Saturday morning, dark and early, T picked me up at 4:30 for our trek down to the Uvas Tri. The race instructions said to allow 1-1/2 hours from the east bay for travel and to be there 'by 6:00'. Okay, we followed the instructions and got there a bit before 5:30. Parking was supposed to be 1/8 of a mile before we hit the transition area so when we got to the transition without seeing the parking we started to wonder. Evidently, they weren't expecting people *quite* that early and told us to turn around, turn into the first driveway and someone would be there shortly to show us where to park. We finally got parked and unloaded and started walking back to the transition.
This would be perfect...one of the first people there, we'd get an awesome transition spot. Yeah, not so much. It wasn't first come, first serve, as previously stated. The racks were grouped by age then by bib #. So you basically had to wander around looking for your age group and then find your bib #, which weren't in any apparent order. I always like a bit of organized chaos first thing in the morning. Even after setting up our transition areas we had about 1-1/2 hours to wait until the event started. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that the waves were switched around and T and I were in the same wave. There were a lot of people in our wave so I knew we'd lose each other eventually, but it was nice to be able to get nervous together. Hahahaha.
As the transition area started to fill up, we noticed the abundance of aero wheels, aero helmets, and really, really fit people. I started to think, ummm, I'm in the wrong race!!! I want out! I have to say I was more than a little freaked out at the prospect of getting swum, ridden, and run down by all these folks.
Soon they started announcing that the transition needed to be cleared, but by then we were down by the water in preparation for our warm up. The bottom of the reservoir was very mucky and I could see the water was still not clear, altho much better than the mud pit we saw the first time we cycled around it. The Elite competitors started, followed a group of men (younger, tho I forget the age breakdown), then us....women 39 and under. The start was an 'in the water' start, so depending on how close to the starting line you wanted to be, you were either treading water (up close), or standing at some depth. The countdown got to zero, they yelled "GO!" and we were off. Immediately I had trouble. There were a lot of people (expected), the water wasn't clear (expected), and I felt claustrophobic and like I couldn't breathe (totally unexpected). I've never had a problem with the open water swims before. I don't know if it was the bad visibility, the distance (3/4 mile), the tension of the long wait or a combination of many things. I do know that I had to talk to myself pretty much for the entire swim. First I had to talk myself out of just bailing, then talk myself into relaxing and breathing, even if it was more frequently than was efficient. Finally about 1/2 way into the swim I felt somewhat relaxed into my stroke and tried to settle in. It was a really tough swim for me tho, surprisingly. Also, I was WAAAAAY outside the line, so I'm sure I swam a lot further than necessary. I came out of the water in 27:49 according to the results, so while I'm no fish-woman, I had expected 1/2 an hour so I'm pleased.
The first transition seemed amazingly slow. I had to run to the furthest corner of the transition area and I struggled a bit with my wetsuit, so I have to work on that. My T1 was 2:54, so maybe not as slow as it felt, but still a lot of room for improvement there.
Finally got all my biking gear on and ran out the transition and mounted up. I was trying to push the pace, but still keep some energy for The Hill that I knew would be coming around mile 11 or 12. I hadn't seen T, since we were in different transition areas, but she found me on the bike and then zoomed around me on her way to the hill. It was amazing how tired my legs already were, even tho I felt like I didn't kick nearly as much as I should have during the swim. All I kept thinking about on the bike was The Hill. When would I approach The Hill. How much further to The Hill. Oh, and also to notice how many people were flying by me on the bike section. Definitely my weakest link, I think. Soon enough we made it to The Hill and I quickly ran out of gears, spinning slowly, ever so slowly in my lowest gear. It's a damn good thing I knew what to expect from that hill or I may have bailed and walked up, as we saw some people doing. I kept telling myself "You've done it before, even on tired legs, so just keep going" and "You know it's not that long, you can almost see the last section, just keep going." Finally I saw the mailboxes that I knew marked the top of The Hill. WOOO HOOOO! I did it! I was hoping to finish up the ride in under an hour and as I cruised into the transition, I thought I was just over. Ah, close enough. But actually my 'official' time on the bike was 58:44 for 16 miles. Nice. :-)
Through T2 in a fairly speedy 1:18, if I do say so myself, altho I'm sure there's room for improvement there as well.
The run you ask?!? Well, the run was a bit of a struggle. It had warmed up to probably somewhere in the mid 80's, which for me is a bit toasty for running. There were some rolling hills, and very little shade. Also, I decided not to carry a water bottle, as they had stated there would be support at every mile. That was probably a mistake. I took 2 glasses of water at most of the stations, one to throw at my mouth in an effort to get some hydration and one to dump on my head in an effort to cool off. I would have liked to keep about a 9:30 pace, but just felt sapped by the heat and my legs were so tired. I finished up the 5 miles in 48:35. I'm happy to have kept it under 10 min/mile at least.
My overall results: 2:19:22 in my first 'official' tri. Not too shabby, a middle-of-the-packer. :-)