Monday, July 25, 2011

We wore our running shoes during the swim

Saturday night, after further carbo – loading with some amazing cheesecake (I learned my love of baking from my mom, but I can never be as talented as she is), it was time for bed to rest up for our first triathlon.
 Lily and I woke up at 6am, dressed, ate, and I french braided our hair.
We loaded our bikes on to the car, and arrived at the race just before 7:30. The race started at 8:15, and was pretty small, so that gave us plenty of time to get our packets and set up our transition area. On the way there, I actually had butterflies in my stomach, I was pretty nervous!
 My bandaged chafing wounds.

We were next in line to get our bibs when an announcement came on informing us that the swim had been canceled. 

We had spent all that time talking, texting, gchatting, and occasionally panicking, planning for our first triathlon, we had traveled 400 miles, and now it wasn’t happening. In 30 minutes, we’d be beginning our first DUathlon.

We were disappointed, but there wasn’t much we could do. The water did look pretty scary, and neither of us was terribly interested in being swept out to sea. The race director said if we were really upset, we could wear our swim caps while we ran.
Compared to a road race, a triathlon is a HUGE challenge before it even starts – just packing all the necessary equipment, choosing your outfit, and setting up the transition area is SO much to think about. 
Now we had to rethink all that in half an hour to prepare for the run, bike, run. Lily had to change out of her bathing suit, which luckily gave me time to change my facebook status. I was wearing biking shorts and a tight, thin tank top that was almost like a bathing suit, and it was all I had, so I stuck with it.

We brought our bikes over to transition to set up. Lily rode hers through the parking lot to the bike racks – less than a tenth of a mile. A volunteer came over and warned her that she could actually be disqualified for riding her bike before the race! Triathlons are NO JOKE, they are way strict.

My fabulous cheering section arrived right after that. My dad, Eric, mom, and Vince got up at the crack of dawn to come cheer us on, and all four of them were devoted to getting good pictures of us. Having them there totally calmed me down and made the whole thing so much more exciting.
 Half the cheering section - the other two were busy behind the cameras!

We were so excited to take pictures with our two working Garmins! Too bad something else very important is missing from this picture.

As we started the swim portion, aka the first run, I noticed that everyone else had chips around their ankle. 
 Yup, everyone you see is wearing a chip.

Luckily Vince snapped some pictures of us as this revelation hit me.

Apparently we had been supposed to pick up a chip, but no one had told us. I had vague recollections of an email telling me that, but with all the confusion, I had completely forgotten. So, now not only were we no longer running our first triathlon, but we weren’t even officially competing in the Duathlon! Not much to do about it at that point except keep running and make sure we didn’t screw up our Garmins.

The race was supposed to be a half mile swim, 15.7 mile ride, and 4 mile run. When the swim was canceled , it became a 2 mile run, 15.7 mile ride, and 2 mile run. I wish they had replaced the swim instead of just eliminating it, but they hadn’t asked for my opinion. Of course, since we weren’t even officially in it, we could really run or bike whatever the hell we wanted. Actually, we could have added the swim back in if we wanted to.

 Patiently waiting at transition!

Unlike the previous day’s race, it was 70 and cloudy, so we felt great running and finished 1.91 miles in 16:50, average pace 8:49. The transition area was super exciting since we felt like celebrities with all our paparazzi members popping out from all angles snapping pictures of us.
You can really tell the pictures where we saw the photographer from the ones where we didn’t.

Since we were dry, T1 (1:59) was a super easy change from running shoes to biking shoes, throwing on the helmet, and heading out.

My biggest fear was getting lost or falling on the bike, but the race was extremely well organized with volunteers posted at any spot where there may have been the slightest doubt about which was to go. It’s one of the oldest triathlons in the US!

For my first bike race, I couldn’t have asked for a better course. It wasn’t closed to traffic, but there were few cars. It was mainly flat, and the roads were nice and smooth. Not having the sun beating down on me was a wonderful change. The wind was out of control though. At one point, my bike wobbled and I wasn’t sure why, when I was going straight on a perfectly smooth road, when I realized the wind was doing it! It really felt like going (slightly) uphill the whole time we were on the flat course. I may have bemoaned my half marathon time on Saturday, but on that bike I was thrilled with it. My legs were pretty tired as it was, I can’t imagine how I would have felt if I’d pushed it for 13.1 miles the day before.

This is a bit of a tangent (I know, shocking on my blog) but I really feel that runners put too much pressure on ourselves. Marathon training tends to distort perception of what a “normal” workout is, and a ten mile run becomes a “short” run. I find myself thinking things like “I can’t believe my legs are sore after only a slow half marathon, I feel like such a wimp, I don’t want to complain and sound like I’m out of shape”, when in reality, 13.1 miles is a LONG way to run, regardless of the speed, and completing a sprint triathlon – turned Duathlon the day after a half marathon is hard. And you have to be in good shape to do it. Maybe I’m the only one who thinks that way?

Anyway, the bike portion was 15.7 miles, and my average speed was 15.7 mph, so I finished in 1:00:12! That’s fast for me so I was pretty happy with it. I did feel like I could have pushed it more, but with no idea how to pace myself on the bike, or how I’d feel on run #2, I took it fairly easy, especially at the beginning.

I need to make learning to drink on the bike my #1 goal. Getting dehydrated because I can’t balance enough to pull my water bottle out is not cool.

T2 (2:33) – chug water, change shoes again, remove helmet (thanks, Perry), run the wrong way, run back to our bikes, then restart the run the right way.

Running the actual run portion was a bit rough at first. 
 Especially with Lily nearly choking to death.
 Nope, she's cool.

My legs felt like they were made of lead. They loosened up after about a mile, but since the whole run was less than two miles, that wasn’t terribly helpful. I took not one, not two, but THREE wrong turns. That’s not counting trying to leave the transition area going the wrong direction. 3 wrong turns in under 2 miles. Special. 1.89 miles, 17:14, 9:06 average pace.

We finished and this is as official of a time as we are going to get!

Checking the Garmin - as usual.

 No timing chips on these ankles.

I repeated my new favorite post - race snack.
 I learned the hard way that Lily doesn't share watermelon.


  1. You should sign up for Luray the weekend of August 13-14. The swim will DEFINITELY be on!

  2. Wow! Congrats to for still having fun even though it was unofficial duathlon :( There will be plenty more triathlons in your future though, I'm sure!

    p.s. - that pic of the two of you and the water behind you is awesome!

  3. wow...I couldn't recreate it better.... you are GREAT.....recreating our adventures!!!! sorry I slape you..but no one is messing with my watermelon after all the running and biking!!!!

  4. Congratulations on your first duathlon! It looks like you two had a blast! :)

  5. Hahaha, I LOVE this recap!! What a day! :) Congrats on your fist non-official duathlon! ;) I hope you get to do that official Triathlon soon!

  6. How disappointing that the swim was cancelled! Even with the new duathalon, you kicked butt. And after a half marathon too?! You're so right, doing any one of those things is impressive, but back to back is just amazing!

  7. Yikes on those chafing wounds!! Awesome job on the race though. I'm terrible with pictures. Even if I see a photog, I look like I"m going to die or kill someone.

  8. Bummer about not having your chip timing on! Great job otherwise, especially doing it all the day after a half marathon. You are a machine!

  9. Haha...ok, i just have to laugh at the way this race turned out. But you rock for having an awesome attitude - and kicking ass !

  10. This recap cracked me up! I'm the same way as you. If I'm tired after a 10 mile run, I'm mentally telling myself "Man UP you little bitch!" Really, that's how I talk to myself. I feel like by announcing that I'm training for a 50 miler, I have removed all chances for me to complain that a 5 mile run is hard (which many of them are)

    Watermelon is a great post race choice. We should have put that on our list of requests at Rosaryville.

  11. Wow, that was tough. Even though I was hopeful those photos were just teaser, and there'd really be a fun race report, and then I was hopeful to see this, I *still* had trouble not just getting stuck on the cheesecake photos. I have to look at them again. Bye.

  12. That cheesecake looks sooo good.

    What was the topic? Oh, your cool report. Right.

    Yes, that was a very entertaining report. Glad you didn't drown -- although I guess chances were low of that by race start -- and glad you overcame your physically handicapped* statuses and ran with the other athletes.

    (* = chipless handicap)

    Congrats on completing that triathlon as successfully as they'd let you.

    Hope you guys have more water in the next one!

    I need to review the cheesecake photos again.


Thanks for commenting! Comments make me probably more happy than they should.