Wednesday, July 28, 2010

OWS Here I come

Tracy Meeks and family, Gene Pflederer and myself
looking awesome in my condom cap
It seems that I will continue to be susceptible to peer pressure all of my life. Monday night I took Diva Princess to her softball pool party and spent some time talking to a few other triathletes in town. We discussed our current training, past races and upcoming events - that's where I got caught hook, line and sinker.

Last year I did two triathlons: Tremont Triathlon and Lakeland Bi-Tri Classic. Tremont Tri is a nice pool swim, sprint triathlon. Nice and relaxing. No big deal. Lakeland? Well, it is a 500 yard open water swim in Strode Lake in Canton. Last year I went into the race cold. I didn't train in open water. I read all sorts of articles, but I really didn't prepare for it the way I should have. I just showed up....and FREAKED OUT.

Note my body language: I'm not in a hurry to get in the water
I really didn't think I would. I stayed at the back of the pack, swam to the outside to avoid people who might be grabbing my ankles or trying to swim over me. I didn't run in like most triathletes who are excited to get their race started. Oh no, not me. I walked. I sauntered. I delayed as much as possible because even though I thought I was ready, in my heart of hearts, I knew I was not. I walked in slowly keeping an eye on the first buoy and praying I would get there safely.

Hitting the water, I was amazed at how little I could see. OH MY GOSH. Then the bottom washes away from you and my final security net was taken away. I can't touch the bottom. I don't have a wall to push off of every 25 yards. I actually have to swim 500 yards without help and that's when the doubts sink in. What if I can't do it? What if I take in water? What if someone swims over me? What if they don't see me going down?

Notice I'm not diving in - I actually think I'm trying to pee here
It didn't take long for the self doubts to get the best of me. I flipped over to my back and stared up at the sky. Seeing the white clouds against the blue sky really helped me to calm down. I took some strokes on my back and flipped back over to my stomach, but each time I needed a breath I would flip back over to my back. On the back part of the triangle, I KNOW the rescue guys in the canoe were watching me a little too closely, fearing I would totally freak out or not make it. Finally, after almost 14 minutes I crawled out of the lake and headed to the transition area.

Once in the transition area, I couldn't ignore the need to pee. I wanted to pee before the race started, but they announced they were closing the transition area and I got worried that I wouldn't be able to get my goggles. So I skipped the porta-potties. Not a wise decision. So as I sat down to put on my shoes, (yes, I know I shouldn't sit down, but it was a good cover) I took the opportunity to relieve my bladder while I sat in the grass. My T1 was 3:35 - I guess it took me a while to relax my bladder and pee.  I jumped on my 20 year old bike and off I went.  The 12 mile bike ride took me 47:30. Yes, I know. Kind of slow.  T2 was 44.1 seconds. Awesome and I finished a very hilly 3 mile run in 27:27.

This year I am hoping to improve GREATLY on my swim time and get it closer to 10 minutes. I averaged 15.2 mph on my bike. I'd like to see that above 16. My run was 9.09 pace. I'm happy with that at this point. I doubt that will be much improved, especially over the hills, but I will probably make that a goal for next year.

So, here's to the Lakelane Bi-Tri Classic and hoping for a new PR.

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