Truthfully, I was moronically under trained – even for a sprint distance. Shamrock training consumed most of my 2011. I swam a few miles but my swim schedule was sporadic too given the monster of marathon training. I was too scared of pulling a Texas Dan to ride my bike on the road. The second I finally got a 26.2 that I was happy with, I broke the cleat off my cycling shoe in a spinning class. Unfortunately, without shoes I can’t ride my bike so I got just about zero miles on the thing prior to the race. I also had no one to practice open water swimming with – why didnt I pick a sprint with a shorter/pool swim??
Open water swimming scared me. What if I got kicked in the head, went unconscious, and no one saw me?? I’d been swimming in a 50m pool, which meant I was pushing off a wall, which is totally cheating when I’d say I swam a mile. I was also unsure if I’d really need a wet suit for 65* water (I’m sooooo glad I listened at rented one!) and wouldnt be able to get a practice swim in it. If that wasn’t bad enough, it was a dirty man-made lake too. Everyone I told “The swim is in Lake Raleigh on NC State’s campus” gave me the Ewwwwwww look and told me I was going to get dysentery or cholera or some other disease from the Oregon Trail.
In true Jenster fashion, I slept like a rock the night before. I learned my lesson on the lying Dunkin Donuts by my house and had a bagel ready to go. Since I packed my transtion bag and loaded my bike in the car the night before, I made excellent time and got to the race site 1.5 hours early.
The walk from transition to the lake sucked! I was barefoot and it was down a steep hill, which wouldnt have been so annoying if I wasn’t thinking about running up it after the swim!
We were seeded according to our 100 meter swim time and they released us in groups of 5 according the race number. I figured they were asking for a 100m time in a 750m swim…and since mine was a pool time I padded it to make sure I didn’t get swift kicks to the head by Michael Phelp’s protégé. I was one of the last people into the water. In fact, people were already running out before I got in. Even though I waited forever it all happened really fast. All of a sudden I was in the water and swimming my little heart out.
After about 100 meters I was pooped. The buoy looked soooooooooooo far. The water was cold and I started to freak out a bit. How the heck was I going to make it? There were Kayaks all around and I could see people already resting, which was tempting. I took the advice I always give to new runners and slowed down. Before bed I had watched some youtube videos on open water swimming (I know I’m lame) so I calmed down and pretended to be in a pool. I settled into a 3 stroke breath, and on the breath I over-rotated and glided on my side, kicking, which allowed me a longer, deeper inhale while still moving. I literally repeated 1-2-3-Breathe over and over again and got to the first buoy before I knew it. I started running into people after the 2nd buoy, which was annoying because they’d interrupt my 1-2-3-Breathe. 1-2-Foot wasn’t working as well and I kept having to sight more and more as I made me way back to shore. However, part of me was pumped – I WAS PASSING PEOPLE!!
SWIM 750m – 18:28
Coming up the hill from the swim, I saw my friends Ellie and Julie, who cheered their hearts out! It was a surprise that perked me up a lot and pumped me up for the bike portion.
Taking off wet suit, putting shirt on, drying feet, putting on cycling shoes and helmet, grabbing bike – I felt like I was in a Double Dare Physical Challenge. Where was the slime??
T1 – 5:38 (I walked up the huge hill, I am a pansy)
I thought the bike would be easier than the swim. I’m a spinning machine (regularly hit up 2 hour classes) and thought spinning vs biking would be similar to TM vs road running. OMG I AM A MORON!! The course was hilly and apparently I throw my body weight a lot when I climb in spin class. The climbs totally trashed my legs. I couldnt figure out the best gear. I def need a lot more practice. I also need more practice riding one handed on hills because I was too scared to grab my gatorade or pull the gel out of my back pocket. There were no flats on this course – it was all climbing or down. I dont know what was worse. The downhills were terrifying. I averaged 28 mph on the downs and that’s with a lot of braking. It seemed silly on the up to lose the momentum but I was scared! Traffic was still open (besides intersections) so the thought of getting side swiped if I swerved or fell was very much in the front of my mind.
On the wobbliest legs I dismounted the bike a bit dazed and wondering how I survived it all.
BIKE 10.5 miles – 43:21
Transition 2 went a lot better, although my quads were so trashed it was hard to change shoes. I also paused to take a gel and drink some water. I was also scared of forgetting to take off my helmet in exchange for my hat…but I remembered 🙂
T2 – 1:51
My legs felt crazy. I do bricks all the time running after spinning…but lemme say again that spinning is totally different. My legs were smoked after the bike.I actually walked a lot of the first mile (11:14). During mile 2 my legs started to feel better (mile 2 10:03). Mile 3 I was feeling normal (9:34). I hate 5ks. Over once I’m feelin good again! A guy passed me going up the final hill. His leg told me he was 23 and his race number told me he started the swim before me. I thought “you little punk!!” My friends Ellie and Julie were screaming by the finish, and I managed to kick passed the guy.
I was pooped at the end…but a different kind of tired than a Pikermi or a Marathon. All know is, I want to do it again!!! I’m looking at an Olympic Distance in July 🙂
Of course, I’ll be ok. I have a fabulous life, amazing friends, a supportive family, and too many reasons to smile. With so many people going through real issues, I feel horrible whining about it. I’ve never needed a guy to make me happy….but this one made me happier 😦