Friday, November 11, 2005
At 3:45am on October 15, 2005 I awoke, gathered my race equipment and Jay, mom, dad, Erin, my cousin Serena and I drove from our hotel in Captain Cook to Starbucks. This was the day that I had been dreaming about for 18 years and I needed to start the day off right, with a cup of coffee! I tried to eat some oatmeal as well, but because I was nervous I don’t think I got a lot of food in. We walked from Starbucks down to the transition area where I was body marked. I proceeded to put my nutrition gels into the bike and run gear bags and then tape my Power Bars and electrolyte pills to my top tube. I double and even triple checked to make sure I had everything on my bike and then walked out of transition to meet up with Jay and my folks. I found my dad and Erin waiting for me, but Jay, Serena and my
mom had gone to secure a place to sit on the sea wall to watch the start. Dad and Erin helped me put on sunscreen and stayed with me until it was time to get to the water. The each wished me good luck and gave me a huge hug.
As I waited on the stairs before entering the beach, I finished off a gel with some water and said hello to a few of my competitors. I would wear my pink and silver Speedo suit with a silver one-piece fast skin over the top to help with fluid dynamics. Once the swim was over I’d take off the top suit and complete the race in just the swimsuit. The water was a bit chilly at 6:30 and it took me a bit to get used to it. I did a nice warm up and kept moving until it was time to line up in the water underneath a rope that designated the start line. Our start time was 6:45am. The group of professionals were getting anxious and kept inching forward while the officials were telling us to keep moving back behind the line. I guess someone got jumpy and started to swim and then the rest of us started as well. I didn’t hear the cannon go off until a few seconds after we had started. I thought that we might actually get called back because someone false started, but we didn’t…they just let us go.
I’m not sure how many of us started but I’m glad that the amateurs didn’t start until 15 minutes after we did, as it was a bit crowded out there for us. It took a while for our group to eventually spread out and I did get hit a few times by some girl. I stayed with a group of people for quite some time and then for some reason I found myself alone. I saw ahead of me a group and I thought I’d better pick it up to catch them. I eventually did and stayed with them for the remainder of the swim. I kept it comfortable as this was my first 2.4-mile swim without a wetsuit and I thought there was not a huge advantage to swim as fast as I could in this distance race. I finished the swim in 1:02; slower than I had originally wanted to, but I exited the water with some of the top women in the sport. I exited the water and ran past the T1 gear bags, grabbed mine and headed straight into the change tent. Across from me was Desiree Ficker; I said hi as I quickly took off my outer swimsuit and grabbed my sunnys and race belt and headed out of the change tent to my bike. I put my helmet on, got the bike and ran out to the mount line.
The first section on the bike course was a figure eight that was partly a false flat on the way out on Kuakini Highway with a nice downhill on the way back towards town and then a nice short uphill on Palani Dr. to the Queen K highway. Here is where we’d stay for the majority of the 112-mile ride. I had originally thought that this course was basically flat with high winds and humidity. I was wrong. It’s not extremely hilly, but there were undulating rollers and I had to get out of the saddle a few times too.
The week before the race I rode out from Kaiwaehi towards Hawi. This is typically where high winds and gusts normally made it difficult for the competitors. I was very thankful for the two women who invited me along to go with them, Lydia and Diana; two amateur athletes who raced here before and knew the course. That 24-mile ride was one of the scariest rides I’ve done! (The scariest was riding across the Golden Gate Bridge one day with 45-mile/hour winds…I actually sat down on the bridge and hung on to my bike for dear life. It would have blown away if I hadn’t…but I digress.) I couldn’t even get down on my aero bars for fear that I’d be blown into the street or worse, off of my bike. I was thinking to myself, “why did I want to do this? I could have done a different IM.” After this short ride, I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to pre-ride it or not. Oh well. But it really sucked! So on race day when I was getting closer to the windy section, I kept my eye on the ocean. If there were horrible wind chop I would know that the wind would be horrendous. I also kept my eye on the athlete in front of me…if they wavered into the street, then I should be aware that it would happen to me and to hang on! Well, there was no wind chop on the ocean and the athletes seemed to be just fine. There was a head wind up to Hawi, but a nice tail wind on the way back. Just past the turn around there was the special needs pickup. I slowed down a bit to make sure I could grab my bag. I was really looking forward to drinking my Red Bull and hoping it would give me wings when I got the bottle and realized that the top had popped off and spilled into the bag leaving only two sips in the bottle! I was bummed. I took the two sips and tossed the bottle to the side. Got my other bottle and my gel flask and threw the bag to a volunteer. I now had a tail wind and a downhill and wish that I could have pushed the pedals harder. For some reason I just didn’t have the extra energy to do so. I don’t know if I didn’t have enough to eat, not trained enough or was just tired. Maybe it was a combination of all three? I couldn’t wait to be done with the bike, especially with about 25 miles to go as the big toe on my right foot started to ache. It was almost more than an ache, but a sharp pain that would come and go. I contemplated taking my foot out of the shoe and resting it on top to let it breath and let my toes stretch out; but then I thought that if I did that I wouldn’t want to put my foot back in the shoe, so I opted to leave it in there and then relish at T2 when I could eventually take it out. People kept passing me during the later part of the ride and I kept thinking to myself that it was okay…I still had to run a marathon and I would hopefully pass a good chunk of those who’d passed me on the bike. Oh and another thing that blew my mind was a 55 year old guy passed me on the bike! I couldn’t believe it. Then I had some women over 45 pass me too! Holy crap. Was I going really slow or what?
I was so thankful when I took my feet out of my shoes, entered T2 and handed my bike to a volunteer! My bike split was 5:41, which averages out to 19.7mph. I grabbed my run bag and went into the change tent; took my time adjusting my toes, putting on my socks and shoes, grabbing my run race belt all the while a volunteer was putting sunscreen on me…thank you! I exited the change tent, grabbed a cup of water and was on the run course. The first section of the run, approximately 10 miles was an out and back section on Kuakini Highway and Alii Dr.
It was great to see so many spectators and friends of mine out there that I didn’t even know would be there! I felt good during this section and tried to keep my pace even. This section had a few small rolling hills, but was otherwise flat until I got to Palani Dr. and had to run up a good size climb while the spectators where cheering and yelling quite fiercely for every athlete out there. Once you get to the top, you make a left hand turn onto the Queen K and head north towards the Natural Energy Lab. I tried to take as many sips from my gel flask as possible, but at some point, you just don’t want to have another gel! I had to force myself to keep ingesting it. There were still athletes heading toward the finish on their bikes as I made my way down towards Energy Lab (EL). Even though I knew it was warm outside, only once did I actually feel hot; running out of the EL with the sun on my back. Of course I used the sponges at every aid station and took in fluids too.
I did not take a look at this part of the course before the race, so I had no idea how far I actually had to run before we made our turn around and headed home and out of EL. I was going to ask someone near me, but thought that I better not. I would just keep running. It was about a mile and a half I would guess before I reached the turn around. It was such a good site to see. By looking at some of the other competitors’ faces I knew I was in pretty good shape although I knew also that my pace had slowed and I no longer felt that snappy feeling. What I really wanted to do I remember was brush my teeth! Was I delirious? Maybe. Funny how random thoughts are allowed in when you’re out there for so long. Heading toward the finish along the Queen K and making that right turn down Palani Dr. was really something. There were still loads of spectators cheering the athletes with approximately one mile to go. Ahead of me I saw a pro women and knew that I had to catch her. I picked up my pace and steadily ran by her. The crowds were now so much more intense on Alii Dr. that I couldn’t help but pick up my pace again and with my signature pink hair and gleaming smile I ran through the finish chute weaving back and forth slapping spectators hands like I had just finished first. My marathon time was 3:33; 10 minutes slower here than at Lake Placid. My overall time was 10:22:02 and with that time I placed 32/54 pro women.
As soon as I crossed the line, two volunteers were right beside me just in case! I had told myself though that I would not need the medical tent this time around and I didn’t. I was escorted out of the finishing area to pick up my finisher’s shirt and medal, get photographed and finally reuniting with my family and boyfriend, Jay.
We walked over to get a massage and I wish it could have lasted longer! I started to get cold, so we wandered over to the hot tub where I soaked until I was warm while chatting with one of my competitors. I then got into the pool to cool off and then make our way to the transition to pick up the rest of my gear and then find a place to eat dinner! I did have a few stomach issues afterwards and by that I just mean some cramping. I was extremely exhausted and other than wanting to eat, I also wanted to sleep! By the time we finished dinner and drove the 25 minutes back to Captain Cook all I wanted to do was take a shower and get to bed.
The next morning I found myself to be quite sore and had the IM gimp going on. You don’t know what that is??? It’s the walk that almost every competitor has that signifies that you raced IM the day before. You can’t miss it. We had a nice breakfast and then headed to the beach to rest and relax and catch some sun. That evening was the awards ceremony and it was a nice presentation. We stayed almost to the very end, but again knew that we had a bit of a drive ahead of us to get home.
All in all, I had a great experience out there and now know what I need to work on for the next time around.
In 2005 an 18-year-old dream came true.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
If you or your company is interested in having me come and speak, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
Friday, October 21, 2005
Tinley's Toughest Triathlon
October 1, 2005
This is one of the races that I look forward to each year. Why, you ask? Because it is a low key race with camping, s'mores and friends. Jay, Sprocket and I drove down on friday afternoon and we were able to get a great camping spot in our usual Camp Obello spot. After pitching the tent and having some lunch I did a short ride and run. After the pro meeting, dinner and conversations I went to bed.
I was up at 6am getting the coffee ready as this race is an early one! It's great because all athletes, pro and amatuer, men and women start at 8am. The tranisition area is first come, first serve as far as getting a spot on the rack. I found one just in front of the bike out. It was pretty chilly to start and I'm always glad for a wetsuit swim!
The swim is two loops where after the first loop you get out of the water run around one piece of the omni structure while trying not to slip on the concrete and moss boat ramp and then jump/dive/belly flop back into the water for the final loop. I was able to draft two of the men and exited the water in a time of 21:49 only 1:38 minutes down from the lead! I had a smooth transition as I decided to put my shoes on first and then get on the bike as there was a hill to climb straight out of T1. I was able to pass a few people on the hill as a result of this tactic. It took me a few miles to get in the groove of this "short" race. This was going to be my last hard effort before Ironman Hawaii. The bike course has rolling hills through farm land with the course being mostly closed to vehicular traffic. I was able to pass a few of the slower cyclists who had exited the water before me. I kept pushing and felt very strong throughout the bike portion. I had the third fastest bike split at 1:08:19. I still need to work a bit on my transitions, but I was able to get out of T2 quickly and start the hilly 10k run. The run course is also two loops that include a particularly tough climb. My pace for the run was okay considering I've been training for much longer distances, but it wasn't fast enough as Belinder Granger from Australia comes flying by me on the uphill like I was standing still! Although she did confess that the second time up the hill she was practically walking and that I would have laughed if I saw her! No worries, as I think we all felt like that the second time around. My run split was 40:22. Ouch! That's alright though as I felt good and pushed as hard as I could for the day. My final time was 2:11:50 and 5th place.
I leave in three days to go to Kona, Hawaii and get ready to race my first Ironman Hawaii! Stay tuned.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
I arrived in Kona on tuesday October 4th in the afternoon. I have been here only one time before when I was 12 (1986) to watch my parents compete in the Ironman; I forgot about the open air airline terminal! I gathered my belongings and hailed a taxi to take me to my friend's house who happens to live only 4 miles from the pier. No one was home, but there was a nice note waiting on the door for me. After having lunch I put my bike together and set it aside...I wanted to go for a run instead as it was getting late. I only ran for 30 minutes, but I was completely drenched after that. The humidity is very strange and I'm glad I'm here 10 days before the race in hopes of getting at least somewhat acclimated.
I've been here for 4 days now and am getting used to the humidity as I really don't think it's that hot here, it's just the humidity that's weird. I got into the ocean yesterday for some play time...the fish are so beautiful and huge!! When Jay arrives and we get a chance to do more sightseeing, I'd like to get one of the underwater disposable cameras.
My second day here, Allie took me to Pololu, one of the valley's that extends to the ocean where there is a black sand beach. Very beautiful and serene. Yestereday, Noah (Allie's boyfriend) took me to Kahalu'u Beach which is only a mile south of their house. I mostly dipped in the water with my goggles on and took a look around underneath the water! I didn't stay in because believe it or not I was getting a bit cold! Noah told me that this is a great beach to see Sea Turtles as they often hang out in the "lava wading pools." As we were walking over, he happend to see a turtle all the way up on the beach! It was amazing...so big and just lying there in the sand sunning itself. I took a few photos of it before we left.
Allie and Noah also took me to The End of the World. This is where a war was fought many years ago and there is actually an old burial ground there. Across from that is a cliff where when the waves crash against the cliff, a sort of blow hole is there which allows the waves to sky rocket into the air.
I'm trying to stay out of the sun as much as possible and drinking tons of water. The folks and Erin arrive this wednesday the 12 of October and I rented a car for the drive over to Hilo. After 2 1/2 hours I finally arrive at the airport (Hilo is on the east side of the island). We stop by my great Aunt's house who happens to live in Hilo for a breif visit before driving back to the west side of the island to Captain Cook. This is where our hotel is and we'll be staying here until we leave to come home.
Friday October 14, Jay arrives in the afternoon and shortly after that Serena (my cousin who goes to school in Honolulu) arrives. We drive around trying to find a place to eat that 1. has hamburgers and 2. isn't too busy. We ended up at the Kona Brewing Company and as luck would
Noah, Allie, Me, Mike
have it, they didn't have burgers! We didn't want to keep driving around so I settled for a French Dip! Should do the trick though.
As it's the night before the race, I wanted to get back to our hotel as quickly as possible; traffic dictated otherwise! There is always traffic in
Parade of Nations Hula Dancers
Kona. We eventually made it back and I proceeded to get my food and nutrition together for the big day. I was pretty organized and was able to be in bed by 9pm.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
If you've never gone down and raced at Tinley's, it's a great low key race that reminds me of Wildflower twenty years ago! I would highly recommend it to anyone. So, if you're unable to go down this weekend, mark it on your calendar for next year!
I leave for Hawaii on tuesday morning and will be there about 10 days prior to IM. Remember to check back here often as I'll have more reports to share!
Monday, September 19, 2005
The Lone Breakaway
Pacific Grove Triathlon
September 10, 2005
Meet the Pros Diner
I usually do well here at my hometown race; I think it’s a combination of having my friends and family as well as the community cheering for me around every corner.
“This is MY course and I’m going to prove it” about sums it up!
My team mate from Team Aegis, Patrice, is in town to do the race and the day before we talked about implementing some sort of strategy during the bike to hopefully put some time on Carol Montgomery who would also be racing. She’s a phenomenal runner and we knew the only way we could get some time on her is during the bike. Patrice is a faster swimmer than me, but she said she wouldn’t work until I caught her. But, it seems as though I’m getting ahead of myself here, I haven’t even begun at the beginning. Let me start then…
Pro Women's Swim Start
The pro wave wasn’t scheduled to begin until noon, so I had plenty of time in the morning to relax and get anxious. I wanted to get down to the race site though early enough to at least see my dad finish and my mom head out onto the run. I rode my bike there as to get a nice warm up while Jay drove down with my gear. I was able to do that and have a bite to eat with Cami (another friend competing in the pro division) at Latitudes, the restaurant sponsor of the race. My transition area is now a snap to set up even though I look at it numerous times hoping that I haven’t forgot anything. By mid-morning it was still cool and the wind was picking up. You would definitely want to be in a pack during this race.
With twenty minutes to race start I went down to the water to get a short warm up swim and test the coolness of the water. Yep, it was probably about 58 degrees and no doubt my toes would be numb after the swim. This is one of the few Olympic distance races were I am very confident in the swim. I think it’s because we have to deal with the kelp and I know how to get through it where as my competitors might have a difficult time. I need to learn how to transfer this confidence in any swim situation that I encounter.
The pro men started at exactly noon while we had to wait until they had completed their first loop and were about half way into their second. I lined up to the far right and actually changed my position a couple of times while Brent Allen of Tri-Cal rolled his eyes at me. I wasn’t the only one to do so either as Carol Montgomery moved also and her final position was to my right. The gun sounded and I was off, one of the first to hit the water and start swimming. I took the lead only briefly as the faster swimmers eventually swam by me. I was able to grab onto someone draft and stayed with two other women. Round the Rock (I'm the 3rd one)
The three of us completed our first loop, ran around the rock in the sand and then re-entered the water for our final loop. I saw a few girls just ahead and tried to pick up the pace but then decided that I would stay with these women and hope that they could ride. I finished the swim in 23:17, ran up the ramp into transition and ended up running out with Katja Schumacher and Candy Angle. I struggled a bit on the flying mount and my bike went everywhere, but I managed to keep the rubber side down and eventually get the bike straight! Needless to say I still need to practice this technique! I wanted to catch whoever was in front of us so I got the three of us organized into a pace line. About 2 miles into the bike I surged on a small uphill and we lost Candy. A short while later we caught Malaika Homo and she was able to hang on. Once we completed one loop I heard some spectators yelling that my pack (chase pack) was only about 30 seconds down from Carol and Patrice the lead group. I got my pack organized because I knew that we could catch the two women ahead of us. Just prior to going around the far turn around we did catch them and now there were 5 of us in the lead pack. Katja and I were the only ones to try and attack the pack; whenever she attacked I went with her and whenever I attacked she went with me.
I know both of us wanted to gain some time on Carol, but each time we attacked the pack caught us again. Patrice and I were scheming quietly trying to figure out how we were going to drop Carol or at least make her work hard. Patrice said she’d get in front of Carol and block if I wanted to try and break away again.
On our final loop with about 2 ½ miles to go Patrice was leading the pace line with Katja next, then Carol, myself and finally Malaika. I saw my chance and attacked. I knew Patrice wouldn’t follow as she said she would block the others, Katja didn’t follow as maybe she thought the pack would catch me. I took off as hard as I could; I looked back shortly after to see if they had caught me and there was no one there. I had made a gap so I continued to push the 28mph I was riding. I had a flashback at this point about my circuit race earlier in the year at Sea Otter Classic when I broke away from the pack with 3 miles to go and soloed into the line to take first. I was going to do it again here at the PG Tri! As I got closer to the dismount line I heard Julie Moss on the announcing stand “We see a rider coming in, not sure who it is yet…” And that was it, I dismounted, had some trouble racking my bike, put my shoes on, heard the crowd yelling and then I was off on the run. My bike split was 1:09:08, the fastest bike split of the day! I wasn’t sure how much of a lead I had on the chase pack, but I knew that I had to run hard. I could feel the liquid sloshing around in my stomach and the start of a side ache. I tried to get it out of my mind and keep running. I rounded the turn around at the Aquarium and saw Carol right behind me. It took her about 600m after that and she caught me. I tried to stay with her, but on the slight uphill heading back to Lover’s Point, I just didn’t have it. I kept her in sight for as long as I could. Just as I was finishing the second loop and heading onto the third and final loop Patrice caught me. She was breathing heavy, so I knew she was working hard. I stayed behind her for a short bit and then told myself it was 2nd or nothing. I picked up the pace and surged forward eventually creating a small gap between us. I kept pushing and found another gear. I heard people yelling that I was gaining on Carol, but I ran out of time as the finish line came into view. I looked back once to be sure I was clear and then high-fived the spectators as I came running down the finish chute and across the line. My run split was 38:05 and total time was 2:12:44 and 2nd place! I was 45 seconds behind 1st place and 10 seconds in front of 3rd! Talk about a close call.
Shortly after I crossed the line, Carol came up to me and said, “You really made me work for that,” and I was thinking, “that was the plan!”
I had some people ask if I was disappointed in finishing second and I said “No.” I am very proud of my second place finish; and as Phil Darst said, I was the first American!
Sunday, September 18, 2005
September 4, 2005
It had been a few years since I had competed at the Boston triathlon and I was excited to go back to stay with my home stay, the Reeves Family.
Usually our pro races start in the afternoon, but I am happy to announce that here our start time was at 8:15am. It was an in water start at the Boston Harbor with wetsuits being allowed. It was a two-loop swim around the World Trade Center with volunteers literally pulling you out of the water. After the first loop you ran through the World Trade Center (this is where the transition area is…one of the only places I’ve raced with an indoor transition!) down a very slippery ramp (a few of the male athletes slipped pretty hard down this) and dive back into the cold waters of Boston to complete the second loop. The last time I competed at this race, just prior to the second loop, my mind was ready to dive in but my body said “no way” as I jumped in the water laughing to myself. This year, I dove in and it was no problem at all! I have been practicing my dives during swim practice and it finally paid off.
I started next to my teammate Susie Gallucci who is a great swimmer, but decided to hang with me during the swim and to help me out while on the bike course. I had a fantastic swim coming out with another friend, Flo who is also a great swimmer. My time was a 22:05!!
Susie and I got our wetsuits off quickly as Flo was having a bit of difficulty. I was hoping she’d be with us because it would have been better to have three of us working together on the windy bike course. As it were, Susie hung on and helped for as long as she could and I’m so grateful that she basically gave up her race to help me out…talk about true teamwork! I exited the water only 30 seconds behind the pack in front of me and I worked very hard to try and catch them only to end up riding by myself except for the time Susie was with me. To be perfectly honest, I was disappointed that I was unable to catch the pack in front of me. Two more of my teammates, Patrice and Beth were in that pack and I wanted to be there to help them out as best I could. As it happened, the bike course was about two miles short and I rode an average of 22mph to complete the course in 1:01:19. While the pack in front rode just about the same time!! The course was a lollipop shaped course with the out and back section the “stick” and four loops “lollipop” through the construction nick-named the “Big Dig.” The roads were pretty rough in certain sections and the wind was picking up as the day progressed. I got into T2, quickly got my run shoes on and was out to try and catch as many women as I could.
The run course was six loops of a very flat course. It was almost hard to tell who was where with us running back and forth so many times! I felt pretty good despite the fact that I’ve been concentrating on the longer distances and not so much the speed work. I did however manage to pass about 4 women, which put me into 12th place at the end of the race. My run split was 38:24.
Overall I was extremely pleased with my swim and bike time as I’ve been working hard on both of these, while getting ready for Ironman Hawaii!
My next race is next Saturday at Pacific Grove Triathlon…my hometown course where I won last year. Look for my race report coming soon.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
We began our journey on Tuesday August 2nd and made it up to Medford, OR where we stayed with Jay’s mom for the next two nights. We had a great time hanging out up there and catching up. On Thursday we took to the road again, but only made it as far as Portland as we had left late.
Our race on Sunday wasn’t supposed to start until 1pm and even though I tried to sleep in, I was awake at 7:40. The thing with races starting this late is that I have no idea what to do before the race; there really is nothing to do but wait and be patient and relax. The other thing is that because we race so late in the day, the day is more than half gone by the time you’re finished and by then you don’t want to do anything anyway!
Patrice and I decided that it would be a nice warm up if we rode from the house to the lake and indeed it was. It was a warm day probably in the 70’s but definitely not hot which was good for this course. Our race was pushed back to a 1:30pm start time due to the race being delayed earlier in the day. I was able to cheer some of our junior racing team before my race started and that was exciting and motivating.
Just prior to our start the announcer called us out in ranking order as we lined up on the pontoon. This was a non-wetsuit swim and dive start. I am getting more comfortable with the dive starts the more often I do them and this time it went pretty smoothly.
I had a quick transition and was out on the bike course with my new swimming buddy. She took the lead and took it out pretty fast. I was a bit concerned that I might not be able to stay with her, but I got over that quickly as soon as we hit Alabama Hill and I dropped her. My goal was to catch as many women as I could on this hill. It took a few laps and I was able to catch about two more women. There were a total of six loops to complete the bike course and I was glad when I crested the top on my last lap. For having completed the majority of the bike course by myself I finished it in 1:15:10, three minutes faster than what I did this same course in!
I really enjoy this course and will hopefully be back next year to do it again. Jay and I stayed one more night with Sean and his family and woke early on Monday to start our drive back home. We got as far as Medford and once again stayed with Jay’s mom and had some yummy Mexican food for dinner! On Tuesday morning we said our good bye’s again and headed home. What a long drive that was! Although this wasn’t my best race, the road trip, good friends and a fun race course was well worth the 32 hours in the car!
Saturday, July 30, 2005
It’s been a long time since I’ve had to wake up early for a race; and I mean 3:45am early. I had been up in Keene (20 minutes from Lake Placid) with my home stay Lisa and Rich for almost two weeks prior to Ironman. It was extremely hot and humid the weeks leading up to the race, but when I woke on Sunday morning it was crisp and cool with very little humidity. It’s been such a long time since I’ve raced an IM that I had to ask a few of the pros what went in my special needs bags and in my transition bags and then were did they go! I felt like a newbie with all my questions. I was so used to setting up my transition area with everything I needed right there and this was foreign to me! I figured it out with a little help and after I dropped off my special needs bags near the lake and then proceeded to get my wetsuit on and do a warm up swim. The lake temperature was comfortable and what was even sweeter was the fact that about 4 feet under the water was a rope holding the buoys. So, around the entire race course under the water there was a rope to look out and keep you going in the correct direction. No need to sight as it was like having a black line down the lane of the pool! My kind of swim course!
The canon went off at 6:25am giving the women professionals a head start of 35 minutes. This race was named the Women’s Championship, so there were no men professionals. The 35 minute gap between the pros and amateurs was to allow us time to get around the two loop swim without interference from the faster amateur men and hopefully would allow for the first woman to cross the finish line ahead of the amateurs. I got beat up a bit in the beginning; everyone jockeying for position. I received a kick to the goggles which made them suction even more to my eye. I decided that it would eventually ease up and it did. I kept my pace comfortable and ended up passing quite a few women on the first loop. I eventually found myself leading a small group during the first half of the second loop. Soon another woman came to the front and I drafted off of her until the swim exit. Come to find I came out of the water with Karen Smyers in a time of 56:05.
I was told to keep going that it was okay, so I continued to run into the changing tent where approximately 5 women were there to help me put on my socks and shoes and grab my race belt while yet another woman was slathering my back with sunscreen and was able to dab some on my face as I ran out of the tent into the sunshine and screaming fans. I had the biggest smile on my face and I waved a few times as I ran by the spectators all the while feeling great to be off of the bike and now running. My goal for this race had been to keep it fun and to have a good time. If I placed in the top 10 or qualified for Kona that was just icing on the cake. I wanted to feel good for the entire race i.e. No aches and pains. Enjoy the experience that is Ironman no matter how long it took. As I ran out of T2 I instinctively hit the lap split on my watch. As I ran by the first mile marker I looked at my wrist to see the bold numbers staring back at me, 6:25! Too fast. I needed to slow down a bit. Even though I think of myself as a great runner, I know I’m not that fast yet! Give me a few more years and I’ll be able to hold that for a marathon. (Maybe not in IM, but just a straight marathon!). At the aid station at mile three, there was a man there with a sign and yelling to the athletes if they’d like to touch an Olympic Gold medal. I of course said “Hell ya!” with a huge grin on my face. I figured a little bit of Olympic luck might be just wanted I needed to get through this.