Going into this race, I didn't have much in mind other than to have fun, finish, and learn some things along the way, especially with regards to nutrition on a race of this distance. I didn't have time goals for this race because I am not very cognizant of my ability in the area of the swim or bike. I had hoped for 25 - 26 mins on the run. Richard gave me a time suggestion and he hit it very close! (He predicted 1:15.)
The week leading up to the race, I have noticed pain in both feet. I didn't have any problems with this during the race, but they are aching tonight.
Woke up at 4 am and out the door by 4:35. Arrived in plenty of time to pick up the race packet and get settled into the transition area.
I had concerns that I would not remember certain things today, such as using my inhaler, eating, taking the gels, etc., so I wrote the plan directly onto my arm. This was very helpful and I will probably do this again.
I left the handheld and Garmin at home and focused on relaxing as much as I could while also pushing myself, drinking on the bike and at the aid stations instead of carrying my bottle.
I had seeded myself with an 8:00 minute swim. The pool was a 50 meter pool, which I had somehow overlooked. The swim was a 300 meter swim, shorter than the CB & I tri. I think I waited about 15-20 mins to actually hit the water. Swimmers were sent off in 10 second increments and this was very well organized.
As I started in my swim, my chest started closing up and I began to feel my asthma take hold. I knew I had to get a grip on this or I would be done. My head immediately started thinking of quitting, of drowning, of having an all out attack in the water and have to be rescued. I slowed my stroke down and even did some breast stroke to gain my control of my breathing again. After about 30 meters or so, I felt better and fell into a comfortable stroke. In the last 50 of the swim, I noticed several people walking in the water. I had not noticed that the pool was shallow the entire length! I could have put my feet down at any time, and never realized it! I'm glad I didn't know this during my panic attack else this swim could have gone a totally different direction. I finished the swim in 7:34.
Walked/jogged into transition and promptly ate a Cliff gel and an S cap. This is the first time I have used a gel in over 2 years. I knew I had to try something as eating trail mix while on a bike is a bit tricky.
Headed out onto the bike course which was very, very well organized and officiated. I felt completely safe on the roads and even at the intersections. The traffic officers and volunteers did a wonderful job keeping us in one piece. I felt pretty good on the ride, pushing at points and backing off at others. I kept reminding myself to conserve for the run. I found that I actually picked up speed towards the end of the bike, which may be related to the wind that blew a nice rain in just as I ended my ride. Bike time - 37:07
I hopped off the bike, not so gracefully, but I didn't fall, so that's always a plus! T2 went more quickly than T1 as the shoes were easier to get on and I didn't have to mess with socks this time around. Took another S Cap and headed out on the run as the skies opened up cooling us off and making for a fun muddy run for about 3/4 of a mile!
The run went very well. I felt stronger with every stride and am quite certain I had negative splits. I passed many of the faster-than-me swimmers and cyclists that had passed me just a little while beforehand. I tried to keep the mood fun and encouraging. Most people were happy to be out there, but there were a few that weren't big fans of my happy mood! I've had days like that, so I understand that mindset.
I finished the run in 25:27. Total race time: 1:14:37. Finished 7th in AG and 146 out of 500 participants.
Participating in this race was fun for many reasons, but probably most importantly is because this is where the seed was planted by my great friend, Richard. Last year, he invited me to run this with him as a relay and I can recall standing outside the pool fence looking on at the swimmers thinking that maybe, just maybe, I could try this one day. Two months later, I was starting in my Master's swim class and today, I was on the other side of that fence!
I was able to select a military person to honor for this race, and it was on my heart to run for Luke Finney, USN. He is an amazing young man who has already done great things in his young life. I am blessed to know him and his family and while I know my effort in this race can not compare to what he has done, is doing, and will do, physically, I pray that this small showing of support is an encouragement to him as he continues on his path with Navy.
This race was an inspiring one to be a part of as it was meant to honor our military men and women. There were many DAVs out on the course, serving us yet again as they cheered us on, handed out water, and directed racers to stay on the course. I found myself thanking as many as I possibly could and being moved to tears to see so many of our older service people supporting this race and this cause. Seeing the military representatives carry their respective branch's flag across the finish line all together was very moving. A true moment of pride for any American!