Racing with the Ironmen in Moses Lake

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My first Olympic Distance triathlon was quite the event.

What I didn’t know is that it was the first USAT standings race of the year and a whole slew of Ironmen were clamoring for ranking.

Woah doggie this was a fast fast field of competitors.

This race was close enough to the motel (a little over a mile) that it was easier to just ride my bike over than to try to deal with driving and parking. That was really nice.

Annie, Jill, Kathy Gene and I arrived bright and early to get our transition areas set up and sutff ourselves into our wetsuits like sausages.

Here are Katy, Myself, Annie & Jill

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and of course, doing the now obligatory butt shot…

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Gene broke his goggles at the last minute, so the woman next to me loaned him a pair of pink goggles. This picture does not do their pinkness justice.

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I got to meet my (up until today) online friend Lynn. We started reading each other’s blogs some time after one of the Elma triathlons and finally got to meet face to face.

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Gene’s awesome parents came out to cheer us all one and take pictures

The swim was rough. I knew that I could swim a mile, but I still had plenty of anxiety over doing it in a group, then hopping on a bike for 22 miles and then running a 10K.

The wind picked up during the 2nd lap of the mens race which was when our wave started. (the sprint swimmers did one 750 meter lap and we did two) The Olympic Distance woman started 15 minutes after the men (we were told to be nice when picking off the slow ones)

There was a lot of chop in the water and some pretty big waves. When I came around the 2nd buoy (there were only two it was kind of an oblong course) I rolled my head to the left to breathe and inhaled a wave.

Luckily, I didn’t panic. I stopped long enough to get my head out of the water, facing away from the waves and cough all the water out. Then I went right back to swimming.

But DARN IT, if I didn’t have the exact same thing happen in the exact same place on the 2nd lap.

I thought I was swimming well, but noticed that I was not in the middle of the pack like I usually am, but rather in the back of the pack.

I swam a mile and got in to the transition area in 32:28 which exceeded my best case scenario of 33 minutes based of my other triathlons this year (40 minutes was my worst case scenario based on the tri I swam last year with the sinus infection)

As it turns out, I swam a faster pace for a full mile than I did for 400 meters; and I swam a faster pace for 400 meters than I do for 250 meters.

Molly’s right, the shorter races seem harder because I’m not warmed up yet.

My transition was quite mediocre. It took 03:49 to get out of the wetsuit and into my bike gear. Of course the fact that I forgot to take my Garmin off the strap of my swim cap and put it on my wrist didn’t help. (it’s only rated water resistant for 30 minutes, so I wear it on my strap to keep it out of the water but hadn’t done it in a race yet) I know I shouldn’t have, but I ran back across the transition area to go get it which cost me some time.

The bike did not go well at all.

First, one of the pads on my aerobars flew off at about mile two of the ride. I had to lean my forearms on bare metal and bolt heads. My forearm is swollen and it feels like the bone is bruised. I expect to be able to see the imprint of the bolts by tomorrow. Since there was no shock absorption on that side, my shoulder and neck really started to hurt.

It was a fairly steady hill going out with some rollers. There didn’t seem to be as much downhill on the way back as I expected.

And it was windy; very very windy.

At one point on the bike ride when I was out there all by myself, I wanted to cry.

It was my worst triathlon ride ever, I was behind everyone (seriously, I was the last rider in the last wave and got the motorcycle escort in) and felt like I didn’t belong out there. I finished 22 hilly windy miles in 1:28:39 averaging only 14.89 mph.

How in the heck was I going to run a 10K after getting my butt kicked in that choppy water and doing so poorly on the bike ride?

After a 1:44 transition, I waddled out onto the trail for the run.

I had eaten well the day before, the morning of and I kept eating Cliff shot blocks and drinking Heed the whole time I was on the ill fated bike ride.

I ran slowly, it was only about finishing. I knew I was not going to do well.

Instead of the heat that was forecast, a gentle rain began to fall.

It was delicious, glorious wonderful coolness from the sky.

There is nothing quite as sweet and magical as desert rain.

When I got to the turn around for the 10K mark, I finally got brave enough to look at my watch.

“OMG! I could actually finish this in under 3 ½ hours. My best case scenario finish time was 3:30 and my not quite worst case (just being slow at everything) was 3:47.

I came in at 3:25:22 which may be slow, but it was faster than I was expecting to pull this off.

And heck, it was my first Olympic Distance Tri, any finish time was a PR.

There were 4 DNFs, three after the swim and one after the bike.

Only after I felt like such a slow loser, did I learn that this was a big race for Ironmen looking for rankings for the year and that it was an insanely fast field.

One woman who I swam with (and got passed on the bike by) was no other than Sister Madonna. This woman, a Catholic nun, is 78 years old (born the same year as my mother who refuses to even go walk more or less exercise or take care of herself) and has completed FORTY Ironmans and set age group records.

Here are Gene, Myself, Sister Madonna. and Annie

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You really should click on the link, Sister Madonna-Iron Nun. to read her story; this woman is an amazing inspiration.

I had no idea that the lady I was standing around in the water joking around with at the start line was a legend until Kathy told me.

Since there weren’t a lot of Athenas, I got 2nd place (and a bit of extra hardware)

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The Icky Boy was kind enough to carry my bag back as I walked my bike next to him.

As we were crossing the bridge these GIANT fish (carp I think) were leaping out of the lake. I swear, these things were big enough to take off my arm. And to think that I was swimming with them. [shudder]

After the race, we sat on the balcony of the hotel watching a thunderstorm enjoying a beer. Then we met up with Gene & Joanne and Gene’s parents for Pizza. If you’re in Moses Lake and want Pizza, Chicos is the place (but get there early)

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I have some more photos here, Lisa’s Moses Lake Olypmic Distance Triathlon Photos

and yes… I’m already planning on coming back to do it again next year.

~L

Mood: Tired



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