A geeky girl living in the big city, making her way, the only way she knows how... no wait, that's The Dukes of Hazzard. Who am I again? Oh yeah, a pop culture obsessed writer, publishing person, and occasional nerd. And I'm getting married. I talk about that, too.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Triathlon Recap

The moon was still up, shining brightly on the waters of the bay as we drove to Sandy Hook yesterday morning around 5am. I haven't seen that side of the clock since... well, since last year's triathlon. I sat in the backseat of Yi Shun and Jim's car, arm around their happy little hound, listening to my iPod as I struggled to wake up. As Rufus Wainwright's Hallelujah played in my ears, our caravan of cars joined others on the road to the race site, other bleary-eyed racers with their bikes in racks on top of their cars merging with the line of traffic like some silent, choreographed ballet, conducted by race volunteers waving lit batons, pointing us towards parking.

In the pre-dawn light, a noisy generator doing its best to illuminate the parking lot, we unloaded the cars, pumped our tires, and gathered our packs. Coast Guard officials checked our names off as we entered the main staging and transition area, which was on a Coast Guard base. As the sky brightened, I laid out my towel and gear next to my bike in our "Divas in the Dirt" rack, making sure I had everything ready to go. We took turns marking each other with our numbers, which had to be not only pinned to our shirts for the run, but stuck on our bikes and helmets, and visible on our arms and legs for the swim portion. Before I knew it, the announcer was calling the elite athletes and survivors to the start, and after handing my camera off to Jim, Yi Shun and I found spots on the bleachers near the start to watch our friend Jodi go off in the first group. After a stirring rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner," the countdown began, and Jodi was off like a shot to all our cheers. Yi Shun and I were in wave 7, but it wasn't long before we took our place with the other red-capped swimmers and inched into the water of the bay for one final inspirational speech. Suddenly, they were counting down to our start, and... go!

There's nothing quite like the surging into the water in a mass of bodies, all kicking and flailing to find the rhythm of their training runs. It's not like swimming in a pool, the lanes clearly marked and a wall at each end to push off from. There are bodies all around you, everyone trying to make room for their arms to stroke, their legs to kick, to move themselves forward. The extra-salty water gave us extra buoyancy, but the waves that came at us from the side made every stroke harder. I panicked, a little, and kept to breaststroke as much as possible for the first half of the swim, using freestyle to get me around the buoys at the halfway mark, and staring up at the now-blue sky as I backstroked for much of the drive back to shore. Swam into one or two little jellyfish, which was an adventure in not freaking out in open water, and swallowed a little of the bay, but I didn't have to fall back onto an Angel's noodle for a rest, or take a break on a lifeguard's surfboard. Though some of them were cute, and I was tempted...

Made it out of the water near the end of the competitors in my wave, and was passed by some in the wave following me, but I didn't care. I made it out, and walked/jogged to my bike in the transition area. Sat on my towel to rinse off my feet and pull my socks and shoes on, grabbed some Gatorade (a sort of unofficial sponsor of our Reluctant Divas team) and water, put on my helmet and shades, and lifted my bike off the rack to walk out to the bike start. On my way out, I passed Jodi, already done with the swim AND the bike, and on her way out for the run. I saddled up, biked the first few yards with Jodi beside me, and headed off for the 11-mile bike with the wind at my back.

The first half of the ride was a breeze. I had my gear-switching under control, though I'd say 14 of the gears on my 21-gear bike usually go unnoticed. Keeping the front wheel in the middle gear, I ranged up and down in the back, from 1 to 7, depending on the grade on the road, which was mostly flat -- and scenically beautiful. I wished for a helmet-mounted camera so I could take a few shots, though once we reached the turnabout at the middle of the out-and-back course, I was too busy pushing against the wind in my face to think about photography. Instead, with Cake's The Distance running through my head on repeat, I pushed on, and made it back to the transition area past cheering spectators, and saw Sally Edwards accompanying the Final Finisher as she set out on the bike ride.

Had some more to drink in the transition area as I put my bike back on the rack next to Yi Shun's (who I'd waved to on the bike course), and threw on my baseball cap as I walked on unsteady legs to the start of the run course. And actually, walked most of the "run" as well, my shins and calves complaining most of the way. Saw Yi again on her way to the finish line as I headed out, and waved to another member of Team Reluctant Divas as I pushed through the first two miles at a walk, turning to a combo jog/walk for the final mile. I took the last few hundred yards at a beautiful pace, one I wished I could have had for the whole run, and saw a whole wonderful, lovely Divas cheering squad as I crossed the line and got my finisher medal. Final time: 2 hours, 8 minutes, 34 seconds. Overall, I finished 835th out of 929. Nowhere near the front, but not at the very back, either. Hooray!

I lost most of my time on the run, but am pretty happy with my swim and bike splits, which I did in 23 and 45 minutes, respectively. And though I didn't love my new tri shorts, for the most part all my gear stood up well to the demands I put on it, though I have few ideas for alterations for next time.

Yes, next time. I'll do this again. Though maybe I'll train for it next time. Who's with me?

5 Comments:

Blogger Boulder Dude said...

I'll be cheering for you next time! :)

Yay for finishing.

And for no training on your part, your times were pretty good.

Yay KT!

9/19/2005 3:51 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations Katiedidit! You have more strength, will and guts than I ever will. You did wonderfully in my eyes!

9/20/2005 3:05 PM

 
Blogger Ted Carter said...

I'm exhausted just from reading the description. Thanks for sharing; it may be the closest I come to exercise this week!

9/20/2005 5:29 PM

 
Blogger Ali said...

Oh lord, no. I'm happy to live vicariously.

9/20/2005 10:58 PM

 
Blogger Hythian said...

Yay you! Soo cool and good job you!

9/22/2005 2:34 PM

 

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