to have this much fun.
Everything, from the 4am wake up call to eating cold pb&j toast in the car to swallowing way too much of the Atlantic ocean to absolutely having no feeling in my legs when I dismounted the bike to running what could have been a tedious out and back on the boardwalk…everything was so much fun!
The weather was perfect. The RD and his crew were well-organized. But most of all, the people were awesome. This is the first women’s only event I’ve ever participated in, and the event itself has a reputation as being really “supportive.” I usually don’t find that word appealing. It implies a softness, less competitiveness. Not that I’m all that competitive, but I take my hobbies seriously, and I want the events I participate in to take me seriously as well.
Instead of (or maybe–in addition to) being “supportive,” I found it welcoming. And enthusiastic. When I had a question in T1 about what to do next, a much more experienced athlete took the time to explain to me the procedure. Not that that couldn’t happen in a regular sprint tri, but it seemed as though everyone was going out of their way to be inclusive, helpful, mindful. The event was just full of smiles–from the volunteers to the cops to the crowds and most of all, the athletes.
Look at those pearly whites–I think I’m going to send these pics off to my orthodontist. He should be proud.
Here’s some of the nitty gritty:
We got to the venue at 5:30am, plenty of time to set up our transition area and get markered and chipped up. In addition to the lovely sharpie number tattoos on our left arms, each athlete conveniently has her left calf marked with her age. I can’t wait to ride the hopelessly long escalator at the World Trade Center subway stop tomorrow morning, leaving all the folks behind me wondering what the hell the 47 is all about.
There were 1049 tri participants. We were divided into 2 year age group waves for the swim start. The first group left at 6:50am. I was in wave 10–and we started at just about 7:25am. There were about 100 women in each wave.
The swim was only 300 yards, and the sea was fairly calm and pretty warm (thank you July heat wave). At first it was hard to get my bearings–I kept my head above water and struggled a bit with my stroke. Finally, after turning left at the first buoy, I figured to heck with it, put my face in the water, and just swam. So much better–I finally felt as though I was making progress. I got kicked a few times, but nothing major. I guess swimming over that child in the pool during training toughened me up a bit. Total swim time: 6:46
After leaving the water, we ran up the beach, up the stairs to the boardwalk, and across the street into the transition area. There were volunteers washing off peoples’ feet with hoses at the entrance to the transition area (nice!). I got to my bike, and froze. I was so focused on the swim, I totally spaced out about what to do next. So I sat down to regroup, and another racer helped me out (dry off your feet, try to get as much sand off as possible, put on your shoes,…). T1 time: 7:35
The ride was 11 miles through Long Beach and Deal, NJ. Since this is coastal New Jersey, it was relatively flat and fast. There were no mile markers, and without my phone app beeping away at those intervals, I had to use my really fancy analog orange Swatch to figure out about how long I had to go. I think I pedaled this entire leg–no coasting, no braking–except when I needed my water bottle. I learned that I suck at keeping my balance when reaching down for my water, so I ended that leg a bit thirsty. Total bike: 41:38
We dismounted the bikes maybe a 1/10 of a mile from the transition area, and boy, I could. not. feel. my. legs. AT. ALL. Back in transition, I chomped on some gummy bears (not sports gummy bears, real ones. the candy), drank some water, took off my helmet, parked my bike, and was off. T2: 1:56 (much better!)
The run was a 5k out and back along the boardwalk. Not much to explain here. Because my legs were so numb and I was still only wearing my Swatch, I had no idea how fast I was going. I did manage to pass a good number of runners, but also walked through two of the three water stops. During the last bit, as I was running down to the finish line, there was another runner about 100 yards ahead of me. I actually started sprinting and was able to pass her with about 10 yards to go. The crowd roared! Total run time: 26:45! That’s a PB for me for a 5k!
Total time: 1:24:37. I placed 351 out of 1049. woo-freakin’-hoo!
I am usually a “one and done” type of girl. I don’t like to do things twice. When I knit, I always struggle with the 2nd arm of sweaters and the 2nd sock in a pair. The same with events. I don’t expect to repeat them. The only reason I was ok with doing the Old Port HM was that the course was completely different. However, this event was fantastic and I will be back next year.
Probably the funniest point of the day came on the way home, when mulling over just the general awesomeness of the day, I thought (to myself): gosh, having a women’s only event was sorta nice. Maybe there should be men’s only events, too. I betcha they’d really like it. Oh wait. There already is. Like the entire history of athletics prior to Title IX.
So, yes, an awesome day. Which obviously left me a teeny bit tired.