The swim is my only concern.
In my training swims in open water, I would take on a lot of water or
air, and stop to burp, or breathe, or rest. My stroke is fast enough, if
I can keep on moving. The shallows near the shore are rocky with lots
of weeds. To get in we all have to bellyflop into the water rather than try to
pick our way over the rocks. It’s really cold and there’s a big shock when the
cold water spreads into the suit though the zipper on the back. The tall
weeds under that water are as tall as trees and remind me of Harry Potter with
zee Grindelows in the deep. Watch out for zee Grindelows! I have to
stop thinking like that or I’m going to scare myself. I get going near
the front but there’s lots of room for others to pass and I let them, rather
than try to keep up and run out of breath. Breathing is everything during the
swim. This is when I get a happy surprise! I figured that all the other blue
caps would out pace me but there’s a whole bunch of us that are the same speed
and I actually manage to finish the swim alongside those same girls I talked
with before the race. I'm swimming steady and strong. At the
bridge I want to wave at everyone above. Coming out from under the
bridge, I flip to my back and come out looking right up at someone. I give
him a smile and a little wave. Following closely to shore works well. It
keeps me in a straight line, and away from the crowd. There is little
jostling in the water. It’s nothing like the stories of being kicked and
punched when there's a mass start. I’m glad for someone's hand to help me
out of the water at shore.
I see Dayna and Tammy there
at the railing and wave to them as I get out of the water. They recognize me
even in my wetsuit and swim cap! It's nice that they came to see us off.
Transition takes me a long
time because all my things are in a plastic bag to keep them dry from the
morning rain, so I have to pull them out in order to change clothes. The order
is important ‘cause have you ever tried putting your shorts on over your shoes?
or put your shirt on over your bike helmet? while soaking wet? I know what I'm doing though since I've done IronGirl as a practice race earlier in the
summer and learned some tricks like having your shoes already untied.
Me on the my red Bianchi. Let's not drop the bottle
The wind is ferocious.
My strategy is to hold on at a steady pace, without burning myself out,
so I can make up the time in the other direction with the wind at my back. I'm down to the small ring, and barely moving. I'm timing myself with a
wristwatch wrapped onto the handlebars. At 20 minutes for the last five kilometers
pacing, let's see. Red lights flash in my head, with alarm bells.
I'm not going to make it by 2:00 pm cutoff.
Some people call me
"dear". "On your left, dear". It's a little
weird to hear such an intimate expression. Besides, in this wind, no one
is "dear". You're tough, or you're done.
A Miele passes me! It's
orange. My commuter bike is Miele. Later another Miele passes me! It's white.
Those must really be old. I wonder if they are older than my
Bianchi. I think they are. I give friendly shout outs to the riders cuz these
are the first Mieles I have ever seen other than mine since they are so retro.
And unlike mine these guys take care of theirs.
Lake Erie looks really rough. I'm sure glad we didn't swim in that. These big lakes are no place
for a triathlon. But hey the wild lake is pretty, and I can enjoy the view since the wind
is finally at my back.
We turn back from the lake,
and the wind is helping instead of hurting. It's down almost to 8 minutes
for 5 km. That's a lot better. My accountant's brain adds it up,
and I can make it there on time. The wind took my speed, but not my
strength. I power ahead. Then we turn left. More wind in my face
and I can't see where we turn next so I know I’m gonna be riding into it for a
while! I'm swearing now. The wind needs to end.
The tunnel is fun. It's cool
to be able to bike through something like that. I zoom down into it, and
start screaming and hollering just to hear the echoes, and then fly up the
other side. It is the only hill on course and it’s shallow, and now the wind is at my back for good.
I see four guys changing
We get to the river.
Some guy passes and yells, "gear down and save your legs for the
run". I want to yell back, "This is the low gear!" I know what I'm doing and have
it where it's comfortable and won't wear me out. It’s 20 minutes to bike
cut off, you're this far behind and think you can give advice?
I make it to transition at
1:40 pm. Plenty of time. The volunteers all yell and point, all the way
to the back. I know. My number is 22. I have to go all the
way through to where I leave my bike. I'm not running in my cycling shorts, so I
switch to the tights. I also put on sun screen. My awesome leg
tattoo needs its sunscreen. I pass off the rest of the bottle to another girl
in transition who forgot hers.
I find a guy that is running
steady and join him. We chat about tattoos and getting kids active. The
distraction carries me through most of the first lap with lots of time to
spare. Cut off is 3:30. There's Dad! He's just finishing the race
and tells me to get going. I haven't stopped and he didn’t lap me on the
7:45 on the dot.
My 2nd lap is about the same
pace as my first, with run-walks mixed however I feel like doing them.
I've got plenty of energy left to get running after each walk break.
I pass a few people, so I'm not dead last on course. I talk for a while
with a lady about Wisconsin, and running, and her hip. Her hip is sore.
I've had that, in marathons. This race is easier than a marathon.
I have no blisters, no painful legs, no stiff legs the next day. Not
having the marathon pains makes me realize how massively in shape I am. I
notice that we have been walking a lot. That's fine 'cause we are both on second
lap. She will make it, but I have to go. I say bye and get on with
I finish in 7:45 on the dot.
Where's the bananas? There's supposed to be bananas. It is the best
banana you will ever eat.
Triathlon is a different
breed of pain than the marathon. Marathon pain is intense and concentrated in
my legs and feet and joints. Triathlon pain is an afterburn in my muscles, all
my muscles, even that spot between the shoulder blades that I didn’t realize could
Me and Dad meander off to
the car and recount the day all the way home. We lounge in the hot tub and I
decide to wear my hat for the next week straight. It says FINISHER on it.
My long run is along gravel side roads. Many of the farmers have dogs, and generally let them run free. Sometimes they will come into the road to bark, or just greet. They are territorial and will stay by their farm. On this particular day, this particular german shepherd didn't do that. Bounding into the road with me, it wanted to play. No barking, but plenty of jumping and scampering alongside the road. No amount of shooing would dissuade him. I carried on running with my companion. The solution was at the corner. They have a labrador, and it's a barker. It totally flips out with massive barking whenever I go past. My companion will surely keep distance from that. No, they are friends. Instead of the usual barking festival, they sniffed noses, and the labrador joined the party. Sill a couple km out of town, the three of us carried on. They had a great time, running ahead, searching through the corn fields, but always coming back to stay with me. How nice. When we made it to the outskirts of town, I called to them to stay close as we continued the few blocks to my house. I let them into the backyard, and fetched a giant bowl of water for them. They slurped that in seconds, and I refilled. I got out my bike, and walked them back to the edge of town, then slowly rode along the dirt road with them following. At any time I could take off and leave them. Before we made it back to their respective farms, however, they found another friend. A family was in the yard, and recognized the dogs. I explained the situation, and they took over, to get them both home safe.
In The Walking Dead they have several names for the zombies, and none of them is "zombie". For typical shambling zombies, they are called "walkers". Idle ones inside a building are "lurkers". Farm dogs come in two main types. Casual dogs will just sit and look at you. They don't bark, or run, or anything. What good dogs those are. More common are the freak-outs. They bark like mad. They come dashing across the lawn when I go by. Sometimes, they run right out into the road. A couple times I've been on the far side, and the dog has blindly risked being run over, and stopped traffic when it came into the road. This dog is different. It's a lurker. Here he is hiding behind a tree waiting to pounce.
I will hide here
The one in the pictures here is the same one that bit me once. Yes, I keep moving. A couple weeks ago, a big farm dog came up from behind as I was running past his place, and quietly trotted along with me a few paces. Shoo dog. You're worrying me.