Overcast skies made for GREAT racing conditions! I went into this race blind. I really do prefer not knowing what I’m getting myself into. That might now be the best choice normally but I have a STRONG tendency to psyche myself out of doing something.
The swim was a 3/4 mile swim around an island. Point to point. Even the most experienced swimmers told me it seemed longer than that looking at the island. This being my first open water triathlon of the year and having aged up into the 40 somethings I managed to buy some time before the start. Our club president, Dave Harless, went out in the water about the same time and waited for the swim start. Somehow I managed to be in the front of the 40’s pack when the buzzer sounded. That is my least favorite place to be for a swim start but when I realized what was happening I told myself it was mass start Ironman training. About 300 yards in some guy grabbed my ankle and tried to either pull me put of his way or go over me? I’m not a strong swimmer and I panicked. Im fairly certain I yelled obscenities at him and kept moving. Not seeing the exit was starting to play with my head at the first turn but I kept moving. Not having to swim in a circle made it feel like a “do or die” situation. “Tami you dont get to ride or run if you dont finish the swim.” My energy on the swim picked up about the time the beach at the finish became visible. Coming out of the water I checked my time on my Garmin and felt a lot better about making the cut off at Vineman for the 1.2 mile swim. I might actually finish! Yes! Total swim time: 35 minutes 14 seconds.
The bike was an interesting experience. Everyone told me it would be “technical”, Now Im new to triathlon. I FULLY admit I dont know all the jargon/lingo but I took technical to mean tricky turns. What it meant for this race was some tricky turns on the down hills and a lot of uphillls with one real good “WHERE DID THAT HILL COME FROM?” I passed some riders on the bike. Some riders passed me. I was starting to feel a bit down on this sport generally after the incident in the water when a very speedy older (55?) gentleman came racing by me (on a super beautiful TT bike I might add) and yelled “Looking strong four-oh” (my triathlon age this year written in sharpie on my calf) and I remembered, again, why I love this sport. For EVERY bad apple I encounter racing, training or in the general da to day of being a triathlete there are 100 awesome athletes who do nothing but encourage others to keep at it. I made it a point to encourage at least 10 others on the ride after that as a way to pay it forward because, in all honesty, I really needed his intervention when it came. Total Bike: 16 miles at 1 hour, 03 min and 28 seconds.
The run is always my favorite part of any triathlon and this race was no excpetion! This area of Morgan hill is absolutely beautiful and it is always fun to encourage others on their way in as I am on my way out. The run course had rolling hills and was a bit faster on the way home. There was some shade but the sun had definately arrived by the time I got to the run and the sunny spots were hot. One trick I have learned to get through the hotter temps is to push myself to the shady spots so that I can experience the cooler tempatures sooner! Whatever gets you to the finish right? I tried to encourage others I passed on the run and even tried to make it fun for a couple runners who were struggling with focus. I also ran the whole darn thing. Never stop ever is a motto from my Velocity Sportswear family and it’s a motto I have recently adopted for myself. That mantra helped tremendously when it ran through my head. 5 miles isnt forever. I CAN do this. Coming down the finisher’s chute I even pushed myself super hard to try and catch the runner in front of me. It did not happen but the push felt amazing especially with my dear friends and TC3 teammates cheering me on at the finish. Total Run time: 49 min and 18 seconds. Total event time: 2 hours, 32 min and 37 seconds.
There was some bad news. Out of 20 in my age group, I placed 20th. It did not seem to matter how strong I felt. There were 19 others stronger than me. However, the silver lining? There was only a 42 minute gap between me at the age group winner. That doesnt seem like much. It probably should but it doesnt. Apparently this age group is super competitive. Ill keep working though.
Things I learned on this little weekend away. It’s fairly easy to tell who your friends are if you are just willing to look. I have a LOT of work to do to be where I want to be. I love being a part of the Velocity family and meeting new people! Courtney and her boyfriend were awesome! Most importantly, even after the drama, life goes on. What I chose to let bother me will continue to bother me. What I let go of will no longer affect me if I dont let it.