Swim, Bike, Run, Whine

Ugh.  That was tough.  I literally started to cry around mile 4 of the run as I thought…I’m doing this for fun.  But this? Is not fun. 

But then I was like, Mel, get it together and stop crying.  Mostly because it was making my chest and abs sort of clench in a way that was making my already aching body feel worse.

I know.  Sad sack!  Sorry.  On to the recap.

I was super nervous all morning.  We didn’t have to be there until noon but I woke up at 7.  Meaning I had four hours until it was even time to leave to pace and fret.  I had a headache and my ankle was hurting.  I wasn’t hungry but I made myself eat two bagels over the morning and I drank an Ensure and sipped some gatorade.

Once we actually got to the reservoir I felt a lot better.  I was happy to be doing things (lathering up with sunscreen, setting up transition) instead of just sitting around waiting.

The other two triathlons I’ve done were a pool swim and a time trial start, so I hadn’t been in “the washing machine” before.  Once we took off, I tried to stay to the outside of the pack.  It felt more like being in bumper boats than anything else.  Once I realized that not getting kicked was more about not swimming into someone’s feet than anything else, I relaxed.

I felt really good during the swim, and my time was pretty middle of the pack for the women.  I’m not fast, but I think for a lot of people the swim is the just-get-through-it leg, where for me it’s actually my favorite part.

Swim: 41:55 Not quite my goal but I was happy with how I did and that I pushed hard and didn’t hold anything back.

I swam until my hands touched the bottom and then a few more stokes (standing up too soon slows you down) and I ran up the beach.  I took my wetsuit off in the grass and then went to the transition area.  Socks, shoes, and helmet on. Padded gloves and sunglasses, sprayed some sunscreen and grabbed a clif bar to eat.

T1: 3:01 I’m not super into transition times, but there you go.

The bike started out with a short, sharp uphill climb that sent my heart rate skyrocketing.  From there it was six miles of gradual uphill.  So gradual it looked flat, and I was like, is there something wrong with my bike?  Why am I going so slow?  I knew this part was uphill but I still stopped and checked my tires and made sure my brake pads weren’t rubbing.  Nope.  Just slow.

This bike ride dragged on forever.  And I’m a girl who likes to ride her bike,  But mile 3 and I was already like, 23 more?! Really?  The whole time I was staring at the garmin and wishing for miles to go by.  I got passed a lot.  Unlike previous races, I didn’t see anyone plugging along on a cruiser or mountain bike. These people were serious.

There were some fun downhill parts, and only on one downhill did I feel like I needed to hit the brakes a bit as I hit 30 miles per hour.  But there were almost no straight flats, and even though I was mashing down on the pedals like my life depended on it, I just couldn’t gain any speed.  I watched the time tick by and realized I wasn’t going to hit my stretch goal.  Or my realistic goal.  Or even my safety goal.

Bike: 1:57:48 (13.4 mph) Gross.  All that effort for a measly 13 mph? I felt like I pushed really hard and got nothing out of this.

I finally finished the bike (after one more super steep hill at the end, just for a kick in the pants).  Racked my bike, grabbed a pack of Powerbar chews and took off!  Annnnd then I realized I was still wearing my bike helmet, so I went back and put it down.  And then I took off!

T2: 2:02

And then it was time for the run.  Always my least favorite. And just as I took off, I heard the announcer say, “preliminary Olympic results are now posted.”  Ugh.  I just started running.  Shut up, announcer-dude!

My legs didn’t feel too “bricked” but I was just out of gas.  I had set my garmin to beep at me if I went slower than an 11:30 pace, and I kept that up for not even a mile and then I just started to slow down.  If I went any faster my heart started shooting out of my chest.  I turned off the infernal thing because it was beeping every 30 seconds, and I was like, I KNOW, geeeeez.  The course was 1.55 miles out and then back, so the Sprinters did one out and back for 3.1 miles and Olympic racers did two laps.  I was like, okay, I’m just going to take a minute and walk, to rest, and then back to the plan.

But I never felt good.  It was over an hour of omgthisblows.  By the time I started my second lap, the course had gone from a steady stream of runners to just a trickle, and I started to have a little meltdown pity party.  I’d trained for months, skipped happy hours in favor of the gym, spent every weekend all summer doing long bricks, and I was coming in dead frigging last. 

When I rounded the turnaround the and started my second lap, it was clear the race was pretty much over.  The aid stations were packing up.  The photographer was gone.  There was a stretch where I couldn’t even see anyone.  I walked/ran as best I could, but my legs were aching.  The last bit was downhills so I went as fast as I could and finally finished.

Run: 1:22:55 (13:18 pace)

I didn’t even do well at taking a finish line photo.  Arms up but head down?  This is not cute.

Of course, the one race where I totally bombed was the one where I guilted my friends into coming to watch me, so I had a bit of a cheering section as I finished.  Which was great since it means there were more people to see me burst into tears and blubber on about how everyone had already gone home and I didn’t hit any of my goals.

Total Time: 4:07:15 30 minutes past my goal!  Lame.

I walked a little with my friend, whined about my time, chugged a Gatorade, and then stretched while drinking half a free beer.  We went to Boulder Beer and I inhaled a veggie burger and then we drove back to Denver and I went to sleep.

I actually think I have a lot more to say about this race, but one, this is already too long, and two, Chris is acting like he might wake up soon and I want to go to brunch since I didn’t have to get up early to swim today!



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