Well it was a great weekend for my season opener. With several things on the agenda for the weekend, I couldn’t have asked for the whole To-Do list to have gone much smoother!
The weekend started on Friday afternoon (after school) with the Boss going and renting/picking up our hotel for the weekend. See, primarily we were heading down to Bumpass, Virginia (about 90 minutes south of Washington, DC) for the Olympic distance race on Saturday morning, BUT we were also signed up for the USAT Officials Certification clinic Friday night and Sunday morning (sprint distance race). Both the Boss and I decided that it would be crazy stressful to try to drive back and fourth each day for the different events…instead we decided that RV-ing (for the first time) would be a better idea for the race weekend!!!
In my opinion, sometimes the most stressful part of racing is making sure that you ACTUALLY make it to the start of the race!
You I spend over half of my night’s sleep waking up every 20 minutes wondering… “is it time to go?”, “$%&! what time is it”, “should I get up now and try to go to the bathroom?”, “go back to sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeep”. By staying over night in the RV, it was near impossible to miss the start of the race… heck we were parked right where all of the athletes driving into the race were going to park; we could hear the cars as they filled in and athletes un-racked their bikes.
YUP, our plan was genius. Not only did we cut out the early morning commute, but we all enjoyed cutting out some of the other “race morning stresses”- including packing up the car, the dreaded “did I bring everything?”, mixing nutrition, parking, AND let us not forget… having your very own Porta-Potty!
I have to say, it was REALLY awesome laying in bed on race morning, all cozy under the covers, and being able to hear outside the other athletes’ cars pull up, doors opening an closing, athletes stretching out a LONG drive from DC, Maryland, or Richmond. HA, I think that sleeping in that late the morning of a race is a close to cheating as I’ll ever let myself get! “Oh, I’ll just hit snooze one more time!”
Finally I did pull myself out of bed and decided it was time to wonder down to the packet pick-up (a mere 100 meters away) to set up transition.
Transition is all set up! Which I think now is a great time to insert a quick note about transition setup:
One of the more functional rules I picked up at the USAT officials clinic was regarding transition setup. This is an area that clearly freaks people out when a USAT official is coming near, and to be fair this is a section that is not a clearly defined as some people might like. The BEST way to know where all of your crap should go is to remember “Wheel down, Gear Down”. Here when I say “Gear” I’m talking all of the gear that you need to complete the race. Bike shoes, running shoes, race belt, race nutrition…. and for some of you… hair brush, lip gloss, sun screen, PB&J sandwich, and wash bucket!!!
I even put together a little diagram for you… do NOT hate on my bicycle! Please note that it does NOT matter what wheel is touching the ground. AND unless there is a sticker or tape on one side of the bar that has your name/ race # on it, it does not matter what side of the rack your bike is positioned on.
Back to MY race! Where was I?…. right, transition is all set up, and I’m heading over to the water for a dip before my wave start. Also this put me in a good position to swim out and see the start of the Boss’s swim start.
Over all I was really happy with my swim and bike, although the swim was a little bumpy and I did swallow a good helping of nuclear water… we’ll refer back to that during the “run” portion of the race… the race up until T2 was pretty successful!
What happened in T2 you might ask? Well remember that nice looooong sleep I had the night before, and casually getting up and wondering down to the race site, and how everything was a little too nonchalant for a race morning? Yeah, well I didn’t realize that I had actually left my necklace on during the race. A white gold, diamond pendent necklace that my parents gave me for graduation. Not exactly something that I would rip off and deal with finding later. Yep… it did what any necklace would do during a bike ride when leaned completely forward in aero position… yep… it tangled itself into my helmet strap clip… YEP I found this out when trying to unclip the aero helmet. For any Non-triathletes reading this, transition is a wild exchange between sports where you try to go as fast (and smooth) as you can to take off the equipment from the last sport and “transition” into the new gear for the next sport… also an opportunity to pick up time of slower athletes who like to sit down and dry their feet! So now I find myself having to find the clasp, get my hands steady, undo the clasp, untangle the chain…wooop don’t drop the pendant… find a place to put the necklace so I can find it later… and run out to the run course!
THEN, I finally depart T2 to start my run… the first 1mile was okay. Then miles 2-4 were God awful as my stomach decided that it didn’t want to play anymore. Let me insert here that my legs were feeling GREAT! There is nothing worse than getting a bad stitch/ cramp that you can’t run out. I guess I took in too much “hydration” on that swim course… it is nuclear water after all, what did I really think was going to happen! Then, as I come to the water station at the last turn around I had a saving moment when a simple movement of turning my head brought about projectile pukeage (still running of course!). After that I ran a few more steps, then a few more, and finally I thought “Wow I feel GREAT”. From here I ran as fast as my little tootsies would carry me back to home plate. I even heard one man that I passed say to the guy next to him “where is she going?”. I think I averaged around 6:10 the whole way back! I was really hoping to finish the 10k portion of the race with an average of around a 6:35 pace… instead I was just about a minute off with a 7:24 pace…OUCH! But at the same time on that last home stretch I managed to pick off 7 other girls in my age group! (Yes I counted!)
After the race the Boss came to congratulate me… I was kinda peeved at the time with how the run went, and I’m sure I wasn’t super friendly with him at first. But I also knew that he had a great race (I saw him on one of the turn around loops… did the math, and realized he was in the lead pack) so I turned the attention to him as we went to eat and wait for his award!
Well I guess it was a good thing that I sucked it up for that last spurt on the run… because that ladies and gentlemen was the difference between 10th place…. and 3rd!!
That’s about all folks… I had a great weekend! I highly recommend the RV strategy… I think it was the great nights sleep that gave us both the edge on our competitors!