First of all, the event was incredibly organized. For the size of the race, I expected some issues but it was great. The expo was cool - a lot of awesome toys to drool over. I did think the merch was overpriced but to be fair, I'm pretty frugal so everything is overpriced IMO.
Now the good stuff... RACE DAY! Surprisingly, I woke up that morning totally numb. I was so terrified of the swim that I guess I just blocked out my emotions and was going through the motions. However, once I got to the Bayside Bridge and my 3 ton SUV was being blown into the other lane by wind gusts... the fear came flooding back. I got to the venue, overpaid for parking and screamed inside for the entire two block walk to transition. Normally, the swims always make me nervous but this one had me utterly petrified. That little voice inside my head (the one you're never supposed to ignore) now had a bull horn and was yelling "danger you idiot!" I got in line for body marking with 100 of my closest friends and after 15 minutes, the news came... the swim was cancelled. HALLELUJAH! I'm sure feeling relieved probably makes me a bad triathlete but in my defense, you could almost hear a collective sigh of relief from the crowd as the news spread. The pros still had to swim in the 3-4 foot seas so I lucked out and got to be a spectator and athlete for the race :o) Oh and here's a fun little tidbit- the pros finished a swim that normally takes me 40 minutes in an average of 18 minutes!!! They are all so incredible and it was truly an honor to be part of the same race as such elite athletes.
FYI... waaaaay in the background is a yellow buoy, from that point to the sea wall is only ONE THIRD of the swim course. Crazy, right?!
TI - heading out for 24 on the bike
Ok, enough gushing... 4 hours (yes, FOUR) after I arrived at the race it was finally my turn to start. My plan for this race was to take it easy and enjoy the experience. The bike course was interesting - a little ghetto, a little ritz, a lot of turns, some unexpected climbs, an unwelcome railroad track and too many annoying speed bumps, pot holes and paved crosswalks to count. I made it a point not to ride aggressive and even stayed in a light gear. I knew the run was going to kill me so I needed my legs as strong as possible. Curious thing though, I just kept passing people! I wasn't even trying but the only time I got passed for the entire 24 miles was by relays or hovercrafts (you know those sick bikes that make the "whoosh" and they go by). For me the bike went well, dismount was flawless (if I do say so myself) on the slick, uneven bricks. I started to run into transition but after about 30 yards decided walking the other 4 football fields to my rack was a better plan. I had no issues finding my spot. I can't say the same for a number of other athletes, including a few of the elite amateurs (hehe).
T2 - time for the run
The run was unpleasant at best. With my late start, it was now almost NOON. Shade was sparse but the water stops were plentiful. The route was through this amazing neighborhood with immaculately manicured homes and super supportive residents. Several residents were even spraying athletes with hoses as we went by. I was plugging along pretty well until mile 3 and then I started to get chills. I wasn't sure at the time what that meant but I knew it wasn't good. I wasn't nauseated or light-headed but I decided to err on the side of caution anyway. I gagged down a Gu and got water at every mile. The chills never went away but I felt fine otherwise. I had a few teary moments though. I couldn't help the overwhelming flood of emotions as I saw a blind man with his escort and a woman with a physical 'disability' (grrr, that word - she hardly looked 'dis-able' in the middle of a triathlon!). Those are the rare moments when you see how truly remarkable the human spirit is. We are such amazing creations and it's a shame most of us don't take full advantage of our gifts. But I digress...
The hubs met me at mile 5 and ran with me for a bit. It was nice because I was pretty bored at that point. Then before I knew it, it was all over. Crossed the finish, grabbed my medal and wandered aimlessly for ten minutes before I found my "fans." All that training and anxiety made for kind of an anti-climatic ending. In the end it was just another race.
Now the real question... will I do it again next year?
A small part of me wants to. Without the swim, I don't think I experienced the real St. A's. I kind of feel like a poser wearing my St A's merch. On the other hand, I didn't really care for the race. The longer distance was so boring and monotonous. I know that sounds silly but at mile 20 on the bike I realized how much I enjoyed the fast pace of a sprint. I'm doing another oly at the end of the year so maybe I'll change my tune. The other major issue I had with this race was the size. Although, it never felt crowded during the race, waiting around for FOUR hours was ridiculous. By that point, I was hungry, the excitement had waned, my legs were sore from standing around and I was ready for nap not 30 miles of racing. Who knows, though. If the past year has taught me anything it's that a lot can change in twelve months ;o) Right now, I'm glad I did it. I'm proud of myself for not deferring when I had every excuse to. I may not be the leanest, the strongest or the fastest but I never give up and that's not something a training schedule can give you.