MOVING ON UP: From Sprints to the Lake Logan Olympic Distance Tri
When MB Says It’s Time, Apparently It’s Time
MB and I log many miles together. We talk as much as we run. The joke is, if we were to ever shut up we’d probably be amazing runners. The discussions always include shopping and what socks MB needs to complete her incredible PRO Compression collection. Food (always food, we can have a half hour discussion on doughnuts alone), training plans, and what races we should do next. This is how I ended up registering for my first Olympic distance triathlon — a triathlon that I wasn’t prepared for.
Somehow, MB’s plan of doing a half iron distance triathlon followed by, the VERY NEXT DAY, an Olympic distance made perfect sense to me. She was going to do her real race on Saturday and then race with me on Sunday. It was gong to be a new distance for me, and she didn’t want me to be alone. Remember, there is a fine line between bada$$ and dumba$$, and MB was about to cross it. Thankfully, Coach Erin stepped in and said “NO!!!” (Some day, MB will blog about how she usually doesn’t listen to her coach, but she did this time.)
The WET SUIT (part 1)
The week before the race, MB tells me the lake will be about 64 degrees and I will need to wear a wet suit. She said I could use her husband’s. This is when I begin to panic. Her husband is very thin and very fit, there is no way I’m going to get that suit over my hips! She says not to worry, another friend, with curves, borrowed it and she was fine. Coach Erin said “before the race, it will be very important to swim in the wet suit as much as possible, some people have panic attacks the first time.” Wait a minute, what!?? My schedule was crazy that week, and I couldn’t pick up the suit until the night before our trip. I decided I’ll be fine.
THE TRIP and I forgot something very important
I pick MB Friday morning wondering how she is going to fit her stuff in the car. There is a lot of gear for triathlons, and I already took up all the space! After more than a few minutes (what felt like hours) of arranging and rearranging, we fit Girly Power 1 and Girly Power 2 (our Felt triathlon bikes) and all the other bags in the Subaru and we were off!
It’s all good. Until . . . 4 hours later, as we are half an hour from packet pickup, and I realize I FORGOT MY HELMET! We are out in the middle of a National Park, there are trees, mountains, and lakes, but NO CELL service! After I got over my panic, we came up with a plan. Our friends would be joining us and maybe I could borrow a helmet. If that didn’t work, we were sure we could find a Walmart. My first problem was solved by the arrival of D. She brought TWO helmets with her! One was yellow and matched Girly Power 1 (important).
SATURDAY race day 1
Beautiful day. I had the chance to watch 3 amazing women compete in a half Iron distance race. D and Coach Erin were using the race as a prep for Ironman Chattanooga and MB was just out to have fun. I relaxed and took pictures and made friends with all the other spectators.
SUNDAY race day 2
My turn. I didn’t get as stressed as I usually do before a race. I had one goal – FINISH. It didn’t matter how long it took, I just needed to cross the finish line.
WET SUIT (part 2)
I have to discuss the wet suit again! The husband wet suit made me cry. I couldn’t get it on at first, and when I finally did, it squeezed my neck so tight I though I would die. I ended up borrowing Coach Erin’s wet suit (she bought a new one at the race expo), and I had my doubts about this one too. Erin is very thin and very fit…..well, let’s just say MB is very helpful and I probably don’t need to go into too much detail on how the heck we crammed my body in that suit! It involved plastic bags and lots of touching…
The lake was beautiful and did not feel as cold as I thought it would (when the air temperature is LESS than 63 degrees, 63 degree water is not so bad . . . ). I’m not afraid of open water (I had no problems in the novice wave at the USAT sprint nationals last year), and I’m a slow swimmer, but confident that I can go the distance without drowning. The swim begins, I’m in the back of the pack, I’m kicked and punched and I begin to panic. I can’t breathe….WHAT!? The women next to me starts losing her mind, she ends up being pulled out of the water. Another swimmer heads to the bank. I roll over on my back, float, and convince myself that I am breathing and I’m fine. This takes a few minutes and then I head to the first sight buoy. By the time I’m at the halfway point, I’ve got myself under control and can swim for real. I looked up every few strokes and try to figure out why I can’t swim in a straight line! I end up laughing and add that to “things I need to work on”.
WET SUIT (part 3)
How the heck do I get this thing off! I’m sitting next to my bike pulling and tugging at my feet. Some guy is standing there watching me. I assume he’s part of a relay team, but he’s just standing there! Why isn’t he helping me!? Just as I’m about to ask for help, my foot breaks free! I apply my sunscreen (if you saw my nose, you’d understand why I wasted precious seconds with this) and add transitions to “things I need to work on”.
This is my favorite part! Annnnddd I almost fall off the side of the road within the first mile. My glasses were so fogged up I couldn’t see where I was going. But everything was great after that. The course was absolutely beautiful! So much green, so many hills! (But no killer climbs like the half distance.) Plenty of volunteers to keep me from getting lost. I don’t usually ride in a group, so it was fun for me to be with people. I talked to everyone. One guy wasn’t really interested in a conversation with me, but I kept talking anyway. Eventually, he did thank me for pulling him up a hill.
This is only my 3rd triathlon, but when I get to the run, I always feel relief. I know how to do this. Just go! We ran uphill into Pisgah National forest for 3 miles, and the best part, we ran downhill to the finish! I made friends along the way — talking about nutrition for triathlons, which marathons are a must, and the best Tri kits (we are pretty big fans of Coeur).
MB was waiting at the finish and as always, made me feel like I won!
For some reason my results weren’t posted. I thought because I was in the water so long that they gave up on me. When I emailed the timing people, they were able to find me and said they would update everything ASAP. My results were never added, but she sent them to me with a little note about having a great run.
In case you are wondering…it took me 41 minutes to swim 1500 meters. Adding that to “things I need to work on”.
What new hurdle have you crossed this year?
How much fun do you have with wet suits?