slanted. I was thinking, “Why am I like this?”. Then I looked up and saw that we were ALL sideways. The wind was that strong. By then? I was at around mile 10. I didn’t care. I knew I could make it. Make it I did!

Transition 2
I had P stand where my stuff was so I could find it, that was  the deal we made before the race. I saw him, and walked over. He and MIL were shouting, “Someone took your bike place! There’s a spot right here!”. Sure enough, some a-hole took my bike spot, had their bike OVER my stuff. I put my bike in the new spot and moved my stuff, all except the towel. I shed my helmet and bike shoes for my running shoes and a dry running shirt that I brought with me (it was part of my goodie bag) and took off.

Run
Now, as I left transition I said, “This is it! Just a 5K left! I’m almost there!”. Inside, my brain was telling me to S.T.O.P. I didn’t listen and went through the Run Out gate. Now, here’s the demotivating part: we were coming and going the same route. So as I was just starting I was watching people coming in. I so wanted to be one of those people finishing!! I started out at a slow jog but I couldn’t get my breathing regular. By the time I hit the hill, I had to stop. I walked up most of the two hills on the main street. Once I got real close to the turn, I started running again. I made the turn and it was flat until we had to turn around. I made that turn, grabbed a water, and headed back. Around this time it started to rain again. A heavy rain, but no wind. I welcomed the rain. I went down the first hill and then turned the corner to head down and around the side street on the route. It was a downhill and everybody was out cheering us on. I said to one of the couples, “Can I cut through your lawn?”. They laughed and said, “Sure! It will be our little secret!”. I laughed and continued on. I got to the bottom of that street and rounded that turn and started up the hill back to the main street. It’s a bitch of a hill. I walked up about a quarter of it and then ran all the way to the finish. I was alone when I got to the finish area and the announcer was cheering me on, I loved it. I love the feeling you get when you finish a race. This was so much sweeter though than finishing a 5K.

Once it was over I gathered up my stuff and headed out of the transition area and was met by my family, P’s family, my girls. It was awesome. It was the most fun I have ever had exercising, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, it was an amazing experience.

Here are my official times:

Swim
18:10 (min:sec)
Pace- 2:16/100Y

T1
3:34

Bike
1:03:19
Pace- 13.3/mph

T2
2:44

Run
33:40
Pace- 11:13/mile

Overall I placed 553rd out of 609.
In the novice wave group I placed 39th of 59.
For the Swim I placed 430th out of 609 overall, 14th in my age group.
For the Bike I placed 560th out of 609 overall, 36th in my age group.
For the Run I placed 536th out of 609 overall, 39th in my age group.

Here are some pictures, there will be more to come, I promise, as I get them:

Waiting for my wave to start:

Getting close!

In there somewhere:

Transition area during swim:

T1 after the swim:

T1 heading out:
T2 gettting in:

T2 on with the running shoes:

Run and FINISH!:

The cutest spectators there:

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