Friday, June 26, 2009

Triathlons, Part 2!

So, last weekend we competed in triathlon #2, the Eastman Splash, Mash, and Dash in Grantham, NH.

I was determined to avoid another swim disaster, so we ordered our rental wetsuits a week early and went twice to a local lake to do training swims. We also got Farmer John-style (bib) wetsuits rather than full-body ones, which are easier to get in and out of and also give a less constricting feeling overall. Our practice swims went great, and so I was feeling very optimistic about the race—not so much that I would be able to go fast, but that I would at least feel comfortable in the water and be able to front crawl the whole way.

Grand and M came up to play with little B during the event, so on Saturday morning Alex and I got up super-early, turned Brynna over to her grandparents, and headed up north. It was a cool and overcast morning, which (as long as it didn't actually rain) was perfect weather.

Alex had been going back and forth about wearing his wetsuit (he's much cold-hardier than I am!) but after dipping a toe in the water did decide to wear it. He was in the first swim wave with the young guys, so I got to watch him start. My wave of young women started a few minutes later. I positioned myself on the far outside of the line so as to avoid a lot of the crowding, and at the whistle ran forward and started swimming with everyone else. This time, it was just like in training! As I had practiced in the lake over the last week or so, I would take 10 full strokes and then look up to make sure I was going straight (I often wasn't) and then do 10 more strokes. And the pack didn't leave me in the dust! I kept this up all the way around the first buoy, then the second, and once I turned back toward the beach and knew that I had things well in hand, I even started to swim a little harder. (This increased my pace from "baby tortoise" to "tortoise.")

I came out of the water with a big grin on my face and jogged into the transition area, unzipping and starting to pull off my wetsuit as I went. Then it was onto the bike. (Mom, Dad, and Brynna were there to cheer as I ran out of the transition area and mounted my bike.) The bike course was an out-and-back 12 miles, with the first half being mostly uphill. Unlike the previous triathlon, this road course was on a rough and poorly-graded road. It was not washboard or rumble-strip bad, but pretty close. I was pretty aggressive during this leg, and passed quite a few people, especially on the hills. The out-and-back nature of the course means that I got to see Alex and shout encouragement partway through. He was in the midst of a very impressive-looking pass of his own. The bike course ended with a long, hard uphill (passed a couple more people!), so I was definitely ready to switch over to running.

The run (5K, or 3.1 miles), was a pretty decent combo of trail, dirt road, and a little bit of pavement. I moved along a bit faster than the last time, got to high-five Alex as we passed, and midway through even felt like I was running, not jogging, and was in good enough shape to actually race a bit. For the last mile or so, I traded places back and forth with another woman—we ended up pushing each other quite well to the finish. (She ended up winning. That won't happen again!)

Tired but thrilled at the finish, I found Alex—who had had a very successful running leg as well—and the rest of our cheering section. In time, we'd learn from the full results that we managed to reduce our time (quickened our pace) in all of our events.

Eventually, my parents took off with Brynna so she could nap in the car, and Alex and I got into line for the excellent lunch. They had veggie burgers, lots of fruit and veggies, yummy desserts, and local chocolate milk! While we were eating, we also got a look at the results...

...and were shocked to see a little number (3) next to both of our names! We both finished third in our age group! (This probably says a lot more about there not being that many serious 25-29 year old triathletes than it does about our athletic prowess.) So, we hung around for the awards ceremony, when we collected our PRIZE TRIATHLON SOCKS!

So much fun!

[ps - we would post additional pictures from the event, as we did for the first tri. However, the pro photographers hired to capture the event are charging ridiculous prices for their images (like $40 for a single hi-res file). we object!]

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