Thursday, August 23, 2012

A bunch of firsts

The second post in a month?!?  This is shocking that I am actually going to post again...and I am hoping to actually read some blogs too!  Which must mean one thing: school started!!  (Well, at least for one of the kiddos.)

Monday was a big deal around here.  My son started Kindergarten!  And in some cruel twist of fate my firstborn's first day of Kindergarten coincided with the first day of my period.  In case you are wondering, this is like the perfect storm.  Overly emotional mixing with overly hormonal is not ever a good thing.  Ugly.  But I survived, he survived and seems to love it....but my heart still leaps a little every time he walks into the big elementary school without me.
All ready for the first day! 

Seriously Mom.  Are you for real?  Another picture?

I also had a big first this past week and that was my first Olympic distance triathlon!  After 6 sprints I decided it was probably time to up the ante.  I was at the point where a sprint distance wasn't that challenging...and well, I am a little bit of a type A, overachiever that needs a challenge.  I mean I guess I could have challenged myself to keep my house clean or learn how to cook.... but that just sounds awful.

As luck would have it, my friend Audrey wanted to up her game too (she seems to suffer from a similar overachiever affliction).  We picked out the Rattlesnake Tri early in year, based on the sole requirement that it was late in the season, and spent the summer training our little hearts out for it.

To be honest, I was really good about my training in the beginning of the summer.  I followed my plan religiously, checked off my workouts, patted myself on the back....and passed out every night at 7.  It was a lot of work and I felt myself getting burnt out.  Juggling full time motherhood and what seemed like full time training (it really wasn't!) was too much for me.  When you start asking your kids to push YOU in the stroller at the zoo you know you need to change something.  So I backed off a lot but was overall more balanced and happier....slower, but happier.

So I went into this race feeling like I was not as prepared as I should have been....but are you ever the first time you tackle an event?  But the day came and I told myself that I was ready to crush it....or at least finish it!

Audrey and I got to the race at our usual anal time of way too early.  As we wheeled our bikes into transition we realized that we had now entered the big leagues.  This wasn't Tri for the Cure where everyone pats you on the back and sings, these people were the real deal.  There was a definite presence of tri bikes, aero helmets (!), top of line wetsuits, and a definite lack of...body fat.  Audrey looked at me and said, "New goal:  Don't be last!!"
Audrey in transition.  The sun has never beat us to a race!
We finished set up and I heard a voice say, "you must be Katie."  It was Julie from You Just Have to Tri!  My second blogger meet up in just a couple weeks.  I need to keep doing these because I am 2 for 2 on meeting awesome ladies!  Julie is fantastic and it was so fun seeing her on different parts of the race!  Anyone else wanna meet me because I am loving this!  You can read Julie's (much more informative) report here.  She actually did something called the crazy back to back where you race the Oly on Saturday and the Sprint on Sunday.  Can't wait to hear the second half of the report!
Here we are.  At some point I am hoping to meet people when I've actually showered and put make-up on, but so far they have been very forgiving of my, let's call it "sporty," appearance.
Race Breakdown
The Swim:
  • Another first for me on this race was the time trial start.  Instead of starting with a big group in the water, you are sent one by one every 5 seconds into the water.  
  • Verdict- I liked it...well as much as I can like any open water swimming event.  
  • Aurora reservoir is a thousand times cleaner than Cherry Creek.  Instead of resembling dirty Mountain Dew, it resembled...water.  I didn't feel that my DNA was mutating as I was swimming like I did at CC res.   
  • I am just slow at swimming.  I don't swim that fast in the first place and you couple that with my inability to swim in a straight line...and...well, I'm not ever going to place well in the swim leg.  Also, I'm pretty sure I got lost at one point.  But hey, I couldn't even swim two years ago so this is progress!
The Bike

  • I generally consider this to be "my" event in a triathlon.  If I am going to make up any time, this is where it is going to happen.
  • However, I didn't expect too much since this was a very hilly course.  As Julie put it in her post, you were either going up or down. 
Here is the elevation graph for the know my legs hurt all over again just looking at it.
  • I was happy with my time considering all those hills and the fact that I don't have a tri bike or aero bars (yet)!  I averaged over 17 miles an hour.  I didn't get passed by a single girl (never mind that it was probably because I was the last girl out of the water!).
  •  Another first for me.  The first time I've almost run over a rattlesnake during a race!  At first I thought it was a prop because the tri is called The Rattlesnake...but no it was just a part of (dead) nature.
  • Photo: On the bike course today for the Olympic distance.
    I'd actually rather see this guy than a mouse!
The Run...okay the jog
  • No iPods allowed!  6.2 miles and the only entertainment was my heavy breathing and trying to guess when I'd pass out.  Dear USAT, the no headphones rule sucks!  
  •  I have to say that until mile 2 of the run, I didn't think an olympic distance tri was that much harder than a sprint tri.  If an Oly tri ended with a two mile run, I would do a 100 of them...but it doesn't.
  •  Welcome to mile 3....where I met the wall.  Those last four miles were brutal.  Although we had great weather, it was getting hotter, I was tired, and there was nothing left in my legs.  Try as I might to maintain my speed I just got slower and slower. 
  •  I stopped and walked at one point!!  Something I did not think I would let myself do...even now I wonder if I was being a big wuss...but I do think it saved me from puking.
  •  At mile 5 I could see the end and I could hear them announcing people as they passed the finish line.  You would think it would renew my spirits but it just frustrated me that I seemed so close yet so far away.
  •  The run took place on an open path that contained a bunch of typical cyclists....meaning they seemed annoyed that runners (even in a race) would dare clog up THEIR bike path (because didn't you know that all paths belong to cyclists??).  At one point I vowed to throw a water bottle at the next cyclist that yelled "On your left!!!!!!"  And I only once (or twice) considered throwing myself in front of one of those jack holes so I could end my miserable run.
The Finish Line
  • I think this is something that all racers know, but the finish line is an amazing thing.  The transformation that happens the second you cross the line is incredible.  Misery become glory.  Pain becomes triumph.  This race you were just cursing is now your proudest moment. In that instant, no matter how long it took you, you are a champion, and it is something that can not be taken from you (unless you are one of those idiots who ran to the finish line with your headphones on...then you got DQed).
  • I had no real time goals in mind but wanted to finish in under 3:15.  I finished in 3:11 and now I have a goal for my next oly tri..... and I wasn't last!!
  • I have a lot of room for improvement.  Next time I will be doing a lot more bricks....oh so many more!
  • About that 70.3.  Hmmmm, I think I need to do a few more olys first!
  • Here are a few more pictures from the day!


Audrey sprinting to the finish!  So proud of her!  Beat her goal time by 5 minutes!

First time my medal also doubles as a bottle opener.

The after race feast!  That coke was quite possibly the most amazing thing ever....and I don't even really like coke.

My daughter took this picture of me after the race.  I was actually trying to smile but this is as close as I could get.  And for the record, I don't usually look this hideous.